“I am writing these things to you, so that you do not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous One.” 1 John 2:1
If we aren’t brought up in church or around religion, we often do not understand the role of a preacher, teacher, or prophet. The bible is very clear that none of us should desire to be in charge, but if we are called to fill the role of preacher, teacher, or prophet we will face scrutiny (James 3:1). We also must understand that any preacher, teacher or prophet that answers the call is held to a higher standard than are those they teach and reach. Allow me to clarify: Those who answer the call are certainly no better than anyone else. They do, however, carry a greater spiritual responsibility that results in a harsher examination.
Saying I want to lead sounds good unless my intentions are not Godly. There are many who are talented enough to lead, but what God looks for is the one who is totally and completely sold out to following God’s marching orders. Again, leading as a Christian preacher, teacher or prophet doesn’t make one sin-free or better. It puts one in God’s witness chair. First, God is watching; and, secondly, society judges us more harshly.
If we are brought up in church or around religion, we understand that preachers, teachers, and prophets are often called to say things or point out things that ruffle feathers. While a preacher proclaims God’s message and a teacher teaches to enable better understanding, the prophet is called to speak God’s truth with boldness. Boldness may come across as coldness. The two attitudes are not the same.
Why would anyone want any of these roles in God’s kingdom knowing their responsibility to God is greater than most? This verse sums it up beautifully. We preach, teach, and proclaim in order to reveal righteousness. NOT self-righteousness – we have the same sin issue as does all of mankind. The preacher proclaims God’s message in order to educate the listener. The teacher explains God’s word in order to increase understanding about God, His will, and His way. The prophet boldly proclaims God’s truth as a way to snap people back to God’s truth. These appointed ones do this for two reasons: 1) To serve God through obedience, and 2) to help others live a more righteous life.
The good news is that when any of us fail, God is ready and willing to forgive based on our relationship with Christ Jesus. Christ serves as our Advocate before God. If the preacher, teacher or prophet slips up, God is there. If the listener or student messes up, God is still there.
God is an equal opportunity forgiver.
So, what do we do when preachers, teachers, or prophets say different things but claim them as truth? That’s why we were all given a brain and need access to a bible. Face value and/or popularity is a dangerous way to gauge legitimacy.