Principles for Local Church 04 – Don’t Despise Your Lineage

A Biblical account nearly everyone knows, mainly because it is so shocking, is when Esau sells his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of stew. Now, listen carefully, all of us have a spiritual lineage – somewhere we came from. We have a spiritual family – people who have helped us, raised us up, taught us, encouraged us, forgiven us, walked with us. You were not born again into a vacuum – you had people around you, spiritual parentsn and siblings and cousins. That spiritual family gives you a spiritual inheritance. You know some things, you realize some things, you have some teachings because of your spiritual lineage. God puts us in families.

Everyone of us has a lineage. People we should be grateful for. People that shared the gospel with us, people who taught us about the Holy Spirit, people who taught us about faith, grace, prosperity, healing, holiness. Those people have been used by God to load things into our lives!

Now if we hate our lineage or try to deny it, because you think it is inferior or because you got offended at the people God brought into your life – you will not succeed in life. You will become like Esau, lost and without heritage. I have seen this happen time after time.

Once I was in a conference, and the speaker invited someone up to give a testimony, and it was a powerful testimony about how the speaker had prayed for this lady. and how she was healed. She shared the testimony and people applauded, it was a great testimony. Except it wasn’t totally true. The person was actually healed in one of our churches. Every detail about the miracle was there – every single detail, I know because I was there. Except for the one detail of who prayed for her. It wasn’t this guest speaker but rather one of our local pastors.

But this lady denied her lineage for the applause of a larger crowd. God put the Tree of Life into her life to teach her about healing and get healed, but she came to despise us. That’s sad. And she is now no longer in church and no longer walking with the Lord.

God chose your birthright to load things into your life. That doesn’t mean the church or ministry that you get saved in or taught first by is the one you have to stay in. I did not stay with the Baptists but that does not mean I do not honour them.

I have the heritage I have and it gives me abilities other people do not have. The Bible College I went to did not teach me grace as well as maybe other Bible Colleges and for a time that concerned me, but I learned grace from some cassette tapes, and the heritage I have from my Bible College – the vital importance of local church, the need for honour, the need for a heritage among many other things – had been invaluable in my ministry.

During my time at Bible College, I met people who were involved in revival in the United Kingdom, people who have raised the dead, people who have known things that I would never have learned everywhere else. I am very blessed by and happy for my heritage there, more grateful than I could ever express in words.

But Esau despised his birthright. Like the person who leaves his local church having been there for years to do a discipleship course or Bible College or work for a ministry, and suddenly they forget the only reason they were there was their heritage, Esau hated what God gave Him. Esau did not value his background. Born to the most blessed family on earth, Esau did not value it. He despised it.

When someone goes to Bible College the main indicator of whether they succeed in ministry afterwards is whether they honour the church that sent them there. Nothing else is more indicative than that in my experience.

I have seen people do that in the natural, wishing they were born in a different nation or to a different tribe, wishing they were whiter or blacker than they are. Do not despise your birthright. God has designed you for a particular reason and gave you the birthright to do what He called you to do. He is not a fool, He knows what family you need to get where you are going. He knows it in the spiritual too!

In church, you will never prosper if you despise your birthright. If you are always trying to introduce your pastor to “better” teachings, if you are always looking elsewhere for spiritual food, if you are always looking for the new fix, the new thing. then you will not respct and honour where you are, what God has given you and what God has taught you.

Genesis 28.7 says that Jacob obeyed his father and mother. That is one of the ways to get a blessing. Paul says in Ephesians that this is the first commandment with a blessing. When you obey your lineage, you honour your birthrate. Listen – let me say it like this – your ability to honour your spiritual lineage determines your future. Some people want everything around them to be different from their spiritual family and it will not work.

Esau was not like Jacob, if Esau found out that his parents liked one thing – he did the opposite. He thought that sort of immature rebellion was cool and mature. It isn’t. Jacob married a girl that made his parents happy – that was not too much for him. That’s a huge decision to make to honour your parents.

Most people fail at living the Christian life because they do not honour their spiritual lineage. It really is that simple. When you got saved, there were people pleased you were saved. When you started speaking in tongues, there were people so happy for you. When you grasped how to walk in victory, how to read your Bible for yourself, how to pray and get results, how to minister healing, there were people really excited and happy. That is your spiritual family. If you work on honouring them, you will do well. If not you will not.

What is your lineage, and how can you honour them today?

Published by Tree of Life Church

We are a growing network of growing churches, with services weekly in Dagenham, Guildford, Watford, Croydon, Brentwood and Dorset. We are also planting churches in Cambridge, Suffolk, West Midlands and Hemel. Find out more at, and

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