In our day as in the days of the Kings, many leaders have disconnected from the head, which is Christ. Just as everyone was told in Deuteronomy 5:32 “to be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left,” we must do the same. This applies even more to our leaders who lead the people. In the days of the Kings the King was given these instructions. Deuteronomy 17:14 “When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you and have taken possession of it and settled in it, and you say, “Let us set a king over us like all the nations around us,” 15 be sure to appoint over you a king the Lord your God chooses. He must be from among your fellow Israelites. Do not place a foreigner over you, one who is not an Israelite. 16 The king, moreover, must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them, for the Lord has told you, “You are not to go back that way again.” 17 He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray. He must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold.” Solomon did not follow these rules and lost most of the Kingdom that his father had been given. He failed to keep his fathers charge. This passage goes on and says “18 when he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the Levitical priests. 19 It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees 20 and not consider himself better than his fellow Israelites and turn from the law to the right or to the left. Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel.”
Just like Joshua we are told, Joshua 1:7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.” At the end of his life Joshua reminds the people again Joshua 23:6 “Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left. 7 Do not associate with these nations that remain among you; do not invoke the names of their gods or swear by them. You must not serve them or bow down to them. 8 But you are to hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have until now. 9 “The Lord has driven out before you great and powerful nations; to this day no one has been able to withstand you. 10 One of you routs a thousand, because the Lord your God fights for you, just as he promised. 11 So be very careful to love the Lord your God.” It really is too bad the people wanted a king like the nations around them.
True leadership is connected to the word of God. A while back I listened to what a leader had to say about growing the church or fixing a church and there was not one mention of sin, repentance or following wholeheartedly the word of God, just so called church growth principles. 2 Chronicles 34 “Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. 2 He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and followed the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.” Unfortunately many leaders who retain very prominent positions in the church have not followed the word of God. Because they have turned away from the word to follow other resources in an effort to have a “bigger church”, they have turned thousands away from the gospel of Jesus Christ. Malachi 2:8 states, “But you have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble; you have violated the covenant with Levi,” says the Lord Almighty.” They are supposed (7 “For the lips of a priest ought) to preserve knowledge, because he is the messenger of the Lord Almighty and people seek instruction from his mouth.” These leaders in many cases do not even realize how far from the true gospel they are but one day they will be held accountable. Leviticus 4 talks about leaders and members of the community sinning unintentionally. They are accountable for that sin and must confess. 2 Samuel 12:9 says “Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes?” If they don’t this verse explains what will happen. Malachi 2:9 “So I have caused you to be despised and humiliated before all the people, because you have not followed my ways but have shown partiality in matters of the law.”
Because of this many should rethink their profession, as this is not just another job, as you are a messenger of God. Paul says, James 3:1 “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” Paul goes on to say 1 Timothy 1:7 “They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.” There are many who are great orators and people listen because they have the “radio voice”. I have heard so often that people loved a speaker because he had a voice that resonated throughout the auditorium. Just because they wore a great suit and had a great voice does not mean they were teaching the whole counsel of the word of God. Because of this veering from the way they also fit this description in 2 Peter 2:3 “In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.” Too many leaders are selling the gospel these days. 2 Corinthians 2:17 “Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.” Remember we leaders are speaking God’s message to His people. It is not our message nor are the people who attend your church your possession. Many large churches have multiple services with one pastor doing all the teaching. My question is in a church of ten thousand or a thousand is there not more than one teacher. Is not our job as pastors to do as Jesus did and empower others to carry the same message? Should we not be preaching ourselves out of job? I will say that we need to be careful who this task is given to, as the message is a great responsibility. Also don’t be deceived by the flocks. This is going to sound harsh but don’t be deceived by the people flocking to your church, as this is not always a good sign. In many cases they flock because of the soft gospel and entertainment they receive. If they were cut to the heart and numbers were added daily that is a good thing. In many cases people “come for the show but refuse to grow.” Remember, “My people love it this way.” So you are in fact perpetuating this by your teaching just like in Malachi. 2 Timothy 4:3 “For the time will come when people 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.” If they don’t like it they will move on and get you to move on. There is always going to be someone to scratch ears and people who want theirs to be scratched. Be warned! 2 Peter 2 “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.” This is happening weekly in the church.
Out job as (“So Christ himself gave the) apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, is 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 and to know the hope and riches of His glorious inheritance to which He has called us as His holy people, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, His incomparably great power for us who believe, the same power as the mighty strength He exerted when he raised Christ from the dead. To Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 4:12,13 and 3:20) This is our job and nothing else. It is not by our power that this is accomplished. We must have the Holy Spirit and the power to accomplish the mission to make disciples. To do this we must not veer to the right or to the left. But in our day this is not happening and we have churches filled with the unconverted converted.
Leonard Ravenhill said,” Love works many, many miracles that theory, philosophy, and theology don't work.” This is true as God said if you love me you would obey me. We have no miracles because we have moved away from teaching the word of God to theories and business plans and man-made theology. I find it interesting that education has led us away from the path of holiness. Many schools that started biblically are now secular institutions and many who still hold to scripture are slowly moving away. They need to get back on the path before it is too late. The true path is the Way of Holiness but this takes the power of the Holy Spirit. Isaiah 35:8 “And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness; it will be for those who walk on that Way. The unclean will not journey on it; wicked fools will not go about on it.” What many do not realize is that they are on a Highway to Hell. Sadly this saying has been made popular by ACDC. What many leaders do not realize is this song is blaring from their pulpits. They have chosen the wrong path. (Proverbs 1-9) Proverbs 7:27 Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death.” Proverbs 9:13 Folly is an unruly woman; she is simple and knows nothing. 14 She sits at the door of her house, on a seat at the highest point of the city, 15 calling out to those who pass by, who go straight on their way, 16 “Let all who are simple come to my house!” To those who have no sense she says, 17 “Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious!” 18 But little do they know that the dead are there, that her guests are deep in the realm of the dead.” Be very careful who you are listening to.
Yes if you are to go into ministry the process usually involves more education. But being educated does not necessarily mean you are on the right path. In our day it used to be a M.Div. but now having Dr. in front of your name instead of pastor means that you have education so therefore you must know what you are talking about. It seems to give the impression that they would be more spiritual. In the church just because you have Dr. in the front of your name does not mean you have the power to heal. In many cases this message of healing is not even being taught so why would you go to a doctor who does not believe in healing? James 5:13 “Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” This cannot be done without power. So can someone really be called a doctor if they don’t heal (or believe in miracles)? Remember Jesus said, Mark 16:17 “And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well. 20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” This is a deception as it is actually the fear of the Lord is what gives you knowledge and understanding. Instead of leading back to the fear of the Lord, 2 Peter 2:18 “they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error.” We are warned Ephesians 5:6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. There are many empty words coming from the pulpits today. The message false prophets and teachers talked about in scripture is happening now, so be careful who you are listening to. These teachers are everywhere and in every denomination or community church. The only way to tell is to be in tune with the Holy Spirit and be Berean in your approach to scripture. Acts 17:11 “Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”
If there is no power in your church, ask the leadership where is the power. Their answer will tell you if the church is on the right track. Much of what is being taught today is about the here and now and not the eternal. Since the fundamentals of the gospel, sin and repentance are not being taught the way they should be, nor are we teaching obedience, we cannot assume Jesus is with us. The empty way of life just keeps being perpetuated from one generation to the next. The emptiness is the powerless empty words that are being passed down. 1 Peter 1:18 “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.” Sadly in our day success is defined by what you have built with your hands. The empty way of life is being passed from one generation to the next instead of the charge David gave Solomon.
Even with all the education we have available to us, many so-called leaders are simply not teaching truth let alone the elementary truths. They do not teach from the right foundation. Hebrews 5:11 “We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 12 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! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” Sadly many teachers teach from a sippy-cup and spoon-feed pabulum. Actually it should be this. Hebrews 6:1 “Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, 2 instruction about cleansing rites, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And God permitting, we will do so.” These are not the foundation of the modern church so what foundation are we building on? The answer is sand. (Matthew 7) The foundation that is front and centre now is leadership from a secular perspective such as how to make your church grow or breaking a numbers barrier. Instead of servant leaders we have CEO’s.
There is a day coming when Isaiah 32:1,5 “a king will reign in righteousness and rulers will rule with justice. No longer will the fool be called noble nor the scoundrel be highly respected. 6 For fools speak folly, their hearts are bent on evil: They practice ungodliness and spread error concerning the Lord; the hungry they leave empty and from the thirsty they withhold water. 7 Scoundrels use wicked methods, they make up evil schemes to destroy the poor with lies, even when the plea of the needy is just.” There are too many people who are thirsty and starving for the truth and many will die before they see the truth.
As of now many leaders are simply just reading a book called the bible but mostly it is their own imaginations. They tell people the lord gave them a new plan that is relevant for our day as if the gospel is not powerful enough to reach all ages since God never changes. It is scary how close the modern day church is to this. Jeremiah 23:25 “I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in my name. They say, ‘I had a dream! I had a dream!’ 26 How long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions of their own minds? 27 They think the dreams they tell one another will make my people forget my name, just as their ancestors forgot my name through Baal worship. 28 Let the prophet who has a dream recount the dream, but let the one who has my word speak it faithfully. For what has straw to do with grain?” declares the Lord. 29 “Is not my word like fire,” declares the Lord, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces? 30 “Therefore,” declares the Lord, “I am against the prophets who steal from one another words supposedly from me. 31 Yes,” declares the Lord, “I am against the prophets who wag their own tongues and yet declare, ‘The Lord declares.’ 32 Indeed, I am against those who prophesy false dreams,” declares the Lord. “They tell them and lead my people astray with their reckless lies, yet I did not send or appoint them. They do not benefit these people in the least,” declares the Lord. Jeremiah 29:8 “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. 9 They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the Lord.
Yes they use the bible but they have distorted and reduced it to a book that happens to be on the bestseller list of all time. Bible colleges and seminaries teach you how to do this. They treat the word of God as they would any other book. 2 Timothy 2:15 “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” They merely speak its word’s and use them to tell their own message (distorted truths), teach people their own ways, and talk about their own lives. They simply paste and cut, add to and subtract from the word of God to get their message out. But their words do not go out in power. I will be honest with you I originally thought that whenever someone heard the gospel they would end up changing for the better. What I am seeing is that yes they heard the gospel but are now condemned for not abiding the words. Isaiah 55:6 “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. 8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” This is why repentance is the foundation of the gospel.
Once again we need the power to flow behind the words so that when they go out, they will be like a “fire and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces? If our leaders are not following the word this is not going to happen. What we have now are leaders who are disconnected from Jesus Christ. Paul warns of us this in Colossians 2. Read the whole book if you would. He says, “4 I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.” “8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind.” “19 They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow. “ The book of Colossians is a great book that should be read. I have always found this verse interesting. “16 After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea.” I guess the Laodiceans did not either read it or pay attention to.
Our goal as leaders should be this. Colossians 1:28 “He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. 29 To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.” The only way we can be messengers of the gospel and have the power that is available to us is to return to the word of God and repent. We do not want to be part of passing disconnected leadership / empty way of life from one generation to the next. We end up being just like Judges 2 as we now are “who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel.” They provoked the Lord to anger. . Our only hope is to turn from our wicked ways and humble ourselves before God Almighty and plead for mercy.