But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction. - (1 Thessalonians 5:12)
First Thessalonians 5:12–13 tells us that church leaders have charge over the flock of God. In 1 Timothy 5:17, Paul said that elders are responsible to rule. The author of Hebrews wrote that members of the church are to obey and submit to their spiritual leaders (Hebrews 13:17).
Mature, set-apart spiritual leaders are God’s method of ruling in His government of the church. The church is distinct from the family and from the civil government.
The church’s purpose is to equip you to live before God with proper self-government. The job of the church is not to solve all of your problems, but part of it is to show you how to solve your problems under God. The church can assist you in doing that, but it cannot do it for you.
The church is the most important formal institution on earth. The church, and only the church, has been commissioned by the sovereign Lord to be His representative agency in history. It has been given sole authority to unlock the treasures of the spiritual realm so that they can be brought to bear on the realities of earth.
God designed the church to be the epicenter of culture, and the church’s strength or weakness is a major determining factor in the success or failure of human civilization. When the church is strong, the culture is impacted positively—even if the “powers that be”in a particular place don’t realize that impact and seek to marginalize and persecute the church. But when the church is weak, its influence deteriorates and so does the culture.
Reflection: Are you a member of a church where Christ is honored? How does the church (its worship, its people) affect your family? How can you encourage your pastor and your fellow members this week?
Lord, I lift up to You today the many churches throughout our land and throughout the world. Show Yourself strong through the leadership that You raise up. Protect and guard our church leaders, Lord, as they serve You.
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