It’s interesting to me that, the more I read the Bible, the more I question the way in which we do church (small c for a reason). This week proved that challenge further, as several conversations I’ve had with different people in different states that they’ve seen preachers tend to build their churches and movements around their personalities, rather than around the persons of God. The thing is, this isn’t just preachers who do this: I’ve seen evangelists, disciple makers, authors, publishers, programmers, worship leaders, and many others, mistakenly, state “My way is best, my system is best, my book is best, my way is best, follow me.” When it comes down to it though, God is One, there is One High Priest, and One King and we, your leaders, are not any of those things.
Don’t get me wrong, our God is a God of order. He established leadership, in the Home and in the Church, but not to be heavy handed, not to Lord it over people, and not to get people to follow us. Jesus Himself even said ““You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 24b-28). And Christ established the Church, and His Word confirms the Church, and we don’t need to help Him in the process. We need to listen to His word and trust the Process. Loved ones, test everything said and done within the Church by the Word of God. Your leaders are accountable to God for everything they do, and so make sure their preaching, teaching and actions are confirmed by God’s word. Do not place them on any throne, or seat, or pedestal, but pray for them, and hold them accountable to and encourage them through God’s Word. Be a fellow member of the Body, doing work alongside them, and following them as they follow Christ. We are all members of the Body, together seeking the will of our head, Jesus Christ, who is our King and High Priest, to the Glory of the Father, and doing this by being full of the Holy Spirit of God according to His Word.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit,[g] serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it] to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.