x70..........Hebrews 13:17--Obey Rule

Heb 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit 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.

This is one of the most often used and abused scriptures in the Bible. It is used by every denomination to attempt to claim authority over the lives of Christians. Taken out of context and used as a law it can be used to lead a Christian down the path of a dead walk with Christ--because your walk will no longer be with Christ but through the authority of another person. The plain fact is that we are not supposed to exercsise authority one over another, amongst ourselves (Matthew 20:25-29--Mark 10: 42-45--Luke 22: 25-29).

1. In no way does this scripture preclude the idea that all Christians have gifts of ministry that they should actively pursue and develop.

Yet the idea of "submission" to spiritual authority is very often clouded over with the mistaken idea that only "some" have gifts of ministry. Since we begin with wrong ideas about ministry--and we operate a church by Roman governmental principles (we build an empire--instead of the free, apostolic network that Jesus demonstrated and the church of the Bible lived out)

Nor does this scripture in any way state that "rule" and "authority" in a church also assumes all of the ministry gifts. Yet this is exactly what this scripture has done for many many years.

2. this scripture was used to hold back the gifts of the Holy Spirit from Christians for 1,500 years.

If you were to time travel to a church, any church of 200 or 500 years ago, and state to the "authorities" in that church that you prayed in tongues, or had a word of knowledge from God, they would say to you that this is not in the Bible, or that these things are not done in the church. Of course we know that this is wrong, but the conclusions that church authorities have drawn and still draw to this day is this--

"We have been put in place by God, therefore, the rules and traditions that we make are from God. Our interpretation of the Bible is the only correct one and if you are to be a member of this body you must submit to our God-given authority."

To this day there are many denominations that still cling to traditions that are exactly like this. If a Christian decides to put themselves under these "authorities", they will be giving away their rights and privileges as a child of God and limiting the gifts that God has given them. Since the operation of church is so tradition-bound, doctrines and practices are always firmly adhered to. In other words, the ideas of church operation make it simple for the Enemy to bind up a body of Christ. We strictly follow ideas that leaders, of perhaps hundreds of years ago, established--and birth generations into our idea of "church". On the outside we have a large denomination--that "looks good"--owns a lot of great-looking church buidings--has thousands, or perhaps millions of "offical members" (most of thsoe members have been "born-into" their church---many have NOT been "born-again"!!). But if one leader, perhaps hundreds of years ago--decided that healing is not a "current reality"--something that God just doesn't do any more---then all those millions of people will suffer--since they have been taught not to beleive that God heals today--they have been taught NOT to pray for healing from their afflictions. This is called the tradition of man--something which operates contrary to simple faith!

3. When this statement (Hebrews 13:17) was made by the author of Hebrews, he was speaking to a church that was in a higher degree of obedience to the word of God than any church of today. The church of that day and age was operating apostolically, meeting in their homes on daily basis, and thus getting people saved, healed, delivered, fed and released--on a daily basis.

What else does the Bible say that we should submit ourselves to?

Jas 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Does not our submission to God always come first?

1Pe 2:13 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;

The Bible tells us to submit ourselves to worldly leaders as well. Certainly not to the degree that we submit ourselves to God!, because it is "for the Lord's sake" Important to note: the exercising of authority is the description of worldy forms of government (Jesus called them the "kingdoms of the Gentiles")--and very defintely not the form of government which the church is meant to operate by.

Col 3:18 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Col 3:19 Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.

Wives are told to submit to their husbands. Once again, this scripture taken out of context has been abused quite often. The two commands go together--wives must submit to a husband that loves them in a Godly way. And once again it is God that comes first in this relationship also--"as it is fit in the Lord"

1Pe 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

Those that are younger are told to submit to those that are older, yet we are told to all be subject to one another. The words submit and subject are one and the same word in the Greek (hupatasso). This certainly means that there are times when the elder must submit to the younger also! Again, this scripture, when cut in half can be abused. We are told that we are all to submit to one another--this is the key to humility--this removes pride from the church. How many young people have been 'turned off" by a church going experience because they have been told and taught that they are "younger" and must submit to the "elder". This is exactly like the scripture involving husbands and wives. How many wives have been told to "submit" to their husbands--that it is a "God given right" of husbands to be in authority over their wives. Sorry, the two parts of these scriptures must go together.

Eph 5:24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

All of the church (this certainly includes leadership) is commanded to submit (subject--once again the same Greek word) to Christ. Again we must all agree that this is first and foremost for every Christian. Jesus said the first commandment is--

Mr 12:30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

Tit 3:1 Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,

Once again we are told to be subject to and obey worldly leadership---again we reiterate, there is no scripture which gives authority to anyone within the church--and there is no one person or "title" named as the one whom we should submit to. Only Christ is meant to have authority over the church--we are all supposed to be brothers and sisters--equals--working on a common level--all members of His body--yes--all with different parts to play (our ministries)--yet all are vital and needed! (Is there any part of your physical body that you would like to have cut off?!)

The greater authority is in Christ--

Heb 2:8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.

In this verse the word subjection which is used twice is again the same Greek word (hupatasso). Again, when we put these scriptures in perspective we see that although we are to submit to worldly leadership and authority--Christ has been give all authority--there is--"left nothing that is not put under him." So, knowing that we are "hid in Christ"

Col 3:3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

there are hundreds of promises in the New Testament for those who are "in Christ" If we are hid in Christ then we are certainly then not subject to the evil that worldly authorities might wield. We must apply this understanding to all other authority. First must come our subjection to Christ and it must come directly, not through an intermediary. Being all equal members of His body, we all are to receive instructions from Him, the Head, directly.

Heb 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit 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.

Once again we must look carefully at this verse of scripture. Does it in any way state that church leadership has "cornered the market" on all the ministry gifts? This scripture and all scriptures that deal with church leadership never state that the leaders are the sole owners of the ministry gifts. Yet is this not the assumption from which most of Christianity operates? Is there any verse of scripture that states that church leaders are the sole possessors of the ministry gifts? Is there any example in the Bible of a Christian who was saved and did not become a minister of the Gospel?