As the calendar yr turns from 2023 to 2024 one of many fixed unhappy realities in Christian News is the perpetual, continuous, and repeated actuality of pastors and well-known ministry leaders being uncovered on a seemingly weekly foundation for his or her persistent, ongoing hidden sin. It grieves all of us, however it’s not a brand new phenomenon.
Thousands of years in the past, the prophet Ezekiel handled the very same issues we’re coping with at present. The folks of God had grow to be obstinate to the voice of God and the leaders liable for turning them again had grown numb to the voice of God and had given into their very own secret practices of sinfulness.
God spoke this to Ezekiel in his day – Ezekiel 8:12 “…Son of man, have you ever seen what the Elders (pastors, bishops, presbyteries) of Israel are doing within the darkness, every on the shrine of his personal idol? They say, ‘The Lord doesn’t see us; the Lord has forsaken the land.'”
If it sounds acquainted, it’s as a result of it’s. I’m at present in my 100th studying of the Bible as a pastor. My spouse, Tosha, purchased me a John Maxwell Leadership Bible to learn by this time. John Maxwell says this about Ezekiel 8: “When leaders imagine they will do no matter they need in non-public even when it contradicts what they do in public, they violate their calling. Leaders who final commit themselves to non-public integrity, even when nobody is watching, as a result of they know it can repay in public, when many could also be watching.”
I wanted that reminder, possibly you do too.
I’m a great Southern Baptist pastor, so please bear that in thoughts as I share what I’m about to share. Twenty-three years in the past, beginning in February of 2001, God woke me up at 1:23am and confirmed me a repeated imaginative and prescient of Pastor Ted Haggard doing issues he should not be doing. It freaked me out. Remember, I’m a Southern Baptist! I ignored it for a time, till I now not might. I lastly advised it to my spouse and finally to the Vanguard Church Elders, the place I pastor in Colorado Springs. Five years later, it will definitely all turned public, sadly. It did not should go the best way it did, however Ted’s refusal to cope with it privately led to large rippling results at a worldwide degree. Many years later, I wrote about it within the ebook, “The Mystery of 23: God Speaks.”
Fast ahead to now. In July of 2017 whereas talking at a Christian Missionary Alliance camp known as Beulah Beach, I had a second encounter with the Holy Spirit. He confirmed me one other pastor who’s doing issues he should not be doing and amid it mentioned to me, “A community of pastors will fall.” The weight of this assertion has nearly carried out me in during the last virtually seven years. The variety of pastors and ministry leaders who’ve fallen publicly is huge and virtually uncountable at this level and as we discover within the information, it continues.
Well sadly, there may be nonetheless extra to come back!
I do know this disheartens us and definitely discourages us in our walks with the Lord. It does me. It makes me wish to hand over and provides in to my very own temptations to sin. When we stare lengthy sufficient at different’s sins, we ourselves grow to be vulnerable to the identical issues, particularly sin that appears to have gone undetected so far.
But in some unspecified time in the future, we should take our eyes off the sin of others, even the sin that has not been uncovered but, and switch our consideration to the truth that we have to be liable for ourselves and in God’s time enable Him to do what He goes to do of their lives.
God is a long-suffering God however finally He acts and exposes sin, particularly hidden sin within the chief’s life.
Ezekiel captures the guts of God in Ezekiel 18:30-32: “…I’ll judge every of you in keeping with your personal methods, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent! Turn away from all of your offenses; then sin won’t be your downfall. 31 Rid yourselves of all of the offenses you may have dedicated, and get a brand new coronary heart and a brand new spirit. Why will you die…? For I take no pleasure within the loss of life of anybody, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and dwell!”
During Ezekiel occasions and now throughout our time, God is asking His leaders to account, to repent, to show, to dwell! All of us sin. All of us wander. All of us sometimes depart the God we love. God tells Israel in Ezekiel to show their faces again to Him and to not flip their backs on Him and His forgiveness of them. We should heed this identical warning in our personal lives at present.
In my devotions I’m reminded that I higher hear God’s voice when I’m in God’s Word. John Maxwell as soon as once more says it finest, “There isn’t any management with out self-discipline. Since the ‘princes’ of Ezekiel 19 lacked the self-discipline to guide their very own lives effectively, in addition they failed to guide anybody else effectively. Leaders should first lead themselves and earn the best to draw followers. The finest chief serves as a mannequin for others.”
Sadly, there are extra leaders who will fall in 2024 and past. As they fall, know that God despatched His prophets to them privately lengthy earlier than they usually ignored it. Don’t you and I do the identical.
Where in my life is God chatting with me about my sin? Where in your life is God chatting with you about your sin?
As the author of Hebrews says in Hebrews 4:7, “Today, if you happen to hear his voice don’t harden your hearts.”
Remember this solemn reminder from the Lord in Ezekiel 15:7, “…after I set my face in opposition to them, you’ll know that I’m the Lord.”