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When people don’t lead and follow in the CDC, disease spread.
When people don’t lead and follow in the church, sin spreads.
When people don’t lead and follow in the FDA, contamination occurs.
When people don’t lead and follow in the church, corruption occurs.
The Hebrew writer has something vital to say about following leaders in the kingdom. This epistle was written to Christians of Jewish ancestry. Like most New Testament epistles, it was written to address current concerns.
The church was under intense scrutiny and pressure from the Roman Empire. These Christians were seriously considering turning back to Judaism as a means of avoiding persecution. In fact, the book is organized around five warning passages, imploring them not to turn back. The writer calls them to have faith in the eternal, efficacious, and effective Person and redemptive work of Christ. They are spiritually immature (5:12-14) and in danger of being carried about with various and strange doctrines (13:9a). They followed their past leaders (13:7) but they must also follow their present leaders (13:17).
I.THE PRINCIPLE OF AGGREEMENT
Hebrews 13:17 “Obey those who rule over you…”
The writer uses the phrase ‘those who rule over you’ three times in this chapter. In verse 13 he says ‘remember those who rule over you.’ In verse, 24 he says ‘greet all those who rule over you.’ In verse 17, he says ‘obey those who rule over you.’
The word translated ‘obey’ is the original word peitho. This verb is in the present tense, middle voice, imperative mood, and second person plural. The root meaning is to persuade or have confidence. It is used to describe the act of being convinced, assenting to evidence or authority, agreement, and trust.
Peitho is used in Acts 5:36-37. The apostles were on trial because they said ‘we ought to obey God rather than men.’ They also said God gave the Holy Spirit to those who obey Him. When they were plotting to kill the apostles, Gamaliel warned them not to and he reminded them of others who rose up. Gamaliel said, “For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody. A number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was slain, and all who obeyed (peitho) him were scattered and came to nothing. After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census, and drew away many people after him. He also perished, and all who obeyed (peitho) him were dispersed.”
The principle of agreement is why people followed Hitler, Jim Jones, and David Koresh. Generally, we follow people because we agree with them on some level. We follow because we are convinced of their leadership and we therefore assent to their leadership. In principle, we agree with their goals or direction.
Next notice the rest of the phrase, ‘those who rule over you.’ This is all one word in the original text! It is the word hegeomai and it means to be a leader, chief, those who have influence and authority. It is a verb (leadership is something you do). It is present tense! It is middle voice, participle, plural (more than one), dative (indirect object ‘you,’ and masculine (no women)!
God expects the members of the
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