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I Skyped this morning with a Chinese believer whom we helped disciple when we lived in China. She was a dear sister to us. She translated for us. She was much loved, much trusted. Then, unexpectedly, because of a man from the United States, she left our little group and became an adherent of a legalistic offshoot of Christianity. The legalism to which she now attached herself broke apart the small group of believers there.

She told me this morning that, a few years ago, she left this erroneous offshoot.

Brought to tears, I asked her why.

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A word of caution. People in the church do not have the place to go up to church leaders and tell them that they are nothing. Leaders, though they are nothing, deserve respect.

“We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves” (1 Thessalonians 5:12–13). Paul reiterates this in 1 Timothy 5:17: “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.”

Everybody is to be respected. We are to respect one another. “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor” (Romans 12:10). Peter says, “Honor everyone” (1 Peter 2:17a).

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