During my last semester in graduate school I had two goals. Graduate and move to New York City. I love New York and almost got a job as an Economic Development Analyst for the for the city. However, after graduation I had only one job offer and it was not the most desirable place to live. I ended up getting a job in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and lived there for two years. It’s not the most aesthetically pleasing place to live in America. The traffic is bad, it’s ridiculously muggy, but Baton Rouge will always hold a special place in my heart.
Baton Rouge should’ve been a desert, but it became a spiritual oasis. It was there where I began to flourish spiritually.I grew leaps and bounds when I learned the value of submission to Godly authority. I finally shook off that independent, isolationist attitude and submitted to the men that God placed as authority figures in my life. I gave permission for another man to speak in to my life. I stopped living for my great grand destiny and instead focused on building another man’s dream.
God will bless you when you build another man’s dream.
I am one of ten pastors on staff at Southpoint Community Church. We’re a thriving church of over two thousand people. The ten pastors make up the Pastoral Leadership Team (PLT). I like to refer to the group as the Jedi Council. I’m aware of my duties and responsibilities to build Southpoint’s Young Professionals group and I Serve ministry. However, I am here at Southpoint Community Church to build the dream that God gave Pastor Russ.
I’m not here to just build my own ministry. I desire to be excellent in what I lead, but my primary role at this church is to be a son of this house. If I’m a son then there is a father who is in charge. That father is Pastor Russ Austin. He and Mrs. Debbie are the Lord’s anointed ones. Pastor Russ sets the direction of where this family is going. If that is the case then as a son of this house, I am called to guard and protect him and this church. Not just build my own thing.
Below are three biblical examples of rebellion against Godly authority and three examples of submission to Godly authority. I believe that they will give you insight and stress the importance of building another man’s dream.
Nadab and Abihu’s Unauthorized Fire
Aaron’s son’s Nadab and Abihu put coals of fire in their incense burners and sprinkled incense over them. In this way they disobeyed the Lord by burning before him the wrong kind of fire, different than he had commanded. So fire blazed forth from the Lord’s presence and burned them up, and they died there before the Lord.
- Nadab and Abihu were out of place. They did not submit to Aaron and respect his authority as the priest responsible for the complex duties at the altar. In Leviticus 8 & 9 Aaron is mentioned as the chief person. He was the one who was supposed to burn incense and present offerings to the Lord. Not his sons.
- The chief person was Aaron. His sons were just helpers taking orders from him to attend to the affairs beside the altar. God had no intention for Aaron’s sons to be priests independently. He only wanted them to be under Aaron’s authority.
- When his sons assumed the headship presumptuously to offer sacrifices, it became strange fire. The ESV says it was an unauthorized fire.
- The sons of Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, thought that they also could offer sacrifices. Without Aaron’s command, the bible says they offered up strange fire. Strange fire burns when we try to serve God while refusing to take orders and disregarding authority that God has placed in our lives.
There are many who think that they are serving God. Yet they work independently without coming under any authority. Many have sinned without realizing that they are rebelling against God’s authority. We must be careful not to burn an unauthorized fire before God. We must not work independently from God’s leaders. God does not like dissension and division. See Galatians 5:19.
The Sin of Aaron and Miriam
Miriam and Aaron criticized Moses because he had married a Cushite woman. They said, “Has the Lord spoken only through Moses? Hasn’t he spoken through us, too?” But the Lord heard them (Now Moses was very humble than any other person on earth.) So immediately the Lord called to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam and said, “Go out to the Tabernacle, all three of you!”…Then the Lord descended in the pillar of cloud and stood at the entrance of the Tabernacle. “Aaron and Miriam!” he called, and they stepped forward…”If there were prophets among you, I, the Lord, would reveal myself in visions. I would speak to them in dreams. But not with my servant Moses. Of all my house, he is the one I trust. I speak to him face to face, clearly, and not in riddles! He sees the Lord as he is. So why were you not afraid to criticize my servant Moses?” The Lord was very angry with them, and he departed. As the cloud moved from above the Tabernacle, there stood Miriam, her skin as white as snow from leprosy.
- Aaron and Miriam spoke against Moses. They thought they could because they were his older brother and sister, but Moses was in a higher authority then they were. They actually were speaking against God.
- As soon as inward rebellion was manifested, it became leprosy. Lepers cannot be in contact with others. Man cannot approach them. They lose all fellowship. At the same thing happens in a spiritual sense. We lose fellowship with God and sin when there is inward rebellion.
- Whenever there is rebellion and reviling among us, God’s presence is gone.
- Miriam had to go through the shame of being removed from the camp.
- We have to be careful about familiarity with Godly leaders. Just because you know someone doesn’t mean that you can go and disrespect them any way you want.
- Spirit of Absalom. You listen to people speak about your leader. You hear their cases. It’s false humility and deception.
- Absalom harbored bitterness because the King’s weak response to Amnon. He was a murderer. He burned down Joab’s field. You can see clearly that if he didn’t get his way he would respond in a vindictive way. Below are the people that were victims of Absalom’s rebellion.
- Amnon- Killed by Absalom.
- Joab- His field was burned down by Absalom.
- David- His Kingdom was taken and his concubines were molested by Absalom.
Absalom dies a brutal death in 2 Samuel 18 by the hands of Joab. We must becareful when dealing with other people who are upset with God’s leaders. There will be people that get frustrated or mad at Godly authority and will want to talk it out to you. Do not have an Absalom spirit (listening to their problems and trying to be a mediator). If anyone has a problem with someone in authority I would encourage you to point that person right back to the leader who he or she is offended at.
- Was loyal to King Saul. Served him faithfully.
- Was loyal even when Saul tried to kill him.
- David called Saul the Lord’s anointed despite all the bad things Saul did to David.
- David was a man who was understood the Godly authority. Before Saul went crazy and wanted to kill him, David faithfully did everything he could to build Saul’s kingdom.
When I urged Titus to visit you and sent our other brother with him, did Titus take advantage of you? No! For we have the same spirit and walk in each other’s steps, doing things the same way
2 Corinthians 12:18
Remember your leaders who taught you the word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and follow the example of their faith.
But you, Timothy, certainly know what I teach, and how I live, and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my patience, my love, and my endurance.
2 Timothy 3:10-11
Paul was a man that frequently talked about the role of spiritual authority and why God’s people should honor their leaders. Paul was beheaded in prison, but wrote over half of the new testament. He knew the principle and value of honoring spiritual authority and had an extremely fruitful ministry while on earth.
So Jesus explained, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does.
Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”
Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
and gave him the name above all other names,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
Jesus gives us the ultimate example of someone who was under the authority. He was God, but gave up his divinity to identify with man and die a criminal’s death. Jesus was the son and was totally submitted to the Father.
So how does all this look like practically? Well, for me I have to pray constantly for Pastor and Mrs. Debbie. I have to pray for Southpoint way more than YP’s and I Serve. I have to approach Pastor and always be willing to do whatever he ask of me. I am here to honor them because it’s there time. God has called them to lead this church. God is a God of divine order. If you break that order than you are running the risk of walking in rebellion which has consequences.
The topic of spiritual authority isn’t preached a lot today because there have been instances where the authority that was given was abused. People have been hurt by churches and Pastor’s for thousands of years. I think because that has happened it keeps people from submitting to the leaders that God has placed in their lives. Plus, we live in a culture where authority is often times not to be trusted.
I’m reading a great biography on Robert Kennedy right now. Bobby Kennedy threw his life into making his brother, JFK great. He was his guardian; His protector. He was a great example of a man building another man’s dream. He didn’t mind being behind the scenes. Reading about him inspires me to throw my life into making Pastor Russ, Pastor Eric, and SCC the best they can be. I want to simply encourage you with Hebrews 13:17 and work to build another man/woman’s dream. I truly believe that God will bless you as you give your life to make someone else great.
I’m Harold Dorrell Briscoe. Thanks for reading.