Morals in the Pulpit and in the Pew
by Leslie Diestelkamp
via Think, Vol. 2, No. 5, July 1971
Once, when I preached a sermon on morals, a mature man in the congregation asked to speak. For perhaps two or three minutes he exhorted the people, giving complete endorsement to what I had preached. I believe his endorsement may have impressed the people more than my sermon had. It would be a good thing, everywhere, if elders and/or other mature, devout men would publicly concur in teaching of truth on moral matters. The more worldly ones would then come to realize that morality is a matter for all, not just for preachers. We need more morals in the pew as well as in the pulpit.
In the same city where I preached the above-mentioned sermon, an elderly lady attended the services. I visited her, and in the course of such I inquired how she happened to attend. She said that "her church" was far across the city and that her son had urged her to attend with us. Her son was foreman in a plant over the very man mentioned above who exhorted the people when I preached. Her son so admired the morals of his worker that he told his mother, "that church must be all right" because that man went there.
Of course, I do not mean that the morality of the people necessarily makes a church right. People may indeed be moral and still be very wrong doctrinally. On the other hand, regardless of the purity of doctrine that is preached, a church can't be right before God and fruitful among men unless the morals of the members are above reproach. In fact, correctness (scripturalness) in worship, work and organization is made attractive to the world by genuine morality and good works (Matthew 5:15-16).
When Christians teach the whole truth, many people will reject
it and rebel against it. Yet some may be won to receptiveness and
later to obedience through the godliness of Christians. Conversely,
any scriptural position a church may take is made quite
inconsequential to the world if the people do not live in holiness.
A preacher's sermon on morals falls very flat if the congregation
does not exemplify the highest ideals. Especially the leaders
(elders, deacons, preachers, etc.) and their wives need to maintain
untainted reputations that will portray the very same ideals as are
proclaimed in the sermons.
Instead of always whining and complaining about the morals of the world about us, God's people would do better to just demonstrate, in the pulpit and the pew, the qualities that are desirable. Let us say and do, preach and live moral purity of the very highest possible degree. Let the thoughts of our minds, the words of our lips and the deeds of our bodies be holy, godly and righteous altogether. This would abound to the glory of God, to satisfaction in life and usefulness to the world.