by Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001)
(Chapter 26 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, Justice)

"And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord." Ephesians 5:18-22

"Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ." Ephesians 6:1, 5

There are ten points I am going to cover in this chapter. Some will be repetitious from previous chapters, but I will be building upon them to get across this particular lesson.

1. God has given different areas of judgment.

2. These different areas are as much a part of the law as the law itself. The choosing of individuals to carry out God's law is as much a part of God's law as the laws they are judging.

3. God has given us several different areas of judgment today. The home has been given a father and husband. The church has been given a pastor. A business is given employers. Almost everyone has been given at least one area over which they are to judge. It may be a Sunday school class, a bus route, or a school room. Wherever you are placed as the leader, that is your given area to judge. You are to judge only in that area, not in someone else's area. You are not even to make mental judgments in areas that are not your responsibility. Anytime you judge outside of the area God has given to you, the Bible calls that "judging." It is wrong to judge outside of your area. Most of our problems come when we violate that principle.

4. No leader of an area is over the other except for the three purposes of the state. The state has been given the responsibility to protect

(1) our person,

(2) our property, and

(3) our freedom.

That is what government is to do. That is all the government is to do. Other than that, no one is to interfere in the business of the other. The government is not to interfere with the church outside of those three things. Each entity is to be operated without interference of any other.

When I first became Pastor of the First Baptist Church, a very powerful and influential man in Hammond attended our church. He owned the largest department store in the city and was extremely wealthy. He was the type of man who was accustomed to being in charge of everything in which he was involved.

One evening Mrs. Hyles and I had dinner in his home. It was an extravagant meal in a very elegant setting. During the dinner his wife asked me if I planned to join the area's ministerial association. Trying to be diplomatic, I told her that I had not yet decided. She pressed me to state my decision right then and there. I told her that I would join if it were fundamental. She informed me that it was not fundamental and persisted to ask me if I planned to join. Her husband began to push me for an answer as well. These were not bad people, but they were accustomed to being in charge of so many things that they were trying to be in charge of me. Finally, I told him that I would not tell him how to run his store unless he asked me for advice, and that if I ever wanted his advice as to how to pastor the church, I would ask him as well. I informed him that unless I asked for his advice, I expected him to mind his own business. We were asked to leave. His problem was that he did not know how to submit himself to the leadership of someone in an area of which he was not in charge.

You have an area over which you have been placed by God to judge. You are to judge that area only. Most of the people who get angry and leave churches do so because they did not get their way in an area that was not their business to judge. Pray for others who are in charge, but do not try to make judgments for them.

5. When I judge outside of my area, I am breaking the law. The law includes how it is to be enforced. Your city has speed laws. Police officers are assigned to enforce those laws. It is not your responsibility to enforce those laws, and if you do, you are breaking the law. That is just as much a part of the law as the law itself. James 4:10-1 2 "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?"

I carry in my wallet a pass that admits me past the security guards at Hyles-Anderson College. Without a pass, no one is allowed into the college. Even though I am the founder and Chancellor of the college, I submit myself to those who are in charge of security. I must humble myself so that I will do so. That is submission to authority. God's Word even says that if you do not submit, you are violating the law. If you make judgments against another leader, you are speaking evil of the law.

There is a difference between a lawgiver and a law enforcer. Congress makes laws but does not enforce those laws. God is the giver of the law, and He places people in the position of enforcer of those laws. When you speak evil of that person, you are speaking evil of God because God put them there. God is the lawgiver. When you judge another man's area of responsibility, you put yourself above God, and you become guilty of idolatry.

Unless we submit ourselves to God's system of laws and enforcement, our society will crumble. Not one of us is perfect; therefore, we must even submit ourselves to the imperfect judgment of man within the perfect system of God. Authority is authority even when it is wrong.

6. When I judge outside my area and therefore break the law, I then put myself above the law of all other areas. In reality I am putting myself above God because I have placed myself above His appointed authority.

7. I have then become a judge when not appointed.

8. In areas outside of those over which I am in charge, I am simply to obey. Ephesians 5 and 6 speak of being filled with the Spirit and the characteristics that accompany that Spirit-fullness. A part of the evidence of being filled with the Spirit is submitting to other authority. If you do not submit, it is a sign that you are not Spirit-filled. Sometimes that means that we must submit to the authority of someone over whom we have authority in another area. That is submitting one to another. This is God's plan and is a part of His divine law as much as the law itself.

When I go to the campus of our college, I submit to the authority of the security guards by driving the speed limit. It is arrogance if I think that I am above the law, even though I am the boss of those security guards. I must submit to their given authority just as much as I expect them to submit to me as their employer. Too many Christians are haughty and are unwilling to submit to other authority.

9. The only two ways to get out from underneath a law are to die or to leave that area. God has placed me where I am. In some areas I am the judge and in other areas I am not. In those areas where I am not the judge, I am to submit myself to those who are. As long as God leaves me in that place, I must obey those who are over me.

10. We are to be humble in those areas outside our own authority. A church has many, many areas with many different leaders in charge. If any of those leaders refuse to humble themselves and submit to someone in charge of another area, trouble starts! It is amazing how easy it is to judge another's area rather than simply judging our own.

You are not a Spirit-filled Christian unless you are willing to submit to others who have been given authority over you.


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I am an old-fashioned preacher of the old-time religion, that has warmed this cold world's heart for two thousand years. Billy Sunday