PastorJohnsBlog.com

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The Responsibility of Teaching

Recently, a dear sister in the Lord asked me a theological question. I’m not going to get into the specifics of what that question was, but let me just say that it is a rather controversial topic. When she asked me for counsel, she indicated that she had read what another very prominent pastor had said about it.

It took me a while to answer her question because of my health. I was going through a particularly difficult time in that regard, but in addition to that, I was really wrestling with how to answer. It wasn’t that I did not know what I felt deep in my heart about her question. That wasn’t it. It was just the weight of responsibility.

But eventually, I did write her, and she responded with a very affirming answer. It seemed that the Lord used what I said to help her in some degree. I always rejoice when this happens and to be honest, I am a little amazed whenever it does. I mean, really, who am I? I don’t mean to be falsely self-deprecating at this point, but I do know me.

After that, I was talking with another brother about the general topic of giving advice, and he said, “I just point people to the Word and tell them to make up their own minds.” I hear what he is saying. I really do, but sometimes, that very task is what people need help with! It is such a fine line.

Ultimately, our goal is to point people to God and to His Word, but the fact that people need help with this is why He has given pastors and preachers and teachers to the church. This is why in Ephesians four, God gives gifted people to the church to EQUIP them for ministry.

However, there is a fine line in this process. One must point people to God and the Word without inserting himself or herself in the process so that folks look at him or her and not the Lord. This diversion from the Word to a man is the stuff of which cults are made. And we don’t want that! Ever!

Isn’t it weird that the longer I am a pastor and the longer I preach, the more I feel the weight of responsibility that comes with these ministries? It is because I know that people do listen to what I say and give it some degree of weight. I try to stress often that people need to take what I say and go to the Word for confirmation and if/when I say something that isn’t right (because I, like all others, are fallible), then they need to come and tell me so that I can correct it.

Anyway, as you are praying for me with this cancer stuff, please also pray for me as I continue to preach. I want to make sure that I am preaching truth and not my own opinions.

Two of the readings for today confirm this. Notice what Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount: “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew
5:19 NASB). How about that? Heavy duty.

The second passage is Jeremiah 28. Read this chapter when you get a chance. It is classic. Hananiah gives a very spectacular and popular prophecy about Babylon. I can see how it has a lot of appeal. Jeremiah’s answer is interesting. At first, he basically says, “I hope that what you say is true and really happens.” But the bottom line is that it isn’t truth. It is a lie and the Lord confirms it, with stiff consequences.

Notice this word to the false prophet: “Therefore thus says the LORD, 'Behold, I am about to remove you from the face of the earth. This year you are going to die, because you have counseled rebellion against the LORD.'" So Hananiah the prophet died in the same year in the seventh month” (Jeremiah
28:16-17 NASB). Yikes.

I feel led to ask everyone who is reading this blog today to stop right here and pray for your pastor. Lift him up to the Lord.

Lord, thank You for the privilege of serving First Southern as pastor. I pray that everything I say would point people to You and Your inerrant Word. Nothing more. Nothing less. Amen.
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