Honor, Submission, Obey and Church Discipline

Matthew 13:57(NLT) And they were deeply offended and refused to believe in him. Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his own family.” When Jesus said, “a prophet is honored everywhere except in his hometown,” the Greek word he used was “atimos” (pronounced at’-ee’-mos). It means to dishonor, to treat as common or ordinary. The word translated as honor from Greek is the word “time” (prounounced tim-may’). It means to value or highly esteem, and to treat as precious, weighty, or valuable.

Applied to our daily lives, we could say:

Honor builds up. Dishonor tears down.

Honor believes the best. Dishonor believes the worst.

Honor values. Dishonor devalues.

If you want a common marriage, dishonor your spouse. Treat him or her as ordinary. If you want an exceptional marriage, highly esteem your spouse. Treat him or her as precious or valuable.

You might say, “But he isn’t acting honorably.”

Remember, respect is earned, but honor is given. If you treat someone with honor even when they haven’t earned it, they might start behaving honorably.

Honor leads us to value church leaders, and give weight to what they tell us. Dishonor leads us to scorn and devalue what church leaders tell us.

Acts 23:1-5(HCSB) Paul looked intently at the Sanhedrin and said, “Brothers, I have lived my life before God in all good conscience until this day.” 2 But the high priest Ananias ordered those who were standing next to him to strike him on the mouth. 3 Then Paul said to him, “God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! You are sitting there judging me according to the law, and in violation of the law are you ordering me to be struck?”

4 And those standing nearby said, “Do you dare revile God’s high priest?”

5 “I did not know, brothers, that he was the high priest,” replied Paul. “For it is written, You must not speak evil of a ruler of your people.

Exodus 22:28 (HCSB)“You must not blaspheme God or curse a leader among your people.” God equates cursing a church leader with reviling God!

When you honor your church leaders, you are honoring God. They are God’s messengers, God’s representatives. We demonstrate our honor of God by honoring the Leaders He has set before us.

Jesus took this cursing one step further. It is not the words you speak that matters, it is the heart attitude you have. You can say “yes” with your mouth but be going “Yea right like I’m gonna do that” with your heart.

Hebrews 13:17(HCSB) : Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls. Church leaders are keeping watch over your souls. That is their job. And how you honor your church leaders will determine the reward of how goes your soul.

The Gospel of Christ is inexplicably tied to the preaching of His Word. If you do not honor the messenger, you dishonor the Word. God honors his servants, for they follow Christ, and He honors His Son.

1 Thessalonians  5:12-13(HCSB)12 Now we ask you, brothers, to give recognition to those who labor among you and lead you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to regard them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves

There are many clear scriptures in the Bible about submission to spiritual leaders……and it’s all wonderful. The Bible is very clear on the subject of submission, not just in the church, but also for husbands, wives, children, and employees, to civil, parental, and spiritual authority.

There are a few words in the Bible that are synonymous with submission; Honor, respect, giving, love and humility

Find a person who understands submission to authority and you’ll see a person who is humble, full of love, unselfish, accountable, and personally responsible.

Find a person who does not understand submission to authority and you’ll see a person who is prideful, full of criticism, selfish, self ruled, and spiritually irresponsible.

BIBLICAL SUBMISSION IS NOT SLAVERY, It is a very fundamental principle of life that is to be practiced in the world and the church.

There are many scriptures on how spiritual authority should govern and guide the church as well as instructions about the right response to authority, both civil and spiritual.

Understand the principle of submission and you’ll understand the practice of submission

WARNING: Beware of people who are always finding fault with the leadership of the church and the church it’s self, for they are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Their heart is rebellious and their fruit is pride and dishonor. They seek to destroy people, the church and even the faith while lifting up themselves and their “cause”. They are bitter against leaders and long for control. Watch out for them for they claim to love God and His commands.

Let’s go to the scriptures about submission to spiritual authority:
Ephesians 4:11-12(HCSB) 11 And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ,

Jesus is head of the church and He has established these offices as well as people to be leaders with authority in those offices over the church. God also has given these leaders the responsibility to serve, oversee, and establish HIS word and commands for HIS church in the earth
Hebrews 13:17-18(HCSB) 17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account, so that they can do this with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you. 18 Pray for us; for we are convinced that we have a clear conscience, wanting to conduct ourselves honorably in everything.

Clearly this is not talking about civil authorities, but spiritual authority. It says OBEY and SUBMIT. (swear words to some Christians). But Paul also said, PRAY for spiritual leaders.

Submission to spiritual authority is about a functional relationship of love and honor, first to God, then to man.

1 Timothy 5:17-20(HCSB) The elders who are good leaders should be considered worthy of an ample honorarium, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. 18 For the Scripture says: Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain, and, the worker is worthy of his wages. 19 Don’t accept an accusation against an elder unless it is supported by two or three witnesses. 20 Publicly rebuke those who sin, so that the rest will also be afraid.

Elders serve as the lead overseers of the church, meaning, they’re the ones who oversee. They lead, they’re the ones who have visions. They are the ones who kind of watch out for things. They’re leaders but they also teach and preach the Bible and they protect the church from false teaching. Now that phrase that I just read to you is my summation of what the New Testament teaches about elders. You study it for yourself but what we see is that elders do stuff. They lead and they teach and they protect as God’s authority over the local church.

I’ve noticed that people who have the biggest problem with authority in the church usually carry resentment because they want to be in charge themselves and can’t be.

More than ruling over people, spiritual authority has an obligation to Jesus Christ to love, feed, and protect the flock of God. And God has given them His grace and authority to govern. Along with that responsibility comes instruction, counsel, warning, correction, and even rebuke when necessary. Spiritual authority is more than a title; it is a relationship with people. They stand as servants, ministers, and even spiritual parents in the lives of God’s people.

1 Corinthians 4:14-16(HCSB)14 I’m not writing this to shame you, but to warn you as my dear children. 15 For you can have 10,000 instructors in Christ, but you can’t have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 16 Therefore I urge you to imitate me.

Elders are to be imitatible, meaning that an elder should say, verbally and by their example. Hey, look at my life and do what I do. Do your finances the way I do my finances. Do your sexuality the way I do my sexuality. Do your marriage the way I do my marriage. They are to be imitatible and they’re to be reproductive not just meaning to have a lot of kids but they have a lot of spiritual kids. They have disciples. They have people who are following them the way they follow Jesus. We look for elders at Revival Life Church as people who are already eldering. We look for people who are already pastoring. People that are already producing, making disciples, right. That’s what an elder is. That’s what an elder does

In many instances Paul gave commands to the church and even put people out of the church for disobedience and sin. In fact one time Paul said that the leaders of the church were to turn someone over to Satan that they learn not to blaspheme. Listen to this scripture;

2 Thessalonians 3:10-15(HCSB)10 In fact, when we were with you, this is what we commanded you: “If anyone isn’t willing to work, he should not eat.” 11 For we hear that there are some among you who walk irresponsibly, not working at all, but interfering with the work of others. 12 Now we command and exhort such people by the Lord Jesus Christ that quietly working, they may eat their own food. 13 Brothers, do not grow weary in doing good.14 And if anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take note of that person; don’t associate with him, so that he may be ashamed. 15 Yet don’t treat him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.

Leaders are to be a strong godly example and to lead in strength and certainty. However, many people are offended by this quality and cry “spiritual abuse”. They are simply offended at God’s word rather than the leader. Along with Spiritual Leadership comes discipline. A lot of people who are misguided will quote this:Matthew 18:15-20 (ESV)“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. ..

Notice this is for if a brother sins against you, it is not in the context of Church discipline when a Shepherd is looking after the sheep, or an Elder is looking after the congregation.

Titus 3:10-11(HCSB)10 Reject a divisive person after a first and second warning, 11 knowing that such a person is perverted and sins, being self-condemned.

2 Thessalonians 3:6 (HCSB)6 Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep away from every brother who walks irresponsibly and not according to the tradition received from us.

1 Timothy 5:19-20(HCSB)19 Don’t accept an accusation against an elder unless it is supported by two or three witnesses. 20 Publicly rebuke those who sin, so that the rest will also be afraid.

Proverbs 12:1 (ESV)Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

1 Corinthians 5:11-13 (ESV) But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

Submission isn’t a power struggle but rather a mutual relationship of love, humility and respect.

Submission is a principle that should be practiced in every area of life, including the church, for it is godly order and divine principles for safety and success.

AGAIN; Understand the principle of submission and you’ll understand the practice of submission

Many Christians who do not want to submit to the authority in the church do not want to submit at home.

1 Peter 5:5-6(HCSB) 5 In the same way, you younger men, be subject to the elders. And all of you clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time

This is another example of spiritual leadership and authority

As Christians we are commanded to LOVE and SERVE one another.

Galatians 5:13(HCSB)For you were called to be free, brothers; only don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love.

The real love of Jesus is expressed through submission

This is not about the abuse of a title but rather a mutual relationship of love, humility, and respect that starts with our submission to God first than man.

Here is a Shocking scripture about Civil Authority;

Romans 13:1-4(HCSB)  Everyone must submit to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist are instituted by God. 2 So then, the one who resists the authority is opposing God’s command, and those who oppose it will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have its approval. 4 For government is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, because it does not carry the sword for no reason. For government is God’s servant, an avenger that brings wrath on the one who does wrong

1The correlation between governmental authority or “non-spiritual” authority and God’s authority is very clear.

2God has not only established authority among men but, honors their judgment and punishment

3“The higher powers” or “rulers” are called God’s Servants, Avengers 

4(vs 4) so one could say that they are a type of “spiritual authority”

5First the natural then the spiritual. Why would God expect you to obey the natural authority and not the spiritual authority? Isn’t it God that places pastors and elders over the church to feed the flock of God and to watch over the church?

NOTICE: Only those breaking the law have an issue with the law! It’s the same in the church; only those who hate authority will not submit to authority. But those who understand the principle of authority understand the practice of submission .

Being a spiritual leader in the church is not about the title one has but rather the responsibility of the title.

Acts 20:28 (HCSB) Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock that the Holy Spirit has appointed you to as overseers, to shepherd the church of God,[a] which He purchased with His own blood.

1 Peter 5:2-3(HCSB) 2 Shepherd God’s flock among you, not overseeing out of compulsion but freely, according to God’s will; not for the money but eagerly; 3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.


When you understand the principle of submission you’ll understand the authority of God. The point of submission to spiritual leaders, governmental leaders and parents is love and submission to God first then to man.

Our entire culture is suffering from a lack of understanding of the power and value of honor. And it starts with how we dishonor God.

We are treating God as common or ordinary.

God is not the “big guy in the sky” or the “man upstairs.” He is the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe. Jesus is not our “homeboy.” He is the risen and soon-returning King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

In Isaiah 29:13(HCSB) The Lord said: Because these people approach Me with their mouths to honor Me with lip-service—yet their hearts are far from Me, and their worship consists of man-made rules learned by rote—

It’s time we stop giving God lip service and give him the honor He is due.