I’m still thinking about the issue that Janna at Bread Crumbs raised about Pastors and the latest trend for them to plagiarize or use another Pastor’s sermon, rather that preach their own sermon based on the their own study of the Bible. It is truly a deep topic and one of great importance to the church today. It’s also a poor, but accurate reflection the state of the church today. But it certainly does not take God by surprise…since He foretold of this happening two thousand years ago.
Last night after I had written down my thoughts about Pastors using a “sermon in a box” I wondered if people reading it would think I was too harsh on Pastors. After all they hold a position with heavy demands and many burdens.
Yet…I was reminded of the scripture that tell us that Pastors and Teachers will be held to a stricter accountability. In fact James said…not too many people would want the job just because of that judgment and scrutiny that Pastors will undergo by God.
“Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” – James 3:1
I wonder…how much we don’t challenge our Pastors, Teachers and church leaders when they veer from the Bible. It’s not uncommon for Christians to think that they can not judge another person because the Bible cautions us about standing in judgment of others.
But what I wonder…how much do we cut them slack because we don’t want ourselves held to the high standards of the Bible? Because we ourselves don’t spend serious time reading and studying the Bible? How many of us today would consider ourselves like the Bereans?
How many of us sitting in church pew each Sunday are satisfied with the watered down gospel? That way we don’t have to feel convicted as we live in our own sin. The fact that I might be living with someone outside of marriage…please don’t look at that because we love each other or are committed to one another. Or maybe I’m not declaring money I’ve earn under the table on my taxes…and I feel justified because the government already takes out too much in taxes. Or maybe I’m thinking I’m not so bad. I’m not engaged in sexual sin outside of marriage and I don’t cheat the government by not paying what I the law requires. About the worst thing I do is a “little gossip” with Tammy Sue. But don’t worry…she won’t tell a soul.
Perhaps I am satisfied with the feel good 20 minute sermons that assure me that I am special and loved by God and He doesn’t want me to suffer, or be poor and that all I have to do is ask…and He’ll give me what I want.
“For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” – 2 Timothy 4:3
Those feel good sermons don’t hold my actions up against the Word of God…that non negotiable standard to which are all accountable. I can walk out of church after hearing a feel good sermon, feel good about myself and be blinded to the fact I’m living in sin. Or turn down the volume on the voice of the Holy Spirit convicting me of sin.
Instead we need Pastors that teach according to the word of God, who are more concerned that their teaching be pleasing to the Lord (to whom they will give an account) than the person sitting in the pew. They will likely throw out a few barbs that will stick and sting as they rest upon the sinner or the saint hearing the truth from God’s Word. Those barbs will dig deep as they fall upon the person living their life in contractions to God’s Word.
“We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.” – Hebrews 5:11-13
If God struck Uzzah dead when he reached out his hand to steady the ark because he violated God’s word and instructions, how will He treat us who disregard the Word of God?