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Church Leaders are O.D.
Philippians 1:1 to 2–part 3
1:1c, “including the overseers and deacons”
Bad leadership comes in many forms. The one that concerns parents and pastors the most is the influence of a teacher. Like the young woman with strong liberal tendencies who announced to her class, “I’m an atheist.” So she asks her class if they are atheists too. Not really knowing what atheism is, but wanting to be like their teacher, their hands explode into the air like fireworks.
There is, however, one exception–a beautiful little girl named Lucy has not gone along with the crowd. The teacher asks her why she’s decided to be different. “Because I’m not an atheist.” Then the teacher asks, “What are you?” Lucy says, “I’m a Christian.”
The teacher, who is a little perturbed now, her face slightly red, asks Lucy, “Well, why are you a Christian?”
“Well, I was brought up knowing and loving Jesus. My mom is a Christian, and my dad is a Christian, so I am a Christian.”
The teacher is now angry, and loudly says, “That’s no reason. What if your mom was a moron and your dad was a moron. What would you be then?”
Lucy paused, then she smiled and said, “I’d be an atheist.”
Poor leadership is not only found in the classroom, but also in the government. Several years ago, one man changed his middle name to Low Tax to become Bryon Low Tax Looper. He then decided to resolve his Senate race against his opponent by killing him, settling the election with a bullet instead of a ballot. He served a life sentence and died in 2013.
And poor leadership is also found in the Church. It’s no accident that every scandal and every moral failure of a church leader makes front page news. As a result, we are fast becoming a nation like Australia, where there is so much distrust for any leadership that the culture is known for its “tall poppy” syndrome.
When you stand in a field of poppies, the ones you shoot at are the ones that stand a little higher than the others–the ones that are taller make the best targets. Whenever someone stands up to lead, as a culture they shoot them down. They attack the tall poppy that stands out above the rest.
But in contrast to all the negative leadership around us, there is God’s unique design for His Church—and as Paul begins his letter to the Philippians, in a very unique way he mentions Church leaders are odd. Why? O.D.–Church leaders are made up of O (overseers) and D (deacons), and God’s leadership is very unique. It’s ODD!
Turn to Philippians chapter 1 and take the outline found in your bulletin. Read with me verses 1 to 2 from your outline. “Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
It’s only 104 verses long, yet Philippians is one of the most encouraging letters in the entire New Testament. Look at verses 1 to 2. Paul says he’s a slave of Christ, modeling a humility to help the Philippians get along with each other. Paul has told the Philippians they’re all saints, all of them totally new creatures, set apart for God’s service, reminding them it’s Christ Himself who made them into one family.
Now in the wake of not affirming his own authority as an apostle, Paul does something very unique in the New Testament. He recognizes the leaders of this special church in his greeting. Why? It could be, with some of their current struggle with grumbling in the church, the leaders needed to be affirmed by the apostle, since most likely the grumbling was directed at the leadership.
It could be the two women, Euodia and Syntyche mentioned in 4:2, were the wives of deacons, or deaconesses themselves. But immediately in verse one Paul reminds us of the leadership structure of every church. Church leaders are O.D.–overseers and deacons. And you and I need to know how God intends leadership to work, because He may call some of you to function as an elder or deacon in His Church someday in the future.
You need to embrace biblical leadership (not worldly forms of leadership) so you can exercise true biblical leadership properly with your spouse, your children–even with your employees. Plus, understanding biblical leadership helps you understand how God Himself leads you, and how you’re to respond to the authorities God places in your life. For God’s leadership through His appointed overseers and deacons in the Church is radically different from the failing leadership we see all around us–even in the Church. What is so different about it?
#1 Church leaders are “Christians” FIRST
Paul addresses the Church by calling them “saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons.” Notice Paul doesn’t list the Church leaders first–he starts with saints. A saint is any true Christian and every true Christian, referring to their position and lifestyle of being set apart to serve Christ alone.
So in verse 1, Paul is telling us all Christians are saints–only a few Christians are overseers and deacons. And you and I are saints before we can ever be spiritual leaders. The true Church is made up of saints, and a few in the Church are spiritual leaders. Leaders are important, but the most crucial part of the Church family is being a true saint. And being a saint is what causes us to function together as a family.
But why would Paul list saints, then the leaders? This particular order could be a subtle warning to the leaders not to get proud, since the leaders are listed second. But more likely this is a reminder to all Christians–leaders and non-leaders are saints together in Christ. We are all a part of the family, together following Christ.
Spiritual leaders must never forget they’re first saints in Christ by the gracious redeeming work of Christ before they exercise any spiritual leadership. Leaders are saints first. Leaders are to be those who are set apart to serve Christ alone first, before they’d seek to lead others to serve Christ. Before they say to others, “Follow me,” they must first follow Christ. Before they tell others to obey the truth, they must first live the truth themselves.
The worst thing that can happen to a Bible teacher, a dad or mom, or a youth leader is to forget they’re to live as a Christian first before they lead anyone. Because they’re in charge, they can sometimes fall into, “Do as I say,” while neglecting, “Do as I do.” But true spiritual leaders are models of the Christian life first. That’s why Hebrews 13:7 says, “Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.” True spiritual leaders are sincere saints in Christ, causing them to be effective leaders for Christ.
#2 Church leaders and Church family are ONE
Paul says in Philippians 1:1c, “including the overseers and deacons.” Paul puts no line between the clergy and laity here. By using the Greek word “including” or NIV “together with” or ESV “with the”, Paul is putting the emphasis upon the bond between the spiritual leaders of the Church and the Church saints. This is one of reasons the elders or pastors don’t sit on thrones on the platform, don’t wear special robes, sport a Hawaiian shirt, wear a black suit, or have secret underwear. Okay, I confess, I have spiritual socks, I do–they’re holey.
True spiritual leadership is not over the Church–look at verse 1. Paul says in Philippians 1:1c, “including the overseers and deacons.” The Greek word “including” means with or alongside the Church. True leaders come from among the saints–they are a distinguishable part of the whole, not above, not under, but a part of the body of saints. We are family together.
The most popular thing going for Church leaders these days is training them how to lead the church like a business, and treating church members like consumers. Or using consumer techniques to draw in a crowd, then applying consumer techniques to get the crowd to stick and give. But spiritual leaders do not function like a CEO over a company, or a number cruncher over a budget, or Mike McCarthy over Green Bay, or Bill Belichick over New England, or Pete Carroll over Seattle.
True church officers together function more like a godly father over his Christian family. They’re undershepherds under the great shepherd, caring for His sheep. It’s true–the usefulness of a church for God’s glory is largely guided by the quality, function and commitment of the leaders. I am not minimizing the importance of leaders, pastors or teachers–they’re crucial.
So this is important–listen up leaders. God says in James 3:1, “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we shall incur a stricter judgment.” Why? Because of the impact leaders will have on a church, even negatively, like Peter warns in 2 Peter 2:1 and 2, “There will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them,…2 And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned.”
Leaders are crucial to the health of a church. And even though a genuine saint can survive in a church with unqualified leaders, or a qualified leader can survive in a church filled with make-believers. In both those situations, their effectiveness for the glory of God will be severely limited. God designed His Church to have qualified leaders and true born again saints. And Paul’s point in using the word sun–translated “including” or “together with”, is to remind the saints and the leaders of a church they’re to be one. The church in Philippi is to be one, and FBC Murrieta is to be one.
The people are not to complain against their leaders, and the leaders are not be cannibals. You know what a cannibal is, right? Someone “fed up” with people. No, we’re to function as one body. If I were preaching, but the entire time my arm did whatever it wanted, you’d be distracted from God’s Word, wouldn’t you? Ya’ think? And a church body which does not function as one–all of us, leaders and saints not working together will cause us to be distracted from God’s Word, and from showing off Christ (glorifying).
Leaders and saints are to be one heart and one mind–not by boiling doctrine down to the basics a junior higher could agree with, but by teaching the Word, desiring only the author’s intended meaning in order to seek to be one on every truth in Scripture. Unity is crucial, because God won’t bless a divided church. In Acts, over ten times the Church was to be of one mind, one accord, one heart–why? When a church is unified, it’ll have the spiritual influence of the Church in Acts.
This is why Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:10, “Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree, and there be no divisions among you, but you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.” And why Paul wants to, in Philippians 1:27, “hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.”
But unity in the Church is hard work, so Paul says in Ephesians 4:3, “being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” The Greek word for “diligent” means to work to the point of exhaustion. Unfortunately, most churches don’t work at unity. In fact, disagreements are so common we even joke about it. Like the two church kids fighting in the backyard–their mom told them to stop fighting, and they said, “It’s okay, mom–we’re just playing church.” It shouldn’t be that way–and if our structure and doctrine are correct, it won’t be that way. So what is the correct structure?
#3 Church leaders come in two STYLES
Every building has a structure. If it’s the right kind of structure, the building stands and remains strong. If it’s the wrong kind of structure, eventually it’ll collapse. It is the same with the Church. If a church is structured right, it can remain strong, useful, and can even remain healthy as it grows in size. On the other hand, if a church is not structured right, it not only can’t handle additional people, but the wrong structure will cause conflict, possibly collapse.
You ask, “Chris, why should I even care about this?” You desperately need to embrace God’s structure for the Church. If God moves you to another city, or you graduate and go home, you need to have a conviction about God’s leadership structure, since as a true Christian, you will be a vital part of a church, and you will be putting yourself under those leaders. If they don’t seek to follow God’s design, then you’ll suffer the consequences.
Just like entrusting all your money to a broker who breaks the law and loses all your money, spiritual leaders who break God’s law will cause the flock to not grow, lose heart, be ineffective, accomplish little, get off track, and a host of other evils. All of it can be traced back to improper leadership.
You may have come from a Congregational, Presbyterian or Brethren background. You’ve seen structures built on one man, others run by an entire congregation, still others function by an elected board, and others through a plethora of committees. You know what a committee is, don’t you? A committee is a body that keeps minutes, and wastes hours. Toss those ideas in the trash and trust the Bible alone!
Paul ends verse 1 with, “including the overseers and deacons.” There are two offices of leadership in the Church, and verse 1 lists them both–overseers and deacons. Some have wrongly interpreted the word “overseer” to mean a third, higher office above elder and deacon. In Church history, there were bishops—the Greek word for overseer who were over many churches in a region, the elder team shepherded each local church, and the deacons served the elder team. But Paul is only referring to two main offices, only two main styles of church leader. Paul lists only two–overseers and deacons. Why should we see only two?
1 The word “overseer” is used with deacons in verse 1. If there were three offices, bishop, elder and deacon–then Paul skipped mentioning all the leaders of the church in Philippi. Oops! There’s no apparent reason for that.
2 The term “overseer” is plural. If there were three offices, 1) overseer or bishop, 2) elder, and 3) deacon–then there’d not be a team of overseers in Philippi, not a team of bishops like the plural indicates, but there would have been one bishop over that entire region, including Philippi.
3 And we know from the New Testament, the title “overseer” is used interchangeably with elder and pastor, referring to the same men, same office, just a different function.
There are many New Testament references proving that the term overseer or bishop is just another name for elders, like Acts 20:17 and 28, “He sent to Ephesus and called to him the elders of the church. 28 Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd [pastor] the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.”
Titus 1:5 and 7, “I left you in Crete, that you might set in order what remains, and appoint elders in every city as I directed you…7 For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed.” And 1 Peter 5:1 and 2, “I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder 2 shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily.”
Overseers or bishops are the same as elders in the New Testament, in the church at Philippi, and at FBC too. Our elders here at FBC are overseers too. Biblically, you can call our elders “Bishop Rod”, “Overseer Robert”–but Pleasnick will laugh at you, and Farrell will say, “Gesundheit.” We know from Ephesians 4:11 that from the eldership, God also calls pastor-teachers and missionary-evangelists, who are gifts to the Church and are gifted to equip a church family. Who might that be? But that’s not the focus here.
On the most basic level, there are two kinds of leaders in a biblical church—1) overseers (also called bishops) who are the same as elders/pastors, and 2) deacons. What do they do?
#4 Church leaders are the overseers who lead the church family as a TEAM
Notice in verse 1, there is a team of overseers in Philippi. It says, “including the overseers and deacons.” You noticed, right? Overseers is plural, telling us there are many of them in Philippi–there is a group of them. In fact, whenever the title elder/overseer is used for the church, it’s always used in the plural referring to a team. Acts 14:23, “They had appointed elders for them in every church.” Acts 20:17, “He…called to him the elders of the church.” Acts 20:28, “The Holy Spirit has made you overseers.”
Biblical leadership is a plurality (a team) of spiritually mature men who meet the “above reproach, children who believe, one woman man” qualifications of 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. The church is never to be led by one man, but a team of qualified men.
I’m not the senior pastor of FBC–I’m not everyone’s shepherd, I’m one of the elders of FBC. As an elder, I exercise gifts of preaching, teaching, exhortation and leadership, but I am only one of the elders. When we meet as an elder team, no one man seeks control, because godly men only want Christ to lead. We seek the one will of Christ for His church.
How does Christ lead? A team of qualified men lead with one mind in unanimity. After prayer and study, they seek to all agree over every matter of churchwide direction or doctrine, seeking to discover the one will of Jesus for His church at FBC. We set no overall direction until we all agree the direction is the will of Christ for this church body. This is no easy task–it takes work to agree with Shawn and Robert. And it’s painful to agree with me. But godly men want Christ’s will over their own. We labor to seek God’s will for FBC.
Like Philippians 2:2, “Be…of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.” The Church is not a democracy–we don’t vote to determine God’s will. The Church isn’t different committees who keep other committees in check, like the three branches of the US government. The Church is a dictatorship–we follow a perfect and loving Dictator, Jesus Christ. And the plurality of elders seek the one will of our loving Lord.
Biblical leadership seeks to follow the Lord’s lead with humility, fear and love. This is not a firm–the Church is a family. Church leadership does not model modern business practices. The Church is not a business–it’s a body with one head. So the Holy Spirit appoints the most spiritually mature, qualified and functioning men to serve in these leader roles. They’re men, not because men are better, but because God decided men would lead, reflecting the Trinity.
They’re germinally qualified men of character, as described in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1–carrying on a current and vibrant walk with Christ through the study of the Word and prayer. They’re men who are already shepherding, if they’re elders, and already selflessly serving others in the church, if deacons–because that’s what elders and deacons are created to do. They’re men who desire Christ’s will, found in His Word for their church family more than life itself. They’re men who are uniquely able to seek Christ’s will out with a plurality of other elders, desiring the headship of Christ and seeking to be one heart one mind with the other elders as a team.
Team leadership prevents the abuse of power. Team leadership allows a congregation to trust in its leadership, knowing it’s based upon a supernatural work of God getting six-plus men to agree on every doctrine and direction, with one heart and one mind. A team also prevents pastors from burning out–like the poem says, “Mary had a little lamb–it would have been a sheep, but it joined a local church one day, and died from lack of sleep.” So what do overseers or elders do?
#5 Church leaders who are overseers SHEPHERD the flock
Look again at verse 1, “including the overseers and deacons.” There is a lot of misunderstanding over the term “overseer”. Most commentators define it as “to rule, to lead or to manage.” Now it’s true, overseers/elders do rule and lead, according to 1 Timothy 5:17, “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor.” But that’s not the full picture of the word “overseer”.
You can probably guess what picture “overseer” paints. One who oversees speaks more of function than position. An overseer is one who looks after all the saints in God’s flock. Overseer is the picture of the shepherd on the hill who is looking over the flock, concerned for their health, seeking to feed them well so they’ll grow strong, and always protecting the flock from danger.
The title “elder” gives us the idea of an older, mature model. But overseer shows us His active ministry to the flock of God–to oversee their spiritual needs and give biblical direction. The main function of elders/overseers is to shepherd—pastor. This is confirmed in two key passages. Acts 20:28, “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God.” And 1 Peter 5:1 and 2, “I exhort the elders among you …2 shepherd the flock of God among you.”
This is so important–God requires elders to have a portion of God’s flock they’re to shepherd in 1 Peter 5:3, “nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.” Literally, “allotted to your charge” means your portion of the flock. This means either every eldership oversees a portion of God’s flock, or possibly every single elder has a portion of the church to oversee.
At FBC, join any ministry or community group and you’ll automatically have elder oversight in some manner. But how do overseers shepherd? Answer–through the Word of God. The elder team is like the nervous system of a body–they get the signals from the head, watch for dangers and illness, and encourage the body to be built up and biblically healthy. Elders do this primarily through the Word and prayer. .
Now not all elders are gifted to preach or equip (only some)–but all elders are “apt to teach.” Timothy says able to teach. Titus 1:9 calls all elders to be “holding fast the faithful word, which is in accordance with the teaching, that he may be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.”
A crucial function of elders is to interpret the Word of God, teach the Word, equip with the Word, counsel with the Word, and refute those who contradict sound teaching so the Church family is built up/made strong/fed well/and remains healthy. Elders who don’t feed you the Word as written are bad elders. And shepherds also watch out for dangers to the flock. Like spiritual doctors, they watch out for the germs of disunity, the wolves of disobedience, and false teachers of doctrinal error. Just as Paul warned the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:29 to 31, “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 Therefore be on the alert.”
But elder/overseers don’t merely teach or protect–they also care for people. In the midst of their qualifications, which even involves their family, God says in 1 Timothy 3:5, “But if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?” The overseer/elder is to take care of the church.
This verb “take care of” is used in only one other passage in the New Testament, twice in Luke 10 describing the ministry of the Good Samaritan. Luke 10:34 to 35, “And came to him, and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 And on the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him.’”
That’s the same verb used in 1 Timothy 3:5 to describe an elder’s care for the church. Elders are to care for the church. What kind of care? Like the Good Samaritan took care of the wounded man. It is not a job to him–it is a relationship, a family. Unlike CEO’s, board members, football coaches, or political power players, true overseer shepherds love and care for their people.
Do you see how odd that is, and how true Biblical leadership actually points to Christ? Humble elders will often use the various giftedness of the body, which are the strengths of Christ through the people of God, in order to love the flock. But all true shepherds care for their church family. They get involved in messy relationships. They will get their hands dirty in people’s hurts. And at times they must do that which will be misunderstood and be misread in their efforts to protect the flock and help people. But because they’re not politically driven but love driven, they do what is best for people–what God says in His Word, since all true elders always have the people of God on their hearts.
Elders must have hearts that care. Yet all genuinely mature Christians are to also care for other believers in the same manner. Over forty times God tells the church to minister, care, bear hurts, confront, love, and serve one another–showing care. And that’s why all true spiritual leadership is odd. Overseer/bishop/elders are leading, teaching, guarding, modeling, watching, and caring shepherds. What about those other guys in verse 1—the deacons?
#6 Church leaders who are deacons free up the elder team through responsible SERVICE
Paul writes the Philippians, “including the overseers and deacons.” Like elders/overseer/bishops, the role of the deacon has been greatly misunderstood and distorted. Erase everything you’ve ever seen or think, and look at what God says. Turn to 1 Timothy 3.
The Greek word for deacon means one who serves, a lackey, a waiter, someone who serves tables–but in verse 1 we see instead of a lowly ordinary job, deacons are associated with overseers. Then in 1 Timothy 3, deacons must also be qualified, tested and actually receive a special honor. Look at verse 8 and following, and stay here.
First Timothy 3, “Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not double-tongued, or addicted to much wine or fond of sordid gain, 9 but holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons if they are beyond reproach. 13 For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.”
Deacons must be saints of trusted character, who are tested, to make certain they’re Christ-like servants of high standing. But what do deacons do? Our best clue is found in Acts 6, when the apostles were so busy they couldn’t do what they were supposed to do. So the apostles said to the people, verses 3 and 4, “Select from among you, brethren, seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task. 4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.”
If you had no history with deacons, you’d conclude from Acts 6 that deacons were designed to free up the team of shepherds so they could give themselves to the Word and prayer. You’d think deacons served the elder team by meeting certain crucial needs in the body that were keeping the elders from the Word, prayer and people–and you’d be right.
Deacons do the bidding of the elder team. Deacons relieve the elders of duties that pull them away from their primary tasks. And they do it in such a way the elders don’t have to manage them or those tasks. They do their service in such a way as to be totally trustworthy and dependable. Deacons are so godly they can minister to people without the elders having any concern. So deacons serve the Lord by serving the elder team.
They are tested by the entire church, because they serve the entire local church body, and not merely a part of that body. They don’t teach or exercise authority in unanimity. You don’t see them in a team or a board determining direction, but serving the elder team who gives them direction. Overseers are men of character who shepherd and teach. Deacons are trusted Christians of character who serve. And this kind of leadership is odd. So what if I am not an elder or deacon?
First Every saint SHEPHERDS and serves
You may never be an elder or a deacon, but there’re over forty one another commands in the New Testament–to serve, build up, confront, love one another and more. When you see a child who has fallen and bloodied his nose, you don’t say, “Wait, I’ll go get a politician.” No, you stop and try to help. When someone is struggling in the church, you don’t say, “Wait, I’ll go get an elder.” No, you bear their burden.
Fathers don’t wait for mothers, nor mothers always wait for fathers—no, you shepherd and serve. All true Christians care–leaders must care. All Christians shepherd, but overseers must. All Christians serve, but deacons must be mature enough to carry the responsibility of serving the needs of an elder team and church family. Are you shepherding and serving?
Second Every saint leads by EXAMPLE
One of the reasons there are such strict qualifications for overseers and deacons is because, in order to lead biblically, leaders must be an example. Yet before you point out how far your leaders fall short, take a look at your own life. God expects dads, moms, employers and ministers to lead by example–even with your mouth. Are you more prone to look at others’ mistakes or your own? Are you one who says, “Do what I say,” but violates, “Do as I do”? Can you say to your family/friends, “Follow me as I follow Christ?” Spiritual leadership isn’t a position, it’s a pattern to follow.
Third Every saint HONORS church leaders
Read what Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:12 and 13, “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, 13 and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another.” Why should we? Because what leaders do for you.
Leaders take the hits so the baby lambs and young sheep don’t have to. If you want to scatter the sheep, shoot the shepherd. I tell future leaders and their wives, only desire to be an elder or pastor if you are willing to say to the enemy, “Shoot at me,” because spiritual leaders are shot first. And not only does the attack come from outside the church, but more often it comes from inside. So Hebrews 13:17 says, “Obey your leaders, and submit to them; [why?] for they keep watch over your souls, as those who will give an account. [How?] Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.” So God reminds us to honor our leaders.
Fourth Every saint LOVES the true head of the Church
You can’t love Christ without loving the true Church. So if you don’t love the bride, the Church–it could be exposing you don’t really love the groom, Christ. Biblical leadership points to Christ, whose leadership is perfect–calling you to stop your rebellion and submit to the perfect leader, the Lord Jesus Christ, believing He alone can cancel out the debt you owe for your sins, and forgive you by His death on the cross and resurrection from the dead, in order to lead you now and bring you home to Heaven later. Turn to Christ, since all true saints follow Christ. Let’s pray.