WHO HAS BEWITCHED YOU?
Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you crucified? Galatians 3:1
The apostle Paul was rebuking the Galatian church for allowing themselves to be brought back under the bondage of Jewish law and tradition, the keeping of commandments, circumcision and the works of the law. From it's inception the church of Jesus Christ has been attacked from every side by Satan who wanted the body chained down by religion, tradition and ritual, knowing that this would cripple them for life and make them what the church is today: a spiritual quadriplegic! Throughout the New Testament Paul is dealing with this very issue of the devil trying to inject law and ritual into the freedom and grace received by the body of Christ in order to defeat this newly formed kingdom on earth.
Satan was content as long as the Jewish nation had a rigid form of dead religion, devoid of the Spirit and run by his own sons while the spiritual condition of the people deteriorated to the point of a non-existent relationship with the Most High. After all, the people had a high priest who was hired to enter the holy of hollies once a year to atone for their sins and all they had to do was bring their sacrifices and tithes and everything else was done for them. Everything was great, the devil controlled the leadership, the people were ignorant of God's plan for them, kept in bondage to a dead, ritualistic religion and everything remained the same for hundreds of years, that is until God sent His Son to destroy this religious system of dead works with a new and living way initiated by the death of the Lord Jesus Christ.
When the Son of God died on the cross and rendered up His Spirit the angels tore the veil of separation in two from top to bottom thus establishing a new and living way for man to come before the throne of the Most High God by himself through the shed blood of the Savior. A new generation of royal priests were to emerge becoming God's own ambassadors, sent with His power and authority to subdue the powers of darkness and to establish this newly formed kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven! This new priesthood would have a relationship with the Father like no other, His desire for them when He created Adam and Eve in the garden, but Satan destroyed it by deceiving them into thinking that they were their own gods capable of leading their own lives apart from the Creator who loved them. The results of this one event changed the world and seemingly ruined God's plan for man, but God would turn things around for good by the death of the "Last Adam," His only begotten Son who would deliver His people once and for all.
Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Galatians 5:1
THE PROTESTANT POPE
If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. I Corinthians 12:17-20
We can thank the Roman Emperor Constantine for establishing a national religion run by paid clergy that stopped the natural growth and spiritual life of the body of Christ, now housed in a building. From this new man-made system emerged the Catholic religion that was eventually protested by Luther, ultimately creating the Protestant denominations yet to come in the future. Even though Luther was able to do away with the Mass, many of the Catholic traditions remained, such as the Pope, which eventually morphed into what we have today: the "Senior Pastor!"
No where in scripture do we find this title given to anyone, nor is pastor mentioned more than a couple of times in the New Testament, so where in the world did this position come from and how did it obtain the supreme leadership authority over the entire body of Christ? Jesus never intended for men to rule His church, nor did He ever even consider making one man a shepherd over His people. When the church was organized, stuffed into a structure and made to look dignified like the rest of the Roman government, the position of a paid professional stuck and it has been there ever since. Tradition is just hard to break and so many of the things we do today and call church are nothing more than pagan rituals and dead traditions from Greco-Roman culture.
Now I know what you are thinking that this is all we know and that church has to have a pastor, after all, we are only sheep, not known for our intelligence and we need someone to lead us, right? No, very wrong! Don't misunderstand me, there are many godly pastors who have assumed this grand leadership position and have obviously laid down their lives for God's people, I know because I have been there, done that, but that doesn't mean it's right. If that were the case Jesus would have chosen twelve pastors instead of twelve apostles to lead His new assembly of saints, but he didn't and if He had, all we would have today would be twelve churches competing with one another for the title: First Pentecostal Church of the Resurrection. First of all, apostles weren't chosen to rule, they were chosen to plant in the hearts of the new disciples, the seed of what it was like to know and to experience the Lord Jesus Christ and to be led, not by them or a pastor, but by the leading of the Holy Spirit, soon to be poured out on the church of the first born!
Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. I Corinthians 12:27,28
FROM PASSION TO PROFESSION
And He gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. Ephesians 4:11-13
The Lord Jesus gave the gifts of the five-fold ministry to men, not as an office or a title but a holy calling for them to equip the body to be priests of God. Training is different than equipping and can be likened to the military in that when you enter boot camp you are trained in the things that pertain to war and combat, but afterward you are equipped with the weapons and equipment needed to carry out your assignment. So it is with the body of Christ, as priests of God we must be equipped to serve, not only in the ministry to others but our service and ministry to Him who called us.
Sadly in these last days the five-fold ministry has turned into a profession instead of a passionate ministry to bring edification and restoration to the body of Christ. Again, this arose from the Greco-Roman culture of having a paid clergy to rule over the poor laity and establish a professional class, high above the rest of the members of the body of Christ, something that is totally non existent in the New Testament scriptures. This demonically inspired and worldly profession has wrecked the intended function of the members of Christ's body in that the gifts and callings of each individual part is prohibited in the assembly thereby causing them to literally shut down and become dormant because one man has taken over the headship of Christ and has dominated the natural function of the church. In the natural sense, if the organs of your human body were to shut down and cease to function, eventually it would cause you to die and so it has caused the body of Christ also to die from lack of use!
God never intended His glorious church to be run like a corporation led by a team of professionals with one man as Chief Executive Officer standing in the Headship of Christ. The body is an organic expression of the Lord Jesus Christ in the earth functioning naturally as everyone does his individual service by freely operating in his God given gifting, led exclusively by Holy Spirit, bringing edification to all the members! If you are a member of Christ's body, washed in the Savior's blood and saved by faith, then your spiritual service in His kingdom is to exercise your gifts and to edify your brothers and sisters in the family of God. If you are in a "church" that will not allow you to be free to exercise your gift then my advise to you if the Lord leads is to escape for the sake of your spiritual well being and for the benefits you have to give the rest of the body of Christ.
That we should no longer be children, (naive) tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, (doctrines of demons) by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the Head-Christ- from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part (us) does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. Ephesians 4:14-16