Submit to others…

Read Acts 21:15-26

When Paul gets to Jerusalem a few really cool things happen.

First, he gets to report all of the cool things God had done with his ministry among the gentiles. The neat thing is that the church leaders that he talked to were excited and glorified God as a result.

Second, Paul showed submission to the Jewish church leaders. These leaders had already worked through a right theology when it came to what they should ask of the new gentile believers. The leaders of the church at Jerusalem also told Paul that some people believed that Paul was spreading an irreverent attitude toward parts of the Judaic law among the gentiles. This of course was not true. They suggested that Paul showed them differently by still taking part in some of the traditions that they had not yet forsaken that God was still permitting at this time.

Why would Paul do this? He gives us the answer in 1 Corinthians 9:20-22. “And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law. To them that are without law as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men that I might by all means
save some.”

How can I apply this to my life?
Paul and these men give us a wonderful example in the text today…

If what is being asked is not wrong, sometimes it is better to submit to it for the sake of harmony. Is there something that you are doing that is offending someone or making it difficult for them to live rightly? Even though you may have a right to do it, it may be better to stop it for their sake.
Ultimately, Paul’s motivation was the proclamation of the gospel to all people. This guided his thoughts and actions. Do they govern mine?

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4 thoughts on “Submit to others…

  1. Laura

    I think this is a great devotional to not think we are above other people groups or their traditions etc. We need to be accepting, and by doing this it leaves a door open to witnessing. Unless it completely makes us uncomfortable or is clearly wrong, be flexible in different situations. Sometimes it helps us to get closer to those who we want to win over to the Lord. An example of this comes to mind. When my friend’s mom came to Florida for a visit at Christmas she wanted to still go to Mass at the catholic church.. When my friend got saved she left the catholic church and started to attend a bible believing church. Her folks had a really hard time with this and it actually had a negative affect on her relationship with them for years. They were really hurt. My friend graciously took her mom to Mass each weekend she was there. As a result, her mom was willing to come to her church a couple of times during this visit which was the first time she had ever agreed to even come close to that church. It is very difficult to attend a church that you know is teaching incorrect doctrine and leading people astray, but she also knew the Lord knew her heart, and that it was more important to honor her mother than to just be “right”. Although her mom did not change the way she believed during that visit, seeds were planted and continue to be. I think my friend made the right choice. Be open minded and respectful to others and eventually you will have an influence on them.

  2. That is a great illustration Laura. Thanks for sharing that. It’s so cool that your friend had some open doors for the gospel that way.

    Here’s my question for the rest of us…

    When does it cross the line from being submissive to sinful compromise? Do any verses come to mind that illustrate this idea?

  3. Melanie

    I think Laura had a really great example! To pastor Ben’s question, I think there is a fine line. If you take the example Laura gave you can see the fine line in it. Laura’s friend too her mother to a catholic church because she didn’t want conflict to arise as it had in the past and in return the mother wanted to visit the friends church. Her friend did it for her mother but as Laura said, she was aware that God knew her heart and that she was doing this for her mother solely. The friend knew that going to a church where the doctrine isn’t correct is wrong, however, she had the right mindset and knew that in return her mother would look at her differently for not forcing her church on her. That’s where the fine line comes into play.

  4. Alexis

    I love how Pastor Ben put it: “If it’s not wrong, then sometimes it’s better to submit it for the sake of harmony.” that is so true! I think I’ve used this example before, but my grandma and I tend to disagree a lot. (or another way of putting it, we both always think we’re right.) And the best thing to do would be to just leave it alone and not risk getting into an arguement. Although it’s hard, I’ve tried it, and it works! Things are so much better and peaceful. And this doesn’t just apply to my grandma and me, it applies to a lot of things!

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