In Paul’s opening words to his Galatian friends, he makes the following declaration:
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10)
It is clear from studying sacred Scripture, reading church fathers, observing contemporary brothers, and engaging in personal introspection, that a constant temptation and tendency for all church leaders is for them to be men-pleasers rather than pleasers of God. Churches are filled with sinful ministers, preachers, elders, and teachers who are:
- Overly interested in making a good showing in the flesh
- Overly interested in gaining a following for themselves
- Overly interested in obtaining money or wealth
- Overly interested in putting on a good show
- More interested in their visible reputation than their inner character
- More interested in their pet doctrines and rules than those of God
- More interested in displaying tolerance than in declaring truth
- Prone to distort God’s free Gospel by adding works of God’s Law
- Prone to troubling God’s friends by threatening their approved souls
And why are church leaders so prone to wander and harm those following their teaching and leadership?
- Sometimes, it is because they are ignorant of God’s truths.
- At all times, it is because they are more interested in popularity, power, position, pleasure, and profitability than in serving their people properly and worshiping their God faithfully. They are man-pleasers consumed most with pleasing men. They are man-pleasers consumed with pleasing themselves more than anyone else. They are not passionate enough about serving their Lord who chose them, redeemed them, regenerated them, filled them, instructed them, gifted them, and specially called them to deliver his truth.
Therefore, what should be done with this information? Friends in the pew and friends in the pulpit, it is time for us all to repent and supplicate.
Congregation members … Please repent of any pressure you have put on your minister to do anything other than proclaim God’s truths. He is not your man; he is God’s man. He is not to tickle your ears; he is to be faithful to God’s Word and God’s Spirit. Please repent of your judging his style of communication. Please repent of your harsh opinions and negative reactions when he uses God’s Words to step on your toes or expose your spiritual nakedness. I urge you to repent of your insistence that he put on a better show. Please repent of your encouragement to stroke your ego and make you feel better about yourself. Then, you need to repent of your unfounded and errabt conclusion that your minister is a licentious “Antinomian” because he refuses to add God’s-Law-Works to God’s-Gospel-Promise. Brothers and sisters, please repent, and then while you are on your knees please supplicate for your sorely tempted and often falling teacher. This is true, even when you cease to put temporal pressure on him, the world, the flesh, and the devil will not relent. The unholy trinity are seeking to influence and adjust your minister’s doctrine and message. Congregation member, repent of your sins and supplicate for your minister. He is always a half-step away from being a false teacher. He is always on the verge of teaching wrongly the truths of God. Pray for your man. Pray that he will be rightly informed, freshly touched, and Spiritually emboldened. Pray that he will have eyes for Jesus’ only. Then, he will be of greater benefit for you and yours. Repent and supplicate!
Pastor, elder, shepherd, and teacher … It is time for us to repent and supplicate again. It is true, our teaching transgressions are blasphemous, traitorous, and accursed. “Anathema!” is that screamed by the Holy Judge. He deserves better than this, and we deserve a hotter hell for standing in his house, in his pulpit, behind his Word, and proclaiming a false message. However, it is not my intent to end this devotional blog by slaying each another with God’s Law. Fellow ministers, preachers, elders, and teachers, though our imperfect teaching and leadership deserves the “anathema” of God, Jesus died for all our ministerial transgressions. All of them are covered by his all-sufficient atonement. Fellow shepherds, we too are recipients of Christ’s grace and peace. Therefore, he is not going to condemn and damn us for our preaching sins of yesterday, today, or tomorrow. We are free from this burden. How can this be? It is because the Father has already crucified the Greatest Preacher Ever for our sinful sermons, lessons, deveotionals, and leadership woes. Yes, our poor shepherding is horrible. Yes, our preaching and teaching sins are going to cause problems for us and ours. Yes, there are horrible consequences that flow from being a man-pleaser. Yes, we all deserve the fires of hell. Yes, we need to wail, mourn, and call upon the Lord. However, let us comfort our weary souls with this Gospel truth — Jesus paid it all, and he did so for his elect in the pews and in the pulpit. This weekend, it will be time again for us to get in the Word and preach God’s message to those under our charge. However, today, it is time for us to preach the Gospel afresh to ourselves. Then, after our remembering, repenting, and recovering, let us offer forth prayers of supplication for ourselves and our brothers. May God help us better love him and our neighbors by being more like Christ who dwells within. May God help us be more interested in pleasing Him than in pleasing ourselves or any other man.
Friends, if you wish to pray for your pastor and let him know you are doing so, why not send him a copy of this blog and let him know how you are holding him up in prayer. A word of encouragement from a man goes a long way.