Thursday, January 22, 2009

Who Rules Over Us?

Heb 13:17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.

1 Thess. 4:9 ...for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another;

We have seen that humility is a key to spiritual success, and that submitting to authority is a key to humility. We also saw that the people whom God has put over us are able to teach us His Word; if they are not able to do this, God has not put them over you, regardless of their titles. Now we see that the people God has put over us "watch out for your souls."

A person who has seized leadership in violation of Scripture often finds it necessary to engage in church politics in order to hold onto that leadership. The person has to work against feared opponents, justifying his sin by claiming that it is necessary in order for him to carry out God's work.

One hallmark of a dying church is criticizing other Christian churches, because the leadership fears that their people will go to those other churches. The result is that when some of God's people finally do get out, they don't go to church anywhere. God, however, teaches us to love one another. A person who teaches you otherwise does not have authority over you, regardless of his title.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Heb 13:7 Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct.

2Ti 2:2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

Hebrews 13:7 is rarely preached on for two reasons: it offends the followers, and it offends the rulers in a church. The verse clearly teaches that people who have not taught a congregation the Word of God cannot be their leaders. They don't have to be the best teachers, and it doesn't require than to teach every Sunday, but before God makes a leader out of anyone, He makes a teacher out of him.

We have already seen that God tells us to take the lowest rooms in a church and to trust Him to advance us if it is His will. People who maneuver their way to the top through back-room church politics have not trusted God by obeying  this command. They don't have a faith that we should follow.

And then it continues: "considering the outcome of their conduct." When people seize leadership out of God's will, failure often follows. Attendance declines, soul-winning declines, baptisms decline, and the quality of God's Word being taught declines.

These people can hold any office or title they want, but they don't have authority over you.