Let No Man Usurp the Place of Christ, Part 1

Preacher

 

But you are not to be called rabbi (teacher), for you have one Teacher and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone [in the church] on earth father, for you have one Father, Who is in heaven. And you must not be called masters (leaders), for you have one Master (Leader), the Christ. (Matt 23:8-10, AMP)

Now why did Jesus say this? Aren’t we to have human teachers and leaders in the church? Dear saints, as I pointed out in my last blog the Holy Spirit is our Teacher and here we see that only Christ is our Leader for HE alone is THE Good Shepard.

It really disturbs my heart when people write or come to me as if I was “The Bible Answer Man,” especially when they are old enough in Christ to hear His voice for themselves as their Teacher. When this happens I feel like I am usurping His place in their lives. Yet, this is the accepted norm in today’s Christendom. Men get degrees and clamor to be in this place of authority in the lives of Christ’s sheep. Not only that, but some of His sheep, like ancient Israel, desire to have a human king to rule over them (see 1 Samuel 8:4-7). It offended God then and it offends Him now.

I just read the March 24th “My Utmost for His Highest” by Oswald Chambers and he put his finger right on where the problem lies and why this accepted norm among Christians bothers me so much…

Decreasing for His Purpose

He must increase, but I must decrease.John 3:30

If you become a necessity to someone else’s life, you are out of God’s will. As a servant, your primary responsibility is to be a “friend of the bridegroom” [never the Bridegroom Himself] (John 3:29). When you see a person who is close to grasping the claims of Jesus Christ, you know that your influence has been used in the right direction. And when you begin to see that person in the middle of a difficult and painful struggle, don’t try to prevent it, but pray that his difficulty will grow even ten times stronger, until no power on earth or in hell could hold him away from Jesus Christ. Over and over again, we try to be amateur providences in someone’s life. We are indeed amateurs, coming in and actually preventing God’s will and saying, “This person should not have to experience this difficulty.” Instead of being friends of the Bridegroom, our sympathy gets in the way. One day that person will say to us, “You are a thief; you stole my desire to follow Jesus, and because of you I lost sight of Him.”

Beware of rejoicing with someone over the wrong thing, but always look to rejoice over the right thing. “…the friend of the bridegroom…rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:29-30). This was spoken with joy, not with sadness— at last they were to see the Bridegroom! And John said this was his joy. It represents a stepping aside, an absolute removal of the servant, never to be thought of again.

Listen intently with your entire being until you hear the Bridegroom’s voice in the life of another person. And never give any thought to what devastation, difficulties, or sickness it will bring. Just rejoice with godly excitement that His voice has been heard. You may often have to watch Jesus Christ wreck a life before He saves it (see Matthew 10:34).

One time I was with a small home fellowship and we were talking about listening to the Lord’s voice when this older sister spoke up and said that she had never heard Him speak to her. I asked her what she listened to all day and she replied, “I get up in the morning and watch TBN on my TV and then in the afternoon I listen to radio preachers or sermon tapes.” I said to her, “See here! This is your problem. God can’t get a word in edgewise! Turn all that stuff off and practice listening to His quiet small voice.”

She came back the next week and reported that where she would have had the car radio on and listen to a “Christian station” she decided to pray and listen to Him. On her way home on a dark night on a country road that week He brought her attention to a sign that said, “Beware of Moose!” so she slowed down and right around the next corner was a big dark colored moose right in her lane. If she had not slowed down she would not have seen it in time and hit it and totaled her car and injured herself. We all “rejoiced with godly excitement that His voice has been heard.”

26 comments on “Let No Man Usurp the Place of Christ, Part 1

  1. Wow! Totally resonates. I had just read the same devotional by Oswald Chambers and it struck me the same way.

    Thanks for sharing and confirming! Cathy

    On Fri, Mar 23, 2018, 9:46 PM A Wilderness Voice, wrote:

    > Michael posted: ” But you are not to be called rabbi (teacher), for you > have one Teacher and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone [in the > church] on earth father, for you have one Father, Who is in heaven. And you > must not be called masters (leaders), for ” >

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      You are welcome, Cathy, Real spiritual teaching should resonate with what the Holy Spirit has already been saying to us if we belong to Christ and have His Spirit abiding in us. When it is not His Spirit speaking we can feel that error like a bone stuck in our throat. Without His Spirit abiding in us we are open to every lie that comes along which appeals to our flesh. The work of the cross of Christ which we take up daily is to divide our soul from our spirit so we CAN discern the difference and this is the work of the cross within us.

      For the word of God [Jesus Christ] is living , and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing EVEN TO THE DIVIDING ASUNDER OF SOUL AND SPIRIT, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his [HIS] sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him [HIM] with whom we have to do. (Heb 4:12-13, KJ2000 – emphasis added)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Mary Ann says:

    Great post..
    It really makes sense..
    The best answer one can receive comes from God..
    When ever I read Matthew 23, I thought Jesus was giving a prophecy of the Catholic church..
    Since they call so many father.. Thank you for the insight..

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Yes Mary Ann, it is common for Protestants to see only the part of this passage you mentioned, but Jesus was addressing ALL religions where leaders loom larger in the eyes of the saints than He does as they seek the preeminence over Christ. Thanks for your comment.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. jmwe29 says:

    Oh so very true and a hearty Amen!! The whole traditional setup with one man rule encourages this way of thinking, it encourages laziness in the congregation, and often results in burnout in the leadership. And worse yet, when gone to seed, it turns abusive. So very glad to find a post that points out the fact that Jesus specifically said to call no man teacher!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Fred says:

    I learned something today that goes along with what you have said. I will share it here. No teaching just sharing. Sharing is fine.

    “Josiah was a holy man, who out of a gracious dispensation, desirous to be informed from GOD what should become of him and his people, send to the prophetess Huldah. It was GOD’s mercy that he should have Huldah, a Jeremiah, to be sent to; and it was GOD’s mercy that they should deal faithfully with him. This is GOD’s mercy to those that are True Harted. He will give them teachers suitable to their desires; but those that are false-hearted shall have a suitable teacher, who shall instruct them according to their lust. ”

    I thought that last part was interesting and suitable for what you have said.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Thanks Fred. God said to Samuel,

      With the loyal you show yourself loyal; with the blameless you show yourself blameless; with the pure you show yourself pure, and with the crooked you show yourself perverse. You deliver a humble people, but your eyes are upon the haughty to bring them down. Indeed, you are my lamp, O Lord, the Lord lightens my darkness.
      (2 Samuel 22:26-29 )

      Jesus put it this way, “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.”

      You can’t get away with playing religious games with God and the Bible will read according to the lust of your own heart. This is why our prayer should be,

      “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
      (Psalm 139:23-24)

      Liked by 2 people

      • Fred says:

        Yes, a scary prayer as another friend pointed out. A prayer we need every day as we cannot always seek [see?] our own wickedness but GOD can. Sometimes we do not want to see it or admit it.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Michael says:

        Fred, this prayer from the Psalms is only “scary” if we trust in our flesh more than we trust our loving Father. “Cast all your cares upon Him for He cares for you.”

        Liked by 3 people

  5. The way this ‘Moose story’ went is so typical for God. I love it, Michael! ❤ Thanks for sharing this. 🙂

    Indeed, our only task is to point people to Christ and away from us. That's it! Period.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Susanne, this is so true. Yet, how many will come back and argue the importance of THEIR ministry in the face of what Jesus said in this passage. There is an old saying: “If you throw a rock into a pack of dogs, the one who yelps is the one that got hit.”

      I got a comment from someone who argued about the importance of “pastors.” As you know, this list in Ephesians 4:11 are manifestations of Christ moving in His ecclesia, not “offices.” To make them into offices is to elevate men and to ignore Christ as our ALL. Once again we see that the traditions of men in the back-slidden church systems of today do all they can to make void the commandments of Christ.

      “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. But for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for an example to them who should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” (1Tim 1:15-17, KJ2000)

      “Since you are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart. And such trust have we through Christ toward God: Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;” (2Cor 3:3-5, KJ2000)

      I identify with Paul, don’t you? Unto Jesus be ALL honor and glory, Amen.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Ken Dawson says:

    Thanks for the good reminder.I have often pointed people to Ezekiel chapter 36 explaining to them that what we have today is a Covenant relationship with God and when you look at that chapter in Ezekiel God explains that we humans have given God a bad rap by our poor lives and twice in that Ezekiel text God tells the people–I am setting up this New Covenant deal not for your sake but for my sake,to show My holiness and then the other nations will look at what I have done with you and they will realize that I am God.All things are of God,by God,and through God–For His glory–We are just favored to be used to share in His glory.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      This is a great passage, Ken.

      “And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Lord GOD, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.” (Ezek 36:23-27, ESV2011)

      Paul verified that this promise for the glory of God is not for those who keep the law, but for all who believe and trust in Christ and abide in His Spirit saying,

      “Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2Cor 3:15-18, ESV2011)

      Make it so, Lord Jesus. Thanks for sharing this my brother.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This explains, also, why so many have been susceptible to false prophets. Think of the tragedies at Jonestown and Waco. Jim Jones and David Koresh presented themselves as substitutes for Christ.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Anna, I was in a Christian cult that came close to being another Jonestown because we gave a man the devotion and obedience that should only be given to Christ. After the group imploded and scattered this man was diagnosed as a sociopath. It was a hard lesson to learn on why we should never give to men what only belongs to Christ.

      Satan has coveted the bride of Christ for himself. What happens to people in Christian cults is very sad. John warned us in his epistle that this would happen and gave us the solution to keep from being deceived, the Holy Spirit…

      “Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it,.. I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.” (1John 2:18-27, ESV2011)

      May He fill you to overflowing with His Spirit, dear Anna.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. jmwe29 says:

    “You have no need that any man teach you…” It was this verse that really began to wake me up after coming out of an abusive church and seeing how man has riddled the Church with traditions that make the Word of none effect. I love the point of this 2 part post- He must increase while we must decrease. I’ve seen way too much of places that do it the other way around. “The Gentiles lord it over… it shall not be so among you.” But sadly, that’s EXACTLY how it is in most congregations. But a new wineskin is coming! People are waking up! It’s so very encouraging to read your posts and know there are others out there who are shining that light in the darkness.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      JMW, thank you four sharing your hard earned wisdom with us. It is amazing how the same trial by fire (church abuse) burns up straw, at the same time purifies gold in the hands of our Lord. He uses all these things to drive us to seek His face that we might be conformed into the image of Christ.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Dan says:

    People expect pastor/ teacher to give answer for every issue.
    Focus is on “where can I find better teacher?”
    Then you find out even “better teacher has flaws / errors.”

    Dan

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      So true, Dan. It is hard to be God and Paul refused to be put in this position by a carnal church.

      You are still worldly [controlled by ordinary impulses, the sinful capacity]. For as long as there is jealousy and strife and discord among you, are you not unspiritual, and are you not walking like ordinary men [unchanged by faith]? For when one of you says, “I am [a disciple] of Paul,” and another, “I am [a disciple] of Apollos,” are you not [proving yourselves unchanged, just] ordinary people? What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Just servants through whom you believed [in Christ], even as the Lord appointed to each his task.
      1 Corinthians 3:3-5 – AMP

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Patricia Lelión says:

    Gracias Michael por esta preciosa palabra. Y esto tiene que ver con algo que el Señor me enseñó este fin de semana. Una hermana en Cristo me llamó para decirme que su madre estaba enferma y me pidió oración por sanidad. Pero en el momento que me disponía a orar, el Señor en la quietud de mi espíritu habló acerca de este asunto. Él en su infinito amor está tratando con este hermana, está poniendo su dedo en su vida y esta prueba está destinada para comenzar este trato con ella y que yo no debía orar por sanidad sino para que mi hermana en Cristo pueda escuchar la voz del Señor en medio de esta aflicción.

    Las palabras de Oswald Chambers confirmaron lo que el Señor habló a mi vida: “Escucha atentamente con todo tu ser hasta que escuches la voz del Novio en la vida de otra persona. Y nunca pienses qué devastación, dificultades o enfermedad traerá. Solo regocíjense con emoción divina porque su voz ha sido escuchada. A menudo tendrás que ver a Jesucristo destrozar una vida antes de salvarla”.

    Gloria a Dios que podemos escuchar la voz del Novio y que por Su Espíritu podemos ser dóciles a Él.

    Patricia wrote:

    Thanks Michael for this beautiful word. And this has to do with something that the Lord taught me this weekend. A sister in Christ called me to tell me that her mother was sick and she asked for prayer for healing. But at the time I was about to pray, the Lord in the stillness of my spirit spoke about this matter. He in his infinite love is dealing with this sister, he is putting his finger in his life and this test is destined to begin this deal with her and that I should not pray for healing but so that my sister in Christ can hear the voice of the Lord in the midst of this affliction.

    The words of Oswald Chambers confirmed what the Lord spoke to my life: “Listen carefully to your whole being until you hear the voice of the Bridegroom in the life of another person. And never think what devastation, difficulties or illness will bring. Just rejoice with divine emotion because your voice has been heard. Often you will have to see Jesus Christ destroy a life before saving it. ”

    Glory to God that we can hear the voice of the Bridegroom and that by His Spirit we can be docile to Him.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Michael says:

    You are right to listen to the Spirit in these matters, dear Patrica. Paul prayed three times to be healed of his “thorn in the flesh,” but God told him that in his weakness Christ was being perfected within him. I have chronic back pains from an injury to one of my vertebra which was operated on a while back. It is better than it was, but it appears that the pains and mussel spasms I get (in spite of much prayer) are a permanent thing from here on out. Like Paul, I have many things I can do well in my natural man and I KNOW that without this weakness I would be prone to take on jobs and do things without asking God for His guidance first. It is in our weakness that Christ is perfected. For me this is an answer to prayer that it might come to pass, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Or as Paul also said, “When I am weak, then am I strong.”

    Like

  12. Patricia Lelión says:

    Así es Michael, no eres el único al que el Señor manda aguijones jajajaja.

    Pero esas espinas son necesarias, porque cuántas cosas haríamos en la carne si no fuera así. Dios debe salvarnos de nosotros mismos en la cotidianidad de nuestra vida. Él nos hace lirios en medio de espinas.

    Gracias por compartir tu testimonio. Un abrazo mi hermano.

    Patricia wrote:

    That’s Michael, you’re not the only one the Lord sends stings hahahaha.

    But those thorns are necessary, because how many things would we do in the flesh if it were not so. God must save us from ourselves in the daily life [ordeals] of our lives. He makes us lilies in the middle of thorns.

    Thanks for sharing your testimony. A hug my brother.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      “We are His lilies among the thorns,” that is quite a picture, dear sister. The only alternative we have is to be left as thorns among the lilies. 🙂
      Holy hugs back, my sister

      Like

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