Tuesday, July 31, 2012

God Uses Clay Pots

John MacArthur on the men God uses to lead his people:

Preachers are men--that's all.  And men are not perfect, so there is no hope of perfection in ministry...Abraham was guilty of duplicity, yet he became the man of faith and the friend of God.  Moses was a man of stuttering speech and a quick temper, yet he was the one chosen to lead a nation, to represent them before God, and to receive His law and deliver it to them.  David was guilty of adultery, conspiracy, murder, and unfaithfulness as a husband and father, but he repented and was regarded as a man after God's own heart.  He was also the greatest songwriter of all history.  W still sing the songs of this 'sweet singer of Israel.'  Elijah ran from Jezebel, pleading for euthanasia, but this same Elijah defied Ahab and all the prophets of Baal, and hear the still small voice of God at Horeb.  In the midst of the heavenly vision, Isaiah said, 'I am a man with a dirty mouth; I live among people with dirty mouths.  I'm certainly useless to you, O God.' But when he had been cleansed, he said, 'Here I am; send me, ' and God said, 'Go.' 

Peter was another clay pot, the leader and spokesman of the twelve apostles, but he denied his Lord with oaths and curses, and even had the audacity to correct the Lord.  However, he was restored by the compassion of Jesus in the midst of his disobedience, and was enabled by the power of the Holy Spirit to speak with such force on the day of Pentecost as to be the agent by which God orchestrated the great introduction of the church.  John the apostle expected to be praised by Jesus for refusing to allow a man not of their company to cast out demons in the name of the Lord.  Likewise, he and his brother James wanted to call down fire from heaven and burn up a Samaritan village, and they sent their motherto ask that they might be given the chief places in the kingdom.  Yet John became the beloved disciple, the apostle of love, the eagle who soared to great heights.  He became, it seems, the apostle who pierced the deepest into the mystery of the incarnation.

Are you seeing a pattern?

God's leaders are mere mortals and each of them has sin in their lives.  Yet, by God's grace, they are called to lead his people.  Expect faithfulness from them and do not tolerate grave error, but also be quick to forgive and to give grace.  Those of us who are called to lead bear a great responsibility and the load is lighter if those whom we serve make bearing it a joy.  "Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you." (Hebrews 13:17 ESV)

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