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Devotionals    H3'ed 8/9/14

The New Idol - Hating the Church God Loves

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And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. - Ephesians 4: 11-14 (ESV)

God wants us to come to unity of the true faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God. He does not want us to be tossed about by every whim of doctrine that comes along. That is why there are overseers. That is why there are pastors. People charged with shepherding the flock and make sure none wander off. I have heard people recently say the entire role of pastor is unbiblical because the word never appears in Scripture. We cannot be this dense beloved. The word pastor comes from the Latin meaning shepherd. There is much human cunning, craftiness and deceitful schemes in the world and in the church. Too many are falling for this self-righteous trick of the devil where the very thing Christ died for has become the enemy. Are there gifts involved in these roles? Of course so but the usage of the word "the" before apostles, prophets, evangelists and teachers indicates these are roles people are expected to hold. We turn to Gills Exposition of the Entire Bible for more insight:

and some pastors and teachers, or doctors; these may be thought to differ, but not so much on account of the place where they perform their work, the one in the church, the other in the school; nor on account of the different subject of their ministry, the one attending to practical, the other to doctrinal points; but whereas the pastors are the shepherds of the flock, the overseers of it, and the same with the bishops and elders, and the teachers may be the gifted brethren in the church, assistants to the pastors, bare ministers of the word; so the difference lies here, that the one has the oversight, and care, and charge of the church, and the other not; the one can administer all ordinances, the other not; the one is fixed and tied to some certain church, the other not: though I rather think they intend one and the same office, and that the word "teachers" is only explanative of the figurative word "pastors" or shepherds; and the rather because if the apostle had designed distinct officers, he would have used the same form of speaking as before; and have expressed himself thus, "and some pastors, and some teachers"; whereas he does not make such a distribution here as there - Gills Exposition of the Entire Bible

The reality is the New Testament is loaded with instruction for how the church should be organized and the separation of roles within it. That may chafe against us but it is only our flesh which rebels. I am not speaking about blindly following any man but if my pastor preaches and lives a life that says follow me as I follow Christ; count me in.

So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you;not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." - 1Peter 5: 1-5 (ESV)

That sure sounds a lot like order beloved. Shepherd the flock. Exercise oversight willingly. Not for shameful gain, which disqualifies many today. Not domineering over those in your charge; that disqualifies even more. Being what to the flock? An equal? No, an example. Clothe yourself in humility. It is not about being different but not everyone is called to do the same thing. Christ wants His Bride to grow in maturity; not be tossed around by every new wave of doctrine because they have no leader. Without the shepherd/pastor/teacher we become a rudderless boat, drifting this way and that. I have seen it too. I have seen the result of false teaching that drives Christians into these walled communities where they just cast stones at the church while rummaging through Scriptures they do not understand. Does the Holy Spirit lead us into all truth? Of course but sometimes we do not see the truth for what it is. Sometimes God can give different revelations and sometimes we may not see at all. There is no shame in knowing people who know more than you. I have people I can email and ask a question about Scripture that might be tripping me up and I do not mean people who will tell me what I want to hear. The day we think we are beyond that is the day we are no longer teachable.

Beloved, there is much wrong in the church today. It should come as no surprise since God warned us about this throughout the New Testament. Yet even in these churches are the real sheep of God. It is so disappointing sometimes to listen to people who have been clearly hurt but refuse to acknowledge it. Dismiss thousands of years of biblical interpretation and research because they think they have the only revelation that matters. People who seem to react in glee whenever something goes wrong in the church. People who seem to root for things to go wrong in the church. Yesterday we saw the Acts 29 Network disassociate themselves from Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church. It was long overdue. I have documented the abuses of Driscoll for years now. But this was not a happy day. When someone who started out trying to serve God loses his way over a period of ten years we should not be rejoicing. I am happy for the sheep because maybe now they can get a pastor who will stick to the Gospel alone. But I weep for the church because she is the Bride of Christ and she suffered yesterday. I pray Mark Driscoll genuinely repents and seeks forgiveness. Christ forgave us. We ought to be waiting to forgive people; not waiting to cast that first stone.

I say that because it becomes real easy to do nothing but complain. It becomes real easy to sit behind a computer screen and hurl rocks at the church. They make an easy target; no doubt. It has to transcend that because there is no mercy in it. Now hear me out. I have no mercy for the wolves who are attacking the flock of God. I will expose them with every breath within me because they are killing the sheep - whether they intend to or not. Wrath is when we only look at the wolves though. Anger, bitterness, even righteous indignation - all when our eyes are fixed on the wolf. The problem is that there are still the sheep to consider. When we focus on them we find mercy; or at least we should. I have heard many Christians essentially say to hell with them. If they are too stupid to sit under false teaching there is nothing we can do about it. That is simply not how I interpret the parable of the 99 and 1. All sheep are precious to God. We preach the Word without compromise, expose what is false, and mercifully keep our eyes on His sheep.

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Credentialed Minister of the Gospel for the Assemblies of God. Owner and founder of 828 ministries. Vice President for Goodwill Industries. Always remember that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to (more...)
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