by Bill Rudge
In light of the recent news about abuse by clergy in Pennsylvania, Bill has written the following article:
Most men and women get into ministry with a heart to serve the Lord and continue with that commitment throughout the duration of their ministry. Hopefully this is true for the majority of those who serve in Jesus’ name. They will one day hear Him say:
Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness! (Matthew 25:23).
Some people get into ministry because they also have a heart to serve the Lord and help others – but along the way they get lured into sexual immorality. While forgiveness is available for true repentance (1 John 1:9), they better carefully ponder the requirements and responsibilities set forth in Scripture to be a leader: 1 Timothy 3:1-12; Titus 1:6-9; James 3:1.
Some people go through the external motions of professing faith in Christ –
even praising the Lord and quoting Scripture –
but their lifestyles indicate their hearts are far from Him and His Word.
Others enter ministry as “opportunists” with a predetermined agenda to exploit and take advantage of vulnerable people. Jude and Peter warn about such predators:
For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality. They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. But the Lord is coming to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done (Jude 4, 13-15; 2 Peter 2:2).
Jesus’ Rebuke and Commendation
Reflecting upon the words of Jesus to the seven churches in Revelation, chapters two and three, provides tremendous insight which has both immediate and eternal implications.
Jesus’ four main rebukes were for: 1) false teaching – so contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints, 2) sexual immorality – so purify your life and relationships, 3) idolatry – so put nothing or no one before the Lord and 4) being lukewarm and leaving first love – so keep your passion for Jesus Christ and His Word burning.
Jesus’ four main commendations were for their: 1) love, faith, and service – so be active in evangelism and outreach, 2) endurance and perseverance – so be totally committed to Christ with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and remain faithful to the end, 3) sexual and spiritual purity – so keep yourself pure physically, mentally and
spiritually, and 4) faithfulness to His Word and Name – so stand for the truth of Scripture and your testimony of the Jesus of the Bible.