Ephesians 5:20-21 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Some months ago a brother came to our house and shared a word with us. I have written about this brother before, he is very humble, he is normally very quiet during meetings, lives a very simple life, and he certainly does not carry an air of authority with him. He was talking to us about a falling out that happened with a sister quite some time ago. She was saying all kinds of things about my family to other believers, yet never shared any of those things with us. This even resulted in her outright slandering us to some of our good friends. When confronted, she said something along the lines that the Lord told her she didn’t need to apologize for her actions. I ended up writing a very strongly worded letter to her, showing her that she was in willful sin, that she knew her brother had something against her and no gift would be accepted on the altar until she was reconciled.
So back to the story, this brother comes over and says we should approach this sister again (it’s been several months now) and not bring up anything that she did wrong, only apologize for our own fault in the matter, and invite her back into our lives that we might be reconciled. There was a little pride that had to be put to death because of the pain she caused our family, but we sought this reconciliation out because the Holy Spirit bore witness to what this brother shared with us. Although the sister refused true reconciliation, the Lord taught me a lot about submission through this. Unlike the mindless popish clergy-laity type “submission” in evangelical churches today, I had actually just been taught a small lesson in submitting myself to a brother.
It actually felt wonderful to submit to this brother, despite the flesh. To know that there are true brethren that are members of the same body, who read, hear, and understand the word of God not just in letter but in Spirit and in truth, and the Lord has empowered them to all this for our good, for the building up of the body. There is joy and freedom in true submission!
Now consider this email I got from someone on youtube. They had left a comment on a video about a preacher, saying that because he sometimes preaches in institutional churches, that anyone who listened to said preacher was a false Christian. I told the commentator that he was speaking of the flesh and in turn the commentator sent me an email saying “I am an elder. I’ll give you one chance to repent”. I politely told him that he could take such nicolatian ramblings back to hell.
Who can you truly submit to, someone who you don’t really know, who tries to force you to through religious positioning, or a brother who brings the word of the Lord that is grounded in humility, faith, hope, and love? Brothers, especially the elders, anytime someone is in error, will you approach them like mr youtube elder, or will your love for the body, and knowledge of your own shortcomings, being grounded and rooted in the humility of Christ, seek to be truly reconciled. Although I am not an elder, I know that I never want to come across as mr youtube elder to my brethren again. Brethren, those who are elders, it should truly be a joy to submit to you especially, but sadly most elders, despite their air of authority, don’t have the spiritual authority of the meek brother who I am blessed to have sit in my living room from time to time.