GOD'S WORD urgently calls on all Christians throughout the world to grow in the knowledge of Christ, have their lips guard knowledge, love knowledge, desire knowledge of God, buy truth and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction and understanding.
God wants us to have knowledge because He knows that His children can perish for lack of knowledge. Some bishops have taught that all Christians are priests and a kingdom to God, but they never pointed that, “For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts” (Malachi 2:7).
You see, there is one thing referring to your church member as a priest to God, and another thing equipping him or her with knowledge. God commands all His children to have deep knowledge of His Word in order to function properly as priests. It is for this reason He appoints shepherds, aka pastors or bishops, as it is written, “I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding (Jeremiah 3:15).
True pastors are given as gifts to feed the elect of God with knowledge and understanding of God. But most pastors in this generation have greatly disappointed God by failing to feed their congregants with the knowledge of the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus to establish them in the faith. Through Christ, a Christian is not cursed but blessed, not sick but healed, not a sinner but righteous, not an enemy of God but a child, not in bondage but redeemed among others.
But many pastors do not teach about these things; they only distort some passages of Scripture to present messages of motivation and prosperity to excite people's intellect without forming Christ in them through knowledge. This has helped false prophets and teachers to succeed in leading many Christians astray and putting them in bondage.
A scripturally educated Christian can easily tell the difference between false and true prophets. He will know that the qualification to be a servant of Jesus Christ goes beyond knowing how to quote scriptures to preach or teach, prophesy, lead prayers, bless marriages, or counsel people. The apostle Paul implores us, “To test all things; hold fast what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). But John asks us to “…test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).
As Christians, we should examine every teaching or prophetic direction or fundraising principle presented to us in the light of the written Word of God. Until we test them, we may not know the sound doctrine to accept or genuine man of God to follow or listen to. But the important point is that unless you know the Word, it may be difficult for you to test them. This is why you must read your Bible daily.
In fact, many children of God will change their pastors immediately if they diligently read and study the Bible to receive revelation of the purpose of Christ's death, burial, resurrection and second coming. Many will know that changing a pastor who is going astray is not changing Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world, whose love is constant and unchanging.
A true bishop is not necessarily everyone who shepherds a church. A true prophet is not necessarily everyone who has prophetic powers to understand mysteries or see into the future. A true apostle is not necessarily everyone who is sent to pioneer new works. A person may be called Reverend, Bishop, Prophet and Apostle, and yet be described as a worker of iniquity by the Lord Jesus Christ.
Christ Jesus has His genuine ministers in the world, doing His work. He calls them faithful servants, brothers and friends. Such ministers maintain an intimate relationship with the Lord. They abide in His love, doctrine and gladly obey His commands. They have sound knowledge of the gospel of Christ, and also live the Word of Christ.
The character of such ministers are built on the fruit of the Holy Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. They are humble and obedient to Jesus Christ, the Master. They are committed to building on the foundation the Apostles of the Lamb laid. They preach and teach the full gospel without betraying any of them.
Like Paul, and the other foundational apostles, these ministers toil day and night preaching, teaching and praying so that they may present every believer mature in Christ. They know that their core responsibility is not necessarily to help Christians to acquire cars, build houses and amass wealth. These are very important things we all need for ministry and for personal enjoyment, but true ministers have a sense of priority.
They know that the main aim of their calling is to build up or develop believers spiritually to the stature of the measure of the fullness of Christ (Eph. 4:13). In their day-to-day activities, they are conscious that they are to perfect the saints for the work of ministry so that all may conform to the image of Christ.
By James Quansah