In Galatians 1:10, Paul states, For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.
His gospel didn’t come from a desire to please man. His first obligation was to please God. He didn’t shape his message just to please his audience. He was more concerned about pleasing God.
I think Paul was making a contrast between himself and those in verse 9 who brought the different gospel. Apparently, in some way, that different gospel was built around the idea of pleasing man.
There have always been preachers who have desired popularity, fame and fortune above all else, and there are some still. It’s part of fallen human nature that even those charged with the responsibility of proclaiming the gospel can fall into the trap of trying to be popular rather than faithful.
Paul said, For if I still pleased men, I would not be a servant of Christ. For Paul, it was one or the other. He couldn’t direct his ministry towards pleasing men and at the same time direct it to pleasing Jesus Christ. If his concern at first wasn’t to please Christ, then he wasn’t a servant of Christ.
1 Thessalonians 2:4 says, But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts.
I believe every preacher of the gospel faces the temptation to please men by preaching only what wont offend. However, giving in to this temptation may result in tolerating sin and a lukewarm congregation. Flattering speech or failing to preach against sinful lifestyles that may be present in the church in order to grow financially or grow in membership numbers will only lead to damage to Christ’s church. Preaching should always be to seek God’s approval and not man’s.
Although Paul was addressing ministers of the gospel, the same message goes for each of us!