Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Is personal holiness crucial to ministry??

Once again I quote Robert Murray Mccheyne who said 'what my people need most is my holiness'. Now what does that really mean?
Is there a direct link between personal holiness and fitness/fruit in ministry?
Well let me ask it another way, do parents REALLY need to be 'living' examples to their children or is it enough to just verbally instruct them? Naturally I'd expect you to say 'They MUST be living examples or they'll teach them hypocrisy!'
Don't the qualifications for an elder (even deacons) give the greatest emphasis on holiness of life? In Peters challenge to Shepherds, did he not say 'by EXAMPLE'?
Personal holiness is VITAL to effective and more importantly God glorifying ministry. Let a minister spend as much time as he likes in perfecting his sermons, yet if he neglects his personal holiness he will never see the fruit he should expect. Passion for the pursuit of God MUST start with leadership, or else what is said in the pulpit or in private will sound merely hypothetical and it will leave the congregation convinced that the real important thing is to 'speak' sound doctrine (isn't this the state of many Reformed churches, that have little emphasis on personal holiness??!!).
Lloyd-Jones in Preaching and Preachers makes a distinction between a good preacher and good preaching. In otherwords one may have the reputation of a great preacher because people have listened to their sermons, but it's quite another thing to intimately know a preacher who has impacted your life through their lives! I remember well being among many young adults when a pastor told us 'Your people will forget the things you teach from Sunday to Sunday, but they won't forget YOUR LIFE!'.
Paul Washer not long ago said that there are famous preachers but not famous pastors. There is much truth in that statement, for many of the greatest preachers in history may not have been as spectacular as we seem to think. When I think of famous pastors, I think of men who spent much time with their flock, such was reported of Richard Baxter as well as Robert Murray Mccheyne. In fact it's a lot easier to hide your life as a itinerant preacher, evangelist, author, or professor then it is to be a good pastor. This is why I'm convinced that the greatest need of our day is HOLY pastors, not to mention that it's also the HIGHEST calling.
An unholy pastor is like: A marriage counsellor who's third marriage is falling apart or a Word of Faith healer who has cancer!
What a fearful thing it is to be a teacher of God's people, and how in need each minister is of much fear and trembling. Likewise how important it is to encourage the holiness of our elders, and to pray for them.



Good stuff. Thanks for sharing!

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