“But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift. Therefore it says,
(Now this expression, "He ascended," what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things. And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.
As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”
Note that one of our Lord’s strategies for the growth and eventual maturation of the ‘body of christ’ was the giving of gifted individuals. It is imperative, however, that we understand that these individuals are GIFTS.
”They are not governmental offices, kingdom entitlements, or LEADERSHIP positions.
They are gifts not entitlements.
“Now you are Christ's body, and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.
2 Timothy 4
I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.
Notice, “God has appointed” BUT “they will accumulate for themselves – teachers.”
The current state of Christian religious confusion is as a result of our desire for teachers – our clamoring to follow the “teachings of men.” It is neither God’s fault, the Holy Spirits fault nor is it the fault of self promoting false teachers. The truth is: it is OUR fault.
We alone are responsible and accountable to god.
I’m reminded of the statement that if there were no customers and no demand for drugs, the drug dealers would be out of business!
The current state of lovelessness, lifelessness, confusion, disunity, division and childishness within the redeemed community is of our own making. It is OUR FAULT and to our shame!
Listening to, storing up and polluting our temples and our minds with false teaching – with ‘deeper truths’ and modern prophetic nonsense has become our drug of choice. It is born of our desire to follow men and not our Lord. We act as though we will someday be exonerated by confessing to HIM; 'It wasn’t my fault; the teacher said…and I was deceived.'
It seems I’ve heard this excuse somewhere before – in the beginning! Of course we find (in scripture) this warning:
If the blind lead the blind
BOTH will fall into the pit!
Peter warns us also:
1But there were also lying prophets among the people then, just as there will be lying religious teachers among you. They'll smuggle in destructive divisions, pitting you against each other—biting the hand of the One who gave them a chance to have their lives back! They've put themselves on a fast downhill slide to destruction, but not before they recruit a crowd of mixed-up followers who can't tell right from wrong.
2-3They give the way of truth a bad name. They're only out for themselves. They'll say anything, anything, that sounds good to exploit you. They won't, of course, get by with it. They'll come to a bad end, for God has never just stood by and let that kind of thing go on.” 2 Peter 2 (The Message)
The end result is:
For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that uses milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a baby. But strong meat belongs to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Hebrews 5
The question then remains:
“How can we avoid being so misled?
How shall we learn unless we have a teacher?
So we cry out:
"We NEED this gift lord–give it to us.”
The apostle John writes:
26These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. 27But the anointing which ye have received of him abides in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teaches you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.
29If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.” 1 John 2
12"I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. "He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. "All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.” John 16:
One last admonition comes to mind.
10 And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.
11These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
Let us also be so noble!