HoHum: Stick it to the man, Fight the power, I fight authority- Summarizing our societies thoughts on authority.
There are many places in the NT where it talks about the roles, responsibilities and reputations of church leaders. Many of these verses talk about the responsibilities of church leaders to their congregations.
Here we have some verses from Hebrews 13:7, 17 that talk mainly about the responsibilities of Christians to their church leaders.
Sometimes leaders fail not because they are bad leaders but because they are surrounded by bad followers. Many people are concerned only with their own interests and they are not concerned about others or even the church as a whole.
These Hebrew Christians were in danger of going back to Judaism. They were going to abandon, not just their faith in Christ, but the church and their church leaders.
How can all of us be better followers of Jesus Christ and help our leaders be all that they can be for Jesus Christ?
From Hebrews 13:7, 17 I have 6 positive things, and 6 negative things- state it in a positive way and then state it in a negative way- 6 things altogether.
Thesis: The 6 positive things start with RE and the 6 negative things start with DIS
Remember, do not dislike
Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you- Hebrews 13:7
Notice that this does not specifically talk about the elders or evangelist. This is talking about anyone who has lead us into a saving or better relationship with Christ through the Word.
Now the word “remember” may suggest that these leaders were dead. Isn’t it amazing that we remember them when they died but while they lived we didn’t? Good things said at funerals
How easy it is to forgot the Christians of the past (and the present) who make it possible for us to minister.
Now we do not worship people or give them the glory. However, it is certainly right to honor them for their faithful work, to appreciate them.
Bob Walton, Ervin Walton, Bill Finley, (SS and VBS) Jessie Mae Kittle, Gladys Bailey, (Music) Helena Hastings, (Alive today) Don Campbell, George Potter, Donald Lee Kittle, Everett Walton
Do not dislike your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you- Hebrews 13:7
There was a church that had experienced a lot of growth in numbers in a short time. The preacher told me that they were having an “Esteem” service. 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 KJV: And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake.
After they esteemed the many who had gone on (many of them most of the congregation had never heard of) the preacher called it an “extinction” service. We don’t need to dislike them.
Reflect, do not discard
Try to reflect on the outcome of their way of life- Hebrews 13:7
The proof is in the pudding.
Today we talk about needing people who are dynamic, active, passionate, a success in business. Whatever happened to the influence of a godly life?
Every one of us casts a shadow. The ministry of personal influence is something wonderful.
Do not discard (cast aside) the outcome of their way of life- Hebrews 13:7.
Titus 1:6: An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.
This is not important, what is important is power, prestige, money, motivation (coercion).
Repeat, do not discourage
Repeat or imitate their faith- Hebrews 13:7
1 Corinthians 11:1: Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
Used to think that was so arrogant until Philippians 3:17: Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.
In the early years of the church, Christians needed practical guides for conduct. They still do. This pattern he talks about includes not only himself but Timothy and others.
John Paul Hill died in 1980 when I was 10 years old. My ministry is much like his.
At least do not discourage those who are trying to imitate their faith.
Need good role models. We become like those we are around. Matthew 23:15: Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.
Respect, do not disobey
Obey your leaders and submit to their authority- Hebrews 13:17. To obey must respect them
The Bible mentions several times that they are to be worthy of respect.
However, we are not talking as much about how church leaders need to live lives worthy of respect as much as we are talking about how Christians can help leaders be all they can be.
Submit to them means that Christians are to be responsive to their leaders, yield to their authority, and subordinate themselves to them even when they have a difference of opinion.
Submission to Christ expresses itself in obedience and submission in the home, in marriage, at work, in society, and in the church. Want to have a hard time just rebel against all of these authorities
Only when Christians properly submit to their spiritual leaders does the local church have any chance to be the growing, loving, joyous family God intends it to be.
"But these people are not worthy of my respect, obedience and submission." Every person has faults, fears and flaws. This does not mean that they can act like dictators but give them respect and submission. If in leadership, how would we want to be treated?
Do not disobey your leaders
Some people are like children, see how far they can push it.
Consider the nation of Israel: because of continual disobedience, the nation as a whole did not enter the Promised Land.
Responsibility, do not dismiss
They keep watch over you as men who must give an account- Hebrews 13:17 NIV; KJV- for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account
These people keep watch for the spiritual welfare of the congregation. If taken lightly it could result in serious harm to the spiritual lives of God’s children. It could result in lost souls.
The Bible also says that teachers will receive more severe judgment because of their influence and responsibility. James 3:1- Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.
When God’s people understand that their leaders must given an account to God, they will be much more tolerant, understanding, and sensitive toward their leader’s actions and decisions. They will be more willing to obey and submit to their leaders.
Do not dismiss this responsibility as unimportant.
Church leaders are held in low regard today.
"Those in these positions must be doing it for selfish motives." Not a good attitude.
Rejoice or disgust
Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you- Hebrews 13:17.
The result of submission to leadership is deep, satisfying joy on the part of those who lead.
3 John 4: I have no greater joy (rejoice) than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
To rejoice means to take delight in something. John is talking about and Hebrews.
See leadership rejoicing we need to be a people who grow warmer through fellowship, deeper through discipleship, stronger through worship, broader through ministry, and larger through evangelism. Amplified says here, “Do your part to let them do this with gladness.”
When God’s people disobey, complain, and fight, the joys of shepherding vanish. When Christians refuse to pay attention to the shepherds, the shepherds feel “burdened.” The NIV says burden here but the word goes much deeper. The word can be translated “moan” or “grief.” Grief expresses a deep sorrow and longing for better conditions.
Moses grieved many times because of the people’s disobedience and stubbornness. At one time in his life, the people’s complaining became so intolerable that Moses called on God to take his life (Numbers 11:14-15) I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. If this is how you are going to treat me, put me to death right now—if I have found favor in your eyes—and do not let me face my own ruin.
Disgust. Rebellious behavior takes its toll on leaders, mentally, physically and spiritually. Sometimes good leaders walk away. They resign in disgust. When that happens, no one benefits. Everyone loses. Who is going to take their place, definitely not the rebellious ones.
What should we do? Do what it says in vs. 18- Pray for us.
We don’t need new leaders (however, good to have them). Need to pray for the ones we got.