The Need for Strong Church Leaders

For Lord’s Day, February 8, 2015

Dear Saints,

It’s another tough Scripture to look at tomorrow as we continue hearing about the terrible Golden Calf incident at the foot of Mount Sinai (Ex. 32:15-25).  We will see the need for “tough love” by strong men like Moses if the Church will survive God’s judgment for such things and avoid them in the future. And we will see how the church gets herself into such times of severe discipline and loss under “nice” but weak leaders such as Aaron.  Following are some thoughts from three different sources that together should help us prepare for the message, “You Need Strong Leaders”.

“Armed for the Fight Against Grave and Serious Error”, a sermon by John Calvin printed in The Trinity Review, October 2014:

… we all know how important it is to feel at peace with the world. (This is why many of us are blind to our faults, because the world flatters us.)

Too many people are continually on the prowl to see whether there is anything they can attack; their holiness amounts to nothing more than mocking one person or chiding another.

We must not fear anyone, for the zeal of God must rise up within us and overwhelm us. Even if it means that we acquire a bad reputation and become the object of all kinds of calumny and slander, nevertheless, we must enter into combat.

… even the greatest amongst us must bend his neck, realizing the devilish confusion that results when a man believes himself to be above reproof.

… when a sin is deepening and spreading because of silent acquiescence in it, we must deal with it. If we only respond when the illness is deep-rooted, we will be too late.

… if sin reigns we must deal with it at the appropriate time, for if we tolerate it, or make it a laughing matter, and then subsequently try to deal with it, we will be surprised to find that God has shut the door on us and that Satan has won. This is a just reward for our cowardice and coldness, if we are not prepared to heal the sicknesses which corrupt and infect the body of the church the moment we see them arise within her.

Little by little, the devil’s ways will become the order of the day and he will drag us along with him if he once takes hold of our loose reigns. If we see evil growing to this degree, each of us has a duty to stop its spread by showing that we prefer to go to war in the service of God than to have all the friends in the world and to please and gratify mortal creatures. Let us even make ourselves blind or remove an eye rather than offend God. May his truth and his glory be so precious to us that everything else is as nought in comparison.

“As Spiritual Mediator, [Pope] Francis Moves His Geopolotical Agenda Forward”, by Richard Bennett and Robert Nicholson, in The Trinity Review, September, 2014:

… any country’s civil order is based on the dominant religion of its people.

“The Line in the Sand”, in Solid Ground newsletter, Nov/Dec 2014, by Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason ministries:

As followers of Christ here in the West, our lives are not at risk . Far from it. We’re not faced with the ultimatum, ‘Recant or die.’ But sometimes in many small ways, I’m afraid we implicitly recant with much less incentive. We deny our Savior in the little things—the petty offense, the silent condescension, the hidden envy, the small bit of bitterness, the modest moment of pride.

The most important measure of our success as Christians is not our numbers or even our immediate impact, but our moment-by-moment faithfulness.

When ‘alien principles’ rule the church … ‘the church ceases to be the church.’ (Barmen Declaration)

My fear is that any Christian crossing the first line will cross the second for the same reasons: to be ‘tolerant,’ to be lauded as loving, to escape the brand, ‘bigot.’ Though not a fool, Paul was willing to be called one for fidelity’s sake, since the so-called ‘foolishness’ of the Gospel had the power to save those who believed (1 Cor. 1:18-24). Are you willing to wear the label ‘bigot’ for the same reason, even if it be libel?”

Let us ask God to expose the Golden Calves in our hearts tomorrow with such challenging words, that we would get rid of them and have no need to drink them and die by them.

Semper Reformanda,

Pastor Grant