The Measure of a Pastor

 The Measure of a Pastor

Malachi 2:1-9

“True instruction was in his mouth, and unrighteousness was not found on his lips; he walked with Me in peace and righteousness, and he turned many back from iniquity.”:

 

            Visit churches today, and you will find plethora of preachers teaching all types of messages.  Some preach expository messages where they explain the scriptures verse by verse.  Other preach messages that are topical, addressing felt needs to encourage the audience and appeal to the masses.  Others proclaim that God loves everyone regardless of their religious beliefs, lifestyle, or behavior; everyone will reach heaven. No matter what we believe today, we can find a church and preacher who will affirm what we desire them to teach.  However, in our evaluation of preachers today, we are not to base our evaluation on their popularity, how they make us feel, or if they affirm how we choose to live. Instead, we must ask: How God evaluates the preachers that claim to speak in his name?

            In Malachi 2, God condemns the priests of Israel for failing to serve God and proclaim his word faithfully to the people.  Instead of proclaiming the law and righteousness of God, they were distorting God’s word and proclaiming what the people wanted to hear.  Just because one claims to represent God does not mean he or she does.

            If God condemns the priests of Israel for their failure to be faithful to their calling, we must ask an important question:  What does God desire from those who represent him to the people?  What should we desire from the pastors and preachers we listen to?  The answer lies in verses 2-8.  In these verses, we find what God expects of those who claim to be from God.  First, a genuine preacher is faithful to proclaim the truth of God and calls people to turn from sin and unrighteousness (vs. 6-7).  Instead of affirming people in their lifestyle, they seek to transform people by calling them to turn away from sin. A faithful priest is one who challenges people to abandon their sin and embrace the law of God.  Second, a genuine preacher is faithful to proclaim the whole counsel of God’s word (vs. 6).  Instead of being driven by what people want to hear, the genuine spokesman of God is driven by what God has communicated to us.  He does not preach to gain an audience and gain popularity. Instead, the goal is to faithfully proclaim God’s message as revealed in his Word.  He instructs God’s law, calling people to live according to God’s law.  Third, he stands in the fear of God.  The word “revered” in verse 5 refers to one who fears God.  In other words, they are standing the pulpit with a feeling of profound respect and fear of God, recognizing that God will hold them responsible for what they preach.  They are not concerned about what people think of his message but about what God thinks. They are not concerned about the honor that they receive from people, nor are they concerned about their popularity.  Instead, they are driven by a deep sense of bringing honor and glory to God.  Last, they live consistently with the message they proclaim (vs. 2).  God condemned the priest of Israel because they were not living by the news they proclaimed.  They were not taking the law to their own heart.  The measure of a pastor is not found in what he accomplishes but in how he lives.

            In an age when pastors are judged by their popularity rather than their message, the one thing we should not accept is a pastor who compromises or distorts the law of God to appease the people for his popularity.  Instead of seeking pastors who make us feel good, we should seek pastors who desire to transform us into the image of Christ.  To conform to Christ's image, we must confront sin and call people to repentance and transformation. Therefore, the one thing we should not tolerate is a pastor who does not call us to a life of holiness and transformation. 

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