The Reason He Came

December 20, 2018

by Eulene H. Moores

(Originally posted on her own blog, Letters of Hope, on December 27, 2010)

It seems most of the world, whether or not they believe in Him, celebrates the birth of Jesus, but many if not most, may not even be aware that they mark their calendars from His advent.  Elaborate parties are held, but all too often the One Whose birth is being celebrated is not acknowledged and, sometimes, not even invited!!  As Jesus said, “they draw near to me with their mouths, and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”

I think it is crucial that we know why He came.  The Christmas story is not just about the birth of Jesus; it is about the incarnation of Divinity into Humanity!   In the fullness of time “the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.”  Those who know Him celebrate the entirety of His Life, Death, Resurrection and Glorification.  As long as He is left in the manger, He remains impotent to save and His kingdom rule is no threat to anyone; or as long as His life is just considered as a good example for us to follow, we are only challenged to ‘be good.’  However, the purpose of His Death and Resurrection is to make us “new creations,” to give us “new hearts,” and to supernaturally impart to us His “Divine Nature’ with all that it includes:  Forgiveness, righteousness (right standing with God); faith; hope; love; peace; joy; wisdom; power; and ultimately to bring His original plan to a perfect consummation – man in God’s image and likeness!

I never cease to marvel when I read the account in Philippians of how Christ Jesus Who, although He existed in the form of God, and could well have considered Himself equal with God, literally emptied Himself of Deity, taking the form of a servant, and came to the earth, confining Himself in a tiny, helpless human body, entrusted to the care of human parents.  “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,” John tells us.  As He grew to manhood, He humbled Himself to the point of obedience even to death, and that a most humiliating and excruciating death.  “…our Saviour Jesus Christ…gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity…”

Just before Jesus and His disciples left the upper room where they shared their last supper together, Jesus said some amazing things.  He said He would ask the Father to send them a Comforter, Whom He called the Spirit of Truth, Whom they already knew because He was with them (old covenant), but He would now be in them (new covenant)!  He assured them that He would not leave them orphans, but “I will come to you…Because I live, you also will live.  Then you will realize that I am in my Father, and YOU ARE IN ME, and I AM IN YOU!” He came to establish a New Covenant based, not on laws for us to try to keep, but on His unfailing faithfulness to fulfill all the requirements of the law IN us.

He had said earlier, “I came that you may have Life, and may have it abundantly.” It is certain that the abundant life to which He referred is Himself – “the Way, the Truth, the LIFE” living in our innermost beings.  The Apostle Paul expressed it in his famous declaration to the Galatian Church:  “With Christ I have been crucified, and I live no more, but CHRIST LIVES IN ME; and the life I NOW LIVE in the flesh, I live in faith of the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

It is this coming – to literally dwell in the hearts of all who receive Him – that makes the celebration of His first coming so much more meaningful than just the historical baby born in the Bethlehem stable 2000 years ago.  This is the Gospel – Good News – of Jesus Christ!  We who know Him celebrate His coming and His dwelling in His people!

Do YOU know Him?

Many of the carols that are sung in this season of the year convey this message:

O Holy Christ of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin and enter in – BE BORN IN US TODAY.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
O COME TO US, ABIDE IN US, our LORD EMMANUEL!

– or –

Born Thy people to deliver; born a child, and yet a King;
Born to REIGN – IN US – FOREVER; now Thy gracious Kingdom bring

– and –

Come, Desire of Nations, COME!   FIX IN US Thy humble home;
Ride, the woman’s conq’ring seed; bruise IN US the serpent’s head.
Adam’s likeness now efface, stamp THINE IMAGE in its place;
Second Adam from above, reinstate us in Thy love.

Jesus came as Son of Man in order to make us Sons of God!  Because He came, we can be children of God through the new birth.  We can have peace with God; be filled with all joy; abound in hope; be strengthened with might by His Spirit; be more than conquerors; be renewed day by day; be conformed to His image; know the hope of His calling; and be filled with His fullness…  The list of blessings is endless!

God gave the very best He had for us.  Can we do less for Him?

 

 (Bible Refs. in order:  Matt. 15:8-9; 2 Cor. 5:17; 3:3; 2 Pet.1:4; Gen. 1:26; 1 Cor. 3:16-17; 6:17; 12:27; 2 Cor. 6:16; Eph. 2:19-22; 1 Pet. 2:5; Phil. 2:5-11; John 1:14; Titus 2:14; John 14:15-20; 17:23; 7:37-39; 14:6; Gal. 2:20; Col. 1:27; Eph. 3:17; 1 John 3:24; John 12:23-24; John 1:12;  Gal. 3:26; John 3:7; 14:27; 15:11; Rom. 15:13; Eph. 3:16; Rom. 8:37; Eph. 4:23; Rom. 8:29; Eph. 1:18; 3:19)

Advertisements

Wise Men Still Seek Him

December 24, 2017

I am always challenged at this time of the year to know what is HIS heart during this season when we supposedly are to be putting “Christ back into ‘Christmas’”.  In order to “do” just that it pre-supposes that we have a true grasp of what Christmas is (and isn’t) AND that we have a revelation of Christ. All the wise men knew was that they saw a sign in the heavens which the prophecies reportedly indicated that a new king had been born. They sought for a king. They wanted to witness for themselves whether the sign was true and be the first to pay homage to the King. They followed the sign, paid the cost, and in seeking Him out, they obtained what they were looking for. Their efforts were not in vain, but did they have a revelation of Who Jesus really was and His full reason for coming?

We are urged to seek HIM also, and it is promised that, if we DO seek for Him, with all of our heart, He WILL be found. And, in finding HIM, we will have found the greatest treasure in heaven and in earth. Like the kings of old, if we are wise, we too will seek hard after Him!

But there is much more to seeking Him than looking for, and celebrating the birth of a historical Jesus, as great as it was that He came to earth. May I reminds us all that HE never once asks us to celebrate or even remember His birth. Christians the world over make such a huge deal about “Christmas” and go to great lengths to make sure we cannot be accused of being a “scrooge”; someone who selfishly avoids or criticizes the idea of giving during the festive season of “Christmas”. The scripture says the Lord loves a cheerful (happy, spontaneous) giver…  one who gives WITHOUT OBLIGATION. The moment we enter into giving because an obligation to give is placed upon us, it is no longer giving “from the heart”, and God, Who is the biggest and best giver of us all, is no longer blessed by our “giving”.

Wise men still seek Him and in finding Him they receive (are given) Him… The King of kings! He comes and lives and abides within. HE becomes the giver of Life…  to us, in us and through us to others. He IS a Life-GIVING Spirit and if we have truly sought Him out and have found Him, and have received Him into our hearts, we have received the GIVER OF LIFE, right within US! What greater gift can we possibly give one another, but HIS LIFE! …To literally give HIM to someone else, so that they too can receive the greatest gift ever given, is to give of ourselves, as He exemplified.

To truly seek HIM is to seek His kingdom (His rule in our hearts) and His righteousness (His right way of doing things), FIRST and CONTINUALLY in ALL situations and circumstances where we have the ability to do so. This seeking, however, is costly! It will cost us our pride, our self-determination, our desire to “do-it-MY-way”….  Ultimately it will cost us our all, even our very lives. But that is precisely what He is after….   OUR LIFE! It is a divine exchange….  Our life for His

He takes our life…  ALL of our hopes, ALL of our fears, ALL of our wants and desires, ALL of our issues and problems, ALL of our worries, illness and pain, ALL of the things of this world…  and in exchange…  He gives us Himself!

He gives us freedom…  from the power of the law of sin and death!
He gives us Joy, which becomes our strength to endure life’s hardships.
He gives us His divine provision so we will never go hungry or unclothed.
He gives us a knowledge of the Truth in everything we see and hear allowing us to sort out the many confusing voices in the world.
He gives us peace because the Prince of Peace dwells within and because…
He has given us His forgiveness we can fellowship with Him ALWAYS, even when we have committed the “worst” sin….
He never pushes us from His presence, or withdraws Himself from us.
He gives us His love… for us, AND His love through us for others, even for those who are not easily loved.
He gives us His Spirit of Wisdom that we can navigate life’s decisions and issues.
He gives us talents and creativity with which we can be an inspiration and blessing to others.
He gives us power over our own propensity to sin (miss the mark).
And, as was mentioned already, He gives us His divine LIFE!

WOW!…   hardly a fair exchange wouldn’t you say?

So, if we truly are going to put Christ back into “Christmas”, we will commit to living HIS life, and seeking HIS kingdom and HIS righteousness EVERY day of the year. AND, that we put aside, in our hearts, this obligatory holiday of “Christmas” and in it’s place we ought to celebrate, appropriate and experience (the TRUE meaning of ) the feasts He does desire…

Passover

Pentecost

and Tabernacles

namely….   Christ IN us (mas), our hope of glory

I pray you will be blessed with His life through this season and throughout the coming year/s, and that we will all have the grace to seek HIM and HIS kingdom knowing that as we do, ALL these things are added unto us.


Knowing This…

April 14, 2017

KNOWING this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; (Rom 6:6)

Self cannot put “self” on the Cross: only the Holy Spirit can do this, and He does this through the cross of Jesus Christ. If the death of the Lord Jesus is real to you, then were you not IN Him at Calvary? It is not in looking to a historical event 2000 years ago, but in the utter surrender to death (by crucifixion). We ought never try to express Calvary in mere words, nor ask the question “were YOU there when they crucified my Lord?”. It is ONLY by revelation, and then that revelation must become an in-wrought reality for it to be experienced and preached (lived)!

Death must work in you and then life, and just to the extent you allow him to put you to death… you will live! With many, the planting into the death of the Savior is only a theory/doctrine/teaching. We really only understand his death as we enter into it in reality. The apostle Paul said, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives IN me” (Galatians 2:20).

How much power does a dead man have to “live” the “Christian” life? Anyone who has really seen Calvary is lost to ANY vestige of “attaining” unto His life. The cross rids us of US! All that constitutes the “I”… my propensity to sin, YES!, but also “MY” propensity to be/do “good” along with “MY” faith, “MY” faithfulness , “MY” piety and “MY” devotion!

Watchman Nee puts it this way…

When you see that the Lord was crucified for you, what happens as you believe? Is it not that you cease from improving yourself since you now see that you are saved by faith? In a similar way, when you see that the Lord took you with Him to the cross, you have no need  to fight for self-improvement or to reform. Instead, believe that the Lord lives IN you and  overcomes FOR you. You immediately cease your OWN works and let God deliver you. Tell Him, “O God, I can never be good. Henceforth I will not try to do good. I give up; I let go. From now on, it is no longer my problem.” This is yielding; this is letting go.

For the life that wins is not attained, but obtained. It is not a life changed, but rather a life  exchanged. It is not suppression, only expression. It is frankly not in you yourself, because it is in Christ who lives in you. The life which God gives and you receive at the time you believe in His Son Jesus Christ is such a life. It is a life that overcomes sin, provides intimate communion with God, and is full of satisfaction and power. It is already in you, waiting to be explored by you. The secret towards experiencing its power is to let go of yourself and let Christ live instead of you. This requires a childlike faith. Then shall you more than conquer through Him who loves you.

This is the sobering part… death must be actual! The Spirit is not satisfied with mere theory. It is when you truly die to the law of sin and death that you are free (Romans 8:2). It is only after, and in the measure that you are baptized by the Holy Spirit into the death of the Savior that you then walk in newness of (His resurrection) life. Some people merely live in the “forgiveness” of sin. But, if you reckon yourself dead to sin & self, you have no right to live in it (sin and self). The only proof of the Holy Spirit is the life of the Holy Spirit. Leave “the old man” on the Cross and rise with the Savior into a new (His) Life!


PODCAST – Deeper Into the River… Boulder Street Church Message

March 21, 2017

Source: PODCAST – Deeper Into the River… Boulder Street Church Message


Forgive My Enemy?

April 11, 2016

Renee Napier, Phillip And Mary Dickson
Taken from LISTVERSE

Renee Napier and Phillip and Mary Dickson have lived through a parent’s worst nightmare. On May 11, 2002, Napier’s daughter, Meagan Napier, and the Dicksons’ daughter, Lisa Jo Dickson, were struck and killed instantly by a drunk driver. They were both only 20 years old. The grief was unbearable but Napier and the Dicksons were determined to help others avoid the grief that they were experiencing.

The Dicksons worked through their local Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) organization, and Napier founded The Meagan Napier Foundation with the purpose of promoting safe driving. Napier works to spread her message to as many people as she can in the hopes of saving lives.

The drunk driver, Eric Smallridge, has accompanied Napier to some of her speaking engagements. While still serving his sentence, Smallridge was given permission to travel with Napier to speak and tell his story. He would encourage those in the audience to avoid ending up in his situation. After the presentation, the audience would be given the opportunity to view the mangled car.

Napier really wanted her message of forgiveness to get across. Napier and the Dicksons all lobbied for (and won) Smallridge’s early release, and if that’s not a hallmark of incredible forgiveness, we don’t know what is.

Immaculee Ilibagiza
Taken from LISTVERSE

Immaculee Ilibagiza is a survivor of the Rwandan genocide that took place in the mid-nineties. Political tensions between the Hutu and Tutsi tribes resulted in the massacre of hundreds of thousands of members of the Tutsi tribe and of members of the Hutu tribe who opposed the genocide. On Easter Sunday 1994, when Ilibagiza and her family were gathered together, Ilibagiza’s older brother, Damascene, begged their father to take the family and flee to safety. They made the fateful decision to stay.

On April 6, 1994, a plane carrying the Rwandan president, a Hutu, was shot down, and everyone on board was killed. Soon after, a killing spree began that targeted the Tutsi people. Ilibagiza and her younger brother, Vianney, managed to make their way to a local Hutu pastor’s home, who provided protection from the chaos that was surrounding them. When they arrived, they learned the heartbreaking news that Vianney could not stay. Ilibagiza and seven other women hid in a small (1 square meter) bathroom for three months. When Ilibagiza and the seven other women were finally able to leave their hiding place, Ilibagiza learned that her family had been murdered. Ilibagiza herself lost 22 kilograms (50 lbs) during her ordeal.

While our human nature desires revenge, Ilibagiza chose to forgive the people who killed her family as she felt the bitter feelings of rage destroying her. Though not easy, she was determined to let forgiveness, rather than hate, rule her life. Eventually, she met one of the murderers face-to-face and told him directly that she forgave him.

Ilibagiza is now living in the US with her children, some of whom are adopted from Rwanda. She has written a best-selling book about her experience, Left to Tell, and has made several television appearances. She has spoken at several conferences and founded the Left to Tell Charitable Fund to help children who have been orphaned through genocide. From the unimaginable pain she had endured, Ilibagiza has managed to do a great amount of good and make the world a little bit of a better place.

WOW!  Amazing stories of genuine love and forgiveness! In a world that is filled with pain and suffering, much of it merely due to circumstances beyond our control, but much of it certainly perpetrated with intent. Of course, every man will be held accountable for our own choices and actions, whether we wronged someone, intentionally or unintentionally, as well as how we responded when we were wronged.  We have all recited the Lord’s Prayer in which we ask our Heavenly Father to forgive us our debts (sins/trespasses) as we forgive our debtors (those who have sinned/trespassed) against us. It is so much easier to vocalize the words of this profound prayer than to actually find the grace to forgive a wrong, much less genuinely and sincerely love our “enemy”.

We earnestly and fervently pray that God will not hold our sins against us, or that He will be merciful to us protecting us and keeping our loved ones safe from harm, to prosper our way, even heal our illnesses, diseases and infirmities. However, sometimes our prayers are hindered by a shear lack of obedience on our part of His simple commandments such as love your neighbor as yourself, or do to other as you would have them do unto you.

We want all the blessings of heaven and earth, but don’t realize that in the same way that God has established immutable laws in the natural realm, such as gravity, the seasons and seed-time and harvest, there are also immutable laws in the spiritual realm such as sowing and reaping. When we intentionally wrong someone, and might think we have gotten away with it, we can rest assured that what we sow we shall also reap. And, when we fail to forgive those who have wronged us, no matter how significant or insignificant the deed done to us seemed to be, we reap the consequences of that bitterness and unforgiveness in our own souls, and even in our body.  We wonder why we are not getting any better after being sick. Yet, we are hiding unconfessed wrongs in our own lives, or are harboring bitterness against others who have wronged us. We must understand that the heavens become brass and our prayers only rise up so far before falling back down to our miserable hardened heart. However, that can all change and there can be restoration and healing at ALL levels!

As you read this I am sure you are thinking of many times in your own life and experience where someone did something to you that caused you material loss, physical harm or mental anguish. You look back on it and wonder how they could have done such a thing, particularly when it seemed entirely preventable, or seemed that it was even intentional on their part.  Have you forgiven and forgotten?  Are they free? Or YOU free? Did you seek revenge, trying to find a way to pay them back? Or did you go to them and let them know that you hold nothing against them, are praying for them and would bless them if they would receive it.  There are many who call themselves “Christians”, but to forgive IS what it means to BE “Christ” …to others.

This simple act of love and humility…  to forgive…  has such a profound impact on both the one who did the wrong, as well as the one who is offering forgiveness. Swallowing our pride, getting over ourSELVES, and doing as Jesus taught would certainly go a long way to make this world, we (all) live in, a much better place.  It is actually bringing heaven to earth… the first part of the Lord’s Prayer.

I was so moved by this video and it drives home the truth that to “love those who love us in return” is only human, but to “love and forgive our enemy” is truly divine….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Father’s 5-Step Plan to Reconcile The World to Himself‏

April 20, 2015

All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was/is reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.  (2Cor 5:18-20)

…that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may know that You sent Me.  (John 17:21)

Preach Christ
…and we will grow.

Love God
…and HWe will flow.

Love one another
…and we will show.

Surrender ALL
…and HWe will be one.

BE one
…and they will know!


Whose The Leader?

December 7, 2013

Go to the ant, O sluggard, Observe her ways and be wise, Which, having no chief, Officer or ruler, Prepares her food in the summer And gathers her provision in the harvest (Prov 6:6-8)

ants_at_work_video_poster

Take a look at this fascinating video showing stunning examples in nature,

particularly the ants and the bees, of absolute cooperation and team work without any hierarchical structure. Evidently every member of the team is receiving it’s instructions from a higher authority and submits to one another toward the successful completion of the task at hand. They each are obedient to their Creator and are wholly dedicated to the work that they were created to do and they serve out of total surrender.

Proper Authority & Submission in The Ekklesia

What does God mean by authority? What is proper, biblical submission? What transcends what: the Vertical relationship we each have with the Head, or the Horizontal with each other?

One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?” Jesus answered, “The foremost (primary/first/preeminent/transcendant) is, ‘HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD; AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’ “The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
(Mark 12:28-31)

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. (Col 1:15-18 NASB)

…which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, and He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. (Eph 1:22-23 NASB)

For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; (Col 2:9-10 NASB)

And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. (Mat 28:18)

The above passages and many others clearly indicate that there is NO hierarchy in God, in His creation, in His Kingdom or in His Ekklesia. Jesus Christ is first, before ALL things, the source of ALL things, the Head of His Ekklesia and preeminent over ALL rule and authority.

Our relationship, our love and our ministry is first and foremost to and for Him. Then secondarily, out of the vertical, we BEcome all these to one another.

What is Proper, Biblical Submission?

There are 6 greek words used in the New Testament to convey something like our modern concept of submission: hupotasso, hupakouo, hupeiko, peitho, peitharcheo and dogmatizo. Keep in mind that many greek words have different meanings based on their context. It is no different in English. I may submit a proposal or submit to a search before boarding a plane. Words take on different meanings based on how they are used.

The word most commonly translated submit or subjection is hupotasso. Hupotasso is a military term used to signify a surrender on a battle field. It’s non-military usage is different.

It can mean any of the following depending on context:

  • Arrange under
  • Yield to admonition or advice
  • Obey

Hupotasso is not used to convey a sense of involuntary obedience to human command or authority in the New Testament. The New Testament words that best represent that are hupakouo and peitharcheo. Neither of these words are used in reference to church leadership.

Hupotasso, as it relates to members of the church interacting with each other is “a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden.” When Paul instructs the Ephesians to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” it is clear that he is speaking the sense of “arranging under” or “yield to admonition or advice” He isn’t telling people to obey each other. In 1Cor 16:16 when Paul calls on the Corinthians to submit to “everyone who cooperates in the work” it is clear there is no sense of hierarchy.

Hupotasso is found the following verses…

Luk 10:17 “Then the seventy-two returned with joy, saying, ‘Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name!’”

Heb 12:9 “Besides, we have experienced discipline from our earthly fathers and we respected them; shall we not submit ourselves all the more to the Father of spirits and receive life?”

Rom 8:7 “because the outlook of the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to the law of God, nor is it able to do so.”

Rom 10:3 “For ignoring the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking instead to establish their own righteousness, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.”

Rom 13:1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except by God’s appointment, and the authorities that exist have been instituted by God.

1Co 16:16 “also to submit to people like this, and to everyone who cooperates in the work and labors hard.”

Eph 5:22 “Wives submit to your husbands as to the Lord”

Col 3:8 “Wives submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord”

Tit 2:9 Slaves are to be subject to their own masters in everything, to do what is wanted and not talk back,

Tit 3:1 Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work.

1Pe 2:13 Be subject to every human institution for the Lord’s sake, whether to a king as supreme

1Pe 2:18 Slaves, be subject to your masters with all reverence, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are perverse.

1Pe 3:22 who went into heaven and is at the right hand of God with angels and authorities and powers subject to him.

1Pe 5:5 In the same way, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. And all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.

Jas 4:7 “So submit to God. But resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

Submit (be subject) to God-ordained worldly authorities…

Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it (worldly authority) is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it (worldly authority) does not bear the sword for nothing; for it (worldly authority) is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor. (Rom 13:1-7 NASB)

Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they’ll be won over to God’s side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives. Make the Master proud of you by being good citizens. Respect the authorities, whatever their level; they are God’s emissaries for keeping order. It is God’s will that by doing good, you might cure the ignorance of the fools who think you’re a danger to society. Exercise your freedom by serving God, not by breaking the rules. Treat everyone you meet with dignity. Love your spiritual family. Revere God. Respect the government. (1Pet 2:11-17 MSG)

Submit to God-ordained Authority in the Family

Slaves, Servants (out of reverence and respect)

Col_3:22 Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God:

Children (out of honor)

Eph_6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.

Col_3:20 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.

Husbands & Wives (out of love)

Eph_5:22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.

Eph_5:24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.

Eph_5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,

Eph_5:28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself;

Col_3:18 Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

Col_3:19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them.

What is proper authority within the Ekklesia?

What it is NOT!

Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Jesus with her sons, bowing down and making a request of Him. And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She *said to Him, “Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit one on Your right and one on Your left.” But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?” They *said to Him, “We are able.” He *said to them, “My cup you shall drink; but to sit on My right and on My left, this is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father.” And hearing this, the ten became indignant with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. “It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mat 20:20-28 NASB)

Jesus did not submit Himself to the religious leaders, those who had raised themselves up as self-appointed rulers and authorities. On the contrary He defied them and renounced them (See Matt 23)

He would not be a judge over any other man.

Someone in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” But He said to him, “Man, who appointed Me a judge or arbitrator over you?” (Luk 12:13-14)

So what exactly does it mean then to “obey those who are ‘over you’ in the Lord?”

Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit (hupeiko) yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. (Heb 13:17 KJV)

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief (or frustration), for this would be unprofitable for you. (Heb 13:17 NASB)

Be obedient to those leading you, and be subject, for these do watch for your souls, as about to give account, that with joy they may do this, and not sighing, for this is unprofitable to you. (Heb 13:17 YLT)

Here are the other words translated submit or obey….

peitharcheo

Definition: “to obey authority” (Thomas)

Act 5:29 But Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than people

Act 5:32 And we are witnesses of these events, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.”

Tit 3:1 Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work.

peitho

Definition: “to persuade, to have confidence” (Thomas)

It can be translated obey if spoken in the active or middle/passive. Most of us have no clue about active or passive tenses in Greek translation. What it means is that the word can be translated obey depending on how it used. In Heb 13:17 the word is used in such away that leads most translations to translated it as “obey.”

There are far too many verses to list here. The following is the main relevant passage:

Heb 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls and will give an account for their work. Let them do this with joy and not with complaints, for this would be no advantage for you.

hupakouo

Definition: to listen, attend to:—answer(1), became obedient(1), becoming obedient(1), heed(1), obedient(2), obey(12), obeyed(3). (Thomas)

Eph 6:5 Slaves, obey your human masters with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart as to Christ,

Eph 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord for this is right.

dogmatizo

Defintion: to decree, to subject oneself to an ordinance:—submit … to decrees(1). (Thomas)

Col 2:20 “If you have died with Christ to the elemental spirits of the world, why do you submit to them as though you lived in the world?”

hupeiko

Defintion: to retire, withdraw, submit:—submit(1). (Thomas)

Thomas, R. L. (1998). New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek dictionaries : Updated edition. Anaheim: Foundation Publications, Inc.

To retire or withdraw giving the sense that we are to yield the right of way to, to “keep out of the way”, to “not hinder their efforts” rather than any sense of “following a direct order”.

Don’t rebel against or hinder them from fulfilling their calling or doing their job because they will give an account to the Lord, and it will do you no good either. With this meaning the rest of the verse, and the spirit of the entire passage then makes sense or bears witness.

The Greek word “peitharcheo” is found in Acts 5:29 and other places, but is never used in the New Testament in reference to “obeying” church leaders.

There also no actual word for “authority” in Heb 13:17 in the Greek text.

The Greek word for Obey used in Heb 13:17 is “peitho” which means “to voluntarily submit as a result of persuasion. In other words, if there is any authority at all in what they are saying, it is based solely upon their integrity before God and because they will have to give an account directly to God for what they are teaching or instructing. The intimation is that they are more accountable for what they are saying than you are to them to do what they are saying.

You are not required to obey some kind of delegated authority that they have “over you”, as some would want to believe and teach, but to obey, or submit yourSELF, to the TRUTH (Christ) that they are declaring.

Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. (Heb 13:7)

Let all that you do be done in love. Now I urge you, brethren (you know the household of Stephanas, that they were the first fruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves for ministry to the saints), that you also be in subjection to such men and to everyone who helps in the work and labors. (1Co 16:14-16 NASB)

Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. (1Pet 5:1-3)

Be responsive to your pastoral leaders. Listen to their counsel. They are alert to the condition of your lives and work under the strict supervision of God. Contribute to the joy of their leadership, not its drudgery. Why would you want to make things harder for them? (Heb 13:17 – The Message)

Rom_2:8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,

Gal_3:1 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?

Gal_5:7 Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?

Act_5:29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

Jesus Christ is concerned with only ONE thing, and Paul was called to that same single focus… THE WORK of building and equipping the Ekklesia so we ALL could be co-laborers in THE WORK!

And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not mere men? What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. (1 Cor 3:1-9)

But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. (1John 2:20 NASB)

As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life. These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you. As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him. (1John 2:24-27 NASB)

What roll do pastors, elders, the five-fold ministries, etc. have in terms of authority?

He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.) And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. (Eph 4:10-16 NASB)

There is no mention of rank or position in Paul’s instruction to the Church or when defining ministry. Paul didn’t say “I have authority because I’ve been appointed by the church and all church leaders are God’s delegated authority”. The Corinthians originally recognized Paul’s authority as their Father in the gospel (1Cor 4:15). Even this authority had limits. He had no authority to tear down (2Cor 10:8). Even in the expulsion of the immoral brother Paul instructed the whole Corinthian church to do it (1Cor 5:4). He didn’t do it and he didn’t instruct the leaders to do it. In “covering” theology everyone is commanded to obey people almost solely on their organizational rank. Organizational rank is very much “outward appearance”, acknowledged by “sight”, from a “human point of view” bolstered by “letters of recommendation.”

Paul presents himself as one who preached Christ as Lord. Covering theology equates the authority of church leaders with God’s authority. This sounds a lot like preaching “themselves” as lord rather than preaching Christ as Lord.

What would submission in the church look like if it were pursued in a manner that was truly a “voluntary attitude of giving in and co-operating“. It would look very different from what often goes on in authoritarian churches.

Biblical Submission

Authoritarian Submission

Motivated by love and a desire to understand and co-operate Motivated by fear and a desire to avoid harsh consequences
There are always elements of mutuality Submission goes from the bottom to the top
Encourages freedom and expression Stifles expression
Alternative opinions and disagreements are seen as opportunities to discern God’s insight and direction Alternative opinions and disagreements with leadership are possible threats and may need to be dealt with authoritatively to preserve unity
Unity through mutual love, sacrifice and understanding False unity through uniformity
Leadership encourages diversity and ensures that people feel safe to be themselves and use their gifts Leadership sets direction and keeps careful watch over all activity to ensure non-conformist ideas and people don’t gain influence.
People feel free to disagree with leadership but respect the values and direction set for the group People are afraid to voice disagreements and feel their only options are to stay silent or leave
Decision making is transparent and accountable Decision making is confined to a narrow group of insiders that feel very little obligation to explain their actions.
Leadership is truly accountable because people are free to question in an accepting and safe atmosphere. Leadership subverts true accountability by instilling fear, demonizing critics, and intimidating people.

Biblical submission is always a “voluntary attitude.” What is the difference between a voluntary attitude and an involuntary attitude? Involuntary submission it is motivated by command, rules, fear, coercion, or manipulation. People give in because they have a tangible and an imminent fear of something negative happening to them.

What should motivate us to submit to each other?

  • Reverence for Christ (Eph 5:21)
  • Leaders keep watch over us (Heb 13:17)
  • So the leaders have joy (Heb 13:17)
  • It would be profitable for us (Heb 13:17)
  • Clothe ourselves in humility to each other (1Pe 5:5)

There is a noticeable absence of any spiritual disaster in the above list.

The proponents of Covering Theology often present themselves as God’s chosen leaders and label those who disagree with them as rebels. There is an incredible irony to this as these same leaders have cast off centuries of solid biblical interpretation to arrive at their conclusions. In order to accomplish this task they have redefined or skewed the traditional biblical concepts of sin, grace, submission, and faith.

HOW TO DISCERN A TRUE MINISTRY FROM THE FALSE. AM I A TRUE MINISTER?

The clergy-laity dichotomy is a direct carry-over from pre-Reformation Roman Catholicism and a throwback to the Old Testament priesthood. It is one of the principal obstacles to the church effectively being God’s agent of the kingdom today because it creates a false idea that only ‘holy men,’ namely, ordained ministers, are really qualified and responsible for leadership and significant ministry. In the New Testament there are functional distinctions between various kinds of ministries but no hierarchical division between clergy and laity. ~ Howard Snyder

In order to discern whether a ministry is on the right path we have to consider the big question of “why.” What is the motivation? If we are ministering for our personal gain our methods and our teaching will eventually reflect this. We might be in it for fame, status, reputation, money, religious success. We might be living out our own legalistic, self-condemnation on others or reliving our own victimization through others.

Paul loved people and was so filled with the love of God it compelled him despite all the suffering and the risks. He lived with an open heart and a Godly jealous for Christ’s people. He tried very hard not to be a burden and attempted to work with the Corinthians for their joy. He saw the Corinthians as partners to work in co-operation with, not just people to minister too.

Paul suffered not just from external persecution but by the insensitive treatment by those he sought to minister to. It seems to bleed out especially later on in the letter where we makes some honest but biting remarks about the Corinthian’s willingness to let themselves become exploited.

Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. (Heb 13:7)

Here are a few questions that every minister of the Lord needs to ask of him/herself…

Which “well” am I drinking from?
Is it the grace of Christ leading to life, freedom and transformation or condemnation leading to shame, bondage and death?

Why do I do what I do? What are the motivations?
A careful examination of my heart and my actions will reveal clues to where my heart is? I will find my heart with my treasure so I should examine how I spend my resources (mental, emotional, material) and follow the “money trail” to the orientation of my heart.

Am I comfortable with my own weakness or do I need to project an image of strength to others?
Am I confident that Christ has transformed me and I have no need to fake it for others? Am I overly concerned with how people think of me?

Am I honest, open and willing to submit myself to conscious examination of others?
Do I use flattery, trickery or other methods to guide people? Do I try to control what people think so I can guide the situation to further my goals whether they are altruistic or not?

In Conclusion

You don’t have to be an author, a pastor, or an elder of a local church to be a leader. In fact, some of the greatest Christian leaders I’ve known were neither. Focus on following Jesus and you will be leading others naturally by your example, let alone by the things you say. Is it possible that much of Christianity today is focused on being a leader when it should rather be focused on how to follow an indwelling Christ? ~ Frank Viola

This is a huge topic and one that can be approached from many different angles. In summary what I have concluded is that we are to submit only to God as He would reveal the Truth (Christ) to us, through others, by The Spirit. Humbly submit ourselves to one another in the Love, fear and admiration of the Lord. Be subject to the worldly authorities in order to win them over, but never in place of God if they were to go against His rule in our life. Don’t place any man over you as an “authority” through whom you exclusively get direction from or obey rather than Christ (in you). Don’t look to others to take on your offense, or to approach or confront someone, or to carry the burden for you. Be ready always to participate and engage in “The Work” of building up the Body of Christ out of agape love without ANY expectation of receiving anything in return, flowing only as directed by the Head.

Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. (Mat 23:10)

For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. (1Tim 2:5)

Be imitators of me, in so far as I in turn am an imitator of Christ. Now I commend you for remembering me in everything, and because you hold fast truths and practices precisely as I have taught them to you. I would have you know, however, that of every man, Christ is the Head, that of a woman her husband is the Head, and that God is Christ’s Head. (1Co 11:1-3 Weymouth)

“Honesty, sincerity, simplicity, humility, pure generosity, absence of vanity, readiness to serve others – qualities which are within easy reach of every soul – are the foundation of one’s spiritual life.”
~ Nelson Mandela. http://onforb.es/18qc7by


The material in this writing was gleaned from a number of web sites, but much of it from Leighton Tebay’s excellent web site on Covering and Authority.