by Bill Rudge
Speaking at a pastor’s conference I asked, “How many of you believe in God? How many of you truly believe the Bible is God’s Word? How many of you really believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead? Enthusiastic affirmation followed each question.
“Then live like you believe it.” I said. “If you really believe in God and Jesus Christ and that the Bible is God’s Word, it should affect every aspect of your life. It should influence the way you live, what you say and what you do!” Sadly, however, the words, beliefs and behavior of many believers and Christian leaders today indicate they do not really believe what they profess.
Repeatedly falling into immorality and harboring secret sins or addictions not only violate scriptural guidelines but disqualifies one for leadership in the body of Christ. While God forgives as Scripture promises: “If anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1), every Christian leader needs to review 1 Timothy 3:1-12 and Titus 1:6-9.
God holds leaders to a higher standard. James 3:1 cautions: “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.” If we assume leadership positions then we must also accept the responsibilities that go with them – as well as the consequences if we fail. True repentance and the fruit of genuine repentance should be visible before restoration to leadership in the body of Christ.
The focus and ultimate goal of every Christian leader’s life and ministry should be, with the help of God’s Spirit, to be conformed to the image (likeness) of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29).