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Titles and Diplomas

I want to talk a little bit about a lie that has been perpetuated in the Kingdom of God about how we need titles and diplomas to be so-called "ministers" of the gospel. After Constantine made Christianity the approved religion of the Roman empire in 300 A.D., Christians now thought themselves safe enough to stop meeting in homes, and they started meeting in large buildings, and they hired men to be their Bishops and mediators between them and God. Thus was born the clergy/laity distinction that has caused such a rift and complacency in the Body of Christ. Now, it is believed that you have to go through four years of college in your favorite religious franchise, and then you will come out with a diploma and the title of "Pastor" and be assigned a position in one of the franchise outlets. This was not the way it was supposed to be and God has now pulled a remnant of people out of this system to be reformed and empowered to be sent out to reap this harvest of souls God's way. This is what Jesus said about titles;

MT 23:8 "But you are not to be called `Rabbi (meaning "My Master"),' for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. 9 And do not call anyone on earth `father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called `teacher,' for you have one Teacher, the Christ. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

Do you know what one of the definitions of reverend is? Awestruck, or to be feared. This title was meant for God alone;

Psalm 111:9 -- He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name (Not ours).

In the bible, people were introduced by first name and their function i.e, "Paul, an apostle", he was not referred to as "Apostle Paul". We have become addicted to grasping for worth through titles, and we love to refer to people as "Pastor" when in fact pastor is just a function. Here are the five main Body ministry gifts;

EPH 4:11 It was he (Jesus) who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

1CO 12:27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues.

So God has created many of us to be either apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, or some of the other gifts listed above. These are gifts intended to build up and prepare the body of Christ, not some title that we take on to impress people with or feel a sense of worth. We are admonished by God to worship Him alone, but there has been alot of clergy worship that goes on in most churches where the pastor and the people make Him their personal representative to approach God on their behalf. We must stop allowing men to worship us and give God all the glory due to him, which is "all". God hates all idolatry.

1TI 2:5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all men--the testimony given in its proper time.

MT 4:10 Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: `Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.' "

Another fallacy is that you have to go to college to be in ministry. Both Jesus and his disciples never underwent any such formal training, their training came from the Holy Spirit Himself, and that is the best training you can get. Filling your head up with knowledge just generates pride, but the Holy Spirit works on the heart and helps to create the genuine humility and love we need to serve others selflessly. If God has sent you to U.H.S., the University of the Holy Spirit, rather than some other famous Christian college, then thank God. The Holy Spirit knows everything about you and can change and fill up your heart, and not just your head.

AC 4:13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.

1CO 8:1 ...We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. 2 The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. 3 But the man who loves God is known by God.

JN 14:26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

I remember when I went through so-called formal ministerial training, and was given my government diploma to "marry and bury", something felt wrong inside. It is as though the Holy Spirit kept telling me, "You don't need that". People called me "Pastor Lonnie" and a small part of my heart liked their "worth-ship". One day, the Holy Spirit convicted me and told me to get rid of the diploma and title and just be a servant of Jesus, so that's what I did. Real ministry is done out of a love for God's sheep, not out of a need to feed your fleshly ego. If God tells you one day to get rid of all your earthly accolades, then be glad that He is helping you to get free.

2CO 3:1 Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? 2 You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. 3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. 4 Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. 5 Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. 6 He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant--not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

JN 21:15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?" "Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my lambs." (If we love the Lord, our focus will be on feeding the sheep, not on us).

In this new move that God is doing in the earth, He is leveling the mountains, and filling up the valleys and making everything and everyone equal to accomplish this great task of bringing in this last harvest of souls in the earth. There will be servant/leaders in this new move of God that are similar to the first century church model, and there will be elders and deacons, and also the five-fold giftings mentioned earlier, but these are functions and not titles. Here is what Jesus said about having a position of service in the kingdom verses the world.

LK 22:24 Also a dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 25 Jesus said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.

Without the training and work of the Holy Spirit, we all become like the prideful self-righteous pharisees of Jesus day, so we must allow the Holy Spirit to be our teacher and spiritual mentor in order to grow properly and stay humble. The pharisees had some knowledge of the word, but they had no power or discernment operating in their lives. We have many modern day pharisees who know the bible well, but they try to use it as a weapon to persecute those who are operating in Gods anointing and discernment. The pharisees were so blind that they didn't even realize that God Himself was standing right in front of them in the form of Jesus. We must allow the Lord to train us in His school of love so that we don't become like these people. Here is what Jesus said about the pharisees, and keep in mind, many of us have been this way;

MT 23:13 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.

MT 23:15 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.

MT 23:25 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.

MT 23:27 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

MT 23:33 "You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?

Wow, those are some pretty tough words, huh? But many of us don't realize that we all become like this when we practice religion without the power and daily leadership of of God and His Holy Spirit in our lives. We must understand that in these last days, that there is going to be many so called "religious" people that will end up being our worst enemies, so if God has spared you from being trained and approved of by a spiritually dead religious system, and He has chosen to personally tutor you, then be thankful that you have been saved from having to "unlearn" a bunch of useless junk, and that God is personally teaching you. You will walk in Gods love and power, but the pharisees will get worse and worse in the last days.

2TI 3:1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God-- 5 having a form of godliness (false Christians) but denying its power (No power or anointing operating in their lives). Have nothing to do with them.

1CO 2:4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.

So if God denies you a title or diploma in these last days, try not to take it personally, or feel rejected. God is very jealous over those He loves, and He is taking over His Church in these last days. Be satisfied being known as just "Joe, or Sally" and not as "Pastor Wonderful". It is ok to refer to someone as brother or sister though. You may be Brother Bob an apostle, or Sister Lori a prophetess, and that works just fine for all concerned. Jesus Christ alone deserves all the glory for everything we receive from Him, so we need to find our sense of worth and affirmation in life purely through the fact that God loves and approves of us. Keeping it simple also helps to decrease any selfish ambition that goes on in some groups. It is time to live in the Kingdom while still here on earth, so get excited, because Jesus is rising to return.

PHP 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross!

AC 9:17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord--Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here--has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit."

CO 1:1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes,