IT IS a fact that the greater majority of Christians in this generation are gullible as they lack deeper understanding of some of the core duties which apostles, prophets, evangelists, bishops and teachers are expected to perform. This naivety, on the part of most modern Christian believers, is largely caused by their unwillingness to study the Bible meditatively and prayerfully for themselves.
This negligence has paved the way for some ministers to subject many Christians to massive exploitation, religious oppression and deception. Thus, thousands of believers have willingly denied salvation in Christ Jesus without realising it. The 21st Century Christian ought to be someone who is greatly informed about the obligations Christ Jesus has entrusted to pastors. They should understand that the vigorous preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ is not purposeless.
Church leaders play very crucial roles in the salvation and spiritual development of believers. Christ Jesus Himself led the way by shepherding the foundational apostles for their spiritual equipment which enabled them to do the work of the ministry as assigned to them. Salvation is a process. It begins with ministers being sent to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God.
Now, as there were false preachers and teachers in the days of the apostles, so there are many these days. Thus, God is not looking for ignorant Christians, who accept everything they are told; God is not looking for careless Christians who will not carefully examine the preaching of the ministers they follow. Wise Christians will not just follow any pastor. They will be guided by wisdom, knowledge and discernment to make right choices.
In one of my recent articles, I explained how many people follow pastors without adequate knowledge. A tongue-speaking Christian can follow a false pastor without knowing it. Today, a counterfeit bishop can be found in an Orthodox, Protestant, Pentecostal or Charismatic church. You can only identify a true servant of Christ if you have studied the Bible to know how the biblical servants of God were uniquely called, prepared, commissioned, ministered and lived by Godly character.
In that article, I stated that it was not proper to follow a pastor merely because of his stature, oratory skills, seminary training, priestly garment or ecclesiastical titles. Many are influenced by the factors aforementioned, but these do not necessarily make anyone a true servant of Christ. One important way a child of God can determine the genuineness of their pastor is to find out if they hold the keys to the door of the Kingdom of Heaven.
A wise child of God ought to know that true ministers of the gospel have been given the keys to the Kingdom of heaven. Christ Jesus first promised to give these keys to the foundational apostles led by Peter (Matthew 16:19). In fact, it is impossible for false ministers to have these Keys to open the Door of Heaven to believers.
The Lord Jesus Christ is the only way and the Door to Heaven (John 14:6; John 10:1-9). And He is also the Giver of the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven to His ministers. Thus, when Christ sends His ministers to represent Him in the world to preach and teach the Word of Truth, the gospel of salvation, He gives them the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven so as to function effectively.
The Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven symbolise divine authority and power which point to the gospel of the Kingdom of God. Paul gives us a hint about this when he writes that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation… (Romans 1:16). This gospel is all about the knowledge of Christ which His ministers are equipped with and commanded to communicate throughout the nations of the world.
Now, as I pointed out earlier, Christ Jesus is the Way and the Door to Heaven. And ministers are the ones, who have been given the Keys to the Door. In fact, they have been given the Keys not for decoration but for the declaration of the truths of gospel to open the door to the many who have been preordained to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
But the major concern here is whether many ministers today really do have the Keys. My interactions with some ministers of the gospel in Kumasi, the Ashanti Regional capital, revealed that the greater majority of them have not been exposed to the teaching about the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. They also did not know how ministers could use the Keys to open the Door to the Kingdom.
A pastor opens the door of the Kingdom of Heaven, which is Jesus Christ, if he preaches and teaches about Him. Therefore, to open the Door of Heaven is to preach about Christ Jesus for sinners to believe in Him for the salvation of their souls. But if a pastor abandons Christ and refuses to preach and teach about Him, then, he is actually closing the Door and denying the believers under his care, access to heaven.
A student of the Bible understands that the Kingdom of Heaven points to Christ Jesus. And genuine men of God, blessed with the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, preach and teach nothing except the crucified Christ. Preaching the gospel is preaching about the Lord Jesus Christ. That is why the foundational apostles faithfully and efficaciously preached about Christ in every village, town and city they journeyed. In Colossians 1:28, the apostle Paul wrote: “Him we preach…”
And then, in Acts Chapter 8, Philip preached the Good News about Jesus Christ to the Ethiopian eunuch. All the foundational apostles and the other true ministers appointed after them preached Christ and taught about Him to open the Door of Heaven to the believers. Believer, in this generation, it is time for you to critically examine the messages your pastor preaches or teaches to see if he is really opening the Door of Heaven to you or not. 'Shine your eyes!'
By James Quansah