According to the church that you attend, which recognizes different names for those who preach or conduct worship service, it is important to be aware of how a priest (or pastor, etc.) may not fulfill his or her duties.
Church leaders must recognize their duties to serve God. Of course, there is no human mediator as priesthood is in the Kingdom of God (1 Peter 2:5, 9, Revelation 1:6).
However, as followers of Christ we must recognize the duties of those in leadership, in order to build in our faith and to admonish individuals in these positions for the good of all.
“And now, O priests, this commandment is for you. If you will not hear, And if you will not take it to heart, To give glory to My name,” Says the LORD of hosts, “I will send a curse upon you, And I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have cursed them already, Because you do not take it to heart. “Behold, I will rebuke your descendants And spread refuse on your faces, The refuse of your solemn feasts; And one will take you away with it. Then you shall know that I have sent this commandment to you, That My covenant with Levi may continue,” Says the LORD of hosts. “My covenant was with him, one of life and peace, And I gave them to him that he might fear Me; So he feared Me And was reverent before My name. The law of truth was in his mouth, And injustice was not found on his lips. He walked with Me in peace and equity, And turned many away from iniquity. “For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge, And people should seek the law from his mouth; For he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts. But you have departed from the way; You have caused many to stumble at the law. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi,” Says the LORD of hosts. “Therefore I also have made you contemptible and base Before all the people, Because you have not kept My ways But have shown partiality in the law.”
Failure as Church Leaders
The passage makes it clear how such leaders can place a burden on the church and others. Integrity, knowledge, and instruction in the Word of the Lord is essential for those in such positions.
As Jesus has made clear, it is destructive to one’s own faith to cause others to stumble: “It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones (Luke 17:2).”
As church leaders, those should take great care in their actions and attitudes. The instruction which is given should be done so in God’s word and perfect will. Seeking His will and then expounding on it to the benefit of others, so that they may build in Christ, is central and should occupy the goal of leaders in the church.
Role as Worshippers
As worshippers we must engage in churches that practice the Word of God. There are a considerable number of churches that do not preach according to the warning in Malachi.
Additionally, where we find error we must admonish those as we have been told by Jesus: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord (Colossians 3:16).”
Those in leadership positions are human; they sin and make mistakes as we do. Being active in a church focused on His Word is essential. However, when mistakes occur, it is important that we admonish our brothers and sisters in Christ.
This will enable us to deal with issues that may interfere with the focus of the church, or potentially cause others to stumble. As followers in Christ we must play an active role in shaping the church towards His Will.
Consider and follow those leaders in our churches who follow the Lord’s wishes, as seen in passages in Malachi and throughout the Bible. The church is one essential way in which we can build in Christ in His Kingdom.