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  • Allen Domelle

When Will We Ever Learn

Hebrews 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.

One of the troubling things I must deal with as a pastor are people who won't listen to the warnings I give both in preaching and counseling. It seems that so many people are bent on doing their own thing that it doesn't matter what Scriptures you use to warn them; they will do what they want to do, and nobody will ever stop them. This is a dangerous attitude to have concerning authority’s advice and warnings.

A pastor cannot make a believer do what they are supposed to do, but the believer would be wise to listen to their pastor and obey and submit to what they tell you to do. I was talking to someone who came to inform me they “feel” something is God’s will for their life. I have heard that statement before, but this person’s life was not exhibiting what they say they feel is God’s will. I told this individual and warned them that everyone who had not listened to me when I knew from God’s Word they were not doing the right thing has always ended up backslidden and a mess. I told this person, “It seems like people never learn that God is warning them through their pastor.” Though I wish I could stop people from hurting themselves, the only thing your pastor can do is warn.

God commands the believer, Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves:…. This verse is specifically talking about those whom God has placed over you in your church. Though we are to obey our civil authorities, God specifically is talking about your attitude and actions toward what your pastor advises and preaches. Let me explain God’s teaching in this area.

First, you are to obey what the pastor preaches from God’s Word. God’s Word is our final authority, and when your pastor shows you examples from God’s Word about what you should do, your responsibility is to obey.

Second, you are to submit yourself to your pastor’s advice that is based on Scriptural principle and example. You don't have to like what he says, but if he is gives you an example from the Scriptures as to why you need to do something, you would be wise to submit to his advice.

Third, your pastor advises you and preaches the way he does because he cares for your soul. I cannot speak for most pastors, although I believe most pastors feel the same way I do; I truly care for the souls of those whom God has given me to pastor. The advice I give and the sermons I preach are to keep those I love from hurting themselves. They give an account to God for what they tell you, and God will hold them accountable if they are not guiding you to do the right thing. The fact that the pastor cares so much for you ought to give you a desire to follow what he is telling you to do.

Fourth, it is unprofitable not to obey and submit to your pastor’s advice and counsel. Just as God holds the pastor accountable to preach and advise according to the Scriptures, He holds you accountable for how you obey and submit. You don't have to follow what your pastor says, but you would be wise to follow their Scriptural advice and preaching. You can avoid much heartache if you would simply swallow your pride and follow your pastor’s Scriptural advice and preaching.


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