“My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.” (James 3:1)
“A bishop then must be blameless…” (1 Timothy 3:2)
There are many, many warning in Scripture. This warning and the warnings similar are often ignored. These warnings speak to the men that desire to be teachers of the Word. These warnings are very serious and should be taken thus. We find of Lord leveling these charges against religious hypocrites such as the Pharisees and the Scribes. No sinner has ever received stronger rebukes as these religious hypocrites.
Our Lord would sit at meat with sinners and call them friends. Our Lord would not sit at meat with religious hypocrites before rebuking them with in minutes of entering their homes. He would ball them children of the devil and call their converts, “Two times the children of Hell!”
However, these warning were also extended to men who longed to be teachers of the Word withour being bidden. James 3:1 are solemn words. James warns those desiring to be teachers as these men will receive the greater comdemnation. In other words, men who take this great responsibility without being bidden by God shall be judged harshly for these men are not qualified to be teachers!!! These men will lead men into error. They shall be blind leaders of the blind and will lead men into ditches.
I have sat and listened to many men that were not called of God. These men were well meaning but it takes more than meaning well to lead God’s people through the Scriptures. Many of these men would use other men’s sermons but they were still dead. Many men believe that if they preach Spurgeon’s sermons God will bless them as He did Spurgeons. This is utter folly! I remember a good man having the first six months worth of sermons prepared before ever having a church. These sermons were preached by a preacher g-father many years prior. Sermons are like manna, they must be fresh!
I remember another preacher. This preacher had been in the ministry for over (40) forty years at this time. He sat down a burned (40) years worth of sermons in the middle of his garage !!! This man had pastored and serves as an Evangelist for many years. I can’t even imagine the number of sermons that were burned. The reason for this was his sermons were being used too much and his ministry was beginning to go stale.
This writer does not save his notes, in fact, for the most part he doesn’t use any notes. Nor does he use a sermon mor than once. That is not to say he doesn’t preach the same topics but he doesn’t use the same “material.” We are not bragging but only sharing a personal conviction.
We have known other ministers that have preached sermons from whatever book they are recently reading. Some preachers will preach sermons based off of sermons they have heard from radio and or T.V. preachers. Let me be clear, no preachers preach sermons that are 100% original with them for there is nothing new under the sun but that is different from plagiarizing. When a preacher copies another he ceases to depend upon God!!! Whenever a preacher uses another preachers ideas or qoutes, the borrowing preacher must give credit to the sources. If he cannot remember his source he must at the very least admit that the material is not new with him.
The preacher that misleads or misguides his hearers is worthy of great judgement. One could reference Jeremiah 23 and Matthew 23 for a taste of this condemnation. This warning should cause teachers to be true in his teachings and that they be pure. Theses warnings should drive the teachers to be students of God’s Word and cause them to be sound in their doctrines and not to be lazy in their studies. The Word of God is not for the lazy or slothful. The minister must be about his studies and prayer. All other responsibilities should be left to elders and deacons. This is rarely the case, however, as these sarning are not taken seriously when one can re-preach and old sermon, or preach someone elses or preach out of a book, etc.
The above is not the only type of preacher out there, God Forbid! There are many good and faithful ministers abounding, and God’s blessings upon preacher and congregation prove it. I know a number of preachers that are ever true to God, God’s Word, and their congregation.