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od’s plan for a local church is   count” (Heb 13:7,17).  The wise believer
               wonderful! Once you grasp the   will avoid criticizing or undermining
        Gbeauty of it, it captivates your     them. Instead, he or she will be careful to
        soul. A local assembly brings together dif-  remember them and the spiritual coun-
        ferent people from different backgrounds,   sel they have given. They are worthy of
        young and old, male and female, rich   prayerful and practical support because
        and poor. The greater the mix, the more   of the burdens they carry on behalf of
        wonderful it is.                      the flock (1Th 5:12-13; 1Ti 5:17). They too
          The members are united in love under a   learned to follow before being spiritually
        common allegiance. They submit to higher   qualified to lead.
        authority: the authority of God and His   Submitting to the Lordship and
        Word, the pre-eminence of Christ, and the   Headship of Christ
        leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit.   There are two complementary ways in
        Furthermore, the assembly exists for three   which the preeminence of Christ is shown
        main reasons: to worship and serve God   in the assembly: symbolically and practi-
        and His blessed Son, to encourage and   cally. Symbols are important but they are
        build up the believers, and to witness to   not enough on their own; the attitudes and
        the lost. These are the upward, inward and   actions of the believers should correspond
        outward aspects of testimony. An assem-  with that which the symbol portrays.
        bly that neglects even one of these three   The  uncovered  heads  of  the  men:  The
        vital components – worship, instruction or   apostle Paul taught clearly that the head of
        evangelism – will be imbalanced.      the man is Christ (1Co 11:3). This is sym-
        Submitting to God and His Word        bolized when the assembly gathers, and
          Those whom God has raised up by the   the men physically uncover their heads.
        Holy Spirit to shepherd His flock do so in   Why? So that Christ alone may be seen.
        His Name (Act 20:28). In the Bible, they   Everything that is said and done should
        are also described as “elders,” signify-  be for His honor and glory.
        ing spiritual maturity, and “overseers,”   The covered heads of the women: In God’s
        denoting their need to be vigilant and   order, the head of the woman is the man.
        prayerful. Their lives are to be exemplary   When the assembly gathers, the women
        (1Pe 5:1-4). They seek to lead those under   cover their heads. Why? So that all that
        their care in paths of righteousness. Theirs   speaks of man is hidden. In picture form,
        is a delegated authority: as shepherds they   when the angels look down from above
        are ultimately accountable to the Chief   upon a gathering of Christians, Christ
        Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ.      alone is seen, and man is hidden from
          Elders are to be respected and obeyed:   view (v10). How beautiful is that!
        “Obey them that have the rule over you,   Of course, as we know, it is the men
        and submit yourselves: for they watch   ¹ Bible quotations in this article are from the
        for your souls, as they that must give ac-  KJV.

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