Did you ever think about the difference between a pastor and a bible teacher? A pastor is to lead his flock to green pastures and still waters. He is to use the Word of God, by Holy Spirit guidance, to give the flock what it needs in order to advance the purposes of God. That is why we must obey the Word of God and become part of a flock.
Whereas a bible teacher is to use the Word of God with a 360-degree view and rightly dividing it. His purpose is to uphold the purity of the Word of God and not tailor it to his audience. That is why we can listen to a wholesome bible teacher outside our local body in order to advance our knowledge of the Word of God, but it is never to be a substitute for being a part of a local body of believers.
This does not mean a minister can’t both preach and teach, but they are two different animals, so to say.
Many people thought I was being called to be a pastor in my early twenties, but I never felt that call. Instead, I felt myself being called to immerse myself in the Word of God.
The reason I say these things is to show that a pastor can preach about how Jesus can wash your sins away and separate them from you as far as the East is from the West (Psalm 103:12). You can be made as white as snow (Isaiah 1:18). Both of these are biblical truths. But a bible teacher will take an overall view and point out that even though the sins are 100% forgiven, the consequences of the sins may have to be dealt with, while on this earth, for many years to come (Numbers 20:12).
A pastor may preach about how the Holy Spirit wants to lead him and the congregation onto new things (Isaiah 43:18-19, Ephesians 3:20). But a bible teacher will point out that the Holy Spirit may lead believers onto new things, but it will always be within the boundaries of the Word of God (Revelation 22:18-19, Matthew 5:18, Exodus 34:10-11).
In the churches that do not stay true to the Word of God, you will find they have disregarded the boundaries and consequences laid out in the written Word of God.
It is a dangerous thing to hear, “The Holy Spirit can do anything” without hearing, “in accordance with the Word of God” along with it.
We learn a valuable lesson from the Word of God when Jesus was tempted by Satan:
Then the devil took him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order his angels to protect you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’” Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’” (Matthew 4:5-7 NLT)
Here is what the Scripture actually says that Satan only partially quoted:
For He will order His angels to protect You wherever You go. They will hold You up with their hands so You won’t even hurt Your foot on a stone. You will trample upon lions and cobras; You will crush fierce lions and serpents under Your feet! (Psalms 91:11-13 NLT)
I find it very eye-opening that the prophesy that Satan quoted, he left out where it says that Jesus will trample the serpent (Satan) under His feet!
We are reminded in the book of James of this fact:
Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly. (James 3:1 NLT)
I will leave you with these two absolutes:
1. Anything any man preaches or teaches from the pulpit needs to be verified to be in-line with the rightly divided written Word of God, the Bible.
2. Any word of prophecy, of knowledge, or of wisdom must not be contrary to the written Word of God, the Bible.
Make no mistake of what I have written. Yes, we are to study the Bible diligently. But we are also to open ourselves up in prayer to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We are to be in-tune to His ‘still small voice’:
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. (John 14:26 ESV)