Quick, right this down: the first law of discipleship is that there is no formation without submission. This is true in our physical families, and it is true in our church. Club-type members don’t submit. In fact, it is the other way around — they want the pastor to submit to them. Why? Because they hold the vote in the club. Again, we are upside down. In the Gospel according to the Saint Evangelicals, the pastor submits to the membership. But in the Gospel of the Kingdom, the fingers do not control the arm. No, no. The arm is in control of the fingers.
Submission is so obvious in the Bible: “Be subject to one another in the fear of Christ” (Ephesians 5:21). “Obey your leaders, and submit to them; for they keep watch over your souls, as those who will give an account” (Hebrews. 13:7).
The only way I could have formed the lives of my four children was for them to have submitted to me. Suppose every time I corrected them, they ran away to another father and no longer wanted to be my child anymore? I would have been forced to stop correcting them, right? I mean, I love them and never wanted to lose them. But I did correct them, because I was confident they were going to stay in my home no matter what. They were submitted. As I told them many times: I am a benevolent master of this house! (Of course, they usually laughed at me when I said that).
In our modern churches, a pastor cannot form lives because if he gets too hard with one of his children, the child runs off to another orphanage. But oddly, Paul told Titus to “speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you” (Titus 2:15). Pastors should first speak to their children. If they don’t listen, then they must exhort. If still nothing happens, the Pastor must reprove with all authority. Otherwise, they will have spoiled children.
Whoa! Wait! I have to stop here because I have a very strong leading from the Spirit of God that some of you are about to misunderstand everything I am sharing. I need to set some boundaries and remind you what we are discussing.
First, I am NOT talking about blind obedience. You are never instructed to follow any teachings, any directives that are illegal; unethical; or immoral. Am I clear on that? If your “pastor” is directing you to do any of those things, refuse to obey. Leave the church! No, I am talking about forming a Christian character in your life. NOT the Governance of the church. Everything I have said about instruction and obedience pertains solely to a one-on-one relationship between you and your pastor, and his guidance in forming your life and character, and nothing more.
I hope I have cleared up any confusion you may have had. If your pastor is teaching something contrary to the Scriptures, something that is illegal; unethical; or immoral, you can approach him and voice your concerns. If that does not accomplish anything positive, leave! I’m sorry if that upset you, but I felt I had to clarify it.
With these Morning Messages, I take you on guided tours to, as Bunyan described, the Celestial City. At times we linger at corners familiar and unseen. And explore the depths of our faith along the way.
The trail is long, but there’s no hurry. Though we do need to stock up on supplies for the way, and that’s where I need your help. If you enjoy these messages, please consider becoming a contributing member of this tour group. It will be very much appreciated.