Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, ...woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks?" (Ezekiel 3 4:2).
"And he spoke this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others... God, I thank thee that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican... And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner... (Luke 18:9-14)
Earlier in the year, at the WINNING WAYS conference of Matthew Ashimolowo, Rev. Dr. Myles Munroe made a statement which literally shook the foundations of Ghana Christianity.
To paraphrase him, he said that not even sin could abort the purposes of God concerning the individual. As was to be expected, the whole auditorium broke out in wild cheers.
But this disturbed the Christian hierarchy in Ghana! They thought Myles had given license to the people to sin! So much were they disturbed that some of them had to come out with disclaimers while others came out with an apologia for Rev. Munroe.
I believe this reaction was most unfortunate as Myles was on solid doctrinal foundation. For he was preaching imputed righteousness as opposed to self-righteousness (Php. 3:9) about the Grace of God as contrasted to the pharisaic letter of the law (Php. 2:4, 15) and he was reminding us of the gift of salvation as compared to the fake doctrine of salvation by works (Rom. 4:5).
For the implication of what the disclaimers and apologists said was that since sin CAN abort your destiny those who are making it are sinless! This is self-righteousness and salvation by our own works.
We should be careful we don't give God cause to tell us on that great day "I know you not whence ye are, depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.
There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth..." (Luke 13: 27-28)
Some pastors give the impression that they are sinless, when most of the time you find out that they have only managed to avoid the sin of immorality but could be guilty of other equally, if not more heinous, sins.
Unfortunately, in Ghana, many pastors know only the sins of immorality, i.e. of fornication and adultery because of the high profile of such sins in society. But there are so many other sins which are not so easily detectable. When we are involved in such sins we can easily deceive ourselves that we sin not. Top of this list is pride; many of us are guilty of this sin without even realizing it! It is strange but true. This is why this is the weakest area for many pastors.
It is this pride which allows us to shout at others "Hey, you have sinned!
You are finished. You are going straight to hell!" It also allows us to conveniently overlook our sins and say that we are making it, doing wonders for God because we are sinless.
Such people are obviously ignorant or insensitive to the Grace of God, and forget "it is not by might nor by power but by the Spirit of God...!" (Zech 4. 5-6). Psalm 103:10 tells us that the Lord "has not dealt with us after our sins nor rewarded us according to our iniquities".
If God were to forget about His Grace and deal with us according to our deserts, all those pastors who think they are doing wonders for Christ because of their righteousness would fall down flat on their faces. They sin everyday but God chooses to overlook their sins and use them as his instruments. This is what Myles Munroe meant and this is the gospel. We need to remember that the gifts are not necessarily a sign of moral uprightness and holiness. Their name is self-descriptive, "gifts"!
Yonggi Cho says: "Does God use men and women only because they are completely sanctified? No. As long as a Christian lives, he will be struggling with the flesh!!"
The greatest tragedy in Christendom in Ghana is that thousands walk into churches on Sunday bearing the sin burden and walk out again with the same burden. They become depressed and do not know the joy of forgiveness and restoration. Sometimes they are thrown out of the church because they have sinned! The point is where do they go when we, the church, throw them out?
Myles Munroe said he never threw anybody out of his church because Christ never rejected anybody. He said pastors commit the same sins we denounce others for but pastors get away with theirs.
Meanwhile, we allow some rich people who we know are thieves to sit in the front pews. We do not question their sources of income, let alone rebuke them because they make fat donations to the church.
But we throw out people, including poor pastors! Where do they go? No wonder, pastors found churches when they are not ready to do so.
Sin is sin. Sin is wrong. But the good news is that God has an antidote for sin. The only unforgivable sin is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Matt.
12:31).Let us preach this. Let us spread the good news.
The irony of the situation is that those who condemn others for their sins, maybe, are worse than those they condemn. Forget about fake prophets and con-men posing as men of God. Take any ordinary man of God. Can he tell me he never sin?
Yonggi Cho puts it this way "We are not sinners because we sin, but we sin because we are sinners!"
It is a well-known fact and this was also recognized by the recent 4th National Conference on Evangelism that there is no unity in the top hierarchy of the church in Ghana. This bishop does not talk to that bishop.
That senior pastor will slander and libel the other one at the least opportunity. And the victim will also reply with equal gusto when given the opportunity. Programmes which should unite us rather polarize the church and you can easily determine which faction has organized that particular programme if you look at those present.
Do you think these pastors will believe you if you tell them they are guilty of sins like unforgiveness, bitterness, anger, envy, libel etc? No, they will rather bind and cast you out!
The priority is for us, especially those at the top, to set our house in order so that we can bring the good news to the lost, the desolate and the oppressed. And let us preach the gospel, the good news and not ride on our own hobby-horses! Let us lift up the spirits of our congregations. Have we never heard of (Rom. 8:1) "there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus"... or that "He hath not dealt with us after our sins. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us" (Ps.103:10,12)?
What about "He that believeth on Him is not condemned..." (Jn. 3:18) or" ... He that heareth my word and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation..." (Jn.5:24)? There is (1 John 1:9)" if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness...
He is our intercessor (Heb 7:24), our security, for "no man is able to pluck us out of my Father's hand" (Jn 10:29) and please don't tell me we can pluck ourselves out of His hands for NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING. ". .
. can separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord"(Rom. 8:29). Let us lift the burden from the shoulders of our congregations.
Over the years, Christians have done a lot to help this nation. Our prayers have helped to avert violence, etc.
But there is a higher priority. No one can deny that we, as Christians, have not impacted this land as we should have. Bribery and corruption have been the order of the day in our recent history if revelations coming out recently are anything to go by. If we can impact the land, especially its leadership, we need to humble ourselves, repent, pray, seek His face and turn from OUR WICKED WAYS. (2 Chr. 7:14).
Yes, "those of us who are called by His name:" need to repent and "TURN FROM OUR WICKED WAYS!" Surprised? There is none righteous, not even one!
"for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Rom 3:23). Please don't tell me this refers only to the period before we were born-again! It is the spirit which gets born-again. We have to "mortify the deeds of the flesh through the spirit" (Rom. 8:13), and Paul explicitly warns the boastful and the self-righteous in (1 Cor. 10:12). "wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall". Remember the self-righteous Pharisee? (Luke 18:9-14).
It is the Spirit who gives us the power and the ability to overcome sin.
Occasionally we slip but that is not the end of our destiny. It is not over until it is over for the Grace of God is available unto us.
Our elders should forget about their petty quarrels and give up their little kingdoms for the greater good of the land.
They should sacrifice their egos, come down a peg or two in their own estimation so they can help the man in the gutter. As at now, they are so high they cannot see what is happening below.
The disunity in the church with its attendant unfortunate consequences in our community is well known to the church leaders, it is revealing that NACOE 2001 (i.e. the 4th National Conference on Evangelism), as part of a tall list of ills in the church, noted the lack of unity among Christians, ESPECIALLY THEIR LEADERS". (Emphasis mine)
I understand when Bishop T. D. Jakes visited the land, he spoke about these divisions and made attempts at convincing our big men. But soon after he left, it all fell apart again. Well, no one can do it for us. Someone here has to start.
Is anybody listening? Which of the prelates is ready to start? What is NACOE 2001 doing about the wrongs it listed? Who is ready to run the risk of being rebuffed and make approaches towards his colleagues for reconciliation and restoration in the church so that the church can in turn restore the land? Well, God is waiting!