If the enemy corrupts churches and deceives pastors, the work of God will suffer. Avoid these ministry mistakes to win many souls to Christ and disciple them for God’s glory.
The ministry is difficult. It requires wisdom, courage, and discernment far above the average human capacity.
It is impossible to spend a lifetime in effective, spiritual ministry without the supernatural empowerment of God.
The Scriptures explain that the ministry is a “good work.” Pastoring a church is a virtuous calling, and it is a vigorous one as well.
1 Timothy 3:1
“This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.”
Satan is the master of confusion. He corrupts the truth and presents counterfeit philosophies to destroy the things of God. He employs traps and offers counterfeits to interfere with the work of God. We are not ignorant of his devices.
Avoid the following pitfalls of ministry and save yourself untold suffering.
Compromise is a spiritual plague sweeping across Christendom. Learn how to recognize spiritual compromise so you can prevent it from destroying you and your church.
Every generation must fight its own battles over compromise. If we are to successfully steward the Truth and pass it on to the next generation, we have no choice but to understand compromise, recognize it, and reject it.
What is compromise? The word has two main definitions.
The first definition of compromise is “to come to agreement by mutual concession.” This form of compromise is beneficial and necessary in every relationship of life. No one gets their way all the time.
The second definition of compromise is “to make a dishonorable or shameful concession.” This form of compromise is always wrong. Especially when it comes to the things of God. He is the only One Who should always get His way.
Christian compromise is making shameful concessions to God’s Word and Will. It is departing from the Truth. A compromiser is one who leaves the doctrines and principles of God’s Word to reconcile a competing philosophy or way of life.
It is wise to distinguish between compromisers and the unlearned. Not every Christian who holds an unbiblical position is a compromiser, heretic, or apostate. Some caustic preachers use those titles for anyone who doesn’t agree with them. We ought not to paint with such a broad brush.
Many well-meaning people are doing the best they know how with what they have been taught. Some of these unlearned Christians are more devoted than those who understand the Truth more perfectly. Wouldn’t it be great if some of them were teachable and willing to grow like Apollos? If so, we will need some Aquilas and Priscillas to guide them with love and patience.
A compromiser is one who knows the Truth and rejects it. Once, they accepted God’s Word on a matter, but now they water it down or reject it completely.
There are many notorious examples of compromise among Christians. Examples of well-known preachers who have compromised are numerous. Countless more cases are not well-known.
Why do so many people compromise? Here are a few thoughts.
1. Satan is good at his job.
Little compromises lead to big changes. Satan didn’t encourage Eve to become a serial killer. He convinced her that the “forbidden fruit” was no big deal. In fact, the Accuser convinced her that God was keeping her back from something that would improve her life – even make her a god! Countless Christians over the ages have fallen for the same lies. It’s the same play with different actors. We must be wise to the tricks of the Devil. We are not ignorant of his devices.
2. Most younger Christians have never experienced spiritual compromise from its genesis, so they don’t recognize it in its beginning stages.
They have heard of compromise in the past, but Satan veils it in each generation with new issues, people, and contexts. Often, the Devil frames compromise as “progress.” Young adults have seen the end of compromise, but not its beginning and progression.
The older saints who have seen compromise before recognize it immediately. However, when they begin to warn others of current compromise, too many younger Christians cry foul. The elder saints get accused of being too “old,” “rigid,” “unwilling to keep up with the times,” and “refusing to grow.”
3. Our sinful flesh wants us to compromise. “Don’t be so rigid,” our flesh exclaims. There is a part of us that wants to experience the pleasures of sin. Also, it longs to be liked and accepted at any cost. The sin nature desires the path of least resistance.
4. Compromise is popular. Nowadays, to be truly popular amongst unbelievers, you only need to take an unbiblical position. If you were a sodomite coming out of the closet or a “transitioning” Baptist preacher promoting “diversity,” you would be lauded on the nightly news and booked on the popular talk shows. However, you will be maligned if you preach against sin and take a stand against wickedness.
If you want to be popular, don’t be a Bible preacher.
“Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.”
Beware if everyone is speaking well of you. A preacher needs the heart of Christ and the hide of a rhinoceros.
Every generation must fight its own battles over compromise.
Can you recognize compromise? Let’s compare spiritual compromise to a body and look at its anatomy.
The HEAD of Spiritual Compromise.
Typically, compromisers are steeped in pride. They feel they know better and develop a critical spirit. They become judge and jury of right and wrong. Compromisers are critical of inconvenient truths and open-minded to new philosophies. A critical spirit is the Devil’s ally. God wants us to be discerning but never critical. The difference between the two is more than semantics. It is vital.
Once you become cynical and critical, you are well on your way to error. The Pharisees missed the Christ they were waiting for in part because their pride made them so critical that they could find no good in Him. Don’t make the same mistake.
Compromisers are critical of old-fashioned church services, hymns, fundamentalism, soul winning, standards of righteousness, preachers, churches, and even the King James Bible.
Don’t start down that road. Be discerning, but not critical.
The HEART of Spiritual Compromise.
Although there are exceptions, the compromiser is convinced that his heart is in the right place. He “wants to do right” and is “trying to please the Lord.” Often, compromisers feel that their “eyes have been opened” and now they must be “true to themselves.” I’m sure that’s how Eve must have felt right before the first bite of the forbidden fruit. However, she was deceived, and her husband followed her lead plunging the human race into chaos and damnation.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
The heart is deceitful. Don’t trust your heart. Trust God, His Word, and the faithful Christian leaders He put in your life to guide you.
Once a preacher is deceived, he preaches the lies that he has believed.
“How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart;”
Guard your heart. Protect it from Satan’s devices.
The MIND of Spiritual Compromise.
The mind of a compromiser is filled with questions and doubt. The Devil is the master of asking questions to create doubt then supplying the wrong answer to the questions that he encouraged.
Doubt is normal. We all have doubts at times. In fact, you can’t have faith if you don’t have some doubt. Trust in God’s Word is the answer. Do you believe God? Do you believe His Word? Put your faith in that and doubt will flee.
“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”
Compromisers lean too heavily on their own understanding. They rely on faulty logic and hyper-critical thinking at the expense of simple faith in God’s Word.
Also, the compromiser chooses a pragmatic approach to ministry. They are more interested in “what works” than what God commanded. Want a crowd? Throw a concert. Does someone say they can’t understand the Bible? Get them one that’s watered down and “easier to understand.” Listeners don’t like preaching on certain subjects? Don’t mention them.
It’s a good thing the prophets of old didn’t take that approach. Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Jeremiah didn’t choose an easy path when the ministry God called them to was difficult and people didn’t listen.
Just keep following the Bible and the Spirit. Do everything God has commanded you. Leave the results up to Him.
The EARS of Spiritual Compromise.
The ears of a compromiser are tuned into those who have compromised or those who encourage them to do so. They don’t hear or heed the warnings of the faithful.
Who do you listen to? Who are you allowing to influence you? What authors do you read? What preachers do you listen to? Don’t lend your ear to backsliders, compromisers, or apostates. They will affect you adversely. Unbiblical instruction will cause you to err from the truth. Stop listening to it.
“Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge.”
The EYES of Spiritual Compromise.
Too many Christians are looking to compromised preachers and ministries for direction and ideas. It is a fact that you tend to move towards what you are looking at. That’s why it’s important to “keep your eyes on the road” when driving.
You might find a few things of value rummaging through the city dump, but the stench will stick to you long after you leave. Every compromiser can teach you something of value, but you can’t help but be moved toward error in the process. You can find the truths you need from the Scriptures, faithful preachers, and Christian writers who have not bowed to Baal. Keep your eyes on the prize.
The HANDS of Spiritual Compromise.
Once the mind and heart are compromised, the hands are sure to follow. Compromisers don’t obey the Scriptures. They seek to do the right things in the wrong ways.
God was not happy when King David put the Ark of the Covenant on a cart like the Philistines, and a man lost his life for it.
We should do the right things in the right ways. The Bible is not just a book of philosophies. It contains the methods we are to use. It is not only our message but also our manual.
New ideas, technologies, and methods must be carefully compared with Scripture before implementation. New opportunities can be beneficial in carrying out the great commission, but others will violate Scripture. Choose wisely.
The FEET of Spiritual Compromise.
Compromisers spend time together. Their feet walk the same path.
“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?”
Which conferences do you attend? Who do you spend your time with? Who do you seek counsel from? One man said, “Show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future.” How true!
The SPINE of Spiritual Compromise.
Typically, the compromiser loses his resolve to stand for truth and right. They categorize the unpopular principles of holiness as “gray areas” and expand the list the things that “God doesn’t care about.”
With a laser focus on their flawed definitions of love and grace, they leave the commandments of God and begin to fulfill the desires of man.
As Moses was on the mount talking to God, Aaron was fashioning a golden calf at the people’s request. You can’t please God and man all the time. Focus on pleasing God and leave the results up to Him.
Unfortunately, compromisers tirelessly criticize those who strive to stay faithful to God. It seems that by attacking those who still hold to the doctrines they left, they seek to soothe their conscience.
The SPEECH of Spiritual Compromise.
The speech of the compromiser reveals the machinations of his heart.
“And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee.”
Peter’s speech betrayed him to those at the fire during the trial of Christ. In the same manner, the speech of compromisers exposes them.
Some years ago, a faithful church member came to me after a sermon about holiness in the Christian life and said that the message was legalism. The member had never used that term in the years that I knew them. I replied, “You know that’s a term that means adding works to salvation, but the liberals use it to criticize people like us who believe in personal standards of righteousness. Who have you been listening to?” Their speech exposed them.
Using buzzwords, phrases, philosophies, questions, and arguments promoted by known compromisers and unbiblical movements are an indicator of corrupt influence taking root.
Fill your heart and mind with good, and your speech will take care of itself.
Many good men have compromised. None of them woke up one day and said, “I’m going to compromise the principles of God’s Word upon which I’ve built my life and ministry.”
Compromise is a slow process. It is a thousand small concessions in the heart and mind that eventually wear away the truth.
May God protect us from compromise! Let’s resolve to be faithful to God and His Word as He strengthens us so we can win more souls to Christ. Determine to recognize and reject compromise so we can pass on the unvarnished truth to the next generation.
Modern Christians are soft. Do you want to make a difference for Christ? It will require a return to the pioneer Christian spirit of days gone by. Learn how to reclaim a missionary spirit for Christ.
Jesus Christ, our Lord, left His people with an audacious goal. Preach the Gospel to every creature. Every generation of believers is responsible for going into all the world and preaching the Gospel to everyone alive.
Some generations have done better at this task than others. We cannot rest on the accomplishments of bygone days. We must not solace ourselves with great stories of yesteryear. History is still being written. This is our time.
We were handed the baton of the Great Commission. Will we give all we have in our leg of the race? Will we stroll along in comfort while Satan deceives the world? Will we stumble with the glorious Gospel as Hell enlarges herself to accept more prisoners?
The decision is up to us. Our story has yet to be written. History will record the decisions we make today.
Comfort is the enemy of the Gospel. Luxury is a prison without walls for the people of God.
It’s impossible to take up your cross and follow Christ if you refuse to get uncomfortable.
There is a clear choice before us:
Will we exhaust ourselves in the ministry of the glorious Gospel, or will we succumb to the temptation of a comfortable life?
I believe the answer is found in a missionary spirit. If you have this spirit, you will strive for the eternal. If you don’t, you will be lulled to sleep by the siren song of pleasure.
What is a missionary spirit?
The missionary spirit is an unyielding commitment to reach sinners regardless of personal cost!
The Holy Bible is a Book of miracles, but also it is a miracle book. There is no doubt that the Bible is different than other books. Discover amazing facts about the Bible – God’s supernatural Book!
“LAMED. For ever, O Lord, Thy word is settled in heaven.”
Psalm 119 explains the many ways that God’s Word is special. Verse 89 reveals that God’s Word is supernatural. It is “for ever settled in Heaven.” God wrote the Bible in eternity past and gave it to mankind in sections over more than 1,000 years.
Truly, the Bible is a supernatural book!
President Ronald Reagan pointed to the miraculous Bible and said, “Indeed, it is an indisputable fact that all the complex and horrendous questions confronting us at home and worldwide have their answer in that SINGLE BOOK.”
Abraham Lincoln said, “I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to man. All the good from The Savior of the world is communicated to us through this Book.”
Napoleon said about God’s Supernatural Word, “. . . is no mere book, but A LIVING CREATURE that conquers all that face it”.
The word Bible simply means “book.” But this is no ordinary book. It is the “Holy Bible.” It is the sacred Book of the Creator. It’s the only Book that God ever wrote.
The Bible has appealed to people from every tribe and nation throughout the ages. No other book has so changed individuals and transformed societies. Yet, this book has a unity and cohesion that leaves a discerning person only one logical explanation: There is ONE AUTHOR – God Almighty.
The Holy Bible is the history book of the Universe. God revealed Himself to mankind in the Garden of Eden. For thousands of years, the Creator spoke to mankind through dreams, visions, angels, or Old Testament appearances of Christ. Unfortunately, God’s people would only hear new information from God at random intervals.
In His infinite wisdom, God chose to give us a written record of historical events and principles for life.
2 Peter 1:3–4
According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
The facts prove the Holy Bible to be the written Word of God.
Most churches don’t preach against sin anymore. Many Christians reject preaching against iniquity. Learn why we must keep preaching against sin and how to do it.
“Cry aloud, spare not,
Lift up thy voice like a trumpet,
And shew my people their transgression,
And the house of Jacob their sins.”
A church that does not preach against sin is a defective church. A preacher that doesn’t preach against sin is disobedient to God, derelict in his duty, and unfaithful to his calling.
Mainstream Christianity in America is on an undeniable path of compromise. Most large churches and famous preachers have little in common with the faith of our fathers. Famous television preacher Joel Osteen personifies many problems with modern Christianity concerning its handling of sin.
Examine this article posted in the Huffington Post on January 13, 2014.
“Megachurch pastor of Lakewood Church and televangelist Joel Osteen was a guest on Larry King Now in Los Angeles to talk about everything from Duck Dynasty to Obamacare — and, of course, his views on the gays came up.
King asked Osteen, “What are your views on homosexuality?” to which Osteen replied “The same that they’ve been. I believe that Scripture says that it’s a sin, but I always follow that up by saying, you know what, we’re not against anybody.”
King pressed him to explain, commenting, “How can it be if we don’t know what causes it? You don’t know why you’re a heterosexual.”
“There’s a lot of things, Larry, that I don’t understand- so I just don’t want to preach on it, preach about it,” Osteen said.”
Also, consider this quote from an article at ChristianPost.com.
In an earlier interview with Larry King (CNN, June 20, 2005), King asked Pastor Joel Osteen if he uses the word “sinners.” Joel Osteen replied, “I don’t use it. I never thought about it. But I probably don’t. But most people already know what [when] they’re doing wrong. When I get them to church, I want to tell them that you can change.”
Pastor Joel Osteen has been very clear many times that he doesn’t talk about hell, sin, or damnation, or anything that is hard to hear.
During a special Easter edition of CBS Sunday Morning in 2016, Mr. Osteen said, “… most people are beaten down enough by life. They already feel guilty enough. They’re not doing what they should, raising their kids — we can all find reasons. So I want them to come to Lakewood or our meetings and be lifted up, to say, ‘You know what? I may not be perfect, but I’m moving forward. I’m doing better.’ And I think that motivates you to do better.”
These illustrations are not offered to berate and belittle Joel Osteen. (God is the Judge. He will stand before God, as will I.) These articles are illustrative of a pervasive problem in modern mainstream churches.
An astonishing number of preachers have stopped preaching against sin. The average sermon is more like a self-help talk than a meeting with God. Cheerleaders and motivational speakers have replaced the prophets of the LORD.
Why don’t preachers preach against sin? There are many reasons that we could discuss. Here are a few for you to ponder.