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Submit to the Church

What Did I Sign Up For?  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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UNITY comes from SUBMISSION. Submission in the church results in salvation in the world

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Welcome, New People.
New Series today:
TENSION: This world is full of disunity. We are asking the question about our relationships. Did I sign up for this? We are asking the question about America and the church. What did I get myself into?
The world is in chaos.
One of my friends was discussing his online high school classroom, and he asked a simple question:

Question: What would fix this world?

All they had to do was answer the question, yet most struggled to do it...in fact, one simply copied the answer on the chat right before it and reposted it.
When faced with this world’s brokenness, we often are overwhelmed at the prospect of solving it.
If we could just come together!

What do I want for US in this series? To embrace that, UNITY comes from SUBMISSION.

Submission is a daunting concept. What emotions came up when I said SUBMISSION?
This entire series is based on a prayer of Jesus.
Jesus is praying for his church. He is talking to the Father in heaven about his people...incredible moment.
I pray for all who will believe in me...thats you. When you believed you signed on the dotted line. You committed everything to this moment!
John 17:21a NASB95
that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.
Jesus wants us to be one!
How? Father in me and I in him. We are one.

The Submission found in the Trinity is our Template

The Great Commission tells us to baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Co-Equal Persons but one God. A beautiful mystery. A union that God is inviting us into
An example, and an invitation.
Did you know that your heart truly desires to be united with the Father?
Jesus, while he was on earth, repeatedly submitted his will to the Father.
He was still equal
He wants the relationship between each of us in the church to be the same.
Together as we submit to each other...no one more than the other, we will experience what?
The inference, if we have unity together, then we are part of what God is doing.
What did I SIGN UP FOR? Signed up for harmony with each other as the body of Christ.
There might be something about this word SUBMISSION we intensely dislike; however, submission between the three persons of the Trinity is the most glorious thing in the cosmos.

Submission: A voluntary attitude of giving in and cooperating.

John 17:21 NASB95
that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.

Submission is not resignation; it is the activation of our unity

Jesus did not resign himself to not being in charge...for him, submission to the Father was a part of their relationship.
We have lost our unity as the Body of Christ. And the world has noticed.
The world doesn’t take us seriously because of our disunity. Can’t tell you how many times I hear about the friction in the church. Just another segment in the news.
WE are supposed to be salt and light! Instead, we keep being salty, and the world has noticed. THEY WILL KNOW YOU are MY DISCIPLES if you LOVE each other not how right you were.
We look like any human-made organization. Divided and contentious.
We are losing our witness because we have lost our unity.
BUT our UNITY would show the world the glory of Jesus Christ. The redemptive power of Jesus Christ.

Submission in the church results in salvation in the world

John 17:22 NASB95
“The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one;
The glory which You have given Me I also have given to them, so that they may be one, just as We are one;
When we submit to each other, people believe Jesus is real. When they are saved and begin to worship him with their lives, God is glorified. Then the world is transformed more and more into the kingdom of God.

Our Unity is His Glory

This is what drives us...NEW LIFE comes as God’s kingdom exerts itself through the unified body of Christ, the church who, through the Holy Spirit, is bound together in submission and unity, will then go into the world, and we transform it completely.
My hope is to continue to flesh out what submission means but first.

Submission is not silence, blind obedience, or being less-than

We will be talking about how we should biblically submit to each other, the government, and today we are talking about church leadership.
Unity must start in the church.
Church Leadership:
TENSION: On top of the disunity in our churches, leadership is under incredible strain.
We are overtaxing our church leaders. I anticipate stories of moral failings in all levels of church leadership to increase, suicide and depression, and burnout to come as pastors try to hold together a divided church.
We have lost the ability to be led by leaders. “I believe there exists throughout America today a rampant sabotaging of leaders who try to stand tall amid the raging anxiety-storms of our time.” Friedman
AND we have forgotten the role of Pastoral leadership. As leaders submitted to God and tools for his church.

As we learn healthy submission to the church’s leadership, unity will increase, and God’s glory will shine.

THIS IS NOT only A CORRECTIVE MESSAGE. This is a message of hope and growth.
THE GREATER THE UNITY THE GREATER THE GLORY

Q2: What does submitting to the Church mean?

Hebrews background: A letter most likely written by Paul written to address a spiritual crisis of immaturity and wavering of faith in Jesus Christ and his church.
What did I sign up for?
Hebrews 13:17 NASB95
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.
The previous leaders of this church had been killed for their faith, and now he is reminding them what their attitude should be towards the new ones.
Listen to this as if Paul is writing to you...on behalf of any church leadership.
Acknowledge the difficulty of this message. Many have never heard of it before.

Submission is not silence, blind obedience, or being less-than

Some have used it to manipulate people to center power on one individual instead of a team of leaders in the church. Some have used it to promote blind obedience, Keep people from having a voice, or to elevate the lead pastor as being more than.
According to Pew Research, the number one reason among religious nones that Christianity’s influence has decreased is Christian leaders’ moral failings.
For those hurt by Pastors in these areas, I apologize. If it was me, I apologize; if it wasn’t me, I apologize anyway. You see, I am the lead pastor of this church; in this role, I accept the responsibility for this church’s leadership, past and present. I also assume responsibility for any reconciliation I can offer. I am deeply sorry for the way church leadership may have hurt you.
My intention here is to speak the truth of the Bible without a hint of manipulation or bitterness from past hurts, but with grace and kindness..because I believe the result is GODS GLORY.
I want to ask your permission to preach this to you. Will you let me speak into your heart?
Hebrews 13:17
Hebrews 13:17 NASB95
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.

Obey- Peitho - to rely on, trust in, depend on, have complete confidence in, and be a follower.

TO BE CONVINCED TO DO what is asked of you.
He is calling them to do what is asked of them. To OBEY.
It is almost American to only comply when we agree with the rule.
We might hate to obey...but most of us can be convinced to obey the law or what is right.
He is asking them to align with the leader. To not be a string out of tune like Jared said showed with his guitar...but instead to be in harmony.
If only we could be CONVINCED to obey… This isn’t what I signed up for.
PAUL does something new here...he adds this word Submit.

Submit - Hypeiko - to yield to another and follow their lead.

These two words are crucial.
“Obey” your rulers; nay, more, not only obey in cases where no sacrifice of self is required, and where you are persuaded they are right but “submit yourselves” as a matter of dutiful yielding when your judgment and natural will incline you in an opposite direction.”
Don't just obey when it is easy…or you are persuaded it is the right way to go. But yield when your judgment and nature incline you in the opposite direction. What EXACTLY did I sign up for?

Q3: Do you feel it is right to obey even if you don’t agree?

Does something rebel inside your heart?
This is only possible because of Jesus Christ. We will get to this.
We don’t often obey church leaders when we disagree. We don't do this. When we are failed to be persuaded, we are tempted to let pride rise up. To forget that God is in control and instead choose to be RIGHT over RIGHTEOUS.
In a previous sermon, I talked about how this is pride. When we desire to be right instead of righteous. Dangerous.
Obeying and Submitting create the opportunity for unity.
Hebrews 13:17 NASB95
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.
Simply put, this church’s leadership (the staff and LT) is tasked with watching over your spiritual well-being.
We are most concerned about your relationship with God.
I want you to be one with the Father, which only comes within Jesus’s body, the church, and is best experienced when we are united. But unity only comes through submission.
WE WILL HAVE TO GIVE AN ACCOUNT:
This puts the fear of God into me. I must follow God's will in his word over my preference OR over the consequences of leading people places they don’t want to Go
I have to either convince them to obey God’s word OR watch them leave the church to find a place that suits their understanding of scripture better.
Some have called this BRAVE or Courageous or even RECKLESS. “Why would you challenge people? You will lose money.”
It is with fervent fear of God that I MUST speak about his truth.
Proverbs 3:5-7 fear the Lord and shun evil.
Hebrews 13:17 NASB95
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.
Obey your leaders and submit to them—for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account—so that they may do this with joy, not groaning; for this would be unhelpful for you.
Story of Tattoo….joyful expression…
Selfishly those who do their job with joy do a better job.
In the end, we had a friendship.
Another translation calls this it is for your betterment or your good.
Joyful Pastors are more compassionate, creative, courageous, and effective.
Stories of JOY (Our Unity shows God’s Glory)
Local: Creativity of our small groups and LifeWorks to help with wheelchair ramps and hygiene kits.
We can support local people affected by COVID and support an overtaxed food ministry in Detroit called City Covenant Church Detroit, overwhelmed by the new need for food.
Regional Supporting LifeChurch Auburn Hills a church plant
National: We have extended into Grace ECC Kentucky Comprehensive COVID response because the government does not provide free tests or provide food for kids who used to get money for food.
Global: Ebenezer Glenn Orphanage World Vision, clean drinking water.
Totalling $22,500 dollars
Judea Samaria and the ends of the world
A larger portion of that was put together by one of our late members Mary Jane Archibald. She left us a significant monetary gift in the form of an Endowment.
She trusted the church to help the community through outreach and left a substantial amount of her accumulated wealth.
When you give, you also are putting your trust in God moving through the church’s leadership. You are acting in FAITH.
It is obedience, but it often starts before you are persuaded or CONVINCED to do it. So much of our obedience to God isn’t something we trust at first but simply submit. Generosity happens as you submit to the leadership of the church.
This has been a challenging year for the church financially, yet we celebrate what God is doing. IF YOU ARE A PARTNER, a VIDEO will come.
Q4: Will you submit a portion of your finances to the church?
There is such power in this choice. Such joy is experienced in trust in both the giver and the receiver.
We are going to end the year at a 127,000 dollar deficit. If we do not give, then we will have to make some significant cuts beyond what we already have this year. I encourage you to give.
WHATEVER it TAKES, WHEREVER it TAKES US.
Hebrews 13:17 NASB95
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.
Obey your leaders and submit to them—for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account—so that they may do this with joy, not groaning; for this would be unhelpful for you.
This word is grief
“Grief in your pastors is unprofitable for you, for it weakens their spiritual power; nay, more, “the groans (so the Greek for ‘grief’) of other creatures are heard; how much more of pastors!.
So God will be provoked to avenge on you their “groaning” (Greek). If they must render God an account of their negligence, so must you for your ingratitude to them.”
The Submissive or Aligned Church VS. The Dominant or Controlling Church

The Dominant Church vs. The Submissive Church

Misaligned or Discordant
Just like misaligned tires cause bumps shaking, and drifting, it also wears the tires unevenly and dangerously.
A misaligned church wears on everyone—some more than others.
A Discordant church causes cringing and frustration.
The dominant church cannot trust her pastor’s leadership. So she uses all of her influence to take power away from them. She invests all of her energy into proving to them that her way is better. Over time, her pastor becomes weaker, more insecure, and less invested in meeting his church’s needs.
HOW IS THIS SUBMISSION POSSIBLE? Men and Women are imperfect; the only way to have complete confidence is to agree 100% with the decisions and actions of a leader…which is impractical…
OR to trust in the power of the Holy Spirit to guide and direct. REMEMBER, the TRINITY is our TEMPLATE.
Ephesians 4
This puts our hearts in FAITH mode. Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see."
Even if we can’t fully see, we trust the Holy Spirit to do the leading.
This means to truly follow church leaders, we must be a praying church. SUBMITTING control to God so we can submit control to his leadership.

Submission is not silence, blind obedience, or being less-than

Submission is empowering, unifying, and glorifying to God

Submission might look like
Getting into a small group even though we have children’s sports
Allowing sermons to confront potentially sinful behaviors in us or wrong thinking so that we can adopt a biblical worldview.
Serving at the church even though our weekends are full or we are uncertain
We have already talked about giving.
Jumping into the LifeJourney to start learning how to disciple someone.
Prioritizing our time online and in-person over any other commitment.
The Submissive church empowers
a church empowers her pastor when she uses her influence and strength to help them to become a healthier, more confident, and godly person.
Instead of threatening their influence, her power actually heightens it.
The submissive church uses all of her God-given influence to build her pastor’s ability to lead.
She shares her ideas, opinions, and feelings in a way that builds their pastor’s confidence and adds to their ability to understand his church’s needs.
Her goal is not to take his leadership away but to empower him to grow into this challenging role. She does not use his mistakes to prove his inadequacies, but she succeeds and fails with him.
She convinces him that she believes in him and will be by his side. She can wait for his leadership, even if she feels that she could do a better job.
She tells him daily, through her trust, that she needs him to be a strong and capable leader.
“I know you are not perfect, but I trust in God’s work in your life. I believe you can be the great leader for our church that God has called you to be. I will help you with all that I am to achieve this goal.”

ACTION STEPS

Encourage your Pastors

This morning in my quiet time I read the below devotional. It really hit home with me. Regardless of how many people might disagree, you continue to preach the whole word of God which produces the fruit He wants. I love you for that and thank you for that.

Pray for our unity as a church.

Give financially to support the mission of the church.

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