Obey them that have the rule

The Lord Christ determined to send his people help for the days ahead. Many decisions would have to come. Decisions about various functions of the church would be discussed.

The Lord decided on requiring churches to appoint elders, or bishops, to attend to matters of expedience. Matters of faith were derived from the Lord and his apostles. Matters of expedience, or how to determine the best course of action to meet the revealed will of God, would be decided by elders.

Matters of faith are settled from God’s word (Colossians 3:16-17). Matters of opinion are settled by elders who have the oversight of the local congregation (Acts 20:28). 

This means elders have authority in those matters of expedience and their word is law (Hebrews 13:17). Those who decide to flaunt the rule of the elders must give account of their actions to God on the day of Judgment (Romans 14:11-12).

What are some of the rules elders can make? They may determine the assembling times that will occur and how many of those the church will have. There is the assembling on the first day of the week, but they also may decide to schedule Bible studies or other such necessary classes as they see fit. They do this because they want to strengthen the church and deliver it to Christ without stain (2 Peter 3:14).

Members who absent themselves from these determined assemblings are in direct violation of Hebrews 13:17 which says, “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.”

There are those who deny the elders have any authority, but they purposely forget the very thing children of God must do is submit. God’s children submit to him, to his Son, to elders, and to each other (Colossians 3:18-25). Why would the inspired text of Hebrews 13:17 require obedience to those “who have the rule over you” if we are not required to obey them?