Things I've Learned from a Fallen Pastor: Part 1

Things I've Learned 
From a Fallen Pastor: Part 1
Pastor Stephen "Red" Shumate
February 5th, 2017
Image courtesy of Tuomas_Lehtinen at

Listen to full sermon here.

Click here to Download an audio file of the sermon.

Lessons learned from when pastors or church leaders fall…

I think one of the most recognized stories of the Bible of a leader making a big mistake is King David.

2 Samuel 11:2-6
2 One evening David got up from his bed and strolled around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing—a very beautiful woman. 3 So David sent someone to inquire about her, and he reported, “This is Bathsheba, daughter of Eliam and wife of Uriah the Hittite.”
4 David sent messengers to get her, and when she came to him, he slept with her. Now she had just been purifying herself from her uncleanness. Afterward, she returned home. 5 The woman conceived and sent word to inform David: “I am pregnant.”

This of course is not where the story ends.  It gets worse.  David then comes up with a plan.  He was going to bring her husband home, who was away in the military and send him home for a few days.  No doubt, he would do what husbands do when they haven’t seen their beautiful wife in a while.  And then David figured that when he found out she was pregnant, her husband wouldn’t know any different…and it would all be covered up and he would have dodged that storm and life would go on.
But when he called Uriah in and sent him home, Uriah didn’t go home.  Instead he stayed with his men.  So, David then came up with another plan…

2 Samuel 11:14-15
The next morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. 15 In the letter he wrote:
Put Uriah at the front of the fiercest fighting, then withdraw from him so that he is struck down and dies.

He sent orders to have Uriah placed on the front lines and then to leave him there to be killed.  Now keep in mind David, in general, is not a bad guy.  This is after all David the same David wouldn’t kill Saul when Saul was chasing and trying to kill him.  And the reason was because Saul was one of God’s anointed.  

So, David did not start out as a bad guy.  He was a great Leader and did great and mighty things for the Lord…but in this instance…he slide down a very slippery and dangerous slope.

So the question is:  “What can we learn from David…and what can we learn from pastor who make a big mistake?” 

Well, the first thing we learn is that they are human too.  Just because Pastors lead churches and just because they have been called into high profile positions, doesn’t mean they are immune to attacks from the Devil…they are human, and subject to temptation just like you and me.

So, what does this mean for us.  It means we should pray for them…but more importantly it means we shouldn’t idolize them.  Look at what happens with Peter in Acts chapter 10 when he went to visit a well-known centurion and God-fearing man Cornelius…

Acts 10:24-26
Now Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25 When Peter entered, Cornelius met him, fell at his feet, and worshiped him. 26 But Peter helped him up and said, “Stand up! I myself am also a man.”

Peter very quickly reminds us that spiritual leaders are just like you and me, so, when we see Pastors (especially celebrity pastors) we need to make sure we do not unintentionally idolize them by thinking or saying “Look at how great they are, I wish I was like them.”  If we do, when they fall we will be incredibly disappointed and hurt.  The only person we should look at and admire as someone we wish to be like is Jesus Christ.

The second thing we need to learn from pastors who fall…is that their fall not only hurts themselves, but it also hurts others.  

There was a lot of fallout from David’s fall:
There was a family who lost a husband and a father…
There was an army unit who had to desert a fellow friend and soldier..
There was a nation who suffered after this because of God’s punishment to David…

The thing is sin…anyone’s sin…always affects others.   We like to think that it doesn’t hurt anyone but ourselves but this is not true,  there is always fallout.  And so, what we can learn from David’s fall and from watching a pastor fall, is that our sin hurts other people as well.

Of course, no matter how much we try not to fall, one day we will.  So how do we deal with it?

We deal with it by heading into the storm.  I once read a story of how buffalo in Colorado, when a storm comes over the mountain they will turn and run straight into the storm.  As a result, they only have to deal with the storm for a short amount of time.  However, the cows in Colorado, run away from the storm and as a result, they end up spending far more time in the storm and dealing with it, than the buffalo do.

David, kept trying to run and hide from His sin by covering it up when Bathsheba told him she was pregnant.  He should have dealt with it right then and there.  But he didn’t and this sin chased him down until it led him to commit murder.

Scripture never tells us to run or to hide from our sins.  In fact, it tells us just the opposite, it tells us to deal with our sins. (that is not to say we try to fix them... we can’t un-sin) And the way we deal with them is to confess them.

I John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins…and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness…

If we confess our sins.  He will forgive them and cleanse us from them and the sooner the better.  But the longer we wait to confess those sins, the longer we live with them hanging around our necks like an anchor and the more fallout we have to deal with.

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