Isaiah 42-44, Psalm 119:1-32
Last year, someone from our Discipleship Home Group invited someone from another church to one of our meetings. She was despondent and found her faith faltering because the pastor of her church was recently involved in adultery and it had just been made public to the church. We just had dinner with one of our friends in Anguilla, who is a Christian, but states that his father refuses to come back to faith. This is for the same reason as above, his pastor was having an affair almost 50 years ago. So many Catholics won't even consider turning to God after the fairly recent priest/young boys scandal. This is the mistake of elevating the pastor to the level of Christ. Our pastor, Lloyd Pulley, who is truly a gifted teacher has said on multiple occasions, that he is a Christian no different than those of us who listen to him. The only difference is his gift is that of teaching and God has blessed him with the platform to teach others about God. The problem people make is when they equate the two. We are blessed to have a gifted and faithful teacher, but our faith though can be assisted by him, must be grounded on His Word which never changes. As we read yesterday in Isaiah 40:8, "The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever."
We read in Isaiah 42:18-20, "Hear, you deaf; And look, you blind, that you may see. Who is blind but My servant, Or deaf as My messenger whom I send? Who is blind as he who is perfect, And blind as the Lord's servant? Seeing many things, but you do not observe; Opening the ears, but he does not hear." In this portion of Isaiah this servant refers to the nation of Israel, and his messenger are the leaders of their religion. Jesus addressed the religious leaders in John 9:39-41, "For judgment I have come into the world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may be made blind." Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, "Are we blind also?" Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, 'We see'. Therefore your sin remains." Jesus speaks of the problem of trusting faulty leaders in Matthew 15:14, "Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch." Paul follows this same line of reasoning in Romans 2 :17-21, " Indeed, you are called a Jew, and rest on the law, and make your boast in God, and know His will, and approve the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law, and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of knowledge and truth in the law. You therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself?...". He concludes this segment in 2:24, saying, "For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you, as it is written."
For those looking for a church home, we at Calvary Chapel of Old Bridge are blessed with a gifted teacher and beautiful fellowship. Many have not had this same experience. Many find their faith faltering because of the actions of a church leader, a Christian individual, a particular denomination, or a specific congregation. If we are grounded in God's Word, these factors are only supporting factors to His Word, which never fails and never changes. The main reason for the One Year Bible Challenge is to equip people with the word of God so that they can withstand any and all attacks from the world or the enemy, Satan. We who call ourselves Christian must remember that we are God's ambassadors (Phillipians 3:20) to an unsaved world. Gandhi once said, "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." We may not have the platform of a pastor, but how we represent Christ does matter. We must never forget this no matter where we are, as Paul said in Colossians 4:5-6, "Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one." May we also never forget that all of us are sinners saved by grace alone, not by our good works. So when a Christian falls, be it a pastor or anyone else, may we remember that we too are sinners and extend grace towards that individual. When talking about that individual, rather than saying, "I can't believe that this person did this or that", may we respond in kindness and state that we are no different, but by the grace of God we stand.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: