Approved – Pastor Stacey Shiflett


2 Corinthians 10:18 For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.

Intro: Every single person have one thing in common – the desire to some degree to be approved.

The reason why peer pressure is so effective is young people’s desire to receive approval.

The Bible uses the word many times in several different ways: Approve, approved, approvest, approveth, etc.

There are several Greek words that are translated “approve”, but they all generally mean the same thing.

The word APPROVED means: accepted, particularly of coins and money, accepted, pleasing, acceptable

It speaks to something or someone being genuine, acceptable, passing the test so to speak.

In the ancient world there was no banking system as we know it today, and no paper money. All money was made from metal, heated until liquid, poured into moulds and allowed to cool. When the coins were cooled, it was necessary to smooth off the uneven edges. The coins were comparatively soft and of course many people shaved them closely. In one century, more than eighty laws were passed in Athens, to stop the practice of shaving down the coins then in circulation. But some money changers were men of integrity, who would accept no counterfeit money. They were men of honour who put only genuine full weighted money into circulation. Such men were called “dokimos” or “approved”.

– Donald Barnhouse

It should be our priority to constantly seek God’s approval.

It should be our desire to be found of God to be true; genuine; sincere; not-counterfeit.

Jesus Christ, our example, our pattern is described in Acts 2 as “approved of God.”

  • Acts 2:22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:

Tonight, we will do a word study of APPROVED and see in what ways we can be approved by God.

Let’s start with the text in 2 Corinthians 10.

I. Approved in Your Spirituality

  • 2 Corinthians 10:18 For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.

In our text, the Apostle Paul pointed out a few important facts about this matter of approval.

  1. We can approve ourselves.
  2. God can approve us.
  3. God’s approval (commendation) is the only one that counts!

Paul said in verse 12 that it wasn’t wise to compare yourself with other people.

Let God give the verdict, and let God get the glory. (vs. 17)

  • Philippians 1:10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;

II. Approved in Your Sorrow

  • 2 Corinthians 7:11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

The Apostle Paul had written a scathing rebuke in I Corinthians.

They got the letter, read it, and it produced a godly sorrow.

Their level of sorrow was not a worldly sort, but a godly sort.

Paul commended them for their degree of sorrow by listing what all it produced in them.

After giving the list, he acknowledged that their sorrow had been right as a result, they were approved.

III. Approved in Your Suffering

  • 2 Corinthians 6:4 But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,

Paul listed the difficulties that they had faced as ministers of God.

Our suffering will show God as well as the world what we are made of.

Paul had used a similar word in connection with suffering in his letter to Timothy.

  • 2 Timothy 4:5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

IV. Approved in Your Study

  • 2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

The context of this verse is 2 Timothy 2:14-19.

Paul is instructing Timothy not to strive about words to no profit.

How would you know if words are profitable or not? Study!

Paul instructed Timothy in verse 16 to shun profane and vain babblings.

How do you know what is profane and vain? Study!

Paul instructed Timothy not to err from the truth in verse 18.

How do we know what is truth? Study!

God likes it when you take to time to read and study what He said.

Study produces growth and growth produces fruit.

Fruit brings glory to God. – John 15:8

V. Approved in Your Service

  • Romans 14:18 For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.
  • Romans 16:10 Salute Apelles approved in Christ.

Paul closed out Romans by greeting some fellow servants.

He refers to the amazing work ethic of Phebe in verses 1, 2.

He greeted Aquilla and Priscilla – his helpers – in verse 3.

He pointed out their amazing sacrifices to both him and to the church in verse 4, 5.

He greeted Mary in verse 6, who bestowed much labor on us….

He saluted Urbane – his helper in Christ – in verse 9.

He continued to greet those in verse 12 that were laborers and servants.

We must conclude that Apelles was approved in Christ in the area of service as was these other saints.

Question – is your labor just a token, half-hearted effort to draw praise and recognition of man, or is it approved of God and does it bring Him glory?