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Devotionals

The New Idol - Hating the Church God Loves

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828ministries.com H3'ed 8/9/14
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They broke bread in their homes and met corporately at the temple, reminding us that these first believers had come out of the Jewish culture. Beloved, God does not want us alone, Satan does. Being with other believers by the way, does not include Facebook either. Ecclesiastes teaches us this principle:

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him--a threefold cord is not quickly broken. - Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12 (ESV)

Can a church simple be a small gathering of believers? Absolutely. Do they have to meet in a big steepled building? Absolutely not. That does not mean however that they should not meet in big steepled buildings. In fact the Word of God seems to lean towards the public gatherings. There is also supposed to be an order to the church. The Bible makes things clear if we are willing to put aside our personal issues and admit it:

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. - James 3: 1 (ESV)

Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. 1Timothy 5: 17 (ESV)

These first two Scriptures cannot be any plainer. For those who think everything is even in the church here is some unsettling news. It is not. We are all even in the eyes of God in that we are all sinners covered by the blood of Jesus but that does not mean everyone is even in terms of what call and gifts they have. I am sure we all know people who fancy themselves teachers/preachers/pastors but cannot tell why the Message Bible is not fit for use. Or they readily dismiss centuries worth of solid Christian exposition under the guise of false piety. The truth according to the Word of God is that while everyone is charged with doing the work of a Berean, not everyone is called to divide the Word of Truth for the sheep. Not everyone is called to pastor, teach, or preach and those who are should receive double honor. The James verse actually says not many of us should even try to take on these roles because they then are held to a much higher standard. What standard? Let us turn to the Word:

Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. - 1Timothy 4: 16 (ESV)

Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all,for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. - Acts 20: 26-27 (ESV)

The first verse is Paul speaking to his protege Timothy as he prepares him for his role of pastor at Ephesus. I have heard people try to even say that fact, accepted for centuries, is also wrong. The pastoral letters are clear. Paul does not write to people telling them how to run a church for no particular reason. Hermeneutics does not mean you check your brain at the door. In this verse, he explicitly tells Timothy that the very salvation of his listeners is at stake when it comes to his preaching. That is why the standard is so high. That is why it is so disheartening to see false pastors today who do not care about the sheep entrusted to them by the Great Shepherd. They will be held to account for every sheep. The Acts verse is when Paul is saying goodbye to the Ephesian elders and he basically admits here that if he had not preached the whole counsel of God then those that would not be saved would be counted against him! Their blood, he would be responsible for! Think about that Mr. seeker friendly pastor! Before you go watering down the Gospel, you better beware. We have established scripturally that there are in fact leaders in the church. There is no question. It does not make them better. They should never lord their leadership over the sheep. I cringe when I see the modern church's obsession with chasing secular leadership principles when we have Christ! Jesus showed us that leadership is all about servanthood and humility. As Paul said; follow me as I follow Christ. There is a reason for this plan God has for organizing His church:

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