The Pharisees Question Jesus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A most troubling experience it is. Your congregants share how much they thoroughly enjoy the ministry of the word and affirmingly posture themselves as “happily fed campers” in the house.
You instruct on the importance of “rebuke” as a means of grace to produce a mature faith. lovingly but forthrightly you unpack Matthew 18 to redemptively address times of relational conflict that lead to an offense and show them how to righteously walk it out in a Christ honoring way.
As their minister, you feel some sense of fulfillment knowing that word-based equipping is common place with the saints you serve. But then it happens. One of the affirming congregants journeys into the realm of serious sin and now integrity calls you to make personal application of the truth that has gone forth.
It’s time to move from public pulpiteer to pastoral practitioner. As the shepherd,you insert yourself into their life and press for authentic repentance from sin. And the unthinkable happens!
“To them you are nothing more than a singer with a beautiful voice who sings love songs or a musician who plays an instrument. They listen to your words, but have no intention of doing them.”
Ezekiel’s words become your reality as “the luv” quickly turns into defiant resistance and you begin to endure relational rejection, and slanderous allegations. What was once hailed as a “good word” is now accused of being abusive,legalistic, or even cultish. The family leaves the church. How can this be?
Give Spurgeon a read as he explains the cause for such uncharactered things to happen.
n religion men love far rather to believe abstract doctrines, and to talk of general truths, than the searching inquiries which examine their own personal interest in it. You will hear many men admire the preacher who deals in generalities, but when he comes to press home searching questions, by-and-by they are offended.
If we stand and declare general facts, such as the universal sinnership of mankind, or the need of a Saviour, they will give an assent to our doctrine, and possibly they may retire greatly delighted with the discourse, because it has not affected them; but how often will our audience gnash their teeth, and go away in a rage, because, like the Pharisees with Jesus, they perceive, concerning a faithful minister, that he spoke of them.