Probably the most sensational news in the media such as newspaper, magazine and television, more than the news about the film stars, politicians, sportsmen and celebrities is the news about preachers and other well-known men in the ministry and particularly bad news about them. The media reports news on these men on a wide range of issues and matters including misappropriation of funds, immoral life, extravagant life style, false doctrines, pride and arrogance, violation of laws, divorce and dishonesty.
It is very important that the servants of God maintain the highest scriptural standard both in their personal lives and in their ministries, and serve as a role model to the public. It is fair and reasonable for the public to expect them to practice what they preach. The common moral and ethical problems in the ministry today are listed below :
1. Mishandling finances.
2. Jurisdictional disputes.
3. Living an extravagant lifestyle.
4. Judging, criticizing and condemning other ministries.
5. Gossiping about other ministries.
6. Being proud and arrogant.
7. Living an immoral life.
8. Neglecting one's family responsibilities.
9. Not having good relationships with family members.
10. Not maintaining any communication with other ministries.
11. Being very unfriendly or hostile.
12. Not being honest in dealings.
13. Not having genuine concern for the people.
14. Violating God's laws without fearing God.
15. Being materialistic.
16. Being very egoistic and selfish.
17. Seeking popularity and misusing the power of anointing.
Almost all the items listed above do not need much explanation because they are self-explanatory. Some of the items mentioned here have already been discussed in detail in the earlier chapters. It is probably a good idea to probe into the reasons why the moral and ethical standards in the ministry have deteriorated to this degree. Some of the possible reasons for such degradation of the moral and ethical standards are enumerated below:
1. It is prophesied in the Bible that in the last days there will be a great falling away.
2. It is prophesied in the Bible that in the last days there shall be many false prophets (Matthew 24:11)
3. It is prophesied that the iniquities shall abound and the love of many shall wax cold (Matthew 24:12)
4. It is
prophesied that men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters,
and unholy (II Timothy 3:2).
is prophesied that they shall be traitors, and lovers of pleasure more than
lovers of God.
(II Timothy 3:4)
6. They will not fear God.
7. They will not believe in heaven and hell.
7. They will not believe that there is going to be a day of judgment.
9. They are not spiritually strong and mature enough to resist the temptations.
10. They are covetous and discontent.
11. They do not love God as much as they should.
12. They do not keep the commandment of loving their neighbors as themselves.
13. They are not able to forgive other people.
3. They attempt to build their own kingdom rather than building the Kingdom of God.
15. They are jealous of others who are more successful than themselves.
16. They are proud of their own accomplishments and their own abilities.
17. They compromise with the world.
18. They are too worldly and less godly.
19. There is a shift in the values from family and religion to money and fame.
20. They are influenced by television shows resulting in lower moral standards.
21. They become more and more materialistic.
B. GENERAL SOLUTIONS TO THE ETHICAL PROBLEMS
The solution to the ethical issues and problems discussed in this book are not simple and easy, but there are solutions. If a person wants to find solutions he can. If a servant of God is serious about maintaining high ethical and moral standards, both in his personal life and in his ministry, he can. It is impossible or difficult to legislate and impose moral and ethical standards of behavior and conduct upon the servants of God. It is equally difficult to monitor and control whether high moral standards are maintained by them in their lives and ministries. But for a person who is serious about morality and ethics, several practical suggestions and solutions are offered below:
1. Have a spiritual covering.
2. Seek the counsel of godly men.
3. Have accountability to someone.
4. Have good fellowship with other ministers and ministries.
5. Maintain good communication with other ministries.
6. Have genuine love and concern for people.
7. Realize that other churches and ministries are part of the universal Church.
8. Fear God.
9. Determine to please God rather than men.
10. Build God's kingdom rather than your own kingdom.
11. Do not try to compete with other ministries.
Every servant of God must have a spiritual covering whether required by law or not. If a man of God is under some spiritual covering, in the event of commission of an act, which is unethical or immoral, he will have an accountability to explain the same to somebody. Therefore, spiritual covering will be a strong deterrent force. When a person has a spiritual covering he will also have access to receive godly counsel from some godly men of wisdom and experience. The Bible says that there is safety in the multitude of counsel. Proverbs15:22 says that, without counsel, purposes are disappointed. Proverbs11:14 says, where there is no counsel people fall. Psalms 33:11 says, that the counsel of the Lord standeth forever.
If a person sincerely desires to maintain high moral and ethical standards he should have fellowship and maintain good relationships with other ministries. If he isolates himself from the rest of the Body of Christ, he will have a tendency and temptation to indulge in immoral activities and unethical practices. On the other hand, if he interacts frequently with other ministers in the community, a certain amount of pressure will be upon him to maintain good conduct and behavior.
No matter what kind of social pressure or resistance is there or what kind of methods are used in the system to regulate a servant of God, unless he is deeply rooted and grounded in the Word of God and his heart is filled with the love of God, there is no guarantee that he will be good both morally and ethically. Lastly, the servant of God should have a strong desire to please God rather than pleasing men. He should be genuinely interested in building the kingdom of God rather than his own kingdom. He should be interested in seeking, discovering and fulfilling God's will and purpose for his life, rather than doing things that will please him and satisfy him. No one should try to compete with other ministries. They should be more interested in doing what God wants them to do. They should not have a glamour for popularity, money and material things. Ultimately the real solution to the ethical problems lies in spiritual maturity and righteousness.
There are a number of good reasons for fulfilling our moral obligations and ethical responsibilities to several groups of people. But at the same time probably there is not even one good or valid reason for violating the ethical principles. The Bible says that what we do to others shall be done unto us. (Matthew 7:12). What we sow shall we also reap (Galatians 6:7). If we sow bountifully we shall also reap bountifully and if we sow sparingly we shall also reap sparingly (II Corinthians 9:6).
The Bible says that when we lose or forsake anything for the sake of the gospel, we will receive a hundred fold return now and later. (Mark 10:29-30). Further, the Bible says that no one can become rich by keeping everything to himself, nor can anyone become poor by giving to others. There are several other illustrations in the Bible, which clearly indicate these powerful truths. The Bible says that a person that digs a ditch will fall into it himself. A person that draws a sword will fall by the sword. When we give, it shall be given back to us, a good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will men give unto our bosom (Luke 6:38).
Jesus is our perfect example. We must pattern our life after him. He was absolutely holy, righteous and perfect. The Bible says that we should be holy as God is holy (20:7). Ephesians 5:13 says, we all should become perfect unto the measure and stature of the fullness of Christ. Romans 8:29 says, that we have been predestined to be conformed to the image of Jesus. Galatians 4:19 says, that Jesus Christ in us must be fully developed and formed. John 1:12 says, that we have been given power to become the sons of God. John the Baptist said that we should decrease and Jesus in us should increase.
All servants of God are expected to maintain the highest moral and ethical standards in conduct, behavior, family relationship, social life, personal life, ministry, financial transactions, dealing with other ministries, government and public, etc. Further it is important to do this to have maximum fulfillment, satisfaction and rewards in life. In other words, we will not be doing a special favor to men or God by maintaining high moral and ethical standards, but will only be doing ourselves a favor. We will benefit more than anybody else. Since we represent God as His ambassadors, we must reflect Him through our conduct and behavior. People in this world can see Jesus only in and through us. People can hear the words of Jesus only through our mouth. People can receive blessings from Jesus only through our hands. The Gospel can be carried to the ends of the earth only through our feet. The cry of the hungry, the needy, the suffering, the neglected and the down trodden can be heard by Jesus, only through our ears. This means that we should represent Jesus to do His ministry, and put ourselves in the place of Jesus and have an awesome responsibility to do what Jesus would do if He were in our situation. This is the moral and ethical standard that the servants of God should maintain in their life and ministry. Ultimately, the judge of our conduct and behavior is God Himself and no one can deceive Him.
In conclusion, the benefits of fulfilling one's moral obligations and maintaining ethical standards required of
1. The benefits and the blessings that result from fulfilling our ethical and moral obligations outweigh the cost.
2. When we are good and faithful in a few things, God will reward us richly.
2. When we fulfill our moral and ethical obligations, God will include our names in Heaven's payroll.
3. When we forsake or lose anything for the sake of the gospel, God has promised to give us a hundred-fold return.
5. God has laid up the wealth of the sinners for the just.
6. Being the
representatives and the ambassadors of God, we have the obligation to maintain
moral and ethical standards in our personal life and in our ministry.
7. The desires of the righteous shall be fulfilled.
8. We can obtain all the promises of God, if we meet the scriptural standards and conditions.
9. Only those who are faithful in fulfilling their moral and ethical obligations can have real success and fulfillment in life.
10. We can have peace and be free from worry, fear and guilt feeling, only when we fulfill our moral
11. We can enjoy our full freedom and independence only when we do everything right in the sight of God.
12. We can have the fullness of joy only when we lead a holy and righteous life acceptable to God.
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