DATE: September 2, 2019
TEXT: 1 Timothy 1:15 – ESV - The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.
Recently, a prominent young Christian pastor, and songwriter, confessed he is losing his faith. He listed some of the causes... problems which he says the church avoids addressing. As a pastor I appreciate his sharing and the opportunity to address the stumbling blocks which he has listed.
First on this young Pastor’s list is: “How many preachers fall? Many. No one talks about it.”
The first correction I have to make is a simple one. He says “many” preachers fail., That’s not true. “All preachers” fail. Now when I talk about failure here, I‘m not referring to being ‘all things to all men.’ That’s a quality all ministers would like, but not even our Savior could please everyone.
You know what I mean: If your pastor is he's young, he lacks experience; if his hair is grey, he's too old. If he preaches from notes, he's canned and boring; if he talks off the cuff...well, he can't be very deep, is he? If he spends time in his study, he's neglecting the lost; if he out with the lost then how about his own people? If he suggests improvements, he's a dictator; if he makes no suggestions, who needs him. If he fails to please everybody, he's hurting the church; if he pleases everybody, he has no convictions. If he gets a large salary, he's greedy; if it's small, it proves he isn't worth much.
Now all that is mostly true, but that’s not the kind of failure I’m talking about. We’re not speaking about human expectations and human limitations. No, we’re speaking about sin. We’re speaking about the small sins which go virtually unnoticed as well as those grand and glorious sins which, like a stone thrown into the pond, send their ripples across the waters of Christianity.
Yes Pastors fail and need forgiveness. The problem is it’s hard for them to receive it. You see, most pastors preach salvation by grace, but for themselves they believe in salvation by works. In other words, they need to preach what they practice. When they do, they will forgive themselves as heartily as the Lord does... and then they will be free to tackle the job the Holy Spirit has given them.
They will be the Lord’s hands and feet and tongue to the souls who have been placed in their charge. Their own sins allow them to appreciate the human condition and how easy it is to fall into temptation and as God’s forgiven children, they will be empowered to preach with power the joy which comes from knowing Christ as Lord and personal Savior.
Which means a Pastor is qualified to lead his people and to reach out into the community, not because of his perfection, but because it pleases God to use him in such a way.
Speaking for all clergy, St. Paul wrote: “ For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed. (1 Cor 15: 9-11 – ESV)
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, great that Your Preachers may be empowered to preach law and love so Your people may hear of Your great grace and compassion for sinners. In Jesus’ Name. Amen,.
The devotion for today was inspired by various recent news articles. For further reading you may wish to go to this address: https://www.christianheadlines.com/contributors/michael-foust/hillsong-s-marty-sampson-i-m-genuinely-losing-my-faith.html and the article written by Michael Foust .
The music which introduces and concludes our devotions was written by Guy Baumann. He along with three of his brothers perform on the album: The Baumann Brothers which may be ordered here: http://thebaumannbrothers.com/index.html