Remember Your Leaders
7 Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 9 Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them. 10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat. 11 For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. 12 So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood.13 Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. 14 For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. 15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.
18 Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things. 19 I urge you the more earnestly to do this in order that I may be restored to you the sooner.
Verse 8 is the key verse in this passage: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Inside the City of God, no matter who rules the world around us, we know that Jesus is the one who upholds the universe by the word of his power (Heb. 1:3). We have no election to fret over. We have no takeover to worry about. We have no party to apologize for. God is on his throne, everything is going his way, and he loves us.
Leadership change can be disruptive to an organization, ushering in uncertainty and fear. We grow to love those who have led and pastored us for years, and when they go, we fear what the next leader will do. But there is a great hope that the City of God has that the City of Man can never know. Men die. God lives forever. Leadership change in the City of Man almost guarantees strife. Leadership change in the City of God reminds us of the true Leader, Jesus. With Jesus as our head, all godly leaders lead under him. Though the leaders may change, Jesus never does. It’s like the Vice President being changed after four years. Would we notice a difference in the direction of leadership?
Leadership change in the church should not be a cause for alarm. It should be a cause for rejoicing. But every Christian must have their eyes peeled for wrong doctrine. Leadership change is dangerous when the gospel is compromised. That’s why the author urges them not to be led away by diverse and strange teachings. As long as they follow those who preach the same gospel message, they will find the same gospel grace.
Some leaders have passed on to be with the Lord, and others rise to take their place, but Jesus sustains his church because he is the same yesterday and today and forever. We can submit to our Jesus-loving leaders because they are led by Jesus himself, and he always remains faithful.
But it won’t be easy. Jesus’ leadership is not accepted by the City of Man. If we are to follow him, we should expect the same kind of treatment that he received. He was dragged outside of the city. We should not be surprised if we are as well. In fact, the author of Hebrews calls us to voluntarily go outside the camp. We must leave the City of Man to come to the City of God. It is better to be mistreated with the people of God than to be lavished with all the riches of the world. We have treasures the world cannot understand.