This past Sunday we were in Mark 1:21-28 and saw Jesus exercise his matchless authority concerning truth and the spiritual realm. He entered into the synagogue in Capernaum, cracked open the Scriptures and spoke with authority. He didn’t offer viewpoints. No, as God, he presented the view, truth. And whenever truth is proclaimed falsehood raises it’s ugly head in protest. In light of Jesus teaching, a demon shrieks in fear and protest, and Jesus, as God, exercises authority over that demon and casts him out of the individual he is inhabiting. Mark is proclaiming here, as he does throughout the book, that Jesus is the authoritative Son of God that we need to follow no matter what the cost.
Now in light of this one question comes to mind concerning the counseling, teaching, and preaching today. We are not Jesus. Now hopefully, as believers, we are growing in Christ-likeness but none of us will reach that goal until we are glorified and in the presence of God. So, in light of that can we teach like Jesus taught? Can we teach with authority? I believe the answer to this question is yes and no. No, we can’t teach like Jesus because we are not Jesus. So, when I or anyone else gets up to preach or we go to a Christian counselor, or sit under someone’s teaching we should always keep this in mind and see if what is being said matches the Scriptures that are inerrant. Someone once told me that they fact check me when I preach. At first, I was taken back by this because of my pride, but then I was so grateful because they realized I was human and wanted what I am and should be all about, the truth. Now we shouldn’t be out to prove people wrong simply for the sake of doing so, but we should be seeking the truth for the benefit of all, even the person who gets it wrong.
So, no, we should not see the teaching, preaching or counsel of others with the same authority as God the Son, Jesus Christ. But on the other hand, we should take the preaching, counsel of fellow believers, as authoritative truth to go by. Why, because every believer is infused with the God the Holy Spirit. So, when the Spirit moves upon an individual to speak it is God speaking and authoritative. In fact, God has given some people the specific gift of communicating his truth, as elders, deacons, preachers, teachers, counselors, parents, etc.
So, which is it? How do I know when to listen and when to say that’s not God but a man speaking to me? One, you go directly to God and ask for wisdom as he calls us to in James 1. Two, you search the Scriptures to see if it is in alignment. Three, you go to people who, as far as you can tell, are consistently walking with God for input.
But what if I do steps two and three, am still in the dark and then get conflicting viewpoints from others. Well you may not like the answer (I know I sometimes hate what I am about to say), but you keep going through the process and remember that God wants us to search out truths and some he reveals to us immediately, others will take time, and others God won’t reveal to us until we are with him.
So with all of that, let’s be discerning but let’s be open to hearing God speak through each other and grow in the grace and knowledge of our God.