Kyle Shreve- Missionary to Peru

Poor spiritual leadership #3- Lead by man’s opinion, not the scriptures
October 23, 2013, 8:30 am
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“And there shall be, like people, like priest”

Now, with this post, I’m not advocating that all preachers go out on a kick and rip their congregation a new one this coming Sunday. I’m generally not that way, and I don’t advocate it, unless that is what the text is advocating. You can search for my posts on preaching to see that.

What I am trying to advocate, is the opposite of what these priests were doing. They had the idea “like people, like priest!” Whatever feels good for the people feels good for us! We’ll give them what they want. The idea found in 2 Timothy 4:3-4:

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”

These priests were just trying to itch ears and say what felt good.

Now, let me reiterate that I would not be in favor of a pastor lambasting and accosting his congregation on a weekly basis. Some passages are a little rougher than others, and call for rougher preaching. That is not necessary. Neither is the opposite end of the spectrum, to always preach that everything is okay, and nothing is wrong.

The mistake that these priests really made was to minister following man’s opinion, and not according to the word of God! Let us, as spiritual leaders, remember that we are to preach and minister according to the scriptures, and not any man’s opinion!

Poor spiritual leadership #2- Focus more on personal gain over health of the flock
October 21, 2013, 8:30 am
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” As they were increased, so they sinned against me: Therefore will I change their glory into shame. They eat up the sin of my people, And they set their heart on their iniquity. ” 

The priests, or any spiritual leader, has been charged with the oversight and responsibility of a person or people in a great way. When you think about a shepherd, you do not think of someone who is working for personal gain. To stand in a cold, rainy field, making sure your sheep are cared for is not generally associated with selfish motives and greed, but sacrifice and love for others. To go hunting through the thicket and woods for a lost sheep, only to have to carry it back to the fold an mend its broken leg is not a selfish action. But these priests, it would seem were not doing such things.

They were increasing, and as a result sinning against God, and were eating up, or living off of, the sin of the people! What a tragedy! Instead of being a good shepherd, and trying to warn the people away from sin and error, they used the opportunity to make gain and increase off of them! I am quickly reminded of the many false prosperity gospel preachers of our age, who preach no true gospel, and take advantage of foolish and unlearned people, and build for themselves a large empire of material wealth.

I cannot express enough how that a shepherd does very little, if any for his own personal gain. Think, for example, of the Lord Jesus Christ. How is is the good and true shepherd, who literally left heaven and literally gave everything He had, even unto his life, for his flock. That is the example of a shepherd that we are to be as spiritual leaders.

If these priests weren’t going to try to guide and lead their people to do right so they could make gain, we ought to do the opposite, and always be leading our people closer to Christ, even if it may cost us a little!

Maybe there is a man in your church who is a giver, but also a teacher of false doctrine.While you would risk losing several offerings to try to rectify the situation, either by helping the man to learn the error of his way, or asking him to depart and cease from infecting the flock, but that must be done.

For a spiritual leader, the health of his flock is paramount and must always be kept at the front, even when it means that he may have to make a self sacrifice.

I once ate lunch with a pastor who told me that the offerings took a decline over a period of a few months. Rather than fire his staff, or not pay the missionaries, he made sure both got their money, and that he went without a paycheck for a few months. I was so amazed to hear that. That is a sacrificial spirit that all leaders should have.

Hosea 4:6-9 How to be a poor spiritual leader!
October 16, 2013, 8:30 am
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In Hosea chapter 4, we find the Lord making some strong statements about the priests of that time, especially verses 6 to 9:

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: Because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me:  Seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.  As they were increased, so they sinned against me: Therefore will I change their glory into shame. They eat up the sin of my people, And they set their heart on their iniquity.  And there shall be, like people, like priest:  And I will punish them for their ways, And reward them their doings.” 

As I read through the passage over and over, I noticed 3 characteristics of these priests that stuck out to me as qualities of poor spiritual leaders.

1-Flippant attitude towards the word of God

2-Focused more or personal gain than the health of the flock

3-Ministers according to man’s opinion, not the word of God.

Over the next three posts, we will look at these errors in more detail, but also the opposite end of the spectrum, and how we can learn to be strong spiritual leaders and not make the same mistakes.