The Bible teaches that Christians should meet together (Hebrews 10:25). They should pray together and they should study the Bible together. And they should encourage each other to trust God. That is why, wherever possible, Christians should join a church. They should choose a church whose leaders believe the Bible (Hebrews 13:7).
It is right for a church to have leaders. Paul taught that those leaders should behave in a responsible and careful manner (1 Timothy chapter 3; Titus 1:5-9). They should teach the truth about God and they should be humble (Mark 10:42-44).
It is not easy to be the leader of a church. God has made the leader responsible for other people in their relationship with God. And that is a very serious matter (James 3:1). The church leader will have to give an account in front of God. In other words, he will have to explain how he has looked after each member. It will be a joyful account if that member became mature and strong in his relationship with God. It will be a sad account if that memberís relationship with God remained weak.
So Hebrews 13:17 tells us to obey the people whom God has appointed to lead us in our Christian lives. We should trust them, and we should allow them to guide us. We should always respect them, because they have taught Godís word to us (Hebrews 13:7). But perhaps we will not always belong to their church. We may have to leave if they start to teach wrong things (Galatians 1:6-8). Or perhaps God will send us elsewhere for other reasons.
Today, people sometimes say that the Book of Hebrews is mainly for church leaders, and not for members. But that is not what its author intended. Hebrews 13:17 shows that he was writing to the members of a church.
Next part: A request for prayer (Hebrews 13:18)
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© 2014, Keith Simons.