In our last segment we were looking at the Apostle Paul and his commitment to hearing and obeying the spirit of God. The ability for each person to have the Holy Spirit came about at the beginning of the dispensation of God’s grace in the age to which we now live. We left of looking at some verses seen in ( Ephesians 3 ) where the Apostle Paul was explaining how that God, through his spirit had given him the mystery concerning the Church.
Every pastor in every Church must, if they expect to be effective in the salvation of other people, understand the concept of the working of God’s spirit and; his ability to allow that spirit to work through him as he preaches the messages he preaches. If not, we can have a Church full of people but void of the very spirit that is needed to carry the Church of Jesus Christ forward.
I can see how this concept was used, even before the Apostle Paul was saved. Look at these verses in ( Acts 8:31 ) And he said, how can I, except some man should guide me? And he desire Philip that he would come and sit with him. ( 32 ) The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before the shearer, so opened he not his mouth: ( 33 ) In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from this earth. ( 34 ) And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? ( 35 ) Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
If we read a little before this we will see where Philip was led by the Spirit to join this chariot. Because of his obedience of the spirit a man was born again. It’s very possible that Philip didn’t understand the very concept that led him but, he was still obedient to the voice within him.
As the dispensation these people lived in unfolded the Apostle Paul, shall we say; perfected this concept. He understood that he, himself could not cause any man to become right with God. He knew that the law or, the ability of any man to keep that law or to be taught to keep the law was not the answer to their spiritual problem.
With that being said; it takes the convicting power of the Holy Spirit of God to transform a man to the person that God desires for him to be. It is not just the ability of a man to live or, be taught to live a good life. The Apostle Paul was put in prison for teaching Jesus Christ. Often, from prison he wrote letters to the Churches he had started. He sought to continue to instruct them in the correct way to allow the Spirit to direct their footsteps.
Basically, what had happened in almost every Church he had started, corrupt teaching had set in. The question is: today, have we locked Jesus Christ up in a spiritual prison and, allowed corruption to set in in our Churches? One of the responsibilities of a pastor is to instruct in righteousness. How are we taught or instructed in what is righteous?
When we go out into the world and, the people of this world sees our ability to live and, they know we are members of a Church but, that’s all they see; what have they gained? Actually, they have gained nothing. The reason for that is that it’s not our righteousness they need to see. They need to be taught by us that the righteousness that we are dependent on the righteousness of Jesus Christ. We need to become teaches in our own right. Instructing people that if all we have is within our ability to live right, we have nothing. We are all sinners and deserve hell but, we are depending on the righteousness of Jesus Christ to afford eternal life.
When I say; we are taught ( right living ) is important, it is but, that is not what brings salvation to us or the people that see us living right. We have to, with our voice, exalt Jesus Christ and teach the world their need for his righteousness and not ours. When we leave people to believe that we are good, we leave the door open for the same people to see and look for our imperfections which we surely have. However, if we will simply admit that we are hell deserving sinners, unworthy of salvation but, we are totally depending on the righteousness of Jesus Christ for our salvation then, by that; we exalt the name of Jesus and reveal who we truly are.
When pastors preach ( right living ) and, only teach that aspect of our responsibilities then our whole Church becomes a self righteous sore spot on the community to which we serve. The problem is, no matter how much we present ourselves as Church members and righteous, people around us and, those that work with us already know who and what we are. Without exalting the name of Jesus Christ and his righteousness out of your mouth then what you call salvation is nothing to the people around you.
Pastors need to teach their people that; a college education or, a complete understanding of scripture is not needed to be a witness for Jesus Christ. I’ll give this verse as an example. ( John 9:25 ) He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.
You can read the account of this man. Jesus had spit on the ground and made clay to put on this man’s eyes that were blind. He instructed him to go wash in the pool of Siloam, and he did, at that he was able to see. There’s a great and lengthy message in all of this but the short of it is that they man said: This one thing I know, I was blind but now I see.
We have a problem with that aspect of our spiritual walk. We won’t tell people that we were lost but, now we are saved. We tell them, if anything; we are members of a Church, we might even add that we have a good pastor. With that a good children’s program but nothing about Jesus Christ and how he is transforming our lives.
We need to be taught by our pastors to give Jesus credit for all of our salvation, It’s he that I trust to take me to heaven and, I know he will do that. It’s not in my ability to live good enough to go to heaven but, I’m trusting, by faith in his ability, what he has already done for me. In Him I trust and not in my own righteousness.
When we say ( we hope ) we go to heaven; what are we saying? We are saying that we are trusting in our own ability to be good enough to make it to heaven. We’re looking at it as Jesus was good enough to forgive our past sins but, his blood will not cover the sins I might commit after I’m saved therefore, I might not ask forgiveness for a sin I commit.
Pastors need to teach us the absolute truth of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ died for all sin. That means the sins of the Old Testament and, every sin that will ever be committed by any person that will ever live in the New Testament. I say this often, every sin of every person that is in hell right this minute is covered by the blood of Jesus Christ. Those that are in hell right now just never excepted Jesus Christ and his righteousness for the covering for their sin.
While that fact does not give any person a right to live in sin, it is a true fact. Once Jesus Christ is living in our hearts, the word of God as it is preached draws conviction on our hearts and causes a transformation toward him and away from sin. I don’t see these things being taught in the average local Church.
Pastors, I’m here to help; I’m not anyone’s enemy. However, I can see how that the people that actually lose in this are the members of our Churches and, their Children. Think about this, the Apostle Paul went to prison. From prison, he began to hear about the activities of the Churches he had started. He was not pleased with the reports he was getting. Therefore, he began to write letters to those Churches and, also send men he could trust to those Churches to ( set things in order ).
I, as a man that truly cares about the souls of men; share his burden. Look at these verses: ( Revelation 2:4-5 ) Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. ( 5 ) Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do thy first works, or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
When we speak of these verses and, their contents, to whom and to what are we speaking? The candlesticks are the pastors of the seven Churches. He says: they have lost their first love. What would that be? To make this point, I’ll use another verse. ( Philippians 3:8 ) Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.
Now, we must build a case for something here. This is what I see as a man that cares. Pastoring today, the candlestick in our Churches has become an occupation instead of a passion. If the light was ever there, it has gone out. When the Apostle Paul got saved in ( Acts 9 ); he was then commisioned by the Holy Spirit of God to lay the foundation for the Church; ( the age of Grace ) in which we still now live. Actually, the way it works today is still the very same way it was in the early days of the Church as far as the Spirit of God is concerned.
In the verse we read, the Apostle Paul gave his all to know Christ. His desire was to hear his voice; so to speak and, to write it all down that we might have a perfect understaning of who he is.
Look at this verse he was instructed by the Spirit to write. ( Hebrews 10:7 ) Then said I, Lo, I come ( in the volume of the book it is written of me, ) to do thy will, O God.
We now have a book. We call it the word of God. That book speaks. It is revealed by the spirit of God to any person that is will to ( give all ) to know Christ Jesus ).
Today our pastors are taught in universities and religious institutions. When, in reality, God simply desires for each pastor to pray, study his word and allow God the Spirit to speak to them and allow God, through that process to speak and convict his people.
In my own experience. my ( first love ) was knowing and understanding God’s word. I still have that same passion today. If we lose that passion, then we lose the desire to truly know Christ. We lose the ability to share him trufully with other people. The fire on the candlestick is gone out.
Do you remember Samson? What was it that he lost that made him lose his power? Was it not what was on the very top of himself, his hair? Can we relate that to the fire on a candlestick? That being on the very top? Samson, still the same man, a pastor still the same man but, both without any power.
Pastors, the word of God you hold in your hand is simply a book of words, stories. That is unless you allow the spirit of God to use you in the presentation of those words, those stories. The spirit is the power, the only power within those words.
Let’s look at one other group of verses and we’ll close. ( Matthew 5: 13-16 ) Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under the foot of men. ( 14 ) Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hilltop cannot be hid. ( 15 ) Niether do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. ( 16 ) Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your father which is in heaven.
A Church is a city on a hilltop. It sits there for all to see. What good is it if the power is gone from it? The pastor is a man that gives light to all that is in that house. The people that are in that house is to take that light out of that house and spread it all throughout the community that God might get the glory.
I hear a lot about good Churches, good pastors but very little about Jesus Christ therefore, how does God get the glory in that?
THe flame on the pastor’s candle is gone and, the Church is getting all the attention. That is not what God intended for our Churches to be.