Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. ~ James 3:1
Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. So watch yourselves.” ~ Luke 17:1-3
During my devotional time, these two passages continued to resonate in my spirit. God kept bringing them to me over and over again. They are two passages that, as pastors, we keep close to us. It is a weighty responsibility to shepherd God’s people. And one day we will stand before the throne of God and give the ultimate pastor’s report. I pray God’s grace truly is sufficient on that day.
There seems to be such variance in the doctrinal beliefs of the Christian faith. Even under the heading of orthodoxy it gets very confusing, and sometimes overwhelming. There are some whose doctrine will teach that God has predestined heaven or hell for every individual before the beginning of time. Thus, you cannot know if your child dies if he or she is in heaven. What if they were not one of the chosen ones?
There are some who say that, because Jesus died and rose again, all persons will spend eternity in heaven. Even people like Hitler and Charles Mason cannot be held accountable because they were crazy and did not know what they were doing.
And I have even had people tell me to my face that I am a heretic because I am a woman preacher.
So who can you believe? How does anyone know the truth? It makes it even more confusing when you realize all of these persons are reading the same Bible! And I have to agree with John Wesley when he said “the longer I walk with Christ, the less I understand”.
First of all, I hope you will pray for us. Pray for your pastor and for all clergy. Most of us do not want to lead anyone astray. Pray that whether we turn to the left or the right that we will hear God’s voice saying, “this is the way; walk in it”. Pray that God would increase our faith and our desire to know Him. Pray that we would be able to discern His voice clearly.
Second, Ezekiel prophesied about the coming of the Good Shepherd. Jesus is the Good Shepherd. And He will never leave anyone astray. God has promised that if we seek Him with our whole heart, He will reveal Himself to us. So keep seeking God! Just like Jacob would not let go; do not let go of God until you hear from Him. God is big enough for all of your questions.
Finally, I leave you with the words of Paul and the Nicene Creed.
“For what I have recieved I passed on to you as of first importance; that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the scriptures, and that He appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.” ~ 1Corinthians 15:3-5
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in Being with the Father. Through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation, he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered, died, and was buried. On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy [universal] and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.