I want to begin by saying that during my 45—this July will be 46—years among you as one of your pastors, it has been my joy to pastor a people who both in their individual lives and in their corporate life have both validated and illustrated the gospel that is preached from this pulpit, that was preached from pulpits set up in several different schools, from the pulpit that is now in the multi purpose room that used to be in what we affectionately called the cracker box.
Now let me explain what I mean by the statement that you have individually and corporately both illustrated and validated the gospel that has been preached. Over the years visitors would come among us and after they had been among us would speak to one of us in leadership and say, “Pastor Martin or pastor so and so, I was tremendously impressed as I came to worship among you to see how your people came in quietly, prepared their hearts, entered in whole heartedly to the worship.”
You were validating what was preached from the pulpit that the gospel creates earnest, passionate, serious worshippers. They would also comment on the behavior of your children. One woman, a very well known leader in evangelical circles worshipped with us here one Lord’s Day a number of years ago and was so impressed with the way the children behaved themselves. And she inquired of one of our people, “How is it done?” And she was told, “Well, we believe it can be done. We start early and we stick with it.”
You were validating what was preached from this pulpit that the gospel creates men and women committed to godly family life and to parental guidance and government of the children.
Pastors have come for our pastor’s conference and stayed in your homes. And some of them have said they never saw gospel ordered homes until they came into some of your homes. They didn’t see regular family worship. And they went away challenged. Why?
Because you as a people have both validated and illustrated the gospel that is preached from this pulpit.
Another area that has marked our life together which has also both validated and illustrated the power of the gospel in days gone by has been the decided modesty and the distinctive femininity of the dress and the demeanor of the women in this church, the decided modesty and the distinctive femininity.
However, in the past year or two there has been a marked erosion among us in both of these areas. We, as pastors, have seen it with our own eyes. We have had men come to us vexed in their hearts and in their minds as they struggle to maintain mental purity before God, eyes that do not become the inlet of lust on the basis of what they see.
Furthermore, there have been members of the church who have expressed their sense of vexation and concern that we have lost ground in this area of the decided modesty and the distinctive femininity of our women. And, as your pastors, we have spent much time discussing, praying, wrestling with such questions a: How should this be addressed? What forum should it be addressed in? How explicit shall we be without crossing the line of good taste and holy discretion?
Well, a couple of weeks ago we called you as a church to pray that God would guide us. And I believe that my standing here this morning is a direct answer to your prayers, that God gave us a sense of an answer to our wrestlings, how to address it, what forum within which to address it, how explicit to be. And I stand before you with a good conscience this morning convinced that it is God’s time to address it in this forum and to be as explicit as I purpose to be in the unfolding of this matter.
Re-published from the original publication of Al Martin's sermon HERE.
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