PART 4 RECOGNIZING A SPIRIT-FILLED PASTOR
A Checklist for Determining If the Pastor Is Being Directed by the Holy Spirit
While it is not realistic to think that a pastor or any member of a Christian assembly will always be directed by the Holy Spirit, believers should be aware as to what inhibits them from being directed by the Holy Spirit.
And by the way if you’re not indwelt by the Spirit, then you can’t be filled with Him. Why is this so important? If the pastor is not indwelt with the Spirit, then he will not declare the need for such to the congregation. If the pastor is indwelt, but is not being directed by the Spirit, then this means that he is living by his old sin nature, and therefore the assembly of Christians will not be able to grow to spiritual maturity.
After I had compiled this checklist, a friend of mine asked me to make a determination if the pastor of a nearby church was operating in the Spirit. So, I took this checklist with me. As I heard the teachings, I took notes. After which, I filled out the checklist. I did this for three weeks. Then, I added up the checked boxes. The closer to 10 means the pastor is operating in the filling of the Spirit. The total arrived at was 2. I told him to look for another assembly to attend.
If you are attending a particular assembly then take notes and check the boxes on this checklist. I would do this for 3-4 weeks. This will give you the evidence as to whether you should remain in attendance or not. Listen, if God isn’t operating in the pastor what’s the point? Do you want the ministry of the Holy Spirit to increase in your life or not?
If what is stated is indicative of the teachings of the pastor, then check the box.
□The pastor is born-again. He teaches that in order for a person to receive the indwelling Holy Spirit they must repent (turn from their sins) to God the Father and believe in his Son, Jesus Christ.
Repentance involves an acknowledgment of committing sin (e.g. cheating, lying, stealing, fornication, adultery, extortion, homosexuality, lesbianism, rape, pedophilia, physical abuse, slander, etc.).
If certain of these sins are considered acceptable Christian behavior, then there is no repentance. Don’t check the box.
Belief in Christ means that a person believes that He is one of the members of the trinity, who as God pre-existed time; came to the earth and took on the form of a man, being born of a virgin (no sin nature); lived a sinless life; listened to and obeyed the directives of his Father; went to the cross and paid for the penalty of and forgave the sins of the whole world; rose from the dead after three days, never to die again, walked the earth in his resurrection body for 40 days witnessing to over 500 people; and ascended into heaven to be seated at the right hand of God the Father.
If it’s mentioned that Christ is not God, but only a prophet, teacher, an angel, a perfect human, etc., then don’t check the box.
If it’s mentioned that there is another way to get to heaven such as: being baptized in water; believing in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; performing good works, believing in a different god; etc., then don’t check the box. Acts 17:30; Ephesians 1:12-13
□The pastor teaches that the assembly is to put off certain behaviors such as cheating, lying, stealing, fornication, adultery, extortion, homosexuality, lesbianism, rape, pedophilia, physical abuse, slander, gossip, etc.
If some of these sins are taught as being condoned, then don’t check this box. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
□The pastor teaches that if a fellow Christian commits sin, they are to confess this to God the Father. If they have committed sin against a fellow believer, then they should go to him/her and admit their fault.
If the pastor advocates that a when a believer commits sin they are to confess it to him/her and not God the Father, don’t check this box. 1 John 1:9
□The pastor’s teaching should be diverse. Sometimes there will be teachings about: a particular person from the bible; a biblical topic; a particular verse; the birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ; sin (mental, verbal, and overt), etc. Sinful thoughts, words, and actions should be clearly delineated. Believers ought to be taught to confess them, and then put on newness of thoughts that are found in the scriptures which indicate the divine way they should think. I will call this personal sanctification.
If the pastor teaches on everything that was just mentioned, but omits the teaching on personal sanctification, then don’t check the box. Colossians 3:10
□The pastor proclaims there is only one faith, Christianity, which provides: payment and forgiveness for sin; for one person of the trinity, the Holy Spirit, to come and indwell; for an assurance of eternal life.
If the pastor advocates there are many faiths that will bring a person to heaven along with combining the teachings of Christianity and teachings of another faith, then don’t check this box. 2 Chronicles 17:1-13
□When the pastor teaches at various times that the presence of the Holy Spirit should impact the assembly with his gifts and presence (e.g. love, joy, peace, etc.). 1 Corinthians 2:1, 4
If the pastor’s teaching is solely centered on doctrines of human wisdom (of human philosophy-a system of principles for guidance in practical affairs21), then don’t check this box.
□The Spirit-filled pastor will remind the assembly of believers that after they have responded to the gospel for salvation and received the indwelling Holy Spirit, that their focus should be on learning how to rely on the ministry of the Holy Spirit, which does not involve adherence to any religious system of works (e.g. water baptism, tithing, observance of certain days, eating certain foods, etc.). Galatians 3:3
If the pastor’s teaching emphasizes a system of works for spiritual growth, then don’t check this box.
□The pastor teaches the assembly that at conversion they have become a new person having received many divine blessings (e.g. becoming an adopted son; having received at least one divine gift (spiritual endowment) etc. and as a result they have become integrated into a divinely initiated plan in which they will learn over time about how to think with new thoughts and views that are characteristic of this new person with the eventual realization of their place and purpose in the body of Christ. Ephesians 4:17-21
If the pastor teaches that God’s plan is primarily for the assembly to perform good works, then don’t check this box.
□The pastor provides clarity concerning a possible misperception of doctrinal teaching, which some of the members might be agreeing with, so that they can come to a right mind in this regard. 2 Timothy 2:24-26
If the pastor does not provide clarity concerning a particular teaching, the view of such being held by some of the assembly as not being aligned with scripture, then don’t check this box.
□The pastor teaches the assembly about their need to appropriate, meditate upon, and apply God’s word (perspective) for each particular weakness that they have along with declaring to them that in doing so they will have a rich and full experience of God’s love. 1 John 2:3-5
If the pastor encourages the assembly that they have the liberty to continue in sinful affections, then don’t check this box.
There are 10 boxes. Each box that is checked will be worth 10 points for a possible total of 100 points. A score of 100 would indicate that the pastor is being directed by the Holy Spirit in their manner of life and teachings. You might ask what scores would bring about cause for alarm?
I would say if the pastor is not born again, the score of this checklist would probably be zero. If the pastor is born again, but chooses not to be filled with the Spirit, then in most cases the teachings would be centered about the flesh and its successes. Again, I would assume that the score would be close to zero. This closes the final chapter of this study. I hope that you have enjoyed it. I would like to leave you with some parting words.
Where the Rubber Meets the Road
Each born-again Christian has been given a free will to attend any church they choose. However, the question arises: should I stay or should I go? Some would say that it would be inappropriate for a believer to suggest to another believer that they should leave the church they are attending and go to a different one. This would be seen in their eyes as meddling in their affairs. Some would even say that this is what is known as proselytizing. What is your opinion in this regard?
In the New Testament teachings, the apostle Paul frequently warned the different churches as evidenced in the epistles of what to look out for whether it be concerning issues arising within or issues arising from without. If you are a Christian, then what this means is, you have repented to God the Father and believed in Jesus, thereby having received the indwelling Holy Spirit. Your life is no longer your own, but God’s. God is concerned about your spiritual walk as I believe you and I should be for one another. If you meet up with a fellow believer who is looking for a church assembly to attend, then give them a checklist. If it’s possible attend the assembly yourself and fill out the checklist.
What shouldn’t matter to you is whether a religious institution gets upset, because some of its members, who are born again, have become instructed by you as to what to look for in regards to as to whether the pastor is Spirit-filled, and as a result have decided to leave because there is little or no evidence of God’s working.
Hopefully, if you implement what you have learned in this study this admonishment that Paul gave to the Corinthians will have a different ending for you.
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. (2 Corinthians 11:3-4)
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