Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
Select a thought to read by choosing a collection, the month, and then the day:
From conversations with Preacher Clark in the late 1970’s
Apparently, before the original apostles of Jesus had even finished their life’s work, men were beginning to charge the saints for their religious services. Peter warned the elders among the saints not to yield to that temptation, but to do their work “not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind” (1Pet. 5:1-2). Nevertheless, that evil practice continued and grew, soon leading to a situation in which religious teachers labored to please their hearers so that they might gain the higher salary.
Paul spotted the system of hiring and firing ministers in its earliest stages and condemned those involved in it, saying that such teachers were “speaking things they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake” (Tit. 1:11). He knew that it is impossible for a man to feel free to really hear from God, so long as he knows he will be fired if God reveals to him anything that contradicts what a congregation has hired him to say. But that old apostle did not stop at blaming those ministers who sold their services to the highest bidding congregation. He also found fault with congregations who had so little faith in Jesus to provide them with “pastors after his own heart” that they went out and hired men to teach them (2Tim. 4:3-4).
Jesus warned us that we cannot serve God and money (Mt. 6:24). What this means, in real terms, is that even a sincere minister who is hired will struggle greatly to hear from God and to speak on His behalf to the people, lest he lose his job. The pressure on such ministers is too great; the consequences, all too certain. Such a minister cannot possibly love the people as God loves them because he is not like God to them. He is indebted to them; God is not.
I am not indebted to the people who bring God’s tithes and offerings to me. I love them, and I happily serve them, but only as a slave of Christ Jesus, to whom I owe everything. They did not hire me, and they cannot fire me. On the other hand, I did not volunteer, and I cannot quit. God joined us together for His purposes, and neither I nor they can dissolve or even desire to dissolve this union in spirit that the holy Ghost has created among us. This is a happy circumstance for us all, for it gives us fellowship and confidence in one another and with God.
The system of hiring and firing ministers that developed among believers, in spite of all that the apostles tried to do to stop it, is a most ungodly system, and God is calling His people out of it altogether.
Don’t try to wean yourself off the breasts of disobedience to the will of God. Stop doing wrong by the “cold turkey” method. Just cut it all out at once and let God rescue you. Completely, all at once, stop partaking of the “hired to teach” system of having a minister to teach you about God. Be a bold and living testimony to all men of the grace of God. Be misunderstood! Be hated! But be right with God completely and all at once!
There is not a minister on earth who is hired to teach the gospel who has been sent by God to do so. God has never sent anyone to “preach a trial sermon” so that he might be approved of and hired by a congregation to preach the gospel. He has never sent one of His slaves to be the hired man of a Board of Deacons. Leave it all behind! Come on out of that system that calls itself by the name of Christ and trust your God to guide you into all truth, “for as many as are led by the Spirit, these are the sons of God.”