What is more important to you?
- Maintaining your ministry friends within your church organization
- Or maintaining sin-free integrity within the ministry
If your first love is your friendships and church organization, you will cover up sin in the ministry and allow them to continue to minister. And you will be lost in hell with them!
“Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep yourself pure.” (1 Timothy 5:22)
It is important who you lay hands on to ordain, and who you continue to show approval for. You are guilty of being an accomplice to an evil minister if you help them hide their evil deeds.
If your first love is Jesus, you do not tolerate sin among those claiming to be in the ministry. There is no middle-ground position. You must deal with sin among the ministry, or you become guilty with them.
“But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becomes saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things comes the wrath of God on the children of disobedience. Be not you therefore partakers with them.” (Ephesians 5:3-7)
How are you partakers with their evil? The scripture just told us. “Let it not be once named among you, as becomes saints…” If we allow it around us, we become a partaker with it. When something wrong is brought to our attention, we need to do something about it. As children of the Kingdom of God we cannot allow sin among those claiming to be God’s children.
But as spiritual children of a church organization, and ministers of the church organization, we will allow what the church organization allows. Then in God’s eyes we become a partaker with the sins allowed in the church organization. So we must warn and preach against the sins of the church organization, or we also become guilty of them.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchers of the righteous, And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Why you be witnesses to yourselves, that you are the children of them which killed the prophets.” (Matthew 23:29-31)
Who are we the children of? Are we born of the church organization? Or are we a child of God? Perhaps we would never do the evil deeds of past church organization members. But what evil are we overlooking in the ministry today? And what evil has our church organization hid in the past? Is our fellowship this same church organization and its sins? Or are we warning and preaching against the sins of the organization?
Most organizations, through their focus on their organization, have compromised their burning love towards Jesus. They fall from that first love motivation, and people (other ministers) become their first love. They become more politically minded, and not led by the true Holy Spirit. Then as time goes on, their love further wanders into sin and they become unfaithful to Jesus. They become twice fallen through their church organizations, as they lose the vision of the Kingdom of heaven. The Revelation message from the Bible describes this organizational kingdom as Babylon. And like spiritual Babylon, most all church organizations have fallen twice!
“And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues.” (Revelation 18:2-4)
We clearly see that our ministerial associations with these organizations can bring the judgements of God upon us. So how do we spiritually make sure we are not part of Babylon? And how do we approach these problems among the ministry? Because there are also those who would falsely accuse a minister. Sometimes discerning true accusations is difficult.
“Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. I charge you before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that you observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality. Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep yourself pure.” (1 Timothy 5:19-22)
So we need at least two witnesses. People who saw the sin of the minister themselves. Then we begin to deal with the problem, by confronting the minister about the sin accusations. We don’t give them special favor because they may be our personal friend. And we don’t give them favor because they may be over us in the church hierarchy. Actually, church hierarchies don’t exist in the Kingdom of God. They only exist in organizations governed by men. Through the Spirit we have different gifts and responsibilities, but not hierarchies for political influence and control.
“But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But be not you called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all you are brothers. And call no man your father on the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be you called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” (Matthew 23:5-12)
Note what Jesus said: “for one is your Master, even Christ; and all you are brothers.” The ground is level at the cross of sacrificial love.
Further, the purpose in confronting the sin of a minister is with the hope you might restore their soul. Our purpose is not to destroy their hope.
“Brothers, if a man be overtaken in a fault, you which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering yourself, lest you also be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1)
A spiritual minister is one who can restore, not just judge. But there needs to especially be wisdom in dealing with and restoring a fallen minister. That fallen minister still will have to prove themselves before ministering again, if ever. And depending upon what their sin was and who was involved and affected, they may have to even move away because there may have been a great violation of trust amongst the local people. And it can sometimes take many years before trust is re-earned. Although we forgive right away, trust is earned. Just because I forgive you, doesn’t mean I trust you yet. If a restored person cannot humble themselves to the time needed to restore trust, they cannot be recognized as a minister again.
Some church organizations just move a fallen minister to another place where people don’t know what he has done. So that the fallen minister can continue as a minister in their organization. That is just another way of hiding the sin of the fallen minister. And in hiding that sin, the leadership of that organization becomes guilty also of the same sin.
And so Jesus also gives us wisdom in a respectful order for attempting to restore someone. Keep what is known to only the size of audience that is necessary. According to how sincere or stubborn the attitude of the person is.
“Moreover if your brother shall trespass against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone: if he shall hear you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear you, then take with you one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it to the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be to you as an heathen man and a publican.” (Matthew 18:15-17)
And finally, timing can also be important, because there may be some young wheat, whose roots are intermingled with tares. And if you dealt with the problem too fast (before the new wheat understands how to detangle from bad influences of another) the new wheat could be uprooted with the bad tares.
“But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said to him, Sir, did not you sow good seed in your field? from where then has it tares? He said to them, An enemy has done this. The servants said to him, Will you then that we go and gather them up? But he said, No; lest while you gather up the tares, you root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather you together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” (Matthew 13:25-30)
So for that reason, we may need to wait. Additionally, we may not be sure whether we have a tare or wheat yet. It takes time for them to grow and show who they are. We must wait on the Lord to reveal what is in the heart.
“Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.” (1 Corinthians 4:5)
Sometimes it is not evident what the real intention of the heart is. Therefore we must wait for the Lord. Because the Lord knows exactly what is in the heart, and what man intends to do. And also (even though we may know what is in the heart) we wait on God for the best time to reveal to others what is in the heart. Because it is most effective if God himself reveals to people what is in the heart of others. So often we preach and teach people how to spiritually discern things themselves, rather than trying to make them believe our discernment.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” (Jeremiah 17:9-10)
When Satan gets a minister to sin, he wants that minister to hide his sin and continue to worship, just like a pagan would do. Leaders in pagan worship indulge in sin, and even mix sin and evil spirits right into their worship services, to worship devils. If we don’t deal with a minister who sins, through fellowshipping them, we will become worshippers of devils like them.
“But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that you should have fellowship with devils. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: you cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils. Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?” (1 Corinthians 10:20-22)
Let us have the courage to expose both spiritual and literal unfaithfulness, so we won’t be gathered with them and become partakers or accomplices to their sin!
“But to the wicked God said, What have you to do to declare my statutes, or that you should take my covenant in your mouth? Seeing you hate instruction, and casts my words behind you. When you saw a thief, then you consented with him, and have been partaker with adulterers. You give your mouth to evil, and your tongue frames deceit.” (Psalms 50:16-19)
May we have the courage to not allow sin amongst the ministry!
“Cry aloud, spare not, lift up your voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” (Isaiah 58:1)