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Want to Lead in Ministry? Beware the Consequences!

This morning I was watching a video by Dr. Jordan Peterson, commented on by Reasonable Faith’s Dr. William Laine Craig about the underlying thread in many, many atheists is a hurt from someone of faith in their childhood or youth. Peterson (A clinical psychologist) even goes on to say that even Richard Dawkins (famed atheist) has the same underpinnings in many of the comments he’s said over the years. As I watched this, I was reminded of Jesus and His half-brother James, who both spoke on this subject. Jesus said of anyone who causes “any of these little ones to stumble” that it would be better for them to tie a millstone around their neck and cast themselves into the uttermost parts of the sea. James said that not many should become teachers (presume to instruct others), for we will be held more accountable than others on the day of judgement. (See both passages below).

If I am honest this verse keeps me awake. It sends me back to my messages so that I can assess myself and make corrections as necessary. It SCARES me that I am in ministry, because I am leading people, and I am responsible for how I lead them. I do not want to lead anyone astray, rather, I want to give God all glory and honor. And so I take my time in the Scriptures. I take my time in my preaching. I attempt to carefully exposit and exegete the Word so that I can explain it as plainly as possible without any of MY preconceived notions in it. And I know, at times, I still fail. Yet, at the end of the day, I strive so that I am not responsible for speaking on or preaching something that leads someone astray, breaks them further instead of leading them to Christ, or accidentally gives someone permission for something that Scripture would not approve of. I want to be Biblically correct, not just in my words, but in my actions, and what I say to people, because everything I do and say is leading someone in to something.

Loved ones, if you want to be in ministry, understand there are consequences. And all of us, in some, way, shape or form, are called to a ministry by the gifts of the Holy Spirit. So what shall we do? I am not going to be the servant who was afraid and buried his talent. I am going to be bold, but within the purview of Scripture and, like Jesus, be lead by the Holy Spirit. I am going to apologize when I am wrong, and I am going to do everything within my power to be biblically correct, seeking to work it out in every part of my life. I will be judged for the things I say and do, and what I have led people in to. I am going to, therefore, take it slow, wait on the Lord, and let Him set the course. I pray you do as well.

Luke 17:1-9

And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin. Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

“Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’”

James 3:1-12

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.

How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.

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