Archive for the ‘sin’ Category

Who Is Qualified?

December 7, 2011

And I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and his sons from among the people of Israel, to do the service for the people of Israel at the tent of meeting and to make atonement for the people of Israel…” Numbers 8:19.

This mornings headlines continued the bombardment of both political and sports leaders around our country.  As the election year gets underway, every piece of dirt that can be found is being broadcast by the media concerning the political candidates.  Also it seems that more and more coaches are being called out for their failure in leadership.

All of this leads to at least two very important questions:  1) Is it necessary to be morally sound in order to lead?  2)  How much failure should be allowed before a person is disqualified from leadership?

Certainly there are other important questions we could ask, but for me these two are crucial to our lives as followers of Christ.  Let’s explore these questions individually and then together.

First, is it necessary to be morally sound in order to lead?  Consider the Levites in Leviticus 8.  They could not serve unless they had first been cleansed.  “They were to make atonement for the Levites,” Numbers 8:12.  The people of God could never lead unless they were cleansed from their sin.  The people of God could never serve unless they were cleansed from their sin.

A careful reading of Numbers 6-8 clearly identifies how significant being morally sound is to service.  Serving God was not to be entered into lightly.  God’s emphasis on purity and sanctification were clear as was God’s emphasis on how to serve.  I personally consider those who disregard the need for personal morality as disqualified to lead.

The second question is also very important to answer: “How much failure should be allowed before a person is disqualified?”  Again, consider the Levites.  Numbers 8:23-25 gives us details about their years of service as well as when they were to retire.  However, there is something very significant about the years of service.  The writer of Hebrews draws this out, “But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,” 10:12.

Maybe you ask, “What is so significant about this?”  In the Old Testament, the Priest and Levite’s work was never completed, “They were always standing and offering sacrifices that could never take away sins.”  But Jesus sat down in the heavenly temple because His work was completed.  We are forgiven in Christ.

The truth is, every person is born as a sinner and every person sins throughout life.  However, disqualification comes when a leader chooses to live in unrepentant sin.  This is very important to our society today.  Confession after the fact is seldom real.  Confession after the fact seldom results in sorrow for the sin, but only sorrow for being caught.  Yes God can and does forgive those who repent.  But here is what Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Godly sorrow leads to repentance.”

This day, we can only become qualified because of Christ.  This day, we can only stay qualified because of Christ.  I encourage each who read this blog to pray for those in leadership.  I encourage you to hold accountable those in leadership.  Finally I encourage everyone to share the gospel with those in leadership.

A Matter Of Conscience

December 6, 2011

According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshipper…” Hebrews 9:9.

Last week I read the story of an unnamed person who returned 20 dollars that they had stolen from a cash register in a Sears store in the 1940’s.  This unnamed person gave the store clerk 100 dollars in hopes of making amends.  A Sears executive said, “We are not going to release the name of the person.  We are going to give the money to help a homeless family.”  When asked, “Why do you think they returned the money after all of these years?”  The executive responded, “I guess their conscience was bothering them.”

Without a doubt each of us have those things in our lives, either past or present, that bother our conscience.  This morning, I considered this fact as I began my studies of the book of Numbers.  In particular chapter 5:11-31.  In these verses God prescribes a method of how to deal with a matter of conscience in marriage.

The scene begins with, “If any man’s wife goes astray and breaks faith with her husband, if a man lies with here sexually, and it is hidden from the eyes of here husband, and she is undetected…” 5:13.

The scene continues, “If the spirit of jealously comes over him and he is jealous of his wife who has defiled herself…” 5:14.

As you read through the text you discover a prescribed method that either brings relief or it brings a curse.  If the woman is guilty she will be cursed with inability to bear children.  If she is innocent she will be cleared.

As I read these verses, I wondered, “How unnerving this must have been to a woman who was guilty?”  I wondered how her conscience must have been devastating her as she sat before the priest. But for those who were innocent the circumstance was a reason to celebrate.

In this we gain a picture of our own lives.  Each of us stand before God and the fact is, we are guilty as charged. All of humanity has sinned and still sins.  At best we offer restitution for our wrongs, but still yet, we deal with conscience and we deal with people who remember of failures.  At best we come up short of a clear conscience.

However when we consider Christ in Hebrews 9 we discover an amazing fact, “he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself,” Hebrews 9:26.  When we consider Christ we discover we can have victory over our conscience because Christ cleanses every sinner who comes to Him by faith.  Because of this we can live in victory.

Because of Christ cleansing we can cease dreading meeting the Lord.  We can delight in the prospect of meeting the Lord, Hebrews 9:28.

This very day, I challenge you to bring your conscience before the Lord.  If there are things that bother you, give them to Jesus. If there is sin in your life, confess and repent of this sin.  Finally claim His cleansing. This will bring peace in your conscience today!!!

A Trivial Thing

May 26, 2010

This mornings devotions covered the first ten chapters of Ezekiel.  The prophet of God is called to minister to the exiles who were facing the judgment of God.  With each chapter Ezekiel was reminded of the stiffness and sinfulness of the people of God.

By chapter nine Ezekiel is broken over the depravity and destruction of God’s people.  Here is what he cried out to God, “Ah, Lord God!  Will you destroy all the remnant of Israel in pouring out Your fury on Jerusalem,” 9:8.

As I read these words, I was reminded of the coldness of my own heart concerning my own people in the nation I call home.  Our nation is in terrible condition in so many ways.  The greatest is her sinful lifestyle against God.  To make it even worse she is like Israel in that she considers her sin, “A Trivial Thing.”

God made it clear to Ezekiel in 8:17 that the people considered their sin a trivial thing.  I wonder was all of the innocent children who died a trivial thing?  I wonder was all the destruction of land and even the temple of God a trivial thing?  I wonder was the Glory of the Lord being removed a trivial thing?

Brethren, “Sin is a big deal to God!” We as a nation can cry reform and we can blame our problems on others but the real problem is our nation’s attitude toward God and sin.  It is not a trivial matter.

Unless we become zealous and repent sure destruction is at the door.  Ezekiel writes, “Destruction comes; They will seek peace, but there shall be none,” 7:25.

All of this spoke deeply into my heart as a follower of Christ.  I must not allow any sin in my life to exist nor must I consider the small things commanded by God to be considered trivial.  I must daily pray and take inventory of my life.  I must daily submit myself to the truth of God.  I must daily mortify sin.

When I do these things, my perspective for the people around me matches that of Ezekiel.  I experienced this yesterday as I sat outside of a Love’s Truck Stop waiting for Sherry.  A young lady came walking by and it was clear by the way she was dressed that she was filled with a world system that takes the truth of God as a trivial thing.  She was holding hands with a little girl that I am sure was her’s.  I must confess there are times when I would have had legalistic thoughts.  But on this day the Lord had me where He wanted me.  I began to cry as I thought about the little girl and her mother.  “Without Christ the little girl has no change of peace and genuine love.  She and her mother have no hope of heaven without Christ.” I pleaded with the Lord to allow me to somehow reach out to this family and all of the families in our nation.

Sin and hell are not a trivial thing.  God help us to awaken to the place and time we are in.

I leave you with the word of the Lord, “I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days,”  Ezekiel 3:15.