Spiritual Life of the Leader - Lesson 9

The Eight Deadly Sins (Part 1/4)

The eight deadly sins are in the order that Satan uses to try to get us and in the order in which we need redemption. Gormandize means you are overdoing it and being a slave to flesh. Fornication refers to a wandering heart and seeking to devour others. Avarice is the love of money and sometimes is a fear of not having enough. Anger is a rancorous spirit. The spiritual cancer of depreciation is looking at the vast horizon of God’s goodness in his creation and my life and depreciating it, only seeing what’s wrong. Psalm 51:10-12, create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a right spirit within me.

Stephen Martyn
Spiritual Life of the Leader
Lesson 9
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The Eight Deadly Sins (Part 1/4)

The Eight Deadly Sins (Part 1)

I. The order is important

A. Gluttony

B. Fornication

C. Avarice

D. Anger

E. Vainglory

II. Two of the Most Destructive Deadly Sins

A. The spiritual cancer of depreciation

1. Forced detachment crisis

2. The Freedom to say, "yes" to what God is asking you to go through

3. Adrian van Kaam

B. The deadly sin of tristitia

1. The more you talk about what's wrong with your life, the more exaggerated it becomes

2. All the eight deadly sins reside in you

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Class Resources
  • Dr. Martyn has surveyed church leaders around the world to understand their responsibilities and pressures. He aims to use his experience to help them develop a model of ministry that encourages spiritual formation, discipleship, and worship in a healthy way. His class is comprehensive on topics such as spiritual formation, discipleship, leadership principles, and worship. Listening to this class could benefit anyone regardless of whether they have an official leadership position or not.
  • Christian activism is Christians seeking to be involved in the issues and needs of the day and time. Wesleyans in the 1700's in England sought to minister to people that others didn’t care about. To be called by Christ is to be called into the body of Christ. A biblical model is that every member is a full-fledged minister of the gospel without distinction between clergy and laity. 

  • Mysticism can be described as the direct communication of your spirit with the Divine Spirit as taught and illustrated in the New Testament as a fundamental part of Christian belief. Receptivity means that I am open to what the Lord is saying to me through the revelation of his word, the magnificence of his son and the voice of his Spirit which is consistent with the written word. The church was emphasizing what they were doing for God rather than on first listening to what God wants us to be and then acting. Union with our Lord must come before any type of donation or work (kenosis) for our Lord. (Download the complete text of the sermon by clicking on the link on this page or under the Downloads heading on the class page.)

  • Which do you love more, the Lord or the projects you are doing for him? Is your goal to exalt the Lord or build a personal kingdom? Essence of anxiety is whether or not you can trust God. The question to ask when you begin having feelings of self-pity is, “Is you life going to be defined by how you think it ought to go?”  The blame-shame mindset is that you are unhappy because there is something wrong with the people around you. When you experience these red flags in your ministry, you should recognize it as time that it’s possible that the Lord may be prompting you to make a change in your life.The Mary in you must rest at the feet of Jesus if the Martha in you is to do her work.

  • Essence is who the Lord has created you to be. Biblically, essence precedes existence as oppose to Sartre's teaching that man is no more than what he makes of himself. God has given us the capacity of reception, to be able to hear God’s voice and follow it. The spiritual life that God calls you to live is based on what you receive from God, not on what you do for God.

  • How do you determine if your motives are right in your efforts to serve God? The more gifts and talents we have, the more susceptible we are to self-deception regarding our motives. Resist the urge to make pleasing people your primary motivation. You will never please everyone and in the process you lose sight of focusing on pleasing God. When people have expectations of you that don’t match what God has called you to do, there are times when you must, “let Lazarus die.”

  • God wants us to be faithful to the kingdom and his son and fruitful according to his metrics. What’s the goal and what condition do our hearts need to be in to understand the goal? The Mary in us needs to rest at the feet of Jesus in order for the Martha in us to do her work. Think about when you experienced renewal and think about when you were blessed. When you have received God’s blessing, how has that resulted in demonstrating his hand of mercy to someone else? How are your activities balanced?

  • A canal simultaneously pours out what it receives. A reservoir waits till it’s filled then discharges water without loss to itself. Today, there are many in God’s church that act like canals. The reservoirs are far too rare. So urgent is the charity of those through whom heavenly doctrine flows that they want to pour it forth to us before they have been filled. They are more ready to speak than to listen, impatient to teach what they have not grasped, and full of presumption to govern others while they know not how to govern themselves. High mountain lakes have one stream out and water level relatively constant throughout the year. How is the water level staying constant in your life? Depletion results in erosion of presence, and results in just going through the motions. 

  • The Lord desires that we live dispositionally. Important elements include loving God, living devotionally, relational strengthening, vocational serving (listening with the intent of following what I hear). Dallas Willard wrote, “If I am a disciple of Jesus, I am with him to learn from him, how to be like him." The primary calling of a pastor is to follow Jesus, within the calling of leading a church. 

  • The eight deadly sins are in the order that Satan uses to try to get us and in the order in which we need redemption. Gormandize means you are overdoing it and being a slave to flesh. Fornication refers to a wandering heart and seeking to devour others. Avarice is the love of money and sometimes is a fear of not having enough. Anger is a rancorous spirit. The spiritual cancer of depreciation is looking at the vast horizon of God’s goodness in his creation and my life and depreciating it, only seeing what’s wrong. Psalm 51:10-12, create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a right spirit within me.

  • When you experience a difficult situation, how do you begin to turn your focus away from the negative and on to what God is doing? How do you respond when you are working closely with people that don't like you? What do you do as a leader when there is a person that is angry with you and disagrees with how you are leading?

  • The sin of acedia is, “I don’t care anymore.” The sin of tristitia is sadness, wrongly processing suffering and loss, allowing the soul to close in on itself and refuse instruction from God. Tristitia is neither a result of other people or of our outward circumstances. Satan wants to get us off the track in stupid presumption or in sinful carelessnenss. God redeems the hurt that evil has done.

  • In the early church passion was seen as something that controlled you and out of control and leading you astray, not a positive motivation. John Cassion described vainglory as passion to take pleasure in our own qualities. The danger is that we take credit for what God is doing. In pursuit of being popular, we often sacrifice who we are at the core. Pride is the original vice from which all others spring. Pride can develop into functioning atheism. The cure for pride is to have the humility of Jesus in our heart. 

  • Is there a sin that's not deadly? To what extent can you worry about something before it becomes a sin? What does it take to overcome gluttony? The minute you make an exception for yourself, you either presume on the grace of God or break a known law of God. Admit what you are feeling and submit it to God to have faith in him in the situation, then do your part.

  • Instead of gluttony, we see temperance. Temperance means living a balanced life. Chaste love is extending love to others, not preying on them. Poverty of spirit rather than greed. Cultivate meekness to deal with anger. You have been forgiven much so you should be willing to forgive others much. Cultivate faith, hope and love to deal with hopelessness. Cultivate humility to deal with vainglory. Evangelism in the first 300 years a result of the quality of the lives of disciples as they lived in a hostile environment. 

  • A transcendent crisis is yearning for the “more than.” “Is life meaningful?” “Is God good?” Can I trust my life to God or have I been abandoned by God? An idolatry crisis happens when you run after a passion rather than pursue God. Each person in your sphere of influence is going through crises in their own lives. God can use a crisis to help something in us die so we can experience and share the light of Christ.

  • To feed the 5,000, the disciples had to rely on Jesus because they didn’t have the resources. Jesus walked out on the water to comfort the disciples with his presence. The disciples thought they were going to die a terrible death. If you choose to think your situation, the church and others are hopeless, it results in ego desperation, or hopelessness. You see what’s wrong, you think you have exhausted your resources and you see no way that it’s going to get fixed. If you allow the crisis to take you into the life of Christ and dependence on him, it will not destroy you. 

  • It's important for us to understand how our relationship with God is affected by being born at a certain period of time and in a certain society. The vital is the physical dimension of the human life. Vitalism is where your physical pleasures become the priority in your life.  Functional is the roles, tasks and responsibilities we take on. It’s a problem when we allow our roles and responsibilities to define us, which is functionalism. Transcendent is the longing for the “more than.” Pneumatic/Ecclesial level is the capacity the Lord has given each of us to hear and respond to the Holy Spirit, God’s voice. When ambition gets separated from the leading of the Spirit, it can become self-promotion. Functional Transcendence is you using the things of God for self-gain.

  • It's important to keep Christ at the center of who you are. Interiority includes memory, intellect, will. Augustine says will is most important.In addition to our personal thoughts, we exist in community with others who are submitting their lives to the will of Christ. The Lord has placed us in a certain place and time and wants you to live a life of obedience in that context every day, not just one day a week. The Father is seeking to form your life into the image of Christ as you were meant to be. Through our experiences, God forms you into a unique person. On the relational side, this results in compassion for others because we love others with the same love we experienced. God gives us confidence that he has given us the gifts and resources we need to live out the calling he has given us. Competence that our ministry will be effective. Our courage comes from trusting in the strength of the Lord. Community, the work of God’s Church is a work done with others. Confirmation comes internally from God and externally from the community of faith. 

  • If you are following Jesus, you have a role as a leader. If a spiritual leader does not understand what their task is according to scripture, then their spiritual life is not going to have the focus the Lord wants them to have.  Worship is a response of the love that has been shown to us. Worship involves our all aspects of us and is enabled by God’s Spirit. We worship God because of who he is. By looking at Jesus, you see who God is.

  • The Church needs you to present what Scripture says, not your own ideas. Worship means to kneel before someone out of respect or honor. We owe it to God as an act of service to sit at his feet and worship him. Spiritual worship is to place our physical bodies at God’s disposal. Are we leading people to worship God, or just providing religious goods and services to them? Solid biblical teaching is important. Structure follows purpose. We are failing to dig down into the revelation of God and let the revelation of God set the compass. If you are not careful, your program sets your agenda.

  • Movements in worship: 1. kneeling in acts of loving worship. Kneeling in submission before God to acknowledge that you are dependent on him. 2. Exalting God by declaring his worthiness 3. Receiving God’s life symbolized by the sacrament of communion. 4. Empowers us and encourages us to go out and serve. We participate in the fellowship and life of the Trinity. We need to immerse ourselves in relationship to God and let that inform and empower what we do so that our worship service is more than creating an experience or transmitting information. Be explicit about your purpose in worship and include prayer.

  • The elders fall before the throne, they worship the Lord and they cast their crowns before him. Falling before the throne represents an acknowledging of God as absolute deity. What is going to happen in the future tells us what we should be doing now. When we fall down before the throne, our heart condition is inward humility and submission to the Lord. Then they raise up and exalt the Lord by proclaiming his worth. Inward love results in proclaiming what is right, good, just and holy. Taking of crowns is an outward expression of placing everything we have under the Lordship of Christ and an inward movement of total abandonment of everything we are to God.

  • The call of Jesus to, “follow me” is the call to redirect everything in our lives. A disciple is one who seeks to fulfill the will of the father by actively following Jesus the Son while continually depending on the Holy Spirit for guidance and strength. Faith is my trust in Jesus as well as the content of the Gospel. Practice is putting it into play. Catechism is the content of the faith, and catechesis is how you express it. Cheap grace is not biblical because it allows for justification without ensuing discipleship. Primary purposes of the church are to proclaim the Gospel, worship and make disciples. In addition to knowing the content, you must live it out. Clergy need to learn how to make and train disciples. Laity must be fully committed full-time ministers of the body of Christ.

  • Movements that are necessary for the church today to fulfill what God is calling them to do. For the clergy, 1. moving from pastor as the primary minister to each believer fulfilling their calling as full-time ministers in their spheres of influence; 2. Moving from preaching only to not only appropriate sermon preparation time but also discipling a core group; 3. Moving from a priority on numbers to staying with a process that results in mature disciples; 4. From solo leadership to team leadership. Discipleship should not be optional. Old Christendom model is breaking down but confusion on who and what we are called to be. “Is my first aim to make disciples, or do I just run an operation?” For the laity, 1. From going to church to being Church; 2. From expecting benefits from Christianity requiring no sustained effort to being intent on being disciples; 3. From being passive observers to full-time ministers. Primary purpose of leader is to equip the people of God to do the work of God.

  • The sermon is a critical part of the discipleship process. The “through” movement is the process of the “from-to” movement. Each of these steps must be contextualized to your situation. We are aiming for maturity in Christ. As a leader, you love the whole but you only disciple the few. Don’t neglect public proclamation but don’t see that as the end of your ministry. Daily pray, read scripture, weekly services, small groups acts of service, fasting, giving. Discipleship is helping people integrate the word of God into their lives.

  • Tozer says we don’t have the right of choosing Jesus as Savior and postponing our obedience. Dispositions are something that’s part of your daily life. Christian disciplines help us to love God and love our neighbor. Encourage people to seek God’s direction for where he wants them to serve. The biblical model is that mature Christians will live as disciplined followers. Make it a goal for pure love to fill your heart and govern your words and actions.

What do you think the priorities should be for a leader in the Church? How do you cultivate your personal spiritual life in a way that keeps you emotionally healthy and helps you avoid choosing sin? What is your measure of success for your church? How does that compare with a biblical measure of success? What is a disciple? What should the process of discipleship look like? What principles can you learn from the way Jesus interacted with his followers that will help you to encourage spiritual formation of the people in your sphere of influence? What are sins that people in leadership have commonly struggled with over the past 2,000 years? How do you recognize them in your own life and what are some practical ways to avoid them or repent and recover from them? What is the essence of worship? How do you live your life so you are worshipping God authentically in everything you do? How do you lead worship in a group setting in a way that encourages others to worship authentically? 

These are a few of the questions that Dr. Martyn poses to begin a conversation regarding the subject of the spiritual life of the leader. As a pastor for more than 20 years, Dr. Martyn asked and answered these questions in the context of loving and serving people personally. As part of his current position of teaching future pastors at Asbury seminary, he and some of his colleagues have conducted extensive surveys of church leaders throughout the North America and the world to get a better understanding of the responsibilities and pressures that church leaders face every day. His goal is to be able to understand biblical principles and use his experience to help leaders develop a model of ministry that helps them develop their personal spiritual life and give them a model to disciple and encourage the people they work with in a way that is healthy and encourages their faith and practice. 

Whether you have an official leadership position or not, you will benefit from listening to this class. It is one of the most comprehensive classes on spiritual formation, discipleship, leadership principles and worship that you will ever hear. If you listen and reflect on each of the lectures from beginning to end, you will be glad you did. 

Dr. Stephen Martyn

Spiritual Life of a Leader


The Eight Deadly Sins (Part 1/4)

Lesson Transcript


[00:00:00] So we don't want any of our lives to be an example to serve only as an example for others of what not to do. Right. We want our lives to be examples of grace and redemption, and we don't want any of these eight deadly sins to get to get a hold of us. Now, many of you possibly have heard about the seven deadly sins, which have a completely different order and actually came later in church history. A man by the name of Gregory the Great. Somewhere after five nine he wrote took this list and revised them and put them in the list. That kind of is currently known today called the Seven Deadly Sins. And he starts out with pride. But I actually like this original list better. Now, let me also say, for those of you who are historians listening out there, there is some Greek influence in this. In other words, there's some pre-Christian thought about this. The early church took the best of that and said, look, we. The Lord Jesus himself spoke about these things as well. So I don't I don't want to I don't want to mislead anybody in saying that this just popped down into the early church. Some of this was pre church. But but definitely as we get over into some of the as we go down in the list, that's that's from gospels. Now let's just look at this list that John Carson spelled out for so that we can understand them. It's interesting that the list starts in the order that those early fathers said that Satan tries to get us. And they start in the order in which we need redemption. This loose order is important to us. And I want us to understand that all of you have heard of the term gourmet.


[00:02:17] It's a French term, right? And who does not like gourmet cooking? I mean, I love gourmet cooking. But they the Latin had kind of an awful term called Gorme Gorman that dies. I can't even say it properly in Latin. But Gorman Gorman Gorme and dies is the term. And that means you just overdoing it. You're absolutely overdoing. It goes premium and dicey. It's excessively devour food and it just simply means being a slave to flesh. Now, when I came to this sweet, beautiful home, I was presented or all of us were presented with, you know, a living example of Gorman that does this is a box of fine German chocolate. And, you know, Satan just knew, Oh, my gosh, I'm just going to get him from the very beginning. This can be my downfall. I love dark chocolate. And, you know, I just have to be careful. And I. I believe in the Holy Spirit. Fast. It's. It's worked throughout church history. Here's how it goes. The Holy Spirit just tells you you've had enough. Stop. You know you've had enough. So anyway, Satan, get behind me. Anyway, I put it. Put it over. I might actually have one later after lunch. We'll see. Okay. So they were really clear about all of this, that. You got to break this thing first. And what's the kicker in it? They said, if you can't break gluttony, if you can't break this inordinate desire for food, if you can't if you can't allow the Holy Spirit to break that in your life and tame that in your life, then here's here's the kicker. They said you're never going to be able to overcome poorly or fornication. You're not going to be able to work through that. So the way out now for gluttony, they said we've got to be really careful here in that appropriate fasting.


[00:05:05] You sweat the Holy Spirit, say, No, that's enough. And then there will be set times of fasting. And remember the early church. Many of them actually fasted two days or a week in the early church, Wednesdays and Fridays, but fairly soon that fast worked itself out to Fridays from Thursday after you don't overload before you go into fast. But anyway, from Thursday evening, after a normal meal to the time Jesus died 3:00 on Friday afternoon, that was a normal fast. They also said, Look, you don't have to always have gourmet food. Common food is okay. It's good. It's right. The key is excess now, porno or fornication. This is a wandering heart. This is this is a praying p r e y, you know, devouring others, seeking to devour others. And part of what we've got to realize here, particularly in pastoral ministry, is that you can you can move into a full blown adulterous relationship without ever even touching someone physically. But when when any pastoral leader works into a place of depending upon I'll just use it for pastoral leader is a male and that man works himself into a place where he's continually depending upon another and a female and drawing strength from her and develops a tight communion with her and draws from her an intimacy there, which really is an inappropriate intimacy only designed for a marital intimacy. Not in other words, she cannot be my primary strength. She cannot be my primary relational go to person. That's that's as big of a fault as anything that ends up in a physical relationship. We want to be really, really clear here. We are not okay, men. We are not to touch a woman in an we're we're simply not to touch a woman in an inappropriate way in a sentence.


[00:07:47] And we're called to guard our hearts to where we did not develop those types of relationships that replace primary spousal relationships. Women, you know, I've done enough work around the globe and there women pastors all over the globe. Now, there's a lot of them to now know that every problem any male has ever had works itself into female lives. And so I've I've had to deal with devastating issues where female pastors. You know, ended up in a in a physical adulterous affair and female pastors. Now, more and more I'm having students, female students coming in, hooked on pornography and having to be delivered from pornography, just not at the same rate as the males, but at a very, very high rate. So we're going to be very you know, we're going to be very clear here. What's the word from the early church? Chaste love. What is chaste Love. Chaste love is I love the other, for God's sake. In other words, I am seeking her good. I am seeking his good. And he or she is not there for me to devour. Avarice, then, is the love of money. Everest Hits. Oh, it's pastoral leadership, you know, in a number of ways, but probably in the majority of pastoral leaders and congregational leaders. Everest will hit with a fear of not having enough. And boy, that's that that's a great tool of Satan, because he'll he'll just gouge you Say, what if what if what if what if you can't cover this? What if in your old age and you don't have enough? What if What if? I've also seen it work the other way. I've actually dealt with pastors who are paid enormous what I would consider bizarre salaries in the upper end.


[00:10:13] Everest is basically saying, you know, how much money is enough? And so what's what's usually the answer? How much is enough? Yeah, just a little boy. Just one more dollar. Just a little more. The healing balm is for them. Was poverty of spirit. That that deep, deep realization that my well-being, my goodness, is found in Christ and in Christ alone. And I can never accumulate enough to secure myself against the ills of the world. Never, ever. And so Poverty of spirits is saying I'm. I know I am of it's like David King David said, you know, as for me, I am poor and needy. Well, David wasn't an impoverished man. I mean, he was a wealthy man and he had a fairly significant military force around him. And he lived in palatial glory. I've been on the ruins where his house was. I know what is where it was, what it looked like. But how could you write this for me? I am poor and needy. He could do that because he knew that because he was a sinner. He stood in need of Yahweh, of God. His his love, his covering, his savior. So all of us, all of us, regardless and particularly in many parts of the world today, my heavens, even though my wife and I were poor pastors, the bottom truth is, bottom line is we were compared to the majority of the world and even the majority world today. We're incredibly wealthy people compared to how most people, even in societies around the globe, live today. Anger is a rancorous spirit. Early Church said, basically, I don't have the right to be angry with anybody except myself. I actually sometimes think we need to take exception to that. There is a godly anger, there is a righteous anger, and sometimes the woman of God or the man of God needs to take that up and be lovingly firm.


[00:12:38] But there is a good word on this, that anger most of the time, not all the time, but most of the time is a massive red flag. It's really seen more about us in our demand to have the world ordered according to our standards, rather rather than anything about God's righteousness. So the remedy is cut it out. Paul had strong words for us. You know, Christ had strong words for us. We want to stay focused on the redemptive power of Christ and the anger of man. Does not work the righteousness of God. You know, it's just kind of a nature biblical principle. Now, we're going to cover these next two, five and six in far more depth. So we'll skip to vainglory. Vainglory is just basically saying, Whoo! Boy, aren't I good? Did that good. That. That. That was awesome. Well done, son. Or well done, daughter. It's, you know, I don't know about in the circles you travel in, but many times after preaching, people would just simply say, Oh, great sermon preacher or awesome or you know and it's kind of like one of my friends was introduced with glowing flowing language one time and my friend got up after that and and said how much he appreciated the introduction. He said, But I got to tell you, it's kind of like French perfume. It smells good. But if you drank the stuff, it kill you. So. So vainglory drink in the perfume. It's only the Lord who allows us to do any good. In other words, is because of the goodness of God that I am able to do good for others. Now, pride, of course, is the destruction of the human person. That's the very definition of Satan himself. Pride essentially says, God, I don't need you to forget it.


[00:15:04] All right. So that's that's a brief overview, but I want to go in now. I want to look a little bit more in depth at two of these deadly sins that absolutely ravage pastoral and congregational leadership. Now, you would think that I would have gone to the heart since that we would have gone up here into gluttony or porno or fornication to greed or to anger. And of course, Satan will wield that weapon as effectively as he can and has taken out many, many of the saints that way, eliminated them from leadership. I highly, highly recommend works by Gordon MacDonald, just a phenomenal leader in the nineties I think it was in the nineties or it could have been in the late eighties. I don't have my library with me here, but he wrote a bestselling book called Ordering Your Your World. Something along those lines. But but then after that he had an affair and had to enter into a fairly serious remedial process. And he wrote a he wrote a text that I've required a lot. It is called Reordering Your Private World. And that one, I think the better of those two takes Reordering your Private World by Gordon. Gordon MacDonald Excellent, excellent word on on recovering from a collapse here. But I think the bigger issues for us today are going to be more along the the sadness and the despair. One, I'll I'll explain this. Let's just look at these things and go into a power Point presentation. This is Sandy, a peak in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Sandy is somewhere over 10,000 feet. It's on a ridge of the Rocky Mountains. The Rocky Mountains go down running basically north to south southwest through the state of New Mexico until they run into Texas.


[00:17:40] It's really a beautiful ridge because it's the longest span tram in the in the world. And anyway, once you get up on top of Sandia, you can literally see about 62 miles, literally 62 miles due east to another mountain range. That's 62 miles away. I'm sorry, due west, due west. You can see over that to the north west into what's called the famous mountain range. That's where Los Alamos is National Labs. It's where all sorts of prehistoric dwellings are there. And if you can, you can see much further down into the south west where the very large telescope array is, that you can't see those things, but you can see down in that whole area and that mountain range. So when you start out looking for a north due west, then down to the southwest, you're talking about a magnificent view, a huge, huge expansive view where I don't I've never been in another geological place in the world. I'm sure there is one more than one, but at least in the States, I've never seen anything this massive and expansive. I was a pastor in Albuquerque for seven years and with my wife and I would go up there quite a bit as much as we could. We loved loved going up there. So. What I want to talk about then about what leads into these things, and you'll understand why the horizon in the massive horizon will fit into all of this is what we could call today the spiritual cancer of depreciation. Let's just define terms real fast. When something appreciates, what does it do? Right. It goes up in value. You know, a car or eventually a great classic car. If you hold it long enough and keep it in good enough shape, it'll go up in value.


[00:20:09] But when something depreciates, what does it do? It goes down in value. And so in the spiritual life, when we talk about the spiritual cancer of depreciation, you know, what I'm going to be talking about is looking at the vast, vast horizon of God's goodness. In the world, in his creation and in my life. And depreciating it lets let's spell it out and see why it leads to deadly sins. So looking on the horizon of God's good world and what only seeing what's wrong. It's a huge issue in the church today. Great. Actually, a tragic, tragic biblical account of this is the account of Michael. Now, I know there's some Hebrew scholars out there, but I'm telling you, I'm a West Texan and I cannot properly pronounce some of these Hebrew words. It just doesn't come out of my mouth. So you'll forgive me, but it's something like the hail, but I can't say it correctly. So anyway, you'll forgive. We'll just call her Michael, though. You'll know I'm mispronouncing her name. This. You'll see in first Samuel 1820 that she loved David. Now, I mean, who wouldn't love David? Tall, strong, handsome. He's a hero. I mean, he's. David's a young, unmarried national hero. He's ready. You know, he had. He'd been out in the sun all of his life. He had. He had little. He had. He had a suntan. You know, he had that whole flowing hair business going and just. Just a tough guy. I mean, he's a military guy now, and so he's the prize kids in the whole nation. Mark, of course, is whose daughter you remember. Whose daughter? Yeah, the king's daughter, Michael Saul's daughter. So, you know, she's kind of a prized catch herself. She loved him.


[00:22:43] Lo and behold, her father gives him gives her to marry the dream of her life. I mean, her dreams came true. It's an amazing thing that was unfolding for her. We know from the account, if you read the account, keep going in for Samuel 18 that Saul was so threatened by the prowess and and just the capacity of David himself that he hated David. And he actually used Michael as a snare against him. This picture is a picture of Michael letting David out the window. You know, her dad's trying to nail him to the wall with a javelin. So after Michael saved David from the hand of her father, Saul did one of the meanest, cruelest things that anybody can read about. You know, here was supposedly a man of God, but the Holy Spirit was departed from this man. But anyway, he took his daughter and he gives her now in marriage to another man. I'm telling you, that's that was about as low as you can go in terms of relationships. So at this point, we want to have huge empathy for Michael. And we want to also, before we go further into her actual life and the situation that unfolded, you know, say that that she was genuinely violated by others. In other words, people abused her. I mean, in this case, her own father abused her. She she truly was victimized by others. And that's I think that's going to be important to say, because what we're going to hear is a fairly hard word about Michael as this biblical account unfolds. Now, after Saul and his son Jonathan died, David demands her back. And we're not 100%, or at least I'm not 100% sure if this was a completely pure act on David's part or if he's just trying to claim property or if he's just trying to unify the kingdom.


[00:25:34] I'll leave that to a true Old Testament scholars. But whatever the case was, we know that he says, bring her back and she's married. You know, she's with another man now. So Paul Teale, Michael's second husband, follows her back. She's coming, being forced. He had no choice and he had no choice but to let go of her as she's being taken back to David, in the words, is that he was weeping as he walked behind her. So something you know, even though it was not the best of circumstances, at least the biblical evidence is that she loved him and he loved her. And now what's called a forced detachment crisis came in their lives. In other words, a crisis hit. And when you say forced detachment, it means there was nothing they could do about it. Literally, she had to let go of her husband and her husband had to let go of her. I mean, we're we're talking about a sad situation here. Now, at some point in Michael's life and in her heart, you know, things became dark and hatred filled her life. You say, Well, how can you not blame her? Yeah, we're going to have to listen to the word here and see what the word has to say, because I doubt I'm talking to very few people who have not gone through what's called a forced attachment crisis. Forced attachment crisis is where something is ripped away from you. And it was not right. My heavens. How many, many pastors have I talked to who who were forced to leave this congregation or that congregation? And sometimes many times it was nothing other than a cruel power play by when it's all boiled down to when it's all boiled down.


[00:27:50] It's no more than 7 to 9 people forced them out. Absolutely forced them out. Or what about a disease that suddenly pops up and and you had to let go of something. You even have to let go of the vitality you knew? Or what about tragic accidents? Goodness gracious. When you live in a fallen world, when you live in a fallen world that is waiting and groaning, as Paul said, for full redemption, then these kinds of tragedies take place. And what we learn from the true exemplary people, what we learn from people even who were thrown into Nazi concentration camps. What we learn from from the witness of a number of saints is that in the final analysis, no one can strip you of the basic freedom that you have. And what's the basic freedom? The basic freedom is to say yes to what God is asking you to go through. Or to simply deny, you know, and rail against God and rail against life circumstances. I learned that from my mentor in the faith. My mentor hid Jews during World War Two, and my mentor had to go through the entire duration of World War Two under Nazi occupation, and he dared to print a newspaper, which he would have been shot on site. If he'd have been found. He would have been shot on site for shuffling Jews and Christians and others from farmhouse to farmhouse. He'd have been shot on sight for bringing food from the Dutch countryside back into the city where he lived, to help people just barely survive during the hunger winter of 19 4445, which was one of the coldest winters in the history of Europe. Adrian von Karman, my mentor in the faith, Adrian von Karman, lived on about 400 calories a day eating tulip bulbs while living in barns, in open fields, dodging Nazis and the tyranny therein.


[00:30:28] He lost everything and the people around him lost everything they had. During the hunger winter of 1944, 1945, somewhere, you know, a bazaar, 150,000 plus people just died from sheer starvation in Holland. And Adrian was on the side of Holland. That was that was not emancipated until May the eighth, 1945, the last day of the European war. So it's out of that kind of struggle where you learn, hey, even in the midst of having lose, of having lost everything, you know, Adrian was able look up in the winter sky, man's freezing out in the field and say, God, I know you're going to bring purpose into my life and I know you're going to bring your will to come to bear even through this horror. So we've got to take the firmness of the Lord here now, particularly when bizarre suffering comes upon us and it's undeserved and it's not right and it's unjust and it's wrong. Michael's heart filled with darkness. Dark hatred. In the final account of Michael. We know that David's coming up. He's coming up from lower down up to where he lived, going up to the Temple Mount from his house. You can stand on your own excavation of his house today and look down into the valley where he's come, where he would have come up. David's dancing before the Lord. Why? Why? They're bringing the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. I mean, they're bringing the holy artifacts. It's a sign of God's favor. And David's out front dancing before the Lord. And. And if you want to really get down and translate the scripture some. I think the best way we could understand it today is you see, David's out there dancing in his underwear before the Lord.


[00:32:39] And so Michael's looking out at him and, you know, that's it for her. It's just absolutely for her. What does the word say? She despised him in her heart. And who did it really end up eating alive? David or Michael? Oh, it ended up eating her alive. That's what anger does to us. It eats us up if if it's unredeemed, if we're not asking for Christ to help us, if we don't have a sense of assurance that all things are going to be set right when the kingdom comes, all things are going to be set right. Sometimes I look back on my own past or ministry and and I think of those who abused me. I remember those who even physically hit me. I think of those who laid stripes on my back. And I think, you know what? It's all going to get resolved. It's all going to be resolved also at the same time, think, Oh, Jesus, have mercy on me because I think I've hurt others. Think, No, I know I've hurt others like that as well. So last word scripture has to say about Michael is this. And Michael, the daughter of Saul, had no child to the day of her death. So she was barren in the broadest sense of being barren, you know, without any kind of fruit in her life, without any kind of love, without any kind of goodness in her life. I think that's the broader meaning, at least the spiritual meaning. I'm taking away from it that this bitterness just really sank her own life. It sank her own heart. Are you are you starting to get a little connection now? Oh, the deadly sin of what the early church called fastidious tiara estate. Fastidious.


[00:35:01] Are this inordinate sadness. We'll look at it. We'll look at it further now. God calls us to higher way. He calls us to a to a more complete way. I remember during the worst of the Iraq war, when my own son would call sometimes from a satellite phone. And we we kept our phones by our side day and night during that war and his deployment in Iraq. And one time he called us and I started hearing what I thought were firecrackers in the background. And the firecrackers got louder and louder, and I got more concerned. It suddenly dawned on me, nobody's popping firecrackers in Iraq. And I just calmly said, Son, don't you need to take cover now? And he said, Ah, dad, this happens all the time. Click. Yeah. Satellite phone goes dead. Now he was in the in the branch of of special services to even to this day he can't tell us where he was. I mean, only time he could tell us where he was was when he was deployed in Iraq. I even now wonder whether or not my son had all his buddies around and held up his finger. Sit on three. Everybody let loose with your machine guns. You know, I'm not sure if that's what he was doing to jerk us around. He very well could have been, although I doubt it, because he was in firefights on a very, very regular basis during that time. I was driving to work man of God, ordained minister of the Gospel Christian for decades, and a muslim woman cut in front of me in a bizarrely dangerous way. It was clear she was an immigrant. It was also clear she didn't know how to drive. And for a moment I was facing her driving and I could see her face even as she had cut from the right hand lane in front of me and turned her car sideways.


[00:37:52] And she looked at me just as I thought I was about to plow into her. And there was something in my heart that nearly stepped on the gas pedal to intentionally harm her. When that happened, then I knew I had to pull over. I thought, Jesus, how can you. How can I allow that kind of hatred, that kind of depreciation in my life? You know, now, Lord, I ask for forgiveness. You know, there were people trying to kill my son. There were radicals, strand Muslim radicals trying to kill my son. And some of his friends, best friends came home in a box during that time, and our hearts were broken over this. But the man of God in the woman of God is not called to let anger rule in their lives. And so the call now, when I see any kind of Muslim person in a burka, the call is to ask for God's love to be about them, for God's light, to show them the way for the literally we read now and hear now of story after story of story of Jesus, quite literally appearing in dreams and visions to Muslim people. We know missionaries in Muslim places. And so we want to pray for the light of the gospel to come in their lives. So I think the call of the Lord for us in a world that is polarized, where political structures seem to be collapsing, where society seems to have massive erosion going on in terms of values and in terms of just having any anything other than sheer narcissism and egotism, a rule and reign in society. You know what? I cannot allow my heart to get caught up in what's wrong. The gospel will not allow me.


[00:40:19] So I've got to find a way forward in all of this and in finding the way forward. I think the Lord will speak to us about how we tend to speak ill of our circumstances. You know, the more you talk about what's wrong with your life and what's wrong with your circumstances, it's like throwing gasoline on the fire. The more exaggerated it becomes. It's a tough, tough thing. There's a sweet, sweet, elderly Anglican lady in England by the name of Esther de Waal. She's trained at Oxford and just one of the greatest writers in the world today. I actually have one of her tics sitting right there on top. And that's it. Let me see. So Esther de Waal has written a number of ticks, but this one ticks. Text Seeking God the Way of Saint Benedict. Just a wonderful way for Protestants to go back and claim the first 1500 years of church history. Let me let me just share a little word about that. The first 1500 years of church history belong as much to us as to anybody else. And you and I can learn from people like Benedict. He's Benedict is just as much in my in our Christian tradition as in anyone else's. And so she says complaining can easily become a habit. In other words, the early church would would talk about habits. In other words, just this kind of part of your personality to gripe, gripe, gripe all the time. And one that is essentially destructive, detracting from the value of everything and everyone around us. It's it's it's not the way for us. One way to think about is. Remember that Great Horizon I was talking about? It sends you peak at Massive Horizon. When you complain.


[00:42:45] What you do is you narrow it all down. To where you're only seeing what's wrong with the horizon. I was walking on Sandia Peak and we would friend and I would go up in prayer, walk on the peak, praying over the city of Albuquerque and just praying for our ministry in that city. And we walked by a tour bus load of people. You can drive up there. We sometimes we would hike. But anyway, we walked by a tour bus load and they were all out there and they were all pointing out to the Southwest region. And they were. And the number was, Oh my gosh, how terrible, how terrible. And I'm looking on this vast horizon and I'm thinking, what in the world are those people talking about? I mean, I can see goodness in every direction. And so I went over by them just to see what they were talking about. And sure enough, I looked out on the southwest horizon, out on what I think is was one of the only part of an Indian reservation. And I think what happened is a couple of someone had put just maybe two or three tires and they were burning tires. They were burning something where there was just a thin pencil line of smoke. There's a hundred over a hundred mile horizon north to south, over 62 miles deep to the west. And they're focused on a pencil line, a pencil line. And friends. That's what happens when we get to focusing on what's wrong with our situation. You take the vastness of God's good work in our lives and watch what you do. You wham. You just slam it down to the pencil line of what is not going the way you want it to go in your life.


[00:44:54] And then what happens? Then what happens? Then the pencil line starts growing on your horizon to where at some point, then all you see is what's wrong with the world? Uh, that's what these guys were talking about. That's what they're talking about with sadness with Twisted here. Oh, boy. Paul says, Put it away from you. Put this corrosive, evil, abusive language in Ephesians four. MAN Get rid of it. Cut it out. All bitterness. Oh. I think bitterness is pick. You know, it's a really bad, bad term. You know, it's a set goal, that bitter goal that comes up from the inside. Wrath, anger, wrangling, slander, all the malice. Listen, this is not what we walk in even when people abuse us. This is not what we walk in and seek. The things that Bobby said. Colossians three one through three. So the question for us, particularly those of us who are Christ followers and who are leaders, who are the shepherds. The question for us was this How can we begin to regain God's good and beautiful horizon that that vast horizon of where he's at work in the world, holding all things together, bringing all things to glorious conclusion in the second Coming and in the coming of the kingdom in its fullness? Well, we've got to we need to hear the call here to repent of dark attitudes, words, actions, you know, these things that tend to pull us down in that downward spiral we've been talking about and move into humble dependance upon the Lord. I mean, can we not even pray together outloud? I just invite you to. To pray the word with me now, out loud, if you're listening to it. Wherever, at home. Create in me a clean heart.


[00:47:21] Oh, God. And put it right. Right. Spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence. And do not take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation. And sustain me in a willing spirit. Play, man. Let it be, Lord. Let it be. Let it be. Put these things on. Paul is saying Put these appreciative clothes on. This is. This is even beyond the armor of the spirit that he gave us. This is this is a way of living in Christ. This is what a woman of God does. This is what the man of God does who is in Christ. But these things on compassion, listen, whatever compassion comes down to comes down to a sense of having mercy on the fallen of others, even as the Lord Jesus has had mercy on my followers. Do you understand the word mercy, what it means? It's in this whole realm of totally unwarranted, you know, it's unmerited. Eliot's mercy. It's man, this is. I do. I deserve this? No, I don't deserve it. That's why it's grace. It's given to me because of who God is, not because of how I have messed up. Thank the Lord that He has been gracious to me and merciful to me. Kindness. Gentle. You know, Grace. Humility. Basically, humility is saying, for the best of us, being totally dependent upon God. You think you're good. You think you've really something else. The fall will not be far away, though. The Lord Jesus is good. The Lord Jesus is something else. And he's the one up there now, on the right hand of God. The Father Almighty interceding for us, pleading our cause. He's the one who disputes his grace, is the one in the Father who sinned the Holy Spirit to assist us, to be able to follow him.


[00:49:57] That's called essential humility. I cannot do anything in ministry without his help. I cannot be an effective human being, a loving human being, without his redemptive help. Meekness is the power that comes through throwing off pretense, you know? Now, what did the meek inherit? Do you remember that? Just kind of in the Beatitudes, The whole Earth? Yeah. Like the like everything good belongs to those who don't have to put on pretense that they are something that they are not. So let me let me just share with you here. About these eight deadly sins at this point. Let me just share an important word, particularly to pastoral leaders. You know, to be honest, in the early years of my pastoral leadership, and I can even say in the broadest sense with Augustine and others in the early years of my salvation. Now, don't don't take me to the woodshed over there. You know, you are saved. And that's a done deal or that's a done deal. But who did? I have a lot to grow in. I mean, did I ever have a lot to grow into? So in the early, early years of that growth, I really did not think of myself as a sinner, as a leader. I really thought of the sheep as the sinners mayor or filthy sinner sheep man. They need what I got to say. You know, these are things you really hate to admit, but as an old man, you just say, Well, the truth is going to come out anyway, so you might as well get it out now. And I think one of the things the Lord had to deal with me with is saying, you know what? You need to put yourself in that category as well.


[00:52:00] And you need to understand that you need grace just as much as they do. And the key for me was reading or actually having a in class. One of my professors was reading out of the original John the original Latin, anyway, was reading Johnny Carson and Carson just says it out right. The beginning of holiness is the realization that all of these eight deadly sins reside in the people that you pastor. No, that's not what he said. All of these deadly sins reside in who? My life. Look what's Paul's basic understanding. He used a very you used a couple of interesting words, but he used one amazing word. Here it is. Is the word Proteus. Now just getting that word pro out there and putting that in front of a anyway. Pro tops was pro toss me first primary main one the chief of sinners I'm the protons of sinners. You look it up you look it up I mean it's and you know and then you use the word I'm I'm. Of all the apostles and what I'm the last or the least. You know, I tell you, I think there's some safety and in the true self understanding here that okay as a leader I am called to be involved in leading and blessing others with God's grace. But I need to understand I've got to receive that grace as well. But these appreciative close home pulses patients, especially with difficult people. I also had to come to a point in pastoral leadership in ministry of realizing that some of those who had argued with me. Or it's simply not going to be resolved during this lifetime. I've just got to wait. I've got to trust the Lord Jesus in the Peruvian in the final coming.


[00:54:39] He's just going to have to work it out because, I mean, there's no way I can work it out now. People end up hating you sometimes and cutting you out of their lives. They just listen. This is just part of what it means to bear the cross of Christ. At the same time, you don't want to set yourself up with any kind of a victim mentality, you know? And at the same time, you want to be very, very careful that just because you receive critique. Doesn't mean that they're trying to that that's a bad thing. All leaders need to have critique. That's part of it. So you got to have wisdom in discerning what's what's what's, you know, truly something that the Lord might use and where there might be a kernel of truth and really where there's no truth at all. And you just have to bear it and trust that the Lord Jesus will sort it all out. So we forgive others. I mean, what's the prayer we were given and asked to pray? Forgive us. What of our. It's it's debts really, I think is better. Am I right? It's yeah, it's a dare. It's really some branches of the church kind of got it wrong in their translation. That's all right. So whether you say trespasses or day, it's out of care. But anyway, it's. Forgive us this sin load, Lord, and. But also forgive those who have debts against us. We're to actively seek to love others in Christ, actively do this. Now, listen, you may be in a small group. Now you may be doing this one on one, but you need to process some of this. I want you to process some of it. One of the worst things that you can do is come into a team like this and then not give the Lord and the community the body of Christ time to address it.


[00:56:46] So here's the question. Where are you in the story? With Michael filled with bitterness and injustice. And the whole horizon has just shut down. And all you see is what's wrong with power till a true violation. I mean, and there's nothing he could do about it. He would have been killed if he'd had done anything else. So are you at a time of grief and loss where something that you loved was taken away from you? Maybe a position, maybe, maybe a person, maybe your health, You know, Is there genuine grief going on with David? You know, I'm not sure that David didn't have a little bit of harshness in the way he dealt with with the Michael.