O come on...don't let the title chase you off.
It is not what you think it is.
It is not a form of voluntary bondage of a sort.
2 Thessalonians 2:7
The opposite of lawlessness is submission.
Few teachers of the Bible teach on submission in these days of mega churches.
In today's lesson you will be given an understanding of how joy is the fruit of submission.
When you voice your submission, with real faith and intercession, to those whom God has set over you, you actually open the door to walk on with God in a way that you may not realize.
The moment you become submissive to someone to teach you, you lay a great deal of responsibility upon him for the way that you are led.
The teachings of Christ concerning the end time speak of the harsh judgment that will rest upon the ones who do not lead the sheep right.
The parables of Jesus that describe this judgment point to outer darkness, weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth.
Abuses of the responsibility and authority that God gives to spiritual leaders today will bring some of the most frightening consequences that a person could ever face.
With the voicing of your submission to those whom God has set over you, there should be a great deal of faith to pray for them, but not just for your own interests.
Much depends on the chain of command of those in authority.
It must be right.
These men must be led by the Lord, being submissive and teachable themselves, so that the flock is led into what God has for them.
A strong vehemence of prayer in seeking the perfect will of God may offend passive religious people, but it is more effective than they know.
However, effective intercession is not based on the sound of your voice or the force of your emotions, but on the focus of your faith to see God's will accomplished.
In this hour, God is separating His people from the Church age, with its weaknesses, and leading them into the Church-Kingdom age.
The ruling force in the Kingdom will be the Bride, the remnant of the Church that is coming forth.
Set your heart more than ever before to enter into this, so that the transition in your thinking, in your way of praying, and in your way of worship will be perfect.
The Kingdom is very different from the Church.
In His Sermon on the Mount, at the dawn of the Church age, Jesus spoke about the Old Testament commandments, saying, "You have heard that it was said of old...but now I say to you..."; and it shook up the religious order of that day.
Again God is saying, "That is what has been preached to you in all your life, but this is the way it will be now."
After you have put your hand to the plow, you dare not even look back, or the result will be devastating.
Set your heart to walk with God .
Set your heart to pray with faith for those over you.
When a man of God speaks a Word from God over you, you should be submissive to that Word.
But he also must be submissive, and with faith and diligence he must watch over the Word that has been committed through him.
It is hard to say which is more difficult- to be submissive to someone who gives you a Word or to be submissive to someone to whom you have given a Word.
We all have to be submissive, one to another.
The line of command in God's authorities cannot be without the submission and the humility required of bond servants of the Lord Jesus Christ, Oh,that we would determine to walk humbly before the Lord.
When Satan sends a spirit of division into a church, certain ones reach impasses in their relating to one another.
Satan assaults the unity that God brings to His people.
He attempts to bring division through separation from divine order.
Our unity and our oneness depend upon the divine order that God has established.
Satan would like us to be a little rebellious and unsubmissive, yet thinking all the time that we are doing the will of the Lord.
That spirit of division cannot reach us unless there is also deception within us.
If we are grounded in the Word of God, we can meet Satan's assault with a violent refusal to be deceived or divided.
We can hold on to the Word of the Lord and press in with all of our hearts to a spiritual level which we never had attained before.
Christ was crucified at the time of Passover, and then followed fifty days until Pentecost, including His three days in the tomb.
He appeared to the brethren during a period of forty days before He ascended.
Forty is the number of judgment.
Those forty days were the days allotted to Jesus' followers to establish a new relationship with Him- no longer on the human plane, but as servants of a risen, exalted Lord.
After Christ had ascended, and the establishment of His Lordship and judgment among His disciples had been accomplished, there followed seven more days of waiting for the Holy Spirit until the day of Pentecost was fully come and everything broke loose.
Likewise, God gives us a period of time for a new relationship to be established in the family of God.
Within this time, Christ becomes Lord over our lives in areas where He has not reigned before, and we then relate to one another in the way we are supposed to- in the Spirit.
Every bit of rebellion against divine order will be taken out of the Body of Christ.
We can look for a breakthrough that will be greater than that on the day of Pentecost if we really press in with all of our hearts to what god has for us.
During a time of judgments within the house of God, the sifting of men's hearts can be so extensive that it is almost discouraging.
After His resurrection, the Lord appeared to five hundred brethren at once who gathered together to see the risen Christ ( I Corinthians 15:6 ).
But when the day of Pentecost came, there were only one hundred and twenty in the upper room
( Acts 1:15 ).
The earmarks of a sifting are found in the testings God brings to see who will keep pressing in to walk with Him.
This is frightening; but remember that the key to prevailing is not in your strength; it is in your submission to the Lord and in your submission to one another as you adamantly pray and wait before God, contending and possessing.
That is to be the whole focus.
Let there be a cold, calculated determination in your heart, that regardless of what you are facing among the brethren, you will adamantly set your heart just the same to walk as one.
Your feelings and the issues of the past are not of the least concern, because unity is the result of the dedication of your will.
Shove the lies of the devil out of your mind and set your will not to be deceived.
No matter how things appear to be, determine to be one.
Determine to walk with God.
Live to have a right relationship in the Lord.
Every relationship to the Lord will be shaken sooner or later.
People who have wrong motivations and who have not related to the Lord correctly will suddenly find the Lord dealing with them very deeply.
You can never really be effective for God as long as you do not accept God for what he is to you, and as long as you do not accept what God says you are.
Even then you cannot progress very far until you accept what God says concerning your brothers and your sisters.
Whenever you see a brother going through testings in his life, stop and think, "What did God say over that man?"
Then begin to relate to the Word of God over him with a great deal of faith in your heart, because you will not go on with God unless you believe for one another.
You may see times when many seem to be going through problems, and there is no way that you can evaluate what is happening to them.
Just open your heart and believe for them.
You can determine to walk with God yourself; but even so, you cannot make it alone.
We all make it together.
The apostle Paul emphasized this truth in Romans 8:17.
And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ ( all of us together ); if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
Together we shall all be glorified with Him.
You do not work to be the only one sitting beside the Lord; you work toward the time when all will join in to be glorified together.
God is no longer requiring from His people submission to those who are not submissive; nor will there be teachers who are not teachable, or ministries of authority who are not humble themselves.
All will walk by the same rule; he who would be greatest is to become the minister and servant of all ( Mark 9:35 ).
The true relationships of the Kingdom are being established now among a remnant of believers.
As you enter into the Kingdom relationships, you will be amazed at the revelation of the Lord.
He will appear to many and commission them; the impartation will flow freely.
Meanwhile, if you are being shaken, just ask the Lord to help you and give you strength to hold onto Him while this happens, because God is shaking all things.
We must set ourselves to become oracles of God to speak the Word of the Lord.
Hebrews 12:26-28 describes how the lord will speak and shake all things.
The things that cannot be shaken will remain.
That is the way in which we shall receive the Kingdom that cannot be shaken.
The Word of the Lord is coming now, and it is shaking everyone who is exposed to it.
Do not draw back from the shaking, or you will be drawing back from the Word that is doing it.
The living Word of the Lord comes on such a high plane that it will loose you into the will of God.
It will shake you up, and everything that can go will go.
Before you are through, God will shake out of you a surprising number of things that you have been clinging to, thinking that they were right.
Where will it all end?
The big breakthrough into the Kingdom will come.
Progressively fewer people will be getting away with evasiveness and lying to others.
No one will be able to hide what is in his heart.
Many believers are beginning to sense the ways in which Satan has been lying to them and deceiving them into thinking that their motivation was right, when God was actually dealing with something wrong in their hearts.
Keep contending that none of your brothers or sisters in Christ will miss out with God.
Some have walked with God for years and have come to a time of crucial shaking.
Should you reach out your hand to steady the ark because they are going to the threshing floor?
No, for that would mean death ( II Samuel 6:6-7 ).
Just reach into the Lord and determine to walk with Him right through the time of testings and trials.
Even when you do not know what the price will be, tell the Lord that you will pay it through His grace; and He will help you.
In I Corinthians 16:15-16, Paul spoke further about submissive relationships.
Now I beseech you, brethren ( ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have set themselves to minister unto the saints ), that ye also be in subjection unto such, and to every one that helpeth in the work and laboreth.
Notice that they set themselves to minister to the saints.
This is necessary.
A true bond servant does not serve just because he gets a good feeling from doing something for the church.
It is actually a dedication that goes very deep; it is a set state of heart.
His will is determined.
The firstfruits of Achaia were the first ones in that whole province of Greece to open their hearts to the Lord.
These ministries were set and determined to minister in the name of the Lord.
Notice what the Lord commanded concerning them.
The Apostle Paul entreated the Corinthian church to submit themselves to these, and to all who were laboring in the work.
The principle of submission is misunderstood when only the aspects of a wife's submission to her husband, or a church's submission to its elders and to the apostles and prophets, is acknowledged.
All of these are very important because they are elements of submission, but Body ministry involves more than a determination on the part of the people to be submissive to the authorities over them.
The authorities must also be submissive to those whom they have commissioned.
Casualties from the assaults of the enemy do not come very often to those who minister the Word, because the submission and faith of the Body holds them up.
Where does the devil go to pick off the saints?
Many times it is not even to the weak ones, but to deacons and deaconesses and those who work at various labors that the Lord has given them to do.
They become occupied with their labors, and if no one is burdened for them, they do not receive the flow of life that submission from the rest of the Body would bring.
They are submissive to divine order, and there is a flow of blessing that comes to them; but there ought to be submission from the rest of the Body and an appreciative respect for the dedication of those who labor in the work of the Lord.
That is what Paul actually said about the house of Stephanas: "They have set themselves to minister to the saints.
"You also be in subjection to such, and to everyone who helps in the work and labors."
This is another aspect of submission.
There has to be within an apostle the submission to every Word from God that he has ever spoken over another person.
There cannot be remoteness in his heart to that Word.
A Word from God is the basis and the prime factor in submission.
Whether we receive a Word from God or we give a Word from God, we must not consider it as unrelated to us.
The moment we hear a Word of God spoken over an individual, we are given the responsibility for the fulfillment of the Word.
When parents present their little baby for dedication to the Lord, it is not just a function of the pastor or the elders to bless that little child; it is every one's function.
Everyone becomes involved when the Word of consecration is spoken over that little child.
A baby receives a degree of impartation, but he has no understanding.
He does not know his right hand from his left hand, but the rest of the church is bound by the Word that is spoken over that baby.
They carry the responsibility for the fulfillment of that Word.
Churches that follow the divine order which God is restoring seek His wisdom and direction before a couple is married.
When the ministries have prayerfully examined the relationship to the best of their ability, and have seen that the marriage in not only in the will of God, but that the couple is ready and prepared by God for the marriage, then ministry is given to them.
When that couple is married, they are given a Word from God.
The congregation bears witness to that Word, and they all enter in with faith.
From that time on, everyone in the church is bound by faith to that couple.
Those two people have received a Word that regulates them, but more is required than that.
They can be as submissive to the Word committed to them as they know how, but it is the Body's faith for them that helps their marriage.
Faith is found in submission.
If you are submissive to a man of God, you believe for him.
If he is submissive to the Word over you, he believes for you.
When the Body relates in this way, it is healthy.
The Body becomes involved with every new person who comes into their midst.
There is no such thing as living in the will of God without this type of submission.
Another passage of Scripture that brings out this truth is Ephesians 5:18-21.
Be filled with the Spirit; speaking one to another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; subjecting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ.
Paul speaks of the joy, the songs, the psalms, and the Word dwelling in our hearts, but we notice that he also tells us to subject ourselves to one another in the fear of Christ.
A man of God cannot preach submission without his being submissive, or his words will go amiss.
Whenever a Word is ineffective, it is either because that Word is not received by those who hear it, or because that Word has not been worked in the one who proclaims it.
When a pastor gets up and preaches love before God has worked that love in his heart, his congregation will get the impression that he is beating them down.
But if he is filled with love, he can deliver a stern rebuke, and those who receive it will thank him for it.
When the ministries see you going astray, don't you want them to tell you what you need to hear?
The one thing that guarantees that their Word will work for you is the fact that you feel love behind it, just as you feel God's love when He chastens you.
Whom the Lord loves He chastens, and He scourges every son whom He receives ( Hebrews 12:6 ).
When He chastens you, it is because He loves you.
He is dealing with you as a son.
He is being a father to you.
Let us consider another aspect of being subject to one another in the fear of the Lord.
We find it easier to be submissive to a Word when it is brought by someone who is submissive himself.
When God lets authority rest upon a person, and he abuses that authority just one time, technically it may not seem like a serious offense, but God marks it.
( I know of an arrogant faith healer who made his subordinates kiss his ring on his finger.)
That is what causes a man to be limited in his effectiveness in fulfilling the perfect will of God in his life.
Look at the example of Moses.
We must say that Moses did the will of God, but we must also say that he missed Canaan.
The time finally came when he was not completely, totally submissive; he was filled with anger against the children of the Lord.
He took the rod as he had done years before, and he smote the rock.
But this time God had told him to speak to rock ( Numbers 20:7-13 ).
This incident was symbolical: we complete our wilderness, not because the rock is struck, but because the prophetic Word opens up the flow.
Moses took the rod in anger, and he smote the rock.
Because God was not honored before the people, Moses lost his right to enter Canaan.
In other words, Moses was not being submissive to the Lord; he did not glorify the Lord.
If we hear an anointed sermon from someone who is moving in rebellion, we may not be able to figure out what is wrong, but we will find that something is missing in it.
There must be submission to the Word in those who speak it and those who hear it.
This is what causes them to change into the image of Christ.
When the human vessel who speaks the Word of Gd is submissive to the Word, the hearers find themselves being submissive to it too.
I Thessalonians 5:12-13:
But we beseech you, brethren, to know them that labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; and to esteem them exceeding highly in love for their work's sake.
Know them that labor among you.
First there has to be knowledge.
Deception comes in when you do not know your brother.
Many times when a misunderstanding with a brother has been cleared away, you realize that you actually did not know how he felt about the situation.
What is it that veils our understanding of one another, so that we do not really know those who labor in the Lord and are over us in the Lord?
It is a lack of submission.
Christians do not know one another when there is no submission in their hearts.
They do not even understand how to be submissive or what is required of them.
But once they come into submission, then they begin to know each other.
In Ephesians 5:21-22, Paul tells us to subject ourselves one to another in the fear of Christ.
Wives, be in subjection unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
Just as the Church is subject to Christ, so are wives to be to their husbands.
Subjection is often interpreted in people's thinking as suppression, that wives are to be suppressed by their husbands.
But that is not what Paul was saying.
Your submissiveness to the ministries over you and the Word that they give should not suppress you; it should prod you and move you into a closer relationship with God.
It should liberate you and loose you.
Submission in relationships is active and full of faith.
A general who is in active service is not interested in some sergeant who is continually saying that he is submissive.
He wants one who is aggressive to obey and aggressive in his submission.
When the general gives that sergeant an order, he wants him to salute and instantly go about getting the job done.
In the same way, wives should be quick to respond to their husbands.
Husbands should love their wives as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for it ( Ephesians 5:25 ).
Old Testament phrases that speak about marriage act and procreation often say that a man "went in to his wife and she conceived."
The original Hebrew words indicate that this meant reproduction.
But once in a while a word is used that denotes more than a sexual relationship.
And Adam knew his wife....Genesis 4:1.
He knew her totally as a person.
When a wife complains that she is merely a sex object, and she does not feel that her husband really knows her or relates to her as a person, she is actually saying, "I would like to have a Bible relationship.
I would like to have my husband know me, know my feelings, and understand my weaknesses.
I want him to treat me with tenderness and love."
This must exist in a marriage relationship.
The man can assert the fact that he is her authority, but that in itself is meaningless.
Christ loved the Church, and He gave Himself for it.
That is the way a husband is to love his wife.
The wife can give herself to him in submission, but he must also give himself and be willing to even lay down his life for her.
The husband cannot be an authority in a marriage unless he takes that submissive role as Christ did for the Church.
Many husbands need to back off from the idea that they are the boss and therefore have a the right to suppress everyone around them.
That is not God's pattern.
The man is the giver to his family.
He is the provider for the family.
Again we see the importance in our relationships together of submitting one to another in the fear of the Lord.
Subjecting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ is the springboard to the passage in Ephesians 5:22-23 which tells hoe husbands and wives are to live for each other.
Verse 33 says, ...love each one his own wife even as himself; and let the wife see that she fear
( reverence ) her husband.
This verse describes the kingdom level of marriages that are really dedicated to do the will of the Lord.
The husband and wife become submissive to each other.
There can be more oneness and fulfillment in one hour's work in which a husband and wife are doing the will of God together than in all the physical relationship that has ever existed between them.
They reach an ultimate fulfillment when they strive together, with one heart and one mind and one soul, for the faith of the gospel.
Then they are instruments in the hand of God, welded together into one instrument that is framed to do the will of God ( Philippians 1:27 ).
Knowledge is related to submission.
Adam knew his wife.
Christ knows all about us.
Paul prayed, That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection.... Philippians 3:10.
Faith brings you into a level where there is no deception in your relationship.
There are no walls or even a veiling of the understanding of each other.
You have probably heard this common complaint among men: "My wife doesn't understand me."
Supposedly that triggered off all the problems that he ever had, and he is looking for someone who will understand him.
But who put up those walls?
Was it the husband, or the wife?
In a marriage, what causes one person to designate areas of living that the other cannot invade?
A husband may refuse to share the inner recesses of his heart and yet continue to relate physically.
He may hold back from knowing his wife in the areas where true communication comes.
In the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, our unity comes by our determination to submit to one another and to have no walls against another.
The minute our walls come down, we begin to perceive the other person more clearly than we ever saw him before.
As we set our hearts to be submissive to God's calling of a brother, and we pray for him, we receive further revelation of his ministry.
This causes us to submit ourselves to him all over again.
It is an endless cycle of submission and revelation.
About the time that you feel you do not understand a brother, look to see if you have put up a wall; no doubt that is the cause.
If you do not see it, remember that walls were not made for seeing through.
You put up a wall because you are walling him off.
Take down the wall and relate to your brother in Christ, so that you can say freely, "I love You, Lord, and I love my brother."
Take down all the walls, so that you can love your brethren, your spouse, and your children.
Of course, if you take down your walls, you can be hurt.
But you are not to put up walls against a brother, even when you are being harassed by your relationship with him.
When you are ordained by God to walk together with a brother, you must never shut each other out by building walls in your hearts.
What should you do?
Suffer, rather than to sin against the unity.
Determine to be one with him even if it humiliates you.
You may feel like you love a brother so much that you would be willing to lay down your life for him.
Giving your life in a nice, neat execution might be the easy way out.
It is more difficult to live than to it is to die.
When your heart is set to love the brethren, to be submissive, and to have no walls against them, you will find it hurts.
When you start suffering and dying under it, then you are on the right track.
When they stick pins in you, and you no longer feel it, you know that you are finally dead.
Mark 9:34-35 teaches us a beautiful lesson.
The Lord asked His disciples what they were reasoning about.
But they held their peace: for they had disputed one with another on the way, who was the greatest.
And He sat down, and called the twelve; and He saith unto them, If any man would be first, he shall be last of all, and servant of all.
That Scripture could disturb your ego if you meditated on it long enough.
Matthew 20:20-28 Then came to Him the mother of the sons of Zebedee with her sons, worshipping Him.
And he said unto her, "What wouldest thou?"
She saith unto Him, "Command that these, my two sons may sit, one on thy right hand, and one on thy left hand, in thy kingdom.
But Jesus answered and said, "Ye know not what ye ask.
Are ye able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?"
They say unto Him, "We are able."
He saith unto them ( James and John ), My cup indeed ye shall drink: but to sit on My right hand, and on My left hand, is not mine to give; but it is for them to whom it hath been prepared of My Father."
And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation concerning the two brethren.
Isn't it human nature to become furious with someone who audaciously claims the place that you wanted for yourself?
But Jesus called them unto Him, and said, "Ye know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.
not so shall it be among you: but whosoever would become great among you shall be your minister ( or your servant ); and whosoever would be first among you shall be your servant: even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many."
Jesus discerning their ambitions, straightened them out.
There is very little ambition among those who walk with God.
The Lord cuts it out of their hearts and gives them a pure motivation to see Him glorified.
Rather than looking for a pat on the back, they are content just to do the will of the Lord and to serve.
Little recognition is given them, even though they give their very lives and their last ounce of energy.
There is no hand clapping over God's dedicated workers; their job is simply done in the name of the Lord.
As you enter into a greater submission to the Lord, you will find joy in it.
After the Lord said in John 13:14, "You ought to wash one another's feet," He made a most beautiful statement in verse 17: If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.
Joy comes in submitting to one another.
Some of the most joyful days that you will ever know are the days when you work with the brethren, cleaning the church and preparing it for services.
Some of the greatest blessings that you can receive are found in the way you become a servant.
You may also spend much time studying the Word, but that is not all that counts in becoming a servant.
You can fill your heart with the Word; but as you serve, the Lord speaks directly to you and reaches in to make real to you the truths that you have hidden away in your heart, and they begin to roll out.
your ministry of the Word to God's people will come forth from your own submission to be a bond servant.
If you serve the Body with all your heart, it cannot bring you anything but joy from the Lord.
There is no real joy without this submission.
When you know these things, and you serve one another, you are in a safe place of protection.
The real danger comes when you forget your dedication as a bond servant of Christ to serve and to be submission to that service.
Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath set over his household, to give them their food in due season?
Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
Verily I say unto you, that he will set over all that he hath.
But if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord tarrieth; and shall begin to beat his fellow-servants, and shall eat and drink with the drunken; the lord of that servant shall come in a day when he expected not, and in an hour when he knoweth not, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint his portion with the hypocrites, there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth. Matthew 24:45-51.
When arrogance enters into the hearts of the leaders, their ministry is short-circuited.
(How many leaders have gotten wealthy from the ministry? They enter into the privileged few realm where the treatment of the wealthy is like being a "Roman citizen" with the perks that go along with those who are not of the "Working class."
It affects them. They began to feel special, lifted above others because of their wealthy status. They start to project attitude of subtle arrogance)
Judgment comes upon those who should be leading the flock and feeding them, but are not.
The ministers who begin to eat and drink with the drunken and to beat their fellow servants do so because they are not submissive themselves.
Therefore, their authority becomes oppressive over those to whom they minister.
When a Shepherd loves the sheep, he does not beat them down.
When he is submissive to the Lord and to His commission to him for the sheep, he does not best them.
But when he loses that submission to the Lord in his own heart, something else enters in that becomes oppressive and beats the people down.
Can you see how God intends for our relationships to work?
This shows how we ought to regard those over us and those under us in the Lord.
The parable in Luke 20:9-16 tells us about the severe judgment that comes upon those who beat their fellow servants.
James 3:1 advises that many should not be teachers, knowing that they will receive heavier judgment.
Whoever becomes your teacher, God will judge, if he does not teach you humbly and lead you carefully.
The judgment upon him is greater if he leads you astray.
A pastor is responsible to lead the people correctly, according to the submission and faith of their hearts.
If he leads them wrong, when they are submissive, then God lays their sins upon him.
He receives the heavier judgment when he fails to walk with God.
The judgment he must bear may seem harsh, but it is fair.
If the ministries of the church do not stand before you as humble servants, then they are not exhibiting Christ.
Christ came as a humble servant to give His life a ransom for all, not to be ministered unto, but to minister.
He is the Lord, and we bow before Him.
Every servant and minister that He raises up should exhibit the Spirit of Christ, who said, Take My yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. Matthew 11:29.
There is no rest or joy except in following the path of being a submissive bond servant of the Lord and a submissive servant to one another.
There is no other way to please God.