Ephesians 4:11-13 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
For what purpose did God give some as apostles, prophets, evangelists, etc.? Is it for the purpose of saving souls? It has a wider range than that. Once souls are saved, they are to be equipped. The passage says “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry.” How many Christians do we know who have attained that goal? What is the purpose of attaining that goal?
Ephesians 4:14-16 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
Why is it many Christians do not grow up? Could it be because they are too busy listening to this preacher and that preacher, and many of them are false teachers? Take a look around and notice all the divisions, all the denominations. Can we honestly say this is of Jesus, to participate in division?
It is natural for a person once saved that he will have a hunger for God’s word. As he reads he might have questions and this is where ALL of us, who are mature in the faith, should be ready to guide the babe in Christ, but the babe also has a responsibility to believe what he reads. Just because a person stands behind the pulpit doesn’t mean every word he says is true. This is not to mention that the pulpit and the one man pastor is not a biblical pattern for God’s ecclesia. Just because someone has a seminary degree and now considered a “professional clergy,” does not mean that person is ordained of God. Some have admitted that it was simply a career choice! I know of one person who says he would like to be in “full-time” ministry, but that day will come when he has enough support to quit his full time job. In other words, will quit his full time job when he knows the saints can pay him to do God’s work and have enough to support his family! We are ALL in full time ministry, meaning, we are always engaged in the Father’s work. According to scripture, this is not left up to one man all the time. The holy Spirit works through all of us to reach out to others. The ‘professional pastor’ may have the appearance of being the only one of having a ‘pipeline’ to God, but this is false. We all have direct access to learn as the holy Spirit guides and teaches us.
1 John 2:26,27 These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
There comes a time when sheep need to grow up. Paul says, “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding: That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.” ” Col. 1:9-10
The one man pastor may be able to give you ‘information’ via a sermon, but the holy Spirit will give you revelation! How many times have you sat alone reading your Bible and all of a sudden something just clicks! In your spirit you just go, Wow!” It may not mean much to someone else, but our Father cares enough to make sure it means something to you.
Tradition (not biblical tradition) has it that the one man pastor must deliver a sermon every week. Some pastors get frustrated because they see very little growth in the people he delivers his sermons to. How can there be when there is no dialog but just monolog? Do you know what monolog means? It means long speech monopolizing conversation. This is what we have every Sunday and Wednesday behind closed doors. Monologs create spiritual lazy sheep, but some of the sheep get restless and begin to walk out in faith to hear the voice of their true Master and feed from Him. They are tired of sitting in a pew week after week, listening to sermon after sermon, where interaction is basically nonexistent, and are simply looking for a deeper relationship with Christ and others. Those who leave will be told they are dividing the body of Christ. I believe the real problem is that most pastors don’t know how to let go of full grown sheep. Instead of blaming sheep for leaving, maybe they ought to go to the Lord in prayer and find out what they might be doing wrong. I’m sure there are many who have a heart after God, but can also be killing the sheep from any spiritual growth.
Does “perfecting of the saints” mean that we must make sure they come in their Sunday best, take their place in the pew, sing a few songs, place money in the plate, and listen to a few announcements and finally the sermon from the pastor, and then when that is over we get to exchange pleasantries for a few minutes as we leave to go home and come back the following week at the same time, same place and start the same process all over again? Is this the “perfecting of the saints?” Oh sure, a lot of people like this ritual because they don’t have to come prepared to share anything, only to get “fed” by their pastor.
Remember, scripture does not teach monolog (long speech monopolizing conversation), but dialog:
Scripture says, “How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying”.
The above passage doesn’t say to sit quietly in the pew in awe of our pastor and hang on his every word. Coming together should be open participation. The goal is never to focus on one man, but the spiritual gifts are for mutual edification, not to be edified by a single person week after week, month after month, and year after year.
Are you growing in Christ by being connected to Him? Are you letting the holy Spirit lead you and guide you? Are you able to withstand trials in your personal life without having to run to your pastor? How long must you be spoon fed?
“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.” Heb 5:12