It's Summer! At long last it is here and we have a little more time to do some of the things we love. Over this summer I am going to use Paul's letters to Timothy as the foundation of my daily devotions. I pray we will find this exploration both interesting and uplifting as we continue in our service to our Lord Jesus.
A while ago I came across a blog by a man with a kindred-spirit for the Church. He stated that there was a reason why Jesus did not choose the educated or religious leaders to be his disciples. If he had then they would still be sitting around the "table" discussing doctrine. He went on to write that the problem with the Church today is that we have turned it into a school, putting teachers and philosophers in charge so that we don't actually get anything done. He said, and I agree, that we need to recognize the anointed calling of those who were plumbers, construction workers, police officers, bakers and such people who see the down-to-earth purpose of God's plan and who have been anointed for the task. We need men and women of action not theory teachers and debaters. This is basically what Paul wrote to Timothy.
There was a reason why Paul left Timothy in Ephesus to give oversight to the ministry there:
Stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God’s work—which is by faith. (1 Timothy 1:3-4)
Sound a bit familiar? Teachings that promote controversies rather than God's work; a work that is by faith alone. Consider teachers like Rob Bell and Rick Warren who have recently come out with things that are causing more division than they are promoting God's work. It is called work for a reason. We are suppose to be busy at it not sitting around writing books and having debates. The disciples absorbed what Jesus taught and then went out and did it. We have the Word of God and the Holy Spirit so we should be doing the same, with a bit of guidance from the Five-Fold ministry, who not only teach but also correct and break new ground for us to work in.
Paul warned Timothy that this was an important responsibility he had left him with and that it had to be done in a Christ-like manner. Correction must be done right. If it is done with a wrong spirit it will only destroy and God does not correct us by destroying us:
The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. (1 Timothy 1:5)
Paul points out to Timothy that these are the qualities that are lacking in those who are stirring up such controversies at that time. I would say they are easily applied to today as well:
Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm. (1 Timothy 1:6-7)
We have moved away from a number of things in the Church including the anointing for the calling of any office in the Church. Now a pastor has to have a bunch of letters after his name and have written a few books before anyone will consider him a success. We have turned the Church into a house of academics instead of the House of the Spirit. It is not the anointed we want behind the pulpit but instead the educated so that we can feel we are being taught by a teacher. We have ceased to be "doers" of the Word and have become philosophers, psychologists and debaters of the Word.
God's Word is a supernatural thing and in order for me to understand it I must be taught by the Spirit which comes by the anointing of God. I don't care if someone has been studying the Word for 60 years and is a Doctor of Theology. If he does not possess the anointing he does not possess the Spirit's understanding. It is possible to know the Word without knowing the Word. Without the Holy Spirit and a revelation of God's Word it is all meaningless talk. They want to be teachers but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm as truth. And we chase after them because they are super stars of the Church. Oh Lord, help us!
My friends, don't fall into this trap. Jesus did not leave us here to argue over doctrines. He left us here because the world needs to hear the Good News and to encounter Jesus Christ. The World needs to see his compassion through us but even more than that they need to see his glory. We need to be out there living the Word of God, being "doers", the workers he has called us to be. Yes, we need instruction in the Word in order to become mature but I want you to read carefully the purpose of the Five-Fold in the Church:
It was he (Jesus) who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-13)
Note: to prepare God's people for works of service. This does not mean good works but works of service, the work of the Church, every level of work but work nonetheless. This is what brings about unity, not sitting around debating doctrine. Working shoulder to shoulder with the same message and same purpose, we cannot help but feel as one. When Jesus asks us to give an account for our calling and the talents he gave us, what are we going to say? Oh, we had some really good discussions about it and I even wrote twelve books to help people to discuss it further? Are we crazy? Jesus said that when he returns he had better find us busy doing what he has given us to do. If all that is coming out of your small groups and Bible Studies is more discussion and there is no multiplication going on and souls are not being won for the Kingdom, we are wasting our time with meaningless talk.