“Not many [of you] should become teachers ([a]self-constituted censors and reprovers of others), my brethren, for you know that we [teachers] will be judged by a higher standard and with greater severity [than other people; thus we assume the greater accountability and the more condemnation].”
James 3:1 Amp Version
“God still speaks through rocks and donkeys.” ~Paul Washer (Amen bro!)
I like to watch preaching but I’ve learned the hard way not to idolize preachers…just as I learned not to idolize “experts” in any field. Humans make mistakes. I may go to a doctor to consult about my health but that doesn’t mean that I should trust a doctor blindly. Preachers and pastors have a great calling to guide God’s people, but they are still human, and every follower of Christ has the same Holy Spirit. We all have access to God’s Word. And ultimately when we stand before God in Heaven we will take account for ourselves. “But the preacher said this…” won’t cut it. Do you know Jesus personally? That’s what matters. You won’t get to Heaven riding on someone’s coat tails.
I say this as a fellow student and a fellow traveler in life. We should test the spirits. We should search the scriptures for ourselves.
Paul speaks of the Bereans
“11 Now these [Jews] were better disposed and more noble than those in Thessalonica, for they were entirely ready and accepted and welcomed the message [[a]concerning the attainment through Christ of eternal salvation in the kingdom of God] with inclination of mind and eagerness, searching and examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” Acts 17:11 AMP
Now to bring balance, sometimes we won’t like a sermon because it doesn’t tickle our ears and our flesh hates it. We feel conviction and maybe we are fighting it. How do we know the difference? Well, what are we using as our standard? God’s Word in context? or our emotions and experiences? In the end it does not matter what we have experienced, what we feel, or what our culture says….all that matters is what God says. God’s truth will often bring conviction. It will bring the fruit of the Spirit. But if a sermon brings condemnation, pride, fear, or other ungodly attitudes then it is not of the Spirit.
Sometimes preachers give messages in the flesh. Again, they are human. I saw this in my Dad. He was a former drug dealer that turned preacher. I could tell when my Dad was preaching from pride and his flesh. I could also tell when my Dad was humble and it was God’s Spirit speaking through Him. I struggled to listen to his sermons done in pride. But when he spoke with humility, my heart opened.
Things to question when you hear a message
- Does the Bible (in context) support this?
- Does the speaker display Christ-like behavior?
- Does it edify the body of Christ?
- Does it make sense?
I pray that you will be strong in these last days. These are deceptive times. I try to teach Michael to read the Bible himself and not idolize me or his dad. I tell him that we are human and we will fail him at times, but Jesus is the perfect friend. The Heavenly Father is the perfect parent. God’s Word is perfect guidance (read in context). I hope to share helpful info on how to read the Bible, soon. I’m working on it.
I pray that you, dear one, won’t idolize me or any other blogger. We may look put together on the outside but I assure you that every one of us are just as human as you. We struggle with sin just as much. We are desperately hanging on to Jesus to help us through this mess of a world. The thought of someone putting me on a pedestal scares me. I don’t want that.
Anywho, so when you meet teachers, preachers, pastors, and any leaders in the church…remember they are human. They need friends. They need accountability. They need guidance. They need love. They bleed. They cry. They need prayer. Even the ones that are really off theologically. Even the corrupt ones. God’s grace is available to all. Any one can be changed by God if they repent. Don’t idolize them. Please pray for them. They’ve taken on a scary task.
God bless & remember the High King lives! ~Amber Dover