There is no question that the Pastor and Shepherd of the Church is Jesus Christ. We all serve Him. He’s our Shepherd. He’s our Pastor. He’s our Leader.  But sometimes, people will use this foundational truth to justify their lack of submission to the appointed leadership in a local congregation. When they don’t agree with a decision, they say, “I serve God and not you!” then go on and do their own thing.  That often causes confusion, division, and chaos in a church. When that happens, the devil wins every time.

The Bible teaches us that Jesus is the Pastor of His church, and He’s appointed ‘under-shepherds’ to oversee the affairs of the local church. God has ordained spiritual leadership in His Church. There is a clear chain of command in the ministry.

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. Heb 13:17 (NKJV)

 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:5 (NKJV)

It’s important for us not to lose sight that in our service, we are co-laboring together for the work of the kingdom.  Another way of looking at this is remembering we are are all ‘under authority’. When we speak of authority, we have to remember God desires our submission to biblical authority.

I know some you may have some strong feelings on the subject of authority because in the authority structures you’ve witnessed and experienced, there have been horrible abuses and pain. You may have even experienced that pain yourself. I’m very sorry if that’s your testimony. God heals. God helps.  Don’t toss aside the biblical doctrine of godly submission because a few bad leaders misused their position.

Listen, when there is abuse, pain, and misuse of biblical authority, submission to God takes precedent. You are under no obligation to be hurt or abused in any way, especially in the name of God. But when there is godly leadership there is also to be godly submission. Without it, there is disorder.

Eph 5:15-21 (NKJV) See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise,  redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,  giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.

As you joyfully serve Jesus, remember this matter of submission is one where the enemy loves to sows seeds of discord. Where there is godly leadership it’s be met with joyful godly submission.

Serving and Supporting Pastors and Leaders from Calvary Aurora on Vimeo.