Guilty as charged.
No minister is worthy of his calling. Every preacher is vulnerable to the charge of hypocrisy. In fact, the more faithful a preacher is to the Word of God in his preaching, the more liable he is to the charge of hypocrisy. Why? Because the more faithful a man is to the Word of God, the higher the message is that he will preach. The higher the message, the further he will be from obeying it himself.
From The Holiness of God by RC Sproul.
The following is from the late David Wilkerson and spoke powerfully and directly to me today. If you will take the time to read and reflect on his words, I believe it will speak to you also.
Christians who neglect prayer have perverted their priorities. Many believers pledge to pray if and when they can find the time. Yet each week, seeking Christ becomes less important to them than washing the car, cleaning the house, visiting friends, eating out, going shopping, watching sports events. They simply don’t make time to pray.
People were no different in the days of Noah and Lot. Their top priorities were eating and drinking, buying and selling, marrying, and caring for their families. They had no time to listen to messages of God’s coming judgment. And so no one was prepared when judgment fell!
Evidently, nothing has changed over the centuries. For many Christians today, God remains at the bottom of the priority list; at the top are income, security, pleasure, family.
Beloved, the Lord does not want your leftovers— those little bits and pieces of time when you have only a moment to toss up a quick prayer request. That isn’t a sacrifice of prayer.
The prophet Malachi writes: “If ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? Offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the Lord of hosts” (Malachi 1:8).
Malachi is saying, “You’re bringing just any old farm animals to sacrifice in God’s presence— careless, thoughtless, secondhand gifts. Try giving those kinds of offerings to your governor and see what happens!”
God expected His people to go through their flocks carefully, examining every animal, and choosing the most perfect specimen for sacrifice to Him. Likewise today, God expects the same from us. He wants our quality time— unrushed. And we are to make that time a priority!
I once met with the pastor of one of America’s largest churches. This man was one of the busiest ministers I had ever seen. He told me without apology, “I have no time to pray.” Yet, what he really meant was, “I don’t give any priority to prayer.” When I visited his church, I sensed no moving of God’s Spirit in the congregation. In fact, it was one of the deadest churches I had ever preached in. How could there be any life if the pastor didn’t pray?
No Christian will set aside time to pray unless it becomes his first priority in life— above family, career, leisure time, everything. Otherwise, his sacrifice is perverted!
One of the most chilling verses in the book of Matthew is this:
Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.
In this verse, the He is Jesus and the there is Nazareth and the truth is that because of their unbelief Jesus was not able to do what He wanted to do among those He loved. He had to cut His revelation to them short because they would not receive what He was offering them. And the results of their unbelief were damning.
Do you think you have ever walked in their shoes? Probably so.
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The following is from RC Sproul, Jr and cuts me personally to the very core of my self-justifying, slothful life. I hope it will do the same to you. Read and be warned.
It is because we love the world so profoundly that we think we’re already being persecuted. That is, we see ourselves as bold prophets confronting the sin of the world because we vote for candidate approved by the National Right to Life. We watch pundits on CNN mock us. We might even face a moment or two of awkwardness at work when word leaks out we’ve opposed to murdering babies. We conflate having our feelings hurt with being burned at the stake. We think that because we are, mostly secretly, part of that group the secular world thinks weird and mildly dangerous that we are Polycarp.
Of course the even more craven wing of the evangelical church only encourages this. That there are those who profess to be evangelical who vote for Democrats is proof to us that we are the hard-core ones. We are the bold, world-denying ones because we still have a Huckabee campaign sticker on our car. The truth is we’re like those Nazi’s who wanted to oust Hitler because he was just crazy. What they wanted was a more sane and reasonable Nazi regime. We may be less of a problem than our brothers to our left, but we are still the problem.
This is one of the reasons why I strive to encourage people to go visit their local abortion mill. We go of course to prophesy against those who work there, or those who are customers there, but more to come face to face with our own failures. One cannot spend two hours outside the mill and come away thinking, “I need to work harder next election cycle to get the less pro-abortion guy into office.” Instead one beats ones breast crying, “Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner.” One comes away repentant.
What clued me in to this delusion, however, isn’t the abortion issue, but the homosexual marriage issue. We have witnessed in less than half a decade a titanic propaganda triumph of the left. Gay marriage has gone from a bizarre pipe dream among the fevered brow flouncers down at Queer Nation to a civil right. Decent people who were naturally repulsed by the perverse assault that is gay behavior suddenly are made to feel like Bull Conner. And if there’s one thing evangelical Christians can never abide it is being considered not nice. Watching the rhetoric ratchet up even over the past few months I began to imagine the actual beginning of genuine persecution of the church. They will not abide our conviction that they are in grave sin, so surely they will come after us.
Then I realized they will never catch us. We are too good at retreating. If for forty years we have failed to stand for the babies such that either they became protected by law, or we became martyred for our faith, then neither will this latest moral sexual atrocity cost us our comforts, our ease, our respect. In five years there might be a few of us still talking among ourselves about what should be done about homosexual marriage. We might have a few fringe ministries trying to scrape by and fight a battle the rest of us have forgotten. But it will become as much as part of the landscape, and invisible to us as abortion has become – just a seedy reality we don’t approve of, but would rather not think about.
Of course we’ll still be busy growing “grace based” churches. We’ll still hold conferences on living gospel-centric lives. We’ll still write learned defenses of what Jesus actually said. What we won’t do is depend on His grace, while repenting of our failure to call the world to repent, as Jesus told us to do. And the world will know us for what we are, mildly annoying, but harmless.
We are in danger of getting the barter spirit when we come to God, we want the witness before we have done what God tells us to do. “Why does not God reveal Himself to me?” He cannot; it is not that He will not, but He cannot, because you are in the road as long as you won’t abandon absolutely to Him. Immediately you do, God witnesses to Himself; He cannot witness to you, but He witnesses instantly to His own nature in you. If you had the witness before the reality, it would end in sentimental emotion. Immediately you transact on the Redemption and stop the impertinence of debate, God gives you the witness. As soon as you abandon reasoning and argument, God witnesses to what He has done, and you are amazed at your impertinence in having kept Him waiting. If you are in debate as to whether God can deliver from sin, either let Him do it, or tell Him He cannot. Do not quote this and that person, try Matthew 11:28, “Come unto Me.” Come, if you are weary and heavy laden; ask if you know you are evil (Luke 11:13).
The simplicity that comes from our natural commonsense decisions is apt to be mistaken for the witness of the Spirit, but the Spirit witnesses only to His own nature and to the work of Redemption, never to our reason. If we try to make Him witness to our reason, it is no wonder we are in darkness and perplexity. Fling it all overboard, trust in God, and He will give the witness.
From Oswald Chambers