Sunday Reflections (Sept. 9, 2012): Men’s Conference, A “Political” Sermon, etc.
HALFTIME Men’s Conference
We had a great time in worship and in the Word at our men’s conference yesterday. It was great to connect with some of my friends, Pastors Bryan Carter, Stephen Brown, and Dr. Maurice Pugh. According to reports I received, the sessions were phenomenal!
I was honored to teach two sessions on “Obey the Refs”, which dealt with men submitting to God-ordained human authority. Here is my outline:
I. The Submission Trick Plays
A trick play is designed to deceive the opposing team. Two major trick plays associated with this idea of submission that many men have fallen for are:
a. Submission is a woman’s and/or child’s responsibility. That is not true. The act of submission to authority is applicable to men as well. It [submission] is fundamentally a part of the human experience.
b. Submission strips you of your manhood and significance.
II. One League Under God
If we turn to and look at Genesis 2 and 3, there we will see that we were created as a league of humans to be under God’s authority. And you will notice that Adam, the man, was especially to obey God since he was given the command to not eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (2:16-17, 3:11).
III. Playing (Living) By Our Own Rules
Ever since that fatal day in the garden, humanity has rebelled (and continues to rebel) against God. The Bible describes us this way, “And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent (insulting or injuring someone out of pride), haughty (overestimate of one’s means and merits, despising others or treating them with contempt – looking down on them), boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless” (Romans 1:28-31).
We see the reality of our rebellious nature and choices throughout the Bible and even in our current day.
The Golden Calf – Ex. 32
Pharaoh and the Plagues – Ex. 7-12
The People of Israel Doubt/Disobey God and don’t take the land of Canaan – Num. 14
Israel is defeated by AI due to Achan’s rebellion – Joshua 7
Saul loses his kingship because he disobeyed God – 1 Sam. 13:8-14, 15:1-26
Time of the Judges – Judges 2:11-2
Our position before God is one of an enemy (Romans 5:10a), someone opposed to God, which holds ramifications in our relationships with others as well, particularly those whose authority we find ourselves under
This is a major problem for us because our rebellion comes with repercussions, namely God’s righteous judgment against us for our sins. But thank God that has been changed through the righteous life and redemptive work of Jesus for our sins (Romans 5:10).
We are now children of God because of Jesus (John 1:12-13). We have peace with God through Jesus (Romans 5:1).
As a result of this, God now rightly positions us as it relates to those in authority over us.
IV. The G.O.A.T of Submission
Our greatest example of a man in submission to authority is our great God, Savior, and Lord Jesus. God personally got on the field of life to save us from our rebellion, as we just covered, and to show us how to humble ourselves under authority.
- He was (and is) submissive to God the Father (John 5:30, 6:38; Matt. 26:36-42) and God the Spirit (Luke 4:1, 18-19).
- Jesus also submitted himself to God-ordained human authority (Luke 2:41-51).
If Jesus submitted himself to authority, we can do no less.
V. Executing Submission
a. Know Your Position (in Christ)
We are God’s children. We are loved. Our value and significance as men are ultimately grounded in Christ and not in our Circumstances; it is found in our Position in the Lord and not in our Positions in this Life.
Some men believe that it makes them less of a man if they have to submit to someone else’s authority. Your identity and significance as a man is not rooted in the rank that you hold, but in the relationship you have with Jesus.
b. Listen to Your Coach (Holy Spirit)
Turn to Galatians 5:16ff and note the word “dissension” in verse 20. It means a desire to put yourself forward, a partisan and factious spirit. But when we listen to our coach, when we are led by Him, He produces fruit in our lives that is applicable to this subject of submission.
The question becomes then: How do we hear from Him? He always speaks to us through the Bible and according to the Bible. Let’s turn to 2 Timothy 3:16.
The Bible is God’s Book. It is profitable for:
Teaching – The Bible instructs us about God, Humanity, and Life.
Reproof – The Bible chastises (disciplines) us.
Correction – The Bible restores our lives to a right state.
Training in Righteousness – The Bible directs us on how to live a life that reflects Jesus, which pleases God.
c. Follow the Plays (the Bible)
So what does the Bible say about submission, about us obeying the refs (i.e., human authority)?
There are four submission play packages, each with a corresponding “situation on the field”.
1. Submission as it relates to your parents. (Ephesians 6:1-2, Colossians 3:20)
We are to obey our parents.
We are to honor our parents.
Paul continues in Ephesians and says that we should honor our father and mother. What does it mean to honor them? We respect them in how we think about, speak to, and act around and towards them.
We provide for them when they are in need, especially when they are widowed (1 Timothy 5:3-5, 7-8).
2. Submission as it relates to your church.
According to Hebrews 13:17, we are to obey (listen to, yield to, comply with) and submit to (deference to their leadership) our leaders (Elders/Pastors, and by way of extension -Ministry Leaders/Deacons). Why? For they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account to Jesus
3. Submission as it relates to your employer.
We are to obey our employers/bosses/managers with the utmost seriousness and sincerity, as we would Christ, not by way of eye-service (i.e., jobs performed only under the boss’ watchful eye), but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. (Eph. 6:5-8; cf. also Colossians 3:22-25).
In 1 Peter 2:18-25, Peter addresses another reality here that we need to consider when it comes to submitting to our employer/boss/manager/supervisor. We are to submit to our bosses, managers, supervisors, even those who are unjust (unfair, surly – bad tempered/unfriendly, froward – a person who is difficult to deal with).
4. Submission as it relates to your governing authorities (Romans 13:1-7; cf. also – 1 Peter 2:13-17)
Is there ever a time when we are not to submit to human authority?
Yes, whenever human authority goes against divine authority. In other words, if a human authority seeks to order us to do anything that is in clear violation of God’s Word, we are not to comply.
What if the issue I have with an authority figure is not sinful in nature but a difference of opinion, philosophy, or direction? How do I handle that?
- Pray for yourself and the person in authority, and about the situation. Ask God for humility, perspective, wisdom, and discernment.
- Seek godly counsel.
- Understand that there may be other variables that played into the decision-making process that you may not be aware of.
- Rate the issue at hand. Is it a battle that involves you and if so, is it worth fighting?
- Talk with him/her in person, respectfully.
- Own up to any mishandling or misunderstanding of the issue on your part.
- Exercise caution when thinking about venting your frustrations to others, particularly co-workers.
- Keep the big picture in mind. Is this issue going to significantly impede you from doing what you were hired to do or the company/org/church from fulfilling its overall goal or mission? If not, then you submit to the decision and/or direction.
- Stay in your lane, unless asked by your supervisor/leader, to momentarily come over into his/hers. In other words, do what you were hired to do. Don’t focus on things that you cannot change or control.
- Appeal to a higher authority (HR, the head of your boss, pastors/elders), if the situation is significant enough to warrant such action and only after you have done all that you can do to try to resolve it.
- Leave well, so far as it depends on you. Don’t blow up the supervisor, pastor, leader, organization, dept., company, church, ministry on your way out.
A “Political” Sermon
Dr. Karry Wesley preached a topical message today entitled, “The PC Sermon” from Hosea 4:1. The sermon was about the politial climate that we are in and what should our response be as Christians. And, no, he did not endorse either candidate, neither directly nor indirectly. He handled the subject well. It was a timely message.
Sisters Summit ’12
We are anticipating over 800 women in attendance! We are finalizing all of our preparations this week. As you did for HALFTIME, please pray for the Sisters Summit ’12 . Thanks.
Have a great week!