And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-12)
A House Of Merchandise
The foundation of man’s relationship with God has always been determined by his understanding of authority. It is not a glamorous subject and often neglected in teaching the importance of doctrine. However nothing is more fundamental than a need to follow the will of God in the manner prescribed by the Lord with no deviation to innovations of man. Noah built the ark according to the plan given to him by God. Any change in those instructions and the ark would never have gotten off the ground. When Moses was given instructions to build the tabernacle Jehovah expected the plans to be followed without the whims of man changing anything. The New Testament church was founded upon a plan devised by the Almighty and yet we find that pattern so corrupted today. This is especially sad when it finds itself within the pattern of the church today.
Paul explains to the church in Ephesus the pattern of authority within the local church. It is simple. It is direct. It is functional. It is God’s will. Comparing that to what many churches are doing today shows how far off course some have taken the body of Christ. Case in point: the following ad appears in a web site of a church of Christ – “Seeking candidates who have a master’s level degree in ministry and at least 5 years of experience working in justice and compassion ministry in a local church context.” This church also announced it will begin using instruments of music in their worship service this fall. In the list of ‘Ministry Opportunities’ the church includes “Worship, Dramas/Productions, Lead Prayer, Lead Communion Meditation, Read Scripture, Sing on Praise Team, Sing in Choir.” It is also advertised that there are openings for supporting the worship service through “Coffee Fellowship, Hospitality Ministry, Media Booth, Stock Supplies in Sanctuary.”
Read our text again for the day. Paul was an educated man but he gave all that up to serve Christ. There is nothing wrong with having a Master’s Degree but is that now a requirement to serve God? Many brethren have gone so far off course they have become a denomination of the religious world of man’s dogma. No longer satisfied with the simple pattern of righteousness the Lord’s church is being corrupted with the subtle influence of Satan. It is sad to hear of the family of God leaving the Father. Truth does not change. Man tries to change truth but it remains the same. Stay the course of truth – by the book! Reject innovations that are not found in the WORD OF GOD.
When the pulpit is used to glorify the preacher, when the music only shows off the singers, when church membership only enhances community status, when the prayer house becomes a play house, and when we come more interested in recreation than in re-creation, then the church becomes a house of merchandise. (Vance Havner)