Preacher To Congregation
I am presently preaching through a short series of lessons on our great spiritual adversary, Satan. And just last week came news of another gospel preacher, esteemed by many, who has succumbed to sexual immorality.
Did I mention Satan is very, very good at his job? His job can be described in various ways, but in essence it is to convince us that disobedience to God is in our best interest. It never is, but we often are gullible or overconfident enough to swallow the bait.
And so the devil strikes again: Two marriages are in jeopardy, two extended families and friends are grieving; another congregation faces a crisis, another of God’s servants destroys an influence that has taken years to build.
Even though Paul says of Satan, “We are not ignorant of his devices” (II Cor. 2:11), we seem surprised when men spectacularly fall, perhaps especially preachers. But we shouldn’t be. What are preachers? They are fallible human beings just like everyone else.
A special devotion to the work of God does not immunize a man against the lust of the flesh or the weakness of faith. We might imagine that a preacher who spends so much of his time studying the Scriptures, teaching others, praying and concentrating on spiritual goals would be impervious to temptation. But such isn’t the case.
The example of David ought to permanently rid us of that notion. Handpicked and blessed by God; anointed by Samuel; inspired poet/songwriter; a great warrior, king and prophet -- and an adulterer and murderer. None of us is exempt from temptation; none of us perfectly resist; all of us have the potential to do great damage.
But my admonition about preachers is this: Encourage us, yes; idolize us, no. Hold us to godly standards, yes; expect us to be supermen, no. Be realistic about the humanity of preachers. Popular sentiment can raise men to either a pedestal or a cross (Matt. 21:1-11; Matt. 27:20-25).
Paul put things in perspective when he reminded the Corinthians: “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed. ... I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase” (I Cor. 3:5-8).
And pray for us (Rom. 15:30-32); we handle a lot of dynamite.