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God or man?

As followers of Jesus, we are told repeatedly to follow God and not humans.

We are not to have religious leaders.

Mark 10:42-45
42 Jesus called them over and said to them, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles dominate them, and their men of high positions exercise power over them. 43 But it must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first among you must be a slave to all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life—a ransom for many.”

We are to treat everyone equally.

John 13:13-15
13 You call Me Teacher and Lord. This is well said, for I am. 14 So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done for you.

Only God is above us – we should not take on airs and call or be called by titles. We are to be equal.

Matthew 23:8-12
8 “But as for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi,’ because you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 Do not call anyone on earth your father, because you have one Father, who is in heaven.10 And do not be called masters either, because you have one Master, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

Jesus tells us that we aren’t even supposed to follow our own family.

Luke 14:26
26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, and even his own life—he cannot be My disciple.

We are to follow human laws, however.

Matthew22:15-21
15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to trap Him by what He said.16 They sent their disciples to Him, with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that You are truthful and teach truthfully the way of God. You defer to no one, for You don’t show partiality. 17 Tell us, therefore, what You think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” 18 But perceiving their malice, Jesus said, “Why are you testing Me, hypocrites? 19 Show Me the coin used for the tax.” So they brought Him a denarius. 20 “Whose image and inscription is this?” He asked them. 21 “Caesar’s,” they said to Him. Then He said to them, “Therefore give back to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

Matthew 3:13-15
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. 14 But John tried to stop Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and yet You come to me?” 15 Jesus answered him,“Allow it for now, because this is the way for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him to be baptized.

Matthew 17:24-27
24 When they came to Capernaum, those who collected the double-drachma tax approached Peter and said, “Doesn’t your Teacher pay the double-drachma tax?” 25 “Yes,” he said. When he went into the house, Jesus spoke to him first,“What do you think, Simon? Who do earthly kings collect tariffs or taxes from? From their sons or from strangers?” 26 “From strangers,” he said. “Then the sons are free,” Jesus told him. 27 “But, so we won’t offend them, go to the sea, cast in a fishhook, and take the first fish that you catch. When you open its mouth you’ll find a coin. Take it and give it to them for Me and you.”

Peter and his fellow apostles understood this message. The Jewish leaders ordered them to stop telling people about Jesus.

Acts 4:19-20
19 But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it’s right in the sight of God for us to listen to you rather than to God, you decide; 20 for we are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

And later, when they persisted in teaching about Jesus, they replied the same way.

Acts 5:27-29
27 After they brought them in, they had them stand before the Sanhedrin, and the high priest asked, 28 “Didn’t we strictly order you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to bring this man’s blood on us!”29 But Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than men.

So why do the vast majority of today’s churches have ordained ministers, bishops, or elders? Why do we separate and elevate? To elevate certain members of the church over others means to make the others unequal, lesser-than. This is in direct opposition to the instructions of Jesus. If you are in a church that has leaders who are above you, be sure to follow God first and foremost. If God speaks to your heart and a minister tells you to not talk about it or to not do what God said, then you must follow God and not the minister.

(All verses are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible)

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