This is not a comfortable subject, especially in the nation in which we live. We live in a time where it has become increasingly unpopular to confront anyone about anything, much less to tell them that they’re sinning against God. Yet, God cannot bring revival through a carnal church! Christians must be called to standards of personal holiness.
Confrontation is not easy, but it is necessary. God has placed you in the role of being a spiritual leader, which means that He has entrusted you with the responsibility to confront sin. You are to rebuke it. You are to call it what He calls it. You are to call the flock God has entrusted to you to live holy lives.
The tendency among the church has been to follow in the world’s footsteps, albeit several paces behind. In other words, as the world gets deeper into sin, the church, while still not “as bad as them,” gets more worldly. This should not be! As the world gets more wicked, true Christians should stand out even more because they live pure, holy lives!
One of the sins we must rebuke is simply apathy. Complacency and comfortable, worldly Christianity is a state that I believe has led to the condition our nation is in today. We must call Christians to repent of this.
Although this is perhaps the most personal of the steps we’ve looked at so far, I believe we can do some practical things as leaders to help in this regard.
- Set high standards for yourself.
The standards of the pastor, teacher, deacon, or church staff member will be expected to be at a higher level than of those they lead. We could argue that all Christians should set God’s holiness as the standard, and this is true, but the fact is that people are always going to expect more from leadership. Furthermore, most Christians will find it much easier to let something slide if they see a church leader let it slide.
- Don’t shy away from church discipline.
There is a Biblical method for dealing with sin in the church, and uncomfortable and awkward though it may feel, it is God’s method. Although it is rare to see it carried out these days, we have an obligation to exercise God’s methods for dealing with sin. There is a series of steps outlined, and if it gets to the point of bringing the sin before the church, then don’t shy away from doing so. By this, the wrongdoer may be persuaded to repent. If nothing else, it will serve as a warning to the rest of the flock about the seriousness of sin.
- In every lesson, sermon, or counseling session, strive to bring them to a decision point.
Preaching is declaring God’s Word and applying it on a personal level. As you look at the preaching of Paul or the prophets, you realize that they did not use vague terms or simply proclaim general truths. They brought it all to a point where the audience could either heed the message from God or reject it.
May it never be said of us that we balked at making specific application for fear of offending people or decided to skip an invitation. It is true that the Holy Spirit convicts, but the devil can also tempt a preacher to generalize or beat around the bush to try to dull the sword of the Spirit in the hearers’ hearts.
It’s also true that some messages may be messages of encouragement that God will be faithful, but even these should call folks to place their trust in God to come through, and to repent of their worry and doubting His promises.
When God speaks to man, there should be an active response, not just a warm feeling. Don’t be pushy and try to force something by assuming the role of the Spirit; but all the same, be clear and specific in application and calling to repentance.
It is my hope that these 5 posts have been an encouragement and a renewal in your heart to believe that He can revive our country. Fervent love for God can prevail in this country again, but it will only start where it first ended – in the church. May we return from having “left our first love” by personally humbling ourselves, seeking God, fasting, praying, pleading for revival, repenting of sin, and then calling our congregations to do the same.