Perils of hidden sin and the ministry by Pastor Don Moore

Monday, August 11, 2008

Perils of hidden sin and the ministry by Pastor Don

Someone asked Pastor Don about the recent number of pastors who have been caught in various sins – divorces, monetary problems, etc.

Pastor Don said a pastor really needs to be living the Word of God in his or her life. Secret sins, even little secret sins, can impede the pastor’s work for God’s kingdom.

To illustrate, he picked up a pillow from his chair and said this was a little sin.  But if unconfessed and not dealt with, the pastor then carries that sin around with him all the time, so that the pillow, weighing 1 1/2 pounds, while little is still being carried by the pastor. It takes an arm to carry that pillow, and the pastor’s ability to reach out and help others is impeded, for there is only one free arm available to do the work, the other arm is holding the pillow.

SIN IS SIN.  Any unrepented sin, no matter how small is still practicing sin. Yes, you can carry that little sin around with you – for example, smoking cigarettes, and you carry it everywhere and it is a hindrance.  You may practice it in secret, but you are still bound to it, it affects your body, your lungs, etc. Even though no one sees you doing the sin, you still carry it to the pulpit. To confess the sin, to let people know you are struggling with a particular sin brings it out into the open so it can be dealt with. But, if you are practicing the sin in secret, it means you are not a balanced person.  Sin weakens our character, and has nothing to do with faith and love of Jesus.  We are not helped to freedom and deliverance if we keep our sin secret.  We need to let go of that little (pillow) sin. Who’s my Father?  We need to take that sin to the cross and crucify it.

The thief on the cross made it to Heaven.  He had belief that Jesus was Lord, but had not repented of his sins. Jesus told him that day the thief would be with Him in Paradise.  The thief carried around a lot of sins, and had not repented during his life. But he came to the Lord on the cross and received salvation.

Pastor Don said some sins are heavier than the pillow, there are chair sins (10-15 lbs) and table sins (30-40 lbs) and even bigger. This was a walking illustration.  Pastor Don said, if we pick up little sins and carry them around in secret, they tend to grow and it becomes easier and easier to pick up bigger sins. He then picked up a chair, and still had the pillow, and walked around the room. My husband took a picture of him which I am sharing so you can get the image.

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Can a pastor carrying around so much sin be an effective pastor?  No, his arm is shortened, and he can’t reach out and help others as well.  He is carrying around a lot of stuff and the burden is much greater, he is having to deal with his own stuff, and cannot be there for others. Pastor Don says, “I got my hands full. I’m bound,” when I’m carrying around all this stuff, and when opportunities come, I can’t take them as easily.

Pastor Don said secret sins in a pastor’s life ultimately lead the pastor to tamper with Biblical truth.  It is not only what is said from the pulpit, but what isn’t said.  A pastor carrying around secret sin can’t preach it from the altar, for that would expose him.  For example, if a pastor is practicing sexual sin, he can’t preach not practicing sexual sin from the pulpit. The pastor would know, for satan would surely let him not forget, that he was guilty of that kind of sin.  When a pastor can’t touch certain areas from the pulpit, the people cannot get free and delivered from those sins.  And not only that, but that church begins to be a safe place for sinners who practice the same sorts of sins to hang out.  Those sinners will not fear being exposed by the Word of God.  Those who have serial sins can hide out safely in that church.

God is not pleased with this, and the pastor carrying such sin is not living up to his calling as pastor.  Preaching requires Scriptural adherence.  If I am living in sin, I will find ways to adjust the Scripture to justify my weakness, and then I am preaching a false Gospel.  I may leave out stuff, not preach the Whole counsel of God, or I may try to use a Scripture out of context to justify my position. Either way, I am out of God’s will.

We see a lot of that in churches today, where people are changing what God’s Word says.  They try and convince people that I am ok with God, God is ok with me, and therefore, it’s ok to be like me (even if I have those sins).

When a pastor goes to the pulpit, they have to get their lives in line with the Word.  You have to put down your secret sins.  God has NEVER said sin is OK.  Therefore, if a pastor uses Scripture to justify a sin, they are teaching a false doctrine, and picking up a new sin.  Often a pastor who is flagrantly violating God’s word will be exposed, and often that pastor will end up with sickness and premature death.  They are carrying too much stuff around.

Some ministers with good ministries will flourish, but if those ministers are carrying around secret sins, God will renounce them, and remove them from their ministry.  God will change the political climate and raise up righteous people.

Pastor Don then shared how Paul, who believed in error he was doing God’s will by killing Christians, was faced with Jesus and found out how out of line he was with God’s will. Paul repented.  He went away into the wilderness to be taught and transformed.  Sometimes a pastor in blatant sin needs to step down from the pulpit and work on getting their own life in order first.

Judas also got out of line with God’s word, but he rejected Jesus, the one path of salvation for himself, and didn’t repent. He ended up dead.  Peter spoke against Jesus three times, but came to Christ and repented.

The Key to salvation – do you believe it?  If you do, your sin is not capable of sending you to hell.  If you have no faith, reject the Gospel, and do not reach out to God’s love, there is no hope for you.

1 Corinthians 5 and Revelation deal with immorality in the Church.  People who hold on to their immoral behavior, will face repercussions for that.

Revelation 21:8 But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

How can a sexually immoral person make it to Christ?  We were all that before we accepted Christ.  We practiced these sins, and did not realize they were sins.  We were not willing to confess them as sin.

The temptation of the carnal mind, is we become used to these sins and think they are not the abominations that they are.  The devil never leads us into the full impact of our sins instantly, he leads us in little stages, making us think that little sin that we have is not such a big thing.  If we smoke cigarettes (Pastor Don picked this particular example among many) it is not such a big thing – satan does not tell you about lung cancer that awaits around the corner.  Satan does not show us the full impact of our fornication, drugs, or other sins. Those sins ultimately lead us away from Christ.

But TRUTH CAN SET US FREE.
Romans 7 talks about sin, and Paul explains how Christ frees us from the law and sin.  I recommend reading that chapter. Paul concludes realizing, except for Christ, we are lost. The only hope for the criminal on the cross was Jesus, the Good News.  God forgives us and gives us the truth.  Jesus paid for our sins completely, our past sins, our present sins, and our future sins.

1 John 2:28 -3:9  And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him. 3:1 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him. Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.

We need to stay in Christ and not change our confession, not walk out of the covenant, but stay in the marriage, stay in Christ, no matter how tough it is.  Trust Christ for prosperity, physical and mental health.  We can ask and trust Christ for salvation, but not all who have salvation choose to go to Christ for freedom from drugs, to stay married, etc.  We need to put our faith in Christ and then we become the righteousness of Christ.  Saved people do not all know they are born again, that they are new creations in Christ, and that the old has passed away.

Pastor Don told us, when he was seven he was saved, but it wasn’t until his late 20’s that it dawned on him that the Don Moore who drank screwdrivers and took cocaine is dead, passed away.  That what tempted him before, doesn’t tempt him now. He could declare death to wrong thinking.

There is stuff in our mind that we hold and believe in error.  When we get saved, we need to get in the Word of God and stay in the Word.  1 John 3:1  Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. helps us to see how radically changed we can be when we know how much we are loved.  Our hope in HIM, purifies our lives.  The increasing reality of Christ in our life will produce change. There is hope for the Church if more begin to realize just how much Christ loves us and can change us. Christ takes away sin, and if we abide in Christ we will not sin.

If our flesh sins, we must keep pursuing and abiding in Christ, and then the sin MUST leave – our small sins and our large sins.

Pastor Don cautioned us to not talk negatively about people, not put people down.  We need to trust in Christ for salvation and we won’t sin.  Pastor Don said, if he told a lie, the Holy Spirit would bring it up in his conscience.  If we confessed it He can fix it, instead of turning our backs on it.  God will forget about it.

1 John 1:9-10  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

If we abide in Christ we don’t sin, for if we confess our sins and repent, they are eradicated.  The state of sin is not a perpetual condition.  We need to believe and act on this for the time period is short.

Praying this blesses you.

Heather

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About Heather Marsten

Welcome to Heather's Blog. I'm looking forward to meeting you and checking out your sites. I just moved about nine years of material over from another blog site, Xanga, who may close down mid-July. At first I was disappointed to make the move because I had a lifetime membership at Xanga and had to spend weeks transferring posts. But now I'm thrilled. Already I've met new bloggers and read many new websites. Blogging is a wonderful way to expand my horizons and garner new ideas. I'm a happily married mom of three young adults. My husband and I are proud to watch our children grow and venture out into the world. My daughter is still in college but my two sons have graduated. One has a job and the other just graduated and is in the process of finding a job in his field, physics. Anyone know of any jobs out there? I'm proud of our children and love watching them grow and mature. They've become fine, compassionate, and loving people. Empty nest? Nah, I'm too busy to let an empty nest bother me. Not enough hours in the day. My husband and I enjoy quiet time together and I have many interests to pursue - one of which is blogging :D I am a born-again believer and love God. As you read this blog, you will discover that Bible studies thrill me. There is so much wisdom contained between the covers of the Bible and I am fortunate to sit under the teachings of a remarkable pastor, Pastor Don Moore. Members of our church (Living Word Chapel in West Hurley, New York) are encouraged to teach and there are visiting pastors who stop by our church, I also study the Bible on my own and love sharing what I learn. One other passion is writing. My current work in process is a memoir. A scene from my memoir was published in a book called: Heavenly Company: Entertaining Angels Unaware - an anthology of angelic encounters compiled by Cecil Murphy. I'm hoping my memoir will encourage other survivors of abuse. I grew up in a home filled with abuse, including incest. For most of my life I was searching for something that would fill the void of not being loved by my parents. I tried many ways to find that love -- therapy, relationships, occult studies, and keeping my life so filled I had no way to think about my past. It was only when I discovered God that I was able to put the pieces of my life back together and walk forward in a joyous life. My nickname - wondering has changed from wondering where the heck God was in my life, to wondering what incredible adventure is going to happen next. I hope you enjoy my site. Please say hi, share some thoughts, and ask questions. I look forward to meeting you and checking out your sites. Have a blessed day. Heather
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