A FEW years ago, a pastor of a Charismatic word-based church rebuked his members for failing to grow up spiritually. He was teaching them about spiritual growth. Quoting Hebrews 5: 12, the Pastor chided his members, saying, “After being members of this church for many years, you have still not grown. You ought to have grown up to be teachers by this time.”
Who is to be blamed for that problem? Is it the church members, the pastor or both? Well, Evangelist Dag Heward-Mills wrote in one of his books that, “Leadership is everything and everything is leadership.” A pastor is responsible for feeding the church he oversees with the right spiritual food (the Word of God) to enable them to grow up spiritually.
“And he (Jesus Christ) gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds (pastors) and teachers to equip the saints for the work of ministry….to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children… Rather…we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ” (Ephesians 4: 11- 15, ESV, emphasis mine).
Sincere men of God are called, trained, anointed and sent to save sinners from the bondage of sin and grow them up spiritually to conform to the image of Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus is the standard. He is the One we look unto. A student is not above his teacher but everyone who is fully trained can be like his teacher.
In the natural home, it is the responsibility of parents to properly feed their children to grow up well. Babies and children are carefully nurtured and fed with balanced diets by their parents to grow well. As the children grow, the parents teach them how they should feed and take care of themselves.
God expects His ministers to feed believers with the right teaching of the gospel of Christ so that they may grow up spiritually. Then after some time, the ministers may gently encourage and instruct the maturing believers to feed themselves through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Pastors may encourage them to read, study, and meditate on the Word of God daily on their own.
Not only must we read our Bibles, we must also spend time to read other good Christian books. The Lord Jesus read prophet Isaiah’s book (Luke 4: 18). The Ethiopian eunuch also read prophet Isaiah’s book (Acts 8: 30). Daniel read prophet Jeremiah’s book (Daniel 9: 2). The apostle Paul advised Timothy, his son in the Lord, to read good books.
Men of God have the responsibility to get Christians grounded in the knowledge of Christ. Unfortunately, however, most church leaders today have forgotten about the call to equip believers into maturity. Instead, most of us are busily teaching believers all manner of keys, principles and steps to make money.
Teaching people how to prosper materially or financially is not a bad thing. We must work hard to make money so we can sponsor God’s projects and to live meaningful lives. But the quest for money should not take priority over teaching Christians how to build their personal relationship with the Lord.
As Christians, we must learn to have intimacy with our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ through regular reading, studying, meditation in the Word of God and practicing what the Word says with prayers.
The failure to carefully identify and follow the teachings of the Lord Jesus has resulted in the creation of a new breed of Christians who are neither cold nor hot. Today, there are many believers who have one of their legs inside the church and the other outside it. We seem to have our bodily presence in the church but spiritually our hearts are far away from God.
We go to church on Sundays, where we are seen praying fervently, dancing aggressively but we seem to have no time to hear and do, act, live and practice the Word of God. No wonder our churches are filled with spiritually weak believers. When will we put a stop to our hypocrisy? How long shall we deceive ourselves? Our Master and Lord, Jesus Christ, warns us against being lukewarm.
“So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3: 16, NIV).
Most of us cannot sincerely abide in the love of Christ. Though we attend church meetings every day, we are full of malice, hatred, envy and selfishness. We claim to know Jesus Christ and love Him but we cannot love others as He loved us. We call people who may disagree with us enemies and pray against them; we curse them when Jesus said we should bless them.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven…” (Matthew 5: 43- 45, NIV).
Get it right! Our true enemies are Satan and his demons. They are spirit beings. They are the ones fighting against our victory in Christ Jesus. If you are truly born again, Spirit-filled believer, Satan and his minions will fight against you usually through human instruments, but they will fail because greater is He that is in you! You are a conqueror! With God on your side, you are more than a majority.