God Did Not Call Me to Preach
There are innumerable men, and even women, who publicly preach, claiming to be Godís representatives and spokespersons. The public media is full of eloquent and polished speakers, and of pious-sounding preachers who seem to be so righteous.
Not being gifted as a speaker, I have sometimes admired those that are able to speak words smoother than butter, softer than oil. It is then that I need to get the true perspective from Godís Word, that underneath, most, if not all, of these talkers are against Godís truth, Psalms 55:21. We need to be on guard against those who speak peace but have mischief in their hearts, Psalms 28:3-5. Perhaps there is nothing so sweet as a woman preacher, but her end is as bitter as wormwood. Obviously, because she is violating I Timothy 2:11-12 and I Corinthians 14:34-35, a woman preacher cannot produce good results.
So many have been taken in by smooth-talking ministers who preach for hire, that a bad name has been acquired by the whole group. Such false ministers have twisted Godís doctrine into a lie, have served not Christ but their own belly, "and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple," Romans 16:17-18.
Be on guard against eloquent speakers who deceive you with vain words, Ephesians 5:6-7. Beware lest any man should beguile you with enticing words, or philosophical arguments which seem true, because they follow the customs of men and receive human praise, Colossians 2:4, 8, 18, 2223. Such vain talkers teach for moneyís sake and turn many from the truth, Titus 1:9-16. With feigned words (hypocritical, put-on clever arguments based on technicalities), they make merchandise of Godís people (religion is a profitable business to them), II Peter 2:1-3. They talk about Christ, but deceive many, Matthew 24:4-5.
One of the marks of a false minister is that of speaking evil of other groups, other ministers, James 4:11-12. We are to lay aside such evil speaking, and not listen to it or be a party to it, I Peter 2:1-2, Ephesians 4:30-31. We are not even to speak evil of Satan, let alone other human beings! Jude 8-10.
They speak "great swelling words" and respect persons in order to gain the advantage, Jude 16. "They proudly boast about their sins and conquests, and, using lust as their bait, they lure back into sin those who have just escaped from such wicked living," II Peter 2:18, Living Bible. "They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily," Psalms 73:8. The ultimate in proud and lofty speaking will be the "little horn" who will have "a mouth speaking great things," Daniel 7:8, 11, 20, 25; 11:36; Revelation 13:5-6, 11-18. God will judge such wicked tongues, Psalms 12:1-8.
False ministers arise "speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them," Acts 20:30, having "doctrines of devils, speaking lies in hypocrisy [saying one thing, doing another]; having their conscience seared with a hot iron," I Timothy 4:1-2. "They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them," I John 4:5.
But at the Messiahís return, there will be a sudden end of those that speak lies in the name of the Lord. These false ministers shall be ashamed of the lies they preached, and shall not claim to be inspired of God any more, Zechariah 13:1-5.
It is far safer now for men not to claim to be Godís spokesmen. Better to be a meek individual like Moses, Numbers 12:1-13, who faithfully told the people what the Eternal told him to speak. He made no false claims. In fact, Moses told the Lord that he wasnít eloquent, but that he was slow of speech. But the Eternal was to be Mosesí mouth, and used Aaron until Moses overcame his shyness, Exodus 4:10-16. Jeremiah complained that he couldnít speak well because he was so young, Jeremiah 1:6. But God put words in Jeremiahís mouth, verses 7-10. The Messiah correctly spoke the faithful words the Father had put in His mouth, Deuteronomy 18:15-19. But the self-appointed prophet who presumes to speak Godís words in Godís name or any other name shall die, verses 20-22, also 13:1-5, Jeremiah 14:13-15. Unless God reveals His specific words to us, we had best remain silent and not presume to have new revelations, new truths!
Moses admitted that he was a man "of uncircumcised lips," Exodus 6:12, 30. That is, without Godís specific instructions and His Spirit, Mosesí words would have no effect whatsoever. Isaiah said that he was a man of unclean lips in the midst of a people of unclean lips, Isaiah 6:5.
True ministers of God, His Spokesmen, do not volunteer to speak Godís words! They are like Amos, who was drafted and sent to speak the Eternalís words, Amos 7:14-15. False ministers speak words out of their own hearts; God did not speak to, or send them, yet they ran about preaching. If they had caused Godís people to hear His words, then they would have turned the people from their sins, Jeremiah 23:16-17, 21-22. But instead they have prophesied lies in His name, verses 11-14, 25-29.
The apostle Paul was not an eloquent speaker nor a handsome fellow. Although he wrote powerful letters, "his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible," II Corinthians 10:10. He was "rude in speech, yet not in knowledge," II Corinthians 11:6. Christ sent Paul, not to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words or excellency of speech, but with the spiritual power of God, I Corinthians 1:17-31; 2:1-10, 13. Not in complexity or long technical arguments, but in simplicity and godly sincerity, II Corinthians 1:12, with "great plainness of speech," 3:12, great "boldness of speech," 7:4.
Having seen the prevalence of vain talkers deceiving the many, and the humility of the men of God who only spoke His revealed words, I must be frank and admit that God has not called me to preach His word. I do not need to arrogate the title of Godís spokesman to myself. He hasnít called me to preach "thus saith the Lord." Godís spokesmen have a "burden from the Lord," i.e., they must preach His words of warning or else they themselves will be held accountable, Ezekiel 3:4-27. I do not have this burden at this time.
True ministers of God must be called and sent by Him, not a human organization! Romans 10:13-15, Acts 4:20, 5:19-20, 28-29, 8:26, 9:10, 10:19, 13:2. That is why I do not seek "ministerial credentials" nor do I issue them to others.
The true body of the Messiah is comprised of those who have, and are being led by, the Holy Spirit, I Corinthians 12:13. Their names are written in Heaven, Luke 10:20, not on some computer or other records of an incorporated church body. The true church is guided by its head, Jesus Christ. It is not synonymous with a state or government-recognized entity. I am not part of an incorporated church body, nor do I wish to be. You canít join my church (itís not mine, but the Eternalís), but you can become a part of it if you are called into it by the Almighty, John 6:44.
A called and chosen servant of God is either directly sent by Him, or through one of His other servants. Church elders are ordained by true ministers, Titus 1:5. I have not had this ordination, so will not take to myself the functions of an elder: preaching and teaching, taking care of the church (I Timothy 3:1-7), anointing the sick for healing (James 5:14-15), preaching the gospel in all the world, baptizing those that believe, casting out demons, etc. (Mark 16:15-18, Matthew 28:18-20).
So many want to be a minister of God that they "volunteer" for His service! As we have seen before, this is a very dangerous practice and could result in oneís eternal death! James said, "My brethren, be not many masters (teachers), knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation," James 3:1. It doesnít matter how sincere you are, you will be judged by your works! Those who lie when they claim God sent them to preach when He didnít, are going to suffer a severe penalty, Revelations 21:8.
No, God hasnít sent me to preach publicly to the world. Iím sure I will be the first one to know, if He does decide to send me to do this very thing. Until then, what is my function? What is yours?
I firmly believe that the Eternal called me to live His way of life. Since my baptism in 1969, I have seen evidence in my life of Godís Holy Spirit in action, of changes, of miracles, time and again. No believer who has this hope should ever be in doubt as to his own calling into Godís truth, James 1:5-7.
I believe the ministers who baptized and laid hands on me had a remarkable degree of the truth of God. But since then, they and the church organization they represented, have severely departed from many of these basic truths, such as the Sabbath, Holy Days, trusting God for healing, faithful tithing, and belief and support for the sanctity and life-long permanence of marriage. Rather than following them in their downward path, I had to press on alone.
Through much prayer and study, I have come to believe that there are three things that God did call me, and probably most of you, to do:
(1) We are called to live the truth of God in a wicked and perverse world. We are to shine as lights, Matthew 5:13-16, Philippians 2:15. Every day, this becomes a more difficult task as evil men and seducers wax worse and worse. We need Godís calling and aid to accomplish this monumental mission. What a wonderful tool is the Sabbath to bring us back into line to our duty to God!
(2) We are called to help and encourage others to preserve the truth of Godís way of life. Few people today really earnestly desire to keep the flame of truth burning in themselves and others. The work we do in writing articles and letters, and distributing Bibles and books through Giving & Sharing, is motivated out of the desire to serve other believers and help preserve the truth in these degenerate times. I do not intend to be an authoritative preacher in an attempt to convert or to sway others. It often happens that someone points out an error or omission in one of my articles that helps me to see the truth of the Bible more clearly. I appreciate these comments, as well as articles contributed by others. This sort of brotherly exchange is what Malachi 3:16 means: "Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another [about God's word]." And also Hebrews 10:24, "And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works." Also see verse 25.
(3) We are called to hold fast, Hebrews 10:23. This means tenaciously clinging to the revealed truths of God, and growing in grace and knowledge of our Savior, II Peter 3:17-18. How many people do you know who have walked Godís ways for a while, but let themselves slip away from the faith? To hold fast to the truths God gave me, I have to talk and write about these truths with others, and live them. Also, I need review and reinforcement through prayer, study, meditation, reading, writing and listening. Holding fast means enduring to the end.
The Eternal may have me do other things someday. But right now, I have a full slate of duties. No, God did not call me to preach, but He did call me to live the truth, to preserve the truth and to hold fast to the truth. As surely as God sent Moses, Ezekiel or John the Baptist, He has sent me, and you, to do these things. Are we going to neglect this great calling, or will we instead be zealously about our Fatherís business?
Doing and Obeying the Law
Reconstructionist theologian Greg L. Bahnsen, in his book, By This Standard: The Authority of Godís Law Today (1985: Institute for Christian Economics, Tyler, Texas), says that "Heart-felt obedience to God law will lead us to promote obedience to that same law on the part of others" (page 35). Bahnsen quotes John Murray:
The least of Godís commandments, if they bind us, bind others. We must resist the virulent poison of individualism which tolerates in others the indifference and disobedience which we cannot justify in ourselves . . . . The moment we become complacent to the sins of others then we have begun to relax our own grip on the sanctity of the commandments of God, and we are on the way to condoning the same sin in ourselves (Principles of Conduct, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eeerdmans, 1957).
If we are doing the right thing, we will as a natural consequence seek to help others do the right thing as well. Any other action is not a response of love.
Faith Results in Doing
Charles H. Spurgeon, 19th Century minister and prolific writer, wrote:
We trust God for good and then we do good. We do not sit still because we trust, but rouse ourselves, and expect the Lord to work through us and by us. We neither trust without doing, nor do without trusting," (quoted in The Plain Truth magazine, August, 1992, page 14).
The Parable of the Sower, Mark 4:14-20, shows that we must do. We cannot put our light under a bushel basket, Mark 4:21-25. We should publish the great things our Savior has done for us, Mark 5:19-20. A man healed by the Master disobeyed Him and published the Truth, Mark 7:31-37. Many today act as if Jesus had told them to keep quiet about His truth, when Christ hasnít told them to keep quiet! Let us not be ashamed of Christ, Mark 8:34-38.W
This article was originally published as Bible Study No. 58.
It isnít what I donít understand about the Bible that bothers me; itís what I do understand.