SOOOO I am still writing the posts on apostles and prophets… yet I realized these aren’t as much “devotional” as they are “teaching.” So that we are staying with the heart of what devotions are I am going to pull back on the teaching and keep moving in Ephesians. However, I will link to the others for your reading as desired. I may post a link to “apostles” tomorrow within the devotion though. LET’S GOOOOO!! lol
Ephesians 4:11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds[c] and teachers,[d] 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood,[e] to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.
America’s big push is independence. With that we have all decided we don’t NEED one another, nor should anyone tell us what we should know. The Church is being tossed to and fro by the waves adding “new revelation” to our theology yet we don’t note the inconsistencies between the things we are adding and our existing understanding. In fact, most congregations are filled with believers who have a pieced together understanding of God and Christian living that actively contradicts itself. Every new teaching, if compelling enough, is just added to our bag… We don’t see the need for shepherds and teachers we know, can trust, and can speak with.
We all think we are research gurus… Let’s be honest, we can find information online about anything (both correct and incorrect). So, without having apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers we won’t have anyone we discuss things with and trust. Yet the enemy is removing the places of these positions in our lives and ultimately causing major weaknesses in the Church body. Instead of talking with the people within our Church about things we GOOGLE it… well there are plenty of resources that are just crafty ways of feeding you heresy. When we only seek out truth by doing our very inadequate online research (just googling and reading the top articles) coupled with our existing lack of understanding we are risking building up small towers of false doctrine which will help to build even larger towers or they completely contradict other towers…
We are called to have a shepherd, teacher, etc. because this assists in building a more stable foundation. Can they be flawed? Always… but with this model we grow together, fix things together and use the research to affirm and correct what they/we are saying instead of taking information offline and just applying it to our Christian walk without ever looking back.
I would challenge that you rarely (or at least shouldn’t) do this with other areas of your life. So please don’t forsake the system God has setup, and instead do it correctly. If you recognize you have discrepancies in your understanding of Scripture how can you trust that you’ll be able to tell when something isn’t accurate online? You need to have someone you can talk through things with, and someone who can actively fix mistakes they have said, inconsistencies you may have in your theology, or even adjust things as you all grow together. This is one of the major benefits of the Church family. As the body grows and new understanding is added they can track back and say “Hey remember when we said “xyz” well, after the last few months we see a clearer picture from God’s Word should be realizing something slightly different. Or they can say “hey you think “xyz” but that contradicts this part of your theology completely so one part will have to be adjusted.” With only doing our basic google work we miss an opportunity to have someone work through the new information with us, evaluate how it works with the rest of our understanding, and most importantly go back and fix errors we have made together, learned together, etc. With an article you cannot be sure the writer even still believes that way!
Let’s just trust God’s setup 😉
Spend 2-3 minutes thanking God that He has gifted the Church with people who want to just walk through Scripture with you. Then spend 2-3 minutes asking Him to help you actually do that. This isn’t something that is happening widely in America… we are brainwashed into independence instead of interdependence. So I can guarantee you are likely trying to be your own shepherd and teacher… This is not how we were made to function.
A few applications:
- If you think you’re so smart and you understand Scripture so well that you shouldn’t have someone teaching you or guiding you… then why aren’t you being faithful with the gift you have and becoming a pastor, teacher, etc.? Either you’re wrong, or being disobedient with what God has given you. Fix it.
- If you recognize you aren’t called to be a shepherd or teacher… do you actually have a shepherd or teacher? Fix it.
- Pray for the shepherds, teachers, evangelists, etc. because they are actively being attacked by the enemy to keep them from helping you grow. Pray for them to be led to truth, pray that your relationship with them is unharmed by the enemy, that you constantly walk in transparency with them, and that they will not be led astray by the enemy.
The brain does not function well without the support of the lungs. A part of why Pastors are failing is because they are not able to function as shepherds and the body is actively speaking evil against them and not supporting them in the way they need to be supported: through prayer.