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Chain of Command

Briefing: Have you ever considered where you stand on the food chain? Where are you in the pecking order? Are you a chief or a field officer? Does your position really matter?

Dispatch (Assignment): Read John 15:18-27.

On the Street: Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines chain of command as: a series of executive positions in order of authority.

We all belong to a chain of command. You might not be in the military or work in a paramilitary organization but you are in a chain of command.

If you found yourself face to face with a demon, would you automatically see it as your enemy or would you sit down and get to know it first before you pass judgment? Hopefully, you would associate it with Satan and flee! Demons are representatives of Satan; they are part of his chain of command. Demons are evil.

Evil is the enemy of good. That goes without saying, but what might not be so obvious is the fact that Jesus says, “Anyone who is not with Me is against Me.” Luke 11:23 (HCSB). If you are on the side of Jesus, everyone who is not on His side is against you because they are against Jesus. This is not permission to declare war on non-believers. Remember, Jesus calls us to love our enemies and pray for those who curse us (Matthew 5:44).

The question is, which chain of command are you in? You are either with God’s army or Satan’s army; remember, not choosing is actually choosing Satan. You either chose or you don’t chose. You are either in God’s army or Satan’s army. You can be a part of Satan’s army by default but to be in God’s army you must chose Him.

The rest of this lesson goes on the assumption that you have chosen to be part of God’s army.

In John 15:18-27 Jesus speaks of position. In verse 18 He says, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” They will hate you because you are a representative of Jesus. He then reminds the disciples in verse 20 of the saying, “no servant is not greater than his master.” (NIV). Jesus continues, “If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.” We need to realize it is not about us. They either listen to us or hate us, not because of who we are but because of their knowledge of Jesus. We are acting on His authority, not our own. The world will only hate you if you reflect Jesus and they can see Him represented in your life. If you don’t reflect Jesus and people do not recognize you are His follower then chances are they will not hate you. This is truth and a necessity of the Christian life. We want to be different from the world. When Jesus gave us the beatitudes in Matthew chapter 5 He told us, “You are blessed when they insult and persecute you and falsely say every kind of evil against you because of Me. Be glad and rejoice, because your reward is great in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:11-12 (HCSB).

In verse 23 Jesus tells us that the world hates the ultimate authority, and the head of our chain of command, Jesus’ Father (God). Jesus, although part of the Trinity, sets Himself under His Father’s authority. The third member of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, will come to aid those who are in God’s army.

Finally, Jesus gives us our marching orders. Did you realize He has given you a position in His chain of command? He has trusted you with a degree of authority. At the end of verse 26, Jesus tells us the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of truth) will come and testify about Him. In verse 27 Jesus tells us, “And you also must testify” (NIV).

As soldiers in God’s chain of command we must obey His commands. This is essential and complicated. We are called to obey but we must be careful to obey out of love and not just because we were given orders. Just because I follow the orders my superior officer gives me does not mean I agree with them or even like them. We sometimes follow orders out of a sense of duty or a desire to keep our job. The orders Jesus gives us are different. They have to be carried out with love. I like the way the Contemporary English Version says it, “What if I gave away all that I owned and let myself be burnt alive? I would gain nothing unless I loved others.” 1 Corinthians 13:3 (CEV).

Investigational Resources: To read about being equipped for battle, read Ephesians 6:10-18. To learn more about the absolute necessity of love, read 1 Corinthians chapter 13.

Officer Safety Principle: Your chain of command loves you. Be a reflection of your chain of command and love others. Follow your orders out of obedience and love.

from The Gospel of John Through the Eyes of a Cop
©by Charles Gilliland. Used by permission.
Click here to check out the entire Through the Eyes of a Cop series!