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NowFaith.TV Ministry Training Year 1 Semester 1 # 9
How to Discern and Honor Authorities
2 audios/videos at www.NowFaith.TV

In these end-times, our authorities are making changes in local and global policies, laws, healthcare, our rights, education, business, spiritual rights, the economy and even our currency. I have recorded many many insights that were not included in the original teaching on honoring authority as I listened to other sources on how to relate to authorities in these end-times. It is too much to put in writing so please listen to the videos or audios.

How do you discern good authorities? It is hard enough to discern those who say they are believers in Jesus Christ. What does it really mean to honor your authorities? More than ever, we will need strong relationships with strong believers. I included some excerpts from "When You Are Ready To Try Again: Going Back to Church" by Jeff VanVonderen and excerpts from Pat Springle's book "Trusting."

How do you choose a healthy church family? The New Testament tells us some of the things we can expect in our spiritual family? Support from one another? Love? A greenhouse for maturity? A safe place to learn to walk the walk and talk the talk? People who will believe in us and our vision? Even invest in us?

Based on New Testament guidelines, there are stiff requirements for spiritual leaders. Here are some questions that I would ask about any church family I was considering becoming a member of:

  • Do the church leaders care about me and the things that really matter?

  • Do these leaders respond to people's mistakes with grace and patience?

  • Are the people in this family gentle and giving to the lovely and unlovely?

  • Or are they mean or aloof, caring only about building their own empire?

  • Is telling the Truth in this family more important than a popular image?

  • Does honesty get sacrificed to maintaining a superficial, false peace?

  • Will I have a growing dependence on the work of Jesus Christ in me?

  • Or will I feel dependent on them, less qualified to contributing member?

  1. Jeff VanVonderen - author, speaker and interventionist - says that in hurtful churches you may find 7 characteristics:

  1. Power-posturing: Use their authority to control members of God's family.

  2. Performance preoccupation: People are accepted based good performance.

  3. Unspoken rule: Never be real, you will be labeled divisive and disloyal.

  4. Lack of balance: To be approved you have to agree with unbalanced doctrines.

  5. Spiritual paranoia: People outside our church are unsafe (or unsaved?)

  6. Misplaced loyalty: Loyalty to programs, individuals or groups, rather than to Jesus.

  7. Secretiveness: Church statements are only for certain people in the church.

  8. One man show: The spot light centers around the power and will of one man.

Finding a Grace-full Church

These dynamics best characterize grace-full churches: Authority and power are used to serve, equip and empower others.

1. In Matthew 23, Jesus says that the greater leader is the one who is the servant.

2. Rather than demanding our respect for their authority, those with true authority, who use it with faith, integrity and consistency. In 1 Peter 5:2-3 Peter tells leaders to "shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted [literally, the inheritance--that's you!] to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock."

3. Believers are fighting the "good fight of faith." Ask yourself whether you're being encouraged to depend more on Jesus to walk more fully in your spiritual inheritance.

4. They encourage us toward spiritual freedom in Christ. But the only approval we need to be concerned about is God's -- and we have that because of Jesus has made us worthy by His death. He has made us righteous by His resurrection power. We are truly free to let the Spirit of God live through us.

5. Live your life dependent on that same power to conform you to the image of his Son. In Philippians 3 Paul issues strong warnings to believers to watch out for those who would hold up religious behavior as the means to righteousness. In fact, he calls "enemies of the cross" those who add anything to the cross of Christ as a means to God's acceptance.

6. God's rules are to serve the ones he loves and to help their lives and relationships work better -- not a means of earning His approval. He gave His Son so that we may receive His acceptance and His Son is a gift to us. We serve out of an overflow of gratitude not obligation.

7. There is deference to the true Head of the Church, his agenda and his methods -- Not just to those who have money, an education or to people who "don't need one" because they get all their teaching right from the Holy Spirit. In grace-full churches, gifts of the Spirit are appreciated as gifts.

8. Grace-full churches belong to God, not to people. People are simply stewards or table waiters of the resources God provides, and not owners. Jesus could change the agenda, order of service, the budget and even have a different opinion from that of the people who started the church and the Holy Spirit could manifest freely as He wills.

9. Our safety is in Christ, and so diversity is welcomed. Because our safety is in Christ, who lives on the inside, we don't have to avoid those on the outside -- because of color, denomination, issues, immaturity -- but welcome the wounded, sick, blind and lame to come to Christ’s church. We include rather than exclude. We welcome the new moves of the Holy Spirit.

10. Unity in the body is a higher value than individual tastes, doctrines, traditions, outward dress and appearance, hymns or choruses, or issues of religious politics. We speak that which is lovely and good report. Phil. 4:4-8

11. Loyalty to Christ and his kingdom takes precedence. "No one can serve two masters." (Matt. 6:24) People come together when they depend upon their common source, Jesus, and the common cause of building His kingdom.

12. Honesty and openness are present. We are able to notice and talk about reality matters vs. just how things look. Finding the truth is more important than being right. Gossip and secrets cannot survive in an environment of truth and honesty. In fact, secrets not only aren't necessary, they are divisive.

13. Privacy, confidentiality and boundaries are respected. There are things that aren't the business of the entire church, such as how you or another person struggles with a certain problem, your counseling or your finances.

14. The church budget and salaries are member's business. Watch out if church business is kept secret from those who legitimately hold responsibility.

 

Learning to trust again

The following lists are from Pat Springle's excellent book "Trusting," in which he helps us learn who and how to trust again.

 

It is foolish to:

  • Trust people who consistently wound you

  • Believe people who consistently give double messages

  • Think that intimidating people have your best interests in mind

  • See people as all good or all bad

  • Withdraw from all people because some have hurt you

  • Try to figure things out by yourself

  • Seek advice from foolish people

  • Avoid conflict at all costs

  • Stir up conflict

  • Be too self-disclosing in order to earn others' love or pity

It is wise to:

  • Call on God and wise people for help

  • Be cautious about trusting people

  • Slowly elevate your level of trust in others as they prove their trustworthiness

  • Be honest with most people about your feelings and desires

  • Withhold your feelings and desires from abusive people

  • Be realistic about the growth process of learning to trust perceptively

  • Forgive and love, but not necessarily trust, others

  • Expect conflict [sometimes] when you are honest

  • Learn to communicate clearly and calmly with all kinds of people who mistrust

  • Realize that even trustworthy people will sometimes fail you

The writer of Hebrews tells us it's important to "... forsake not the assembling of ourselves together." In the New Testament church, this was not about the ritual of going to a certain geographical church building at certain times during the week. This was about relationships in home groups that won people to Christ, built God's people, made productive disciples and spread His kingdom.

 

When New Testament Biblical guidelines have been distorted, believers feel hurt, disappointment, disillusionment, and fear in trying again. Outside the church, the world that so desperately needs to find life in Jesus thinks the church is irrelevant.

Ready to join a fellowship that is truly concerned about teaching the true Word of God and really making disciples? If you don't have one in your area, you are welcomed to join us at www.NowFaith.TV.

 

When we live consistently with the Word, the world might even respond to the working of Jesus' body the way people responded to the work of Jesus: "They were all amazed and were glorifying God, saying, 'We have never seen anything like this'" (Mark 2:12). Please join a body of believers; there is a lot to gain -- for you, for the lost around you, and for the whole family of God.

 

1 All scripture quotations in this article are from the New American Standard Bible, (c) The Lockman Foundation, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977.

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Copyright Carlotta Waldmann Cross Walk Life, Inc. 501 (c)(3)

Cross Walk Life, Inc. is here to provide insights, healing, teaching and training,
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