Romans 2:17–24But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law; and if you are sure 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 children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth—you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”
An electrician can’t cut wire with blunt splicers. The music will be scratchy and unmelodious if the hi-fi needle is worn down. A pie isn’t cut into even portions with a dull knife.
A minister can’t effectively preach if the force of his exhortation is blunted by his own lack of spirituality or piety, if he is physically worn down, or if he is intellectually dull.
Preachers are tools in the hands of the Lord. The preacher must keep himself useful by remaining sharp, well cared for and pointed. If you are teaching others to do what you yourself are not doing or are preaching against impiety that you yourself are entangled, then you are a useless tool.
The preacher must be the hungriest for the table fellowship of the Lord. He must be the thirstiest, neediest sinner. He must pursue, repent, praise, thank and honor God more than any other sheep in the flock. Under-shepherds who aren’t watchful of themselves will be devoured along with their defenseless flock.
Preachers are often the worst hypocrites because they are speakers and not doers. They could build a palace to rival Solomon’s out of the cedars of Lebanon growing in the eyes.
Christians leaders are oft the most despicable hypocrites and it is no different with you, preacher, preach to yourself first.
Matthew 23:1–7 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others.
Matthew 23:13–15“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.
Consider how Spurgeon warned his students, “He is not to be content with being equal to the rank and file of Christians, he must be a mature and advanced believer; for the ministry of Christ has been truly called “the choicest of his choice, the elect of his election, a church picked out of the church.” If he were called to an ordinary position, and to common work, common grace might perhaps satisfy him, though even then it would be an indolent satisfaction; but being elect to extraordinary labours, and called to a place of unusual peril, he should be anxious to possess that superior strength which alone is adequate to his station. His pulse of vital godliness must beat strongly and regularly; his eye of faith must be bright; his foot of resolution must be firm; his hand of activity must be quick; his whole inner man must be in the highest degree of sanity.” (Spurgeon, C. H. (1875). Lectures to my students: a selection from addresses delivered to the students of the Pastors’ College, Metropolitan Tabernacle.(Vol. 1, pp. 7–8). London: Passmore and Alabaster.)
Pursue Christ. Confess – call your sin what God calls it – watch lest you fall. Repent. Thank God and honor God, as God. Remember the humility of the Lord Jesus and imitate Him. Keep yourself sharp, well kept, spiritually equipped to confront and comfort as a good minister. Mind your piety and your heart.
Repent. Pray. Rejoice. Preach.