Westminster Assembly

Westminster Assembly

Acts 6:4

"But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the Word."



1 Timothy 4:6-16

" If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. These things command and teach. Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee." 1 Tim 4:6-16 (KJV)

"A Preacher's Greatest Sin?" by Shane C. Montgomery

Saturday, October 16, 2010
    Maybe you have noticed how whenever a minister does something unethical, or when he just flat out falls on his face and really shames himself and his ministry, the news is always quick to point out this latest slip up, we know the media and non-believers relish in the sins and miseries of those who confess Christ.  They simply love to see a Christian mess up.  They say that is not the case, but I know it is true because I was the same way.

  Back in my unregenerated days, when I was yet a rebel against God, I too loved to see Christians sin, I thought it was beyond funny and I thought it justified my sinful lifestyle because then I could say "See, look at the righteous Christian, he is no better than me, he sins just as bad as I do."  It was a form of twisted validation for my wicked and perverse mind.  Now I know better, now I know just how messed up I was then and I no longer take pleasure in the sins of anyone, especially a Christian.  When I see a report of a  minister caught up in a sexual scandal or the like, I cringe.  I do get a little angry, I shouldn't, it is not my place to judge these believers, but I do have the right to yell out about just how foul their rotten fruit smells!  I do not want to do that very often either though.  But my point in this post is not about disgraced TV evangelists, or anything of the like, really I want to talk for a moment about just what is the preachers greatest sin?    Let's be honest for a moment, we all sin, we know that we don't have to spend to much time in the New Testament to know this, so beyond that, what sin is the sin that nails most of us?  Let's set aside  for a moment the stupid sins that seem to befall the TV ministers, most of them are only shysters anyway, we can agree on that, but to those of us who are in the everyday ministry and seem to stay out of jail and out of the newspapers, what sin trips us up more than most?

  Of course I cannot speak for anyone but myself now, I know myself and my sins second only to God, and no man knows my inner self more than I and I don't always like what I see inside myself.  I often see a petty, self-centered cry baby.  (I can be very hard on myself, not big on self esteem) I see a man who still holds on to his ability to fly off the handle too quickly, as I did in my youth.  We never truly grow up completely do we.  I see a lot of problems with myself, I know I am yet a sinner and I know sanctification is a life long process, so I try not to spend to much time beating myself up.  But part of a true sanctification is realizing you are not perfect, recognizing the sins that remain within you.  Quick to anger was a major sin for me, prior to my conversion and even into my first couple years as a new believer, but I have made good progress in that area, thanks of course to His indwelling Spirit.   But I know there are still sins lurking and to deny them is just as sinful as the sin itself, right?   I think so.

  I have a huge sin that lives inside me, it takes up a lot of room and The Holy Spirit doesn't care much for this fat roommate who takes up so much space and is very inconsiderate to others.  This bloated, dead, stinking roommate goes by the name of "Pride" and he is tops on my list of evictions right now.  I will be honest with you, I want this guy out and right now!   See, The Holy Spirit is more than welcomed, I need His Spirit to grow in grace and to grow in the knowledge of the Son of God, but this other guy is just taking up space and is keeping me from sanctification.  I admit I have a problem with pride, I am not proud of this, even though we live in a age when pride is applauded and promoted.  Sad, very sad.

  To be humble is to be week, at least that is what the world will tell you today.  Many of my friends work in management and I see how they promote pride in others.  I know why they do this, it is good for business and it promotes productivity and competition.  But for the rest us, especially those in ministry, pride is deadly.  Think about it this way, you are going on a house visitation, or better yet, a member of your flock is sick in the hospital, you stop in for a visit, hoping to raise their spirits a little, cheer them up, get them back on their feet, remind them they are missed in Lord's Day worship,  and you get there and your pride takes over the show.  How does this help this member of your flock?  It does serious damage instead!   I know this all too well.  Being humble is a very hard thing to do, and it is impossible without the help of the Holy Spirit, it really is.

  Pride is often hidden in even the best of the men of ministry out there.  I know, I have been there.  I recognize the signs of pride too easily and I never realized just how ugly it is in a person until I saw it in other ministers.  It is not pretty.  I cannot play the Pharisee here and say, "O Lord, thank you that I am not like that other poor sinner"  because I am just like that other poor sinner!    Having a humble heart is not something you can fake, it is not something you can produce either, it is something given to you by God's grace.  Just like the angel who stirred up the water of the pool in John 5, He will stir up the water in your life to make you a more humble servant, and a humble servant is a useful servant.  I would rather be useful right now than prideful, I do desire to be a useful vessel for the service of my Lord right now.  I can care less about being famous, or even liked by everyone.  I just want to be used, I want to be spent, totally in service for the Lord who saved me and delivered me.  Is that being prideful?  I hope not.  Yet, I will run into the fat man who lives inside me again, and all to soon, he just doesn't seem to want to move out completely.  But by God's grace and the continue work of the Holy Spirit, by the time I leave this world and move onto the next, he will be gone from me.  For now though, I have to be always on the look out for him, hiding, lurking in the shadows of my soul, waiting to make both of us look like fools, and giving fodder to those who hate God.

  Why is pride such a hard sin to kill off?  We know we are all fallen, I guess that is it, we are all self-centered, that is the problem with sin in a nutshell.  Sin is a by product of our self-centered ways.  Me, Me, Me=Sin, Sin, Sin.   The more we spend in service to him, and with the right heart of course, for His glory and for the salvation of souls, then I think the more humble we will become and maybe we can get rid of the pride monster once and for all, or maybe not.  But I do not want to draw attention to myself, at least not anymore, I want Glory to God and the Salvation of Souls!   Pride will always put me first and God second or third or maybe even farther down the list.   Pride is dangerous, pride is evident, when we nurture pride or let it run rampant, we wear pride on our face like a hideous death mask.  No one likes it, trust me.  No one likes a prideful man, especially a prideful minister.  So for these reasons I ask Holy God to forgive me for all the times I dishonored him with my sins of pridefulness,  I denounce this sin and repent of it.  And beg God to kill this sin off in my life.  I know He has been working on just that the last few years, He has humbled me big time in so many ways, I know now why, He does these things for our good and His Glory, we should remember that.  He has brought me to all time lows in health, in finances, in several areas, He has been busy making me recognize my need to be humble, and I am listening now, He has my full attention!   We can easily become prideful in things we think to be innocent, our knowledge, our good fruits, our service to Him, anything, if we do anything for ourselves instead of for Him or for neighbor, we are wrong and He will send us the "Smarting Rod!"    I believe this is another step in growing in grace, or maybe just growing up!  I rejoice in God's rebuking!  I rejoice in the Smarting Rod!   Shows I am saved, shows I am becoming Sanctified!  If I was to be left alone, then, I would know I have problems.  Like, eternal damnation in Hell's fires!   Praise God for His mercy!   Only a merciful God would punish us to protect us, just like a good Father.    Praise be to the God of heaven and earth.                                    Shane


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