I’m at a conference for Assemblies of God district leaders. I just heard Michael Goldsmith talk about how God deals with our weakness and sinfulness. He had a lot of good things to say, especially to ministers, so I thought I’d share what he said. Here are my notes:
Proverbs 4:23, 1 Timothy 4:16, 1 Corinthians 10:12
Pastors often operate on the principle of never let them see you sweat, but everybody sees you when you fall.
1. We all have weaknesses that can become sinful.
Matthew 26:41, Acts 10:26, Genesis 4:7, Luke 4:13
See Jack Hayford, The Anatomy of Seduction: Defending Your Heart for God
Areas to Guard with the Opposite Sex
c. Ego strokes
d. Emotional attachment
e. Personality congruence
2. Our weaknesses are controlled by our best self, but our sinfulness is vulnerable to our worst self.
James 1:14, Daniel 7:25, Revelation 12:12, Romans 13:14
3. God will strengthen weaknesses, but He will expose sinfulness.
Romans 8:26, 1 Corinthians 10:13, Numbers 32:33, Psalm 90:8
Accountability works if it is asked for and offered.
Secrecy is a warning sign that weakness is on the verge of sinfulness.
4. Our strengthened weaknesses become useful ministry while our ignored weaknesses will become our downfall.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Relationally, when we share our ministry weaknesses, competition with other ministers decreases and cooperation with them increases.
Nobody can help somebody like somebody who’s been there.
5. God will send warnings when weakness is on the verge of sinfulness.
6. In our weaknesses God works for us; in sinfulness God works against us.
This does not mean that God is out to get us. It means that God is “against you” to the degree that he must oppose your sin to get you back into fellowship with him. His judgment is rehabilitative.
Difference between Relationship and Fellowship
a. Relationship = defines your connection to another person
b. Fellowship = defines the quality of the relationship
Fellowship always falls apart before relationship does. That’s true whether we’re talking about our relationship with God or other people.
7. The cost of unconfessed sinfulness is enormous.
Consider the costs in your relationship with God, your spouse, your children, your friends, your congregation.
It costs in terms of self-respect, an accusing conscience, etc.
It costs money as your are moved out of ministry in the disciplinary process.
The costs of sinfulness and its effects on your life and ministry are too high.
When you know a minister who has failed morally, don’t withdraw from them. People who have caught in sin need encouragement. They need to know they’re valued as a human being, not merely as a producer of ministry.
8. The grace of confessed and forgiven sinfulness is greater still.