How Following Leadership Fuels the Kiss of Love
When you blog as a pastor you never know. Does anyone read what you write?
I was both blessed and bothered recently by a report. Someone told me they were glad I have been writing lately on the New Testament exhortation to greet one another with a holy kiss (2 Cor. 13:12).
Great. Score one for this pastor/blogger. Somebody actually reads these posts. My elation was soon tempered.
“We think your church has become unloving.” Ouch. So much for self-congratulation.
Guess I need to keep hammering away at this subject.
In the first post I explained how the gospel shapes our community with oneness when we engage one another intentionally by greeting with the holy kiss of love.
In the second post I emphasized how rejoicing in the Lord is the first of four things Paul proposes for motivating the practice of greeting one another with a holy kiss.
In the third post, I unpacked how aiming for restoration–setting high goals compels doing the holy kiss thing in church.
In this post we turn to the next imperative in Paul’s arsenal from 2 Cor. 13:11 to promote his unity purposes at Corinth: submitting to the leadership.
The ESV offers an alternative in the margin to the next command, comfort one another.
For reasons I won’t elaborate on, I prefer the footnote. Listen to my appeal.
Throughout this letter Paul has brought apostolic correction in the way of inspired teaching designed to cure what ails them as a church.
It is imperative that they heed his counsel and follow his instruction if they have any hope of righting the ship, mending their ways, and going on to maturity.
In this he directs them yet another time away from the destructive influence of the false teachers plaguing the fellowship and draws them back into the safety of his pastoral and apostolic leadership.
In a community, some have to lead and others have to follow. Elders don’t possess apostolic authority, but God has entrusted them with ecclesiastical authority for which they will give an account (Heb. 13:17).
Without order in leading and following you have little likelihood of a church of peace where love can be readily expressed including things like the holy kiss.
Thus Peter says in 1 Pet. 5:5: Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
John MacArthur put it this way:
There must be a character of submission in the church in that it submits itself willingly to the authority of God, to heed all the appeals based on truth, all the calls to righteousness. Paul is saying to the Corinthians, “Look, if you’re going to be the kind of church you ought to be and enjoy the perfection that I desire for you . . . there needs to be a pervasive submission to that which is authoritative from the mind of God to you.”
Nobody likes the “S” word. I get that. But rightly understood, it matters greatly for preserving the gift of unity in the church.
Submissive types hug; rebels self-protect. Which are you?