Serving Under Authority
by Rev. Brian Mathis
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4 The authorities are Godís servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are Godís servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong.5 So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience.
Romans 13:4-5 (NLT)
7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to who taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to who respect is owed, honor to who honor is owed.
Romans 13:7 (ESV)
I was studying this morning about the life of Paul and reading a book by F.F. Bruce entitled; Paul Apostle of the Heart Set Free, it is a very in-depth study of the person and role of Paul in the early church and how his ministry affected each individual church. It highlights each of his writings and breaks down a very plausible line of how things occurred in His ministry. If you ever desire to know more about Him I would recommend you read it. But as I was reading about his interactions with the Corinthians it highlights one of the greatest problems he faced in witnessing to them and providing council; that was a lack of respect for his authority as an apostle. As I began thinking about that I began to wonder about our understanding of authority both outside and inside the church. I used the verses from Romans to highlight the main issue we are to give honor were honor is due. Not because of who the person is but because God has appointed them for this particular time and place. You see God can see all of it not just the small picture that surrounds us each day. We have a limited idea of His plan for not only our lives but for the coming kingdom.
You might ask how this affects the church; well often we as church members will see things going on around us that we may not understand or even agree with. In such cases we do have the right to turn around and walk away from it. To many times though we instead choose to stay where we are and become a hindrance to the work of those who are appointed by God to lead. In doing this we often find ourselves unsatisfied and miserable in the process making everyone else just as miserable and undermining Godís work. Not a place you really want to find yourself I can assure you it will be something you will one day answer to God for. I have some advice and you can take it or leave it if you have found yourself living in contradiction to the pastor and staff of the church you attend itís time to move on or get right. I would choose get right because wherever you go you will continue to find reason to complain. Now you should never be asked to do anything that is directly contradictory to scripture; that is where knowing what they Bible teaches and applying it to your life comes in. To many times we can be lead astray because we are not grounded in His word well enough to defend ourselves. I pray you will live right as you walk in the light of His Word have a blessed day.
Rev. Brian Mathis
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