Put no man (or institution) between you and the Lord
We are to put no man (or institution, including the "church") between ourselves and the Lord. Although the Lord calls men to be pastors, teachers, evangelists, etc. the office is to be recognized by others (the fruit of his calling witnessed by believers). You don't call yourself a pastor just because you want to be a pastor. The saints recognize you are a pastor, because the Lord called you as a pastor, i.e. the sheep hear His voice (the voice of His Heavenly Father) coming out of you, confirming Him (the Lord confirming your calling).
All ministries of the Lord are given by Him to men of faith in Him to help believers to grow in Him. Therefore the minister is to come alongside and encourage the believer, reprove the disobedient, correct those who are falling into error, rebuke those who teach false doctrine, etc. We are not to call ourselves of an office (in the fellowshipping of the saints) because of our knowledge or position. The office is recognized because of the witness of the fruit of the calling. John the baptist called those who were in an office of authority (having taken Moses seat for their own glory and gain) to show forth "fruit worthy of repentance," themselves, i.e. their thoughts and actions not having weight in and of itself for men to follow them. We are to follow Christ and not men. We are to hunger after His Word and not after the opinions (the "feelings" and "thoughts") of men (seeking after the approval of men).
To submit to a "leader" (the encourager, reprover, corrector, rebuker, etc in the Lord, instructor in the Word) in the fellowship is to recognize and honour the office the Lord has called him into (not just because he is in the office). As Jesus told Peter, "feed my sheep," the pastor is to preach and teach the word of God (as given by God, "as is," untampered by man's opinion) if he is to be called a minister of the Word, i.e. ministering before the Lord, serving Him as He ministers to His bride, as the Lord leads him (as the Lord directs his thoughts and his actions, i.e. his steps). He is not to be a pleaser of men (which is to "serve" in or use the office for his own gain or for "social cause," i.e. being a pleaser of his "equals"). David did not disrespect the office that Saul served in (seeking to kill him because he was a tyrant, i.e. he only exposing him as being one, while at the same time showing God's love and mercy toward him, that he might repent) but neither did he submit to Saul, the man who was out to kill him, submitting himself to Gods leading instead. Jesus did not submit to the tyrants of the office of Moses. He exposing them for who they were, the ministers of unrighteousness. Yet He did not negate (disrespect) the office they "served" in (it was after all Him, i.e. He was and is the office). He simply obeyed his Heavenly Father above all men, as he has called all men to likewise do. "And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your father, which is in heaven." Matthew 23:9 The Apostle Paul, in the same way, honored the office, but did not obey the men who put themselves in the Lord's place, i.e. he refused to submit to the errors of their ways.
A pastor is not a pastor because of his knowledge or his position of influence, but because of his love for the Lord, his love for His Word, his love for His bride, and His obedience to Him in all things, i.e. remaining faithful in his calling, putting no man, including the fellowship, between him and the Lord, i.e. refusing to accept the approval of men instead of or above the approval of the Lord (deceiving himself in believing that they are synonymous). Follow me as I follow Christ (as an example, i.e. as a witness) is not the same as follow me as Christ (making my opinions of the Word equal with, and therefore greater than the Word of the Lord). While a minister can have both (the approval of men and of the approval of the Lord), he can not have the former before or at the expense of the latter. The approval of men (the pride of the office, the control of the environment, the people, the fellowship) is the most seductive and deceptive lust of all. It will come in the back door and "get him" and he will never know that he has been had. If the pastor refuses to turn to the Word for direction, to receive correction himself from the Word, he is not a minster of the Word but a minister of the flesh, lusting after the approval of men. We will all stand before the Lord and be held accountable for our thoughts and our actions. If you followed any, other than Christ, you are in trouble.
The true pastor will never come between you and the Lord, i.e. making you submit to his doctrines, i.e. his opinions, i.e. the doctrines of men. He will faithfully and lovingly point you to the Word, doing that for which he was (and is daily) called to do, i.e. encouraging you to grow in the knowledge of the His Word, i.e. encouraging you to walk in the Lord as He (the Lord) leads.
"Ministers" have turned the fellowshipping of the saints into an institution (into a "church'), i.e. in their pride of life (in their pride of office, in their ability to "control") making believers dependent upon them so that they can using the "church" for their own gain, martyring any who get in their way (don't do it their way). Do what they say, when it does not go counter to the Word of God, but do not be like them, worshiping themselves (worshiping their thoughts and actions) instead of the Lord (making themselves, their opinions equal to, i.e. greater than, the Lord). Come out of "her" (the apostate church), the church where men's opinions lead the way.
The Lord can only use you (in His calling in you) when you are dead to yourself and alive in Him, i.e. dying daily to yourself—knowing your weakness (wickedness) and sinfulness, i.e. daily asking Him to forgive you for your selfish, worldly, thoughts and actions, including your lusting after the approval of men, dying daily, asking Him to direct your steps—following after Him, acknowledging Him in all your ways. This is the witness of any ministry that is of Him, i.e. of any minister that is called by Him, called to encourage His bride to remain "spotless and without wrinkle," resisting temptations, enduring tribulations, standing in His amour, looking for His return, from which all service to Him emanates.
© Institution for Authority Research, Dean Gotcher 2013-2015