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Reverend Falls

We had the example this last week of a man titled “reverend” and “pastor” who was teaching one thing while doing other things that had nothing at all to do with what he taught and with what folks believed that he stood for. Many felt that he was a servant of God.

His titles suggest that he was not, and his own words suggest that he was not doing things in a godly fashion.

For starters, the word pastor is the Latin word for shepherd and should not by rights even be found in the New Testament (a Greek document). It appears in several early manuscripts. But it is only found once and there it refers to the elders or overseers of a congregation (always plural). It is never used of an evangelist.

The word reverend appears a single time and only in the King James Bible (in Psalms 111:9) – “He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name.” I suggest that it is referring to the Lord of Hosts and it is therefore more than presumptuous to call any man on earth reverend or a reverend. It is plainly a sin to call any man “father” as some are called in several denominations. So, I wonder — is it a sin to call some man a reverend too? You will not find this word in any form in any other version of the Bible. So the title is not from God but from the minds of men.

To move beyond that, this man is completely bound up by the cords of his own sin, while yet standing before the people and claiming to be a servant of God. He did not teach it correctly and he is not living it. He was utterly contrary to the word of God, like many that prefer sin over godliness. He even tried to keep up the facade after the horse had run from the barn.

He is serving someone all right, but it isn’t God and it isn’t Christ. He is by word and deed a servant of the god of this world. And he is in good company. This is not the first time a charlatan has been exposed and it won’t be the last. Too bad, decent people are being deceived.

You might argue with me that he simply momentarily stumbled, but it sure doesn’t look that way to me. He was serving himself fulltime and the unholy desires of his flesh, and that means he was and is a servant of Satan or Apollyon. That would be the god of this world and the holder of the key to the pit and death, for that is the end of the godless. He is also a hypocrite — not that hypocrites are in any short supply.

It also means that he couldn’t be, wasn’t and isn’t now serving God and Christ. Even though he claimed to be holy and led a large assembly, and though he may have taught some semblance of the truth. Though he spoke with the voice of an angel he is no servant. He didn’t teach it ALL, he didn’t teach the truth of God’s word, and worse yet —he didn’t observe it himself, in the very things he did and set before others. He took honor to himself, bowed to the flesh and left off honoring God in his deeds. God has no part of such things.

To make matters worse, though he has managed an apology yet he is still serving sin through his public utterances and stance. You see, nothing has really changed. It is like the apology of Senator Kerry; there is nothing in it. Repentance, a turning away from evil to good and from the ungodliness that surrounds us and to the word of God and to living after the precepts of Christ, is what is required. Apologies and being sorry are a start but that won’t stand the test and get the job done. Apologies are worth little to God.

Sorry, I didn’t know the gun was loaded.

Did I wake up on the wrong side of things today, that I would say something so uncharitable?

I am not being uncharitable at all. I am being accurate. He is a sinner just like everybody else who is doing something —anything other than what God has said. That group would include you and me and all the others if we are saying one thing and doing something else, praising God with our lying lips while practicing and living in sin with the rest of our appendages and senses, and that would include those who are simply ignorant of God’s will and working their own. It includes those who are doing nothing.

Like it or not, if you do these things or anything similar to them you are in the same happy club and are a companion to the good reverend pastor and to all of the same ilk. And then you shall in time fall too.

But don’t take my word for it. Let’s see what God’s book has to say about it.

The apostle Paul had this to say about being sorry and repenting.

For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while. Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing.

For godly sorrow produces repentance to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter. (2 Corinthians 7:8 — 11)

There are two distinct words used in this passage both in the original Greek and (as you can see) in the English. You don’t have to be a scholar to note that sorrow is one thing and that it may lead to repentance if it is truly godly sorrow. But sorry doesn’t mean repentance. If it is just you saying you’re sorry and then moving on, the apostle has said that that alone will only bring about death. Death, aside from meaning that your heart stops and that you end up in the grave, really means you are forever to be separated from God. Then rejection of repentance means you have come under the judgment of God without any advocacy – that you are dead. It’s like going to the Supreme Court without a lawyer. No wonder the writer said, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

Sorrow without repentance brings death. The apostles of Christ said so. That means that Christ said it and meant it too.

Jesus in fact said, “Except you repent, you shall all likewise perish.” He said it twice in the same exchange as if the hearers weren’t paying very good attention. Are we paying attention?

You can call yourself anything you can get away with, any thing you like, and you can do what you choose, and the unscrupulous get away with quite a lot. You can hide what you are really doing from people’s sight, hoping to never be caught with your hands where they ought not be; but there is always someone watching, and that “someone” sees ALL things. If we are sensible and striving to be godly, what we should do is to turn away from empty and foolish pursuits, from evil and sin, and turn back to the word of God, for in it is salvation and that cannot be found in any other place. We will not escape, and we cannot deceive or trick God, though we may deceive many here. I hope that he truly does repent and finds the word of God and in it salvation. That is the best that can be hoped for anyone.