There are some people who ho-hum each day thinking they have no purpose in life. They don’t realize or don’t accept that everyone on earth has a purpose. Each of us has a purpose, which God has preplanned for us. We have a destiny to fulfill according to God’s plan. For the same words that God spoke to Jeremiah hold true for us today.
For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
The word welfare in Hebrew is shalowm (shaw-lome’); or shalom (shaw-lome’); from OT:7999; safe, i.e. (figuratively) well, happy, friendly; also (abstractly) welfare, i.e. health, prosperity, peace:
God wants to prosper us. He wants us to be safe and happy; to have peaceful lives and to not want for anything.
When we are born again, we become new creatures. All that old stuff is tossed away and we become different. We may not always feel it at first, we may not show it at first, but we are changed. We have a Spirit inside us now that helps us to live according to God’s word. It helps to comfort us when we are down and helps us to pray.
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 2 Corinthians 5:17
You have become a new creation according to God’s will. A new creation with a purpose – a purpose already laid out by God. Did you know that when we are born again we are given the tools we need in order to fulfill God’s plan?
That is right. We have a renewing of the mind, we each receive a measure of faith according to God’s plan and we each receive gifts to edify the church. To edify means to build up or to enlighten, to instruct or improve.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he out to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. For just as we have many members in one body and all members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. Romans 12:2-8
So God has a plan for us and he gives us the tools we need in order to fulfill that purpose. This is great. But what then? What happens with many when they are born again is they get lost because they are not nurtured, some even never come to know the true meaning of the sacrifice Jesus made.
Think of a seed. You plant a seed in the ground hoping one day it will bring forth a harvest. But if you do not feed the seed, what do you think will happen? It will eventually wither away and die. But when the seed is watered and fed nutrients it grows into a beautiful plant, which has a bountiful harvest. It is the same way with Christians. Christians need to be nurtured in order to continue to grow.
Now you might ask, “How can a person be nurtured? Whose responsibility is it to feed this person?”
Well technically it is the responsibility of all Christians to feed each other. However, the bulk of the responsibility lies with the leaders in a church.
Even though each of us has been given a gift to edify the church, there are also certain responsibilities within the church. God puts people in certain positions in order to have leadership, authority and order within the church. They are called overseers.
These are the ones who teach the Word of God. The ones who teach are the ones that God raises up to keep people on the path of righteousness. They include pastors, preachers, ministers, evangelists, and teachers. There is a warning for anyone who feels they are called to teach the Word. Anyone who teaches the Word of God is more strictly judged. That is because God doesn’t like his Word being distorted from the truth
Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well. Now if we put the bit into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. James 3:1-6
Yes, God knows that a man’s tongue is wicked. Even the most holy people can stumble because they are imperfect. That is why He gives warning to those teach His Word. Because unlearned or immature Christians can be mislead by what is taught. Because teaching the Word is such an important responsibility God also puts that stricter judgment as a deterrent for any who may knowingly distort the truth.
Those that distort the truth are false prophets and teachers, deceivers and liars, even unlearned God fearing Christians. There are many false teachers out there and there is going to be even more. And if we listen to the lies and deceit, we risk falling away from God. It is written that many will commit apostasy in the later days; the later days being the time before the second coming of Christ.
1 Timothy 4:1 -2 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron
Falling way from the faith means to commit apostasy. aphistemi (af-is’-tay-mee); frm NT:575 and NT:2476; to remove, i.e. (actively) instigate to revolt; usually (reflexively) to desist, desert, etc.:
In other words it means to remove the faith from your life. To turn your back on God.
Hypocrisy is hupokrisis (hoop-ok’-ree-sis); from NT:5271; acting under a feigned part, i.e. (figuratively) deceit (“hypocrisy”):
It means to pretend to be something you are not. The hypocrisy of liars are those that make the Word in the bible fit their meaning and not the true meaning. They distort the truth and deceive the people. Knowing this we should be wary of who we listen to. We should only listen to the one’s God has raised up as an overseer. Let’s look at what an overseer is. Who are the overseers? What do they do?
An overseer is a shepherd guiding and tending the flock. This includes not only pastors, preachers, ministers and teachers, but also deacons, laymen and even the worship leader. Anyone who helps with the administration or teaching of the church or ministry should be considered an overseer.
For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word, which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. Titus 1:7 -9
Overseers should be above reproach.
The word in Greek is anegkletos (an-eng’-klay-tos); from NT:1 (as a negative particle) and a derivative of NT:1458; unaccused, i.e. (by implication) irreproachable:
The word irreproachable actually means blamesless or impeccable. Impeccable means you are less likely to sin. This does not mean they don’t commit sin ever. No man is so perfect that they don’t commit sin. To be above reproach means that people don’t disapprove of you and that you are less likely to sin because you understand more the consequences of sin.
An overseer is not self-willed. authades (ow-thad’-ace); from NT:846 and the base of NT:2237; self-pleasing, i.e. arrogant:
Self-pleasing would mean you do things just to make yourself feel important . As an overseer you don’t exaggerate your own worth. You don’t puff yourself up.
An overseer is not quick-tempered. The greek word is orgilos (org-ee’hello ibel-los); from NT:3709; irascible: Irascible means marked by hot temper and easily provoked anger. So an overseer would have patience and be slow to anger.
An overseer is not addicted to wine. The word in Greek is paroinos (par’-oy-nos); from NT:3844 and NT:3631; staying near wine, i.e. tippling (a toper): This means they don’t get drunk and they are not alchoholics.
An overseer is not pugnacioius. plektes (plake’-tace); from NT:4141; a smiter, i.e. pugnacious (quarrelsome): Pugnacioius means to have a quarrelsome or combative nature. A pugnacioious person is someone who is always picking fights, always debating.
An overseer is not fond of sordid Gain aischrokerdes (ahee-skhrok-er-dace’); from NT:150 and kerdos (gain); sordid: Sordid means to be marked by baseness or grossness. It means to be vile, morally despicable or abhorrent, of low value, inferior. This would be to come in to profit or money in a dishonest way, like thieving or deceiving a person for money.
Overseers should be hostpitable. philoxenos (fil-ox’-en-os); from NT:5384 and NT:3581; fond of guests, i.e. hospitable: Hospitable also means to offer a pleasant environment.
They should love what is good. philagathos (fil-ag’-ath-os); from NT:5384 and NT:18; fond to good, i.e. a promoter of virtue: Virtue is conformity to a standard of right or moral excellance.
They should be sensible. sophron (so’-frone); from the base of NT:4982 and that of NT:5424; safe (sound) in mind, i.e. self-controlled (moderate as to opinion or passion):
Sound in this context means free from error, fallacy, or misapprehension.
They should be just. dikaios (dik’-ah-yos); from NT:1349; equitable (in character or act); by implication, innocent, holy (absolutely or relatively): To be just means to deal fairly and equally with all concerned
They should be devout. hosios (hos’-ee-os); of uncertain affinity; properly, right (by intrinsic or divine character; thus distinguished from NT:1342, which refers rather to human statutes and relations; from NT:2413, which denotes formal consecration; and from NT:40, which relates to purity from defilement), i.e. hallowed (pious, sacred, sure):
To be free from moral evil. To be holy means to be set apart for divine service.
They should be self-controlled. egkrates (eng-krat-ace’); from NT:1722 and NT:2904; strong in a thing (masterful), i.e. (figuratively and reflexively) self-controlled (in appetite, etc.): This means to control your own desires and emotions.
They hold fast the faithful word, which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. They teach the truth of God’s word. They put the word in their hearts so when the false prophets, teachers and others distort that truth, they can challenge that false teaching and share what the truth really is.
Yes, it takes a much anointed person to be an overseer because they bear a huge responsibility not only to God, but to God’s people. This is why Paul explains to Timothy in one of his letters that they should be honored.
The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, ” YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING,” and “The laborer is worthy of his wages.” Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses. 1 Timothy 5:17-19
(1 Timothy 5:17 )Those who preach and teach are worthy of honor, but those who work hard at it should receive double honor. Those that work hard would be those who commit their entire self to learning and teaching God’s word. (1 Timothy 5:18)The implication that the honor should be in the form of financial support is because those who devote their entire lives to learning and teaching work for God and only earn wages based on what people honor them with. This honor should not be confused with tithing. Honoring a teacher comes from the heart. Tithing is a responsibility to God. 1(Timothy 5:19) Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses. Now why is that?
Well remember, God knows mans tongues is wicked. People will speak falsehoods. But there is also another reason. Satan is constantly trying to ruin the overseers. He is constantly sending people to try to destroy the leaders of the church. Satan knows if he can make the leadership fall that the people in the church will become weak and some may scatter or even turn from God. Satan will send people in appearing to be God-fearing Christians, but they plant seeds of doubt and distrust; they whisper gossip and lies. That is why we need to protect our overseers against false accusations. More than one witness will help substantiate if an overseer is indeed living in sin.
Be warned you evil, vile people! Do not come against the anointed of God. God’s people are protected.
This is a promise from God from the beginning.
“The Lord shall cause your enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before you; they will come out against you one way and will flee before you seven ways.” Deuteronomy 27:7
The Lord God promised to make your enemies fall. They not only be defeated but their retreat will be scattered in different directions.
Now, let’s take a look at another scripture real quick that goes along with this.
“No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their vindication is from Me” declares the Lord. Isaiah 54:17
I wanted you to see this also before we moved on because you have enemies, but you also have non-enemies that also come against you. A non-enemy is someone you know, that may or may not be a close friend. It could be just an acquaintance at work or at school.
I learned this very early in my walk because I had someone at work that could be considered my enemy. And I had to learn to live in peace with this person and this is how I accomplished it; I kept this scripture in my heart. I knew that every time she came up against me, that all I had to do is turn to God and ask for help. I blessed her and prayed for her every day. I was nice to her but she kept up her attacks. And do you know what happened? God removed her. God kept his promise to me.
Now let’s keep on with Isaiah. God gave me this revelation for someone who is having to deal with a bad situation at their job. They are trying to force her to quit her job. And they are mistreating her badly in order to do that. They didn’t demote her, but they took away all her responsibilities and have given a person who is in a lesser position the authority to give her work to do and that person is not a nice person at all. People call her evil because she is just a nasty, nasty, nasty person. And what God told me is this. Weapons include overloading of work, unreasonable timelines and poor treatment. EVERY tongue that comes against you will be condemned. REMEMBER THAT.
Now there are a lot of things that can fall into the poor treatment category, but what it boils down to is – if you don’t treat someone with love it is poor treatment. Let me give you a few examples of some small things you may not necessarily think about. Gossiping about someone, calling them a name like idiot, ignoring them, not acknowledging them when they greet you, talking down to them, bumping into someone without apologizing, not offering assistance when its needed, not helping to carry a load.
I also want to point out that EVERY tongue not only includes the Satanists, Unbelievers, and Hypocrites, but most importantly it includes BORN AGAIN CHRISTIANS. God said REMEMBER that. Do you know why? Because a born again Christian can bring condemnation upon themselves.
WHOA! Hold up there. What do you mean a born again Christian can bring condemnation upon themselves?
Oh yes, not only can you bring condemnation upon yourself by treating people badly and without love, but you can curse yourself for not following God’s word (Deuteronomy 28:15-68), and if you don’t forgive others, then you can loose God’s forgiveness (Matthew 6:14-15). You risk danger of committing apostasy. Remember apostasy is falling away from God or loosing faith. There are a few scriptures I want to show you regarding this.
For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES. Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY.” And again, “THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE”. It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Hebrews 10: 26-31
There is unintentional sin and there is intentional sin. Those that commit unintentional sin do so out of ignorance because they are unlearned in the word of God. If you look in Numbers 15:28-31 it says that the priest will make atonement for the person who sins unintentionally. The priest or the overseer will INTERCEDE on the behalf of the sinner. It is the responsibility of the leader to help this person ask God forgiveness, to teach them the truth and get them back on the path of righteousness. However, it also says that if a person does anything in defiance then he is blaspheming the Lord. That person will be cut off and he will have to carry the guilt of his sin by himself. When you know the truth of God, when you are a mature Christian and know how God wants you to be yet you turn your back on those laws, that is defiance. The Lord WILL deal with those people and notice the last verse in that scripture. It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Now the other scripture – the real danger of apostasy.
For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. Hebrews 6:4-6
It says it is impossible to renew a person who commits apostasy to repentance. You turned your back on God and now you are alone. You have lost faith in God and the promise that Jesus brought to you. Without that faith it is impossible to come back. But if you can regain even a mustard seed of faith, then God will open his arms wide and embrace you.
This is why it is so important to have God fearing overseers. Someone to help the people of God stay on track. To teach them what is right in the eyes of God. This is why God put a stricter judgment against those who teach His word. For if the overseer is false, the teaching will be false and the people could unknowingly be led away from God. They may even be following satans path if the false teacher sounds sweet enough.
I just want to make another quick note on false teachers. Many who teach distorted doctrine will ask you controversial questions and make disputes. They create strife with their words, and they make people doubt the things they have learned that are the truth. And there are also those that give God’s word while asking for money.
If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and contsant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. 1 Timothy 6:3-5
Even though we should honor those who work hard to learn and teach God’s word we also need to be wary of those who teach the word of God just for profit. Those are people who are abusing the authority God gave them and God will deal with them in His own way. But we need to be made aware that these also are considered false teachers. If anyone says you must pay them money to hear God’s word, stay away.
God’s word should always be taught in truth and with love and should always be offered freely. Overseers should always be above reproach and be treated with honor. We should always use our gifts to exhort each other and edify the church. We should be wary of false teachers. Keep the truth in your heart and let God deal with His anointed that do not.
You will notice that I said let God deal with His anointed that do not keep the truth in their heart. Remember Isaiah 54:17? If you come against one of God’s people then you would in fact be condemning yourself. You would bring God’s wrath on you, unless it is God Himself telling you to do something with that person.
It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:31)