Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People

Leading in Order to Follow

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Leading in Order to Follow

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Leading in Order to Follow

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Leadership can be defined by how one influences others. By that definition, we are all leaders. So what kind of leader are you? God wants us to lead by following Christ's example of service. We need to influence others by serving them the way Christ served others. Lead so you can follow!

Sermon Notes

These are the notes taken live during services as captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing. This is not a word for word transcript. For the exact wording, please consult the audio recording.

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There are leaders all around us. There are leaders in our governmental system. We have a President, a Vice President. We have dozens of appointed leaders to set a standard for the country. We have leaders we work for. They set the course for our companies so we can make a profit and have a job. They make sure the jobs get done. They make sure no one is sucking the company dry. Here there are leaders. There are some that come early that turn on the lights. There are some that serve locally. Some are ordained and have official duty to serve the congregation. We have a duty roster that has lots of responsibilities. We can see that it is Mr. and Mrs. so and so that has that responsibility. There are leaders in the family. Parents set the expectation for the kids and the family unit. We are personally leaders. We make choices daily. Go here. Go there. Snooze in. God has not created us yellow pencils. We are not robots that march with no reason. God gives us the ability to make choices. Do you consider yourself to be a leader, regardless of your age – 8, 10, 13, 30, or 130? I want to define leadership: One that affects the behavior of another. With that in mind, what about you? What about me? What about all of us here today? By this definition, since we can affect others, do we consider ourselves as leaders? We should. We are each leaders. We can influence others. We are all leaders from the preteens to the oldest member. Each of us can touch another’s life. We can influence them and as such, lead them. We are all leaders. Whether you come early. Whether you are on the sound crew, the interpretation crew, or security, you are a leader. Whether you have the title or not. What makes a leader?

Proverbs is great at contrasting things. Live this way, and this will happen. Live that way, and that will happen. Proverbs 29:2 Proverbs 29:2When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked bears rule, the people mourn.
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Have you thought about this verse? What is it about righteous people that when they rule and have authority, the people rejoice – they are happy, satisfied? On the other side, when the wicked rule, the people groan. Think about our leaders in this country. There are two groups: The upright, the just. I had a boss in my last job. She was great. She would call me on Friday afternoon. We would be pushing to a goal. She would remind me that sunset was coming. Make sure you are gone, she would say. She was a great leader. If someone was having a problem, she would clear the desk and call the client and work on it. When she was in authority, people under her rejoiced. We had people from other departments wanting to transfer to our department. She was well liked. The second group is the corrupt leaders. Think of Enron. They have sucked people’s financial futures and taken them as their own. The people under them groan and complain and their lives are crushed. Let’s read about the most corrupt leader, Satan the devil.

John 8:44 John 8:44You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stayed not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
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Here we see Satan described as the ultimate bad leader. He steals, he lies, and he wants to destroy. He could care less about anything good. He wants to hurt and maim. Jesus Christ and the Father seek the good things. God is the perfect positive leader as we read of the two scenarios in Proverbs. We are all leaders here, every one of us. We all have influence on each other. That influence should reflect godly principles. We should insure that the influence we let off reflects God’s way of life. We eat together, we talk together, and we share times together. Not just the Church family. We go to work and school; we meet people in stores. We have influence on people. When someone does something that is not quite right, we have the opportunity to do some course correction. Three principles of godly leadership: 1. Serve and sacrifice for others. The disciples, before their conversion, jockeyed for position. Who would have the corner office with the beautiful view of the golf course and the swans on the lake? They wanted the best. In response, Jesus revealed what true leadership is.

Matthew 20:25-27 Matthew 20:25-27 [25] But Jesus called them to him, and said, You know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority on them. [26] But it shall not be so among you: but whoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; [27] And whoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
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Jesus set the perfect example of service for us. He didn’t come with the gigantic crown, the robes, and the muscle guys to protect Him. No, He served. He knelt down and served the disciples. He gave the ultimate service when He gave His life so our sins could be forgiven. When the Israelites wanted a king, they went to Samuel. Remember what Samuel told them. The king would take your sons and daughters. They would take the best of your crops. We have been living under bad leadership ever since. Do we come here as one who serves? Do we want to help? Or are we one giant shop vac? You flip the switch on, and everything nearby gets sucked in to the basket. They are wonderful tools for the garage. Sometimes they get away from you. You struggle to find the off switch. But they take. They do not have a two way switch. If they did, you could blow everything back out. Are we a shop vac? Do we turn ourselves on and do nothing but suck from this person and then from that? Or do we give and sacrifice our time to serve others? Shop vacs only suck. They don’t give. Galatians 5:13-15 Galatians 5:13-15 [13] For, brothers, you have been called to liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. [14] For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; You shall love your neighbor as yourself. [15] But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that you be not consumed one of another.
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Vs. 13 – There is a great sermon on this verse. But suffice it to say that we shouldn’t use what we have for ourselves. God gives us great blessings. Do we hoard them? Or do we give back? What do we do with what God gives us? Vs. 15 – We need to check our motives. We must not be a gigantic shop vac. We must serve others. If everyone is a shop vac, and nobody is giving, what would happen? There would be an implosion. That is not what God expects us to do. We all have our zone and area. But we must be careful not to lock the doors and not let anyone else in. Pick up the phone and send a card: I heard you were in the hospital.

Philippians 2:1-4 Philippians 2:1-4 [1] If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, [2] Fulfill you my joy, that you be like minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. [3] Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. [4] Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
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“Consolation” means “comfort” or “solace” in Greek. G3874 παράκλησις paraklēsis par-ak'-lay-sis From G3870; imploration, hortation, solace: - comfort, consolation, exhortation, intreaty. Thayer Definition: 1) a calling near, summons, (especially for help) 2) importation, supplication, entreaty 3) exhortation, admonition, encouragement 4) consolation, comfort, solace; that which affords comfort or refreshment 4a) thus of the Messianic salvation (so the Rabbis call the Messiah the consoler, the comforter) 5) persuasive discourse, stirring address 5a) instructive, admonitory, conciliatory, powerful hortatory discourse Part of Speech: noun feminine A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from G3870 Citing in TDNT: 5:773, 778 It is interesting. You think, I’m not a deacon; I’m not an elder; I’m not anyone important, so I can just sit back and live my own life. Let’s see who Paul was writing to. Philippians 1:1 Philippians 1:1Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
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He was writing to the entire church in Philippi. He told them to be there and serve others. 2. Everyone is valuable. Every individual is important to God. As godly leaders, everyone should be important to us. God desires that every one will eventually become members of His family. Not just those with red hair. Not just those that are middle class. To God, everyone is valuable. We should have that perspective. A good leader shows good leadership when he is willing to reconcile with a person, rather than writing them off. God wants us to repent. To put off the old man. To put off the old nature. To put on something new; something better.

Matthew 18:12-13 Matthew 18:12-13 [12] How think you? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, does he not leave the ninety and nine, and goes into the mountains, and seeks that which is gone astray? [13] And if so be that he find it, truly I say to you, he rejoices more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.
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When I was a kid, I had thousands and thousands of Legos. I had loads of fun making cars and ships and planes and castles. But it bugged me that there was one missing piece. Maybe you were missing a wheel. You put the plane aside, and dump the box and spread out the Legos until you find that one piece. You are so excited. Finally, the plane is complete. You stopped everything because of that one piece. You focused your attention on that one piece. God wants us to the same thing. He wants us to attempt that reconciliation. Good leaders make sure they are right with one another. They don’t have a lost earring. You call the husband and dog in and search the carpet trying to find it. Matthew 5:43-44 Matthew 5:43-44 [43] You have heard that it has been said, You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy. [44] But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which spitefully use you, and persecute you;
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This is where the rubber hits the road. Vs. 43 – How many have heard this said? Vs. 44 – These are Christ’s own words. Society says, if you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. Cities and corporations have this deal worked out. Move to our city, and you won’t have to pay taxes for so many years. Greasing the palm, you might say. That is not what Christ says we should do. We must not serve to get. That is not true service. A true servant leader is willing to surrender all that he has for someone else, so those people can learn about God. It is tough though. We just blow them a kiss, and say, see you in the kingdom. 3. Humble like a child. Have you ever thought about humility? What is true humility? We think of a wimp with no backbone. That is not humility.

Humility is simply rejecting yourself and looking out for others. I don’t thing they were thinking about humility when they asked Christ this question: Matthew 18:1-5 Matthew 18:1-5 [1] At the same time came the disciples to Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? [2] And Jesus called a little child to him, and set him in the middle of them, [3] And said, Truly I say to you, Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. [4] Whoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. [5] And whoever shall receive one such little child in my name receives me.
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Vs. 1 – Christ, who gets the corner office? Who gets the paparazzi following them around? Vs. 5 – Two prerequisites: One is to be converted. The other is to be child like. What is it about a child that God wants to see in us? This is a good study sometime. It doesn’t give any one specific thing. It is not because they like Legos. Study the scriptures and see what they see. Kids are humble. They know their limits. We went rock climbing near Tucson last summer. There were some rock harnesses. They set the anchors and threw the ropes over. We latched the kids on and off they went. They look up. You want us to go up there? Yes. You put on special shoes. But they were humble. I can’t climb that. They would get a foot off the ground and test the rope. As long as you have the rope, Dad. Humility is very important to God. When we are humble, we exercise godly compassion. When we are proud, we don’t care about anybody else. Those bodyguards are for me! Step out of my way! James 4:6 James 4:6But he gives more grace. Why he said, God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
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He is quoting Proverbs 3:34 Proverbs 3:34Surely he scorns the scorners: but he gives grace to the lowly.
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. God is nice. He is gracious. He wants to do nice things to those that follow Him. Do you want to be rejected, or to be a recipient of God’s grace? I think we all want to receive God’s grace. If all we do is look at our little realm, God will resist us. But he assists those that say, no, you first. We all like the praise. Come stand by this important person. Here are the papers that say you are important. Remember that God blesses us beyond measure, in ways we don’t realize. Humility is very important to leaders. Regardless of age, financial status, or what you can physically do, we are all leaders. These three points all lead to the ultimate goal of leadership.

Title: Leading in Order to Follow. Society thinks leaders should be important. But God wants us to lead in order to follow. We can present positive impacts on those we contact. We can fulfill the two great commandments if we follow Christ’s example. By following Christ’s example, we lead. We have read about the importance of sacrifice our time. We follow Christ’s example. That leads and influences others. It is a circular pattern. We lead so we can follow. By influencing others, we keep God’s top commands. Matthew 22:34-40 Matthew 22:34-40 [34] But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. [35] Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, [36] Master, which is the great commandment in the law? [37] Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. [38] This is the first and great commandment. [39] And the second is like to it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. [40] On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
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Vs. 34 – The Pharisees heard what happened, and tried to test Him. Vs. 35 – Sounds like a fair question. What is the top command? Vs. 40 – You only have to keep two commandments. If you do, Christ tells us that you will automatically keep all the other laws. This is the essence of godly leadership. This is the influence all of us should have on each other. Who likes to be loved? I do. We all like to be given gifts. We all like to be taken out to dinner. What is it like to be on the other side of the coin? God wants us to keep these two commandments. We like it when others do these things to us; we should do it to others.

Four domains of leadership extracted from the two great commandments: 1. Heart. Your heart must be into the leadership you have. You have to have that desire. With that comes the humility. We can’t be simply forced to keep these commandments. If we are forced to send cards every week, it is not good. If we just come early to set up because we are forced to do it, it is not good. 2. Hands and feet. Leadership takes action. We have to do something with what we have. We can’t just sit at home and think about someone. Wonder how they are doing today? Okay, on with the next job! We have to write the card. We have to pick up the phone. We have to come to church and serve. We have to use our fingers and our hands. We must be involved. 3. Our head. We have to get our head into the game. We have to know what God expects. The only way to do that is to read and study and pray. You can’t follow through with God’s expectations if you don’t know what they are. God gives us a miracle to open the Bible and read something and connect the pieces. To understand how God’s plan of salvation is laid out. God has to get into our head with His knowledge. Our boys have a wonderful ability to influence each other. Sometimes it warrants praise. Sometimes not. What kind of leader are we to others? Good or bad? We must know what is expected of us. 4. Habits. We have to make all of this stick. It must be part of our daily routines. Loving and serving and caring for others is a command from God. We must be constantly doing this. We must not become complacent. We must not do it because it is what we always do. It must still come from the heart. You have to want to pray to God every day.

God doesn’t want a memorized, rote prayer. Habits are something that stick. I had a bad habit of eating desserts. Not a good one to have. Habits stick with us. Write a card. Call someone on the phone. Brainstorm on ways to serve that take no money, just time. God expects us to open ourselves outward. Leadership is your only calling. It is the responsibility you have. It is the only position Jesus Christ is offering. We are to be leaders and serve each other. Leadership is what God is training us for. That is what we get to practice now. Revelation 3:20-21 Revelation 3:20-21 [20] Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. [21] To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
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Vs. 20 – Think about the areas of leadership that are in this verse. Christ is knocking. We have to use our hands and feet to walk to the door and open it. Vs. 21 – God sits on His throne; Christ sits on His. If we do the things God commands us to do, we get to sit with Christ on His throne. Realize the importance of the two great commands. God wants us to have true outgoing concern for our brothers and sisters. At that time, we will be invited to sit on His throne. When Christ returns, it won’t be an eternity of ease. It will be an eternity of service to others. In the millennium, which this day pictures, we will be priests. We will help people learn about God. We will teach them. We will have influence on them. We will positively affect their behavior. When Christ returns, we will get to influence and serve others. When a family refuses to go to the feast, they will have no rain. We get to serve them. Look at those beautiful fields around you! But yours are so desolate. Come with me to the feast! That is our job. We will be influencers when Christ returns. We get to serve others. We get to lead others. This physical life is our opportunity to practice that. We are called to a life of service. Whatever your age, the requirements are the same. It doesn’t matter if you are slow to get out of bed, you are called to be a leader.

This week, read Nehemiah. He was a great leader. He started out by acknowledging God. The walls had been destroyed. He led some back to rebuild the walls and replace the gates. He had care and compassion for those he led. It is a quick read. Read it this week. Leadership has hands and feet. The three monkeys are not good leaders. Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. They don’t want to see the problems. They don’t want to listen and find areas where they can help. I can be there on that time at that day; I can help. The three monkeys are only concerned with themselves. Don’t be one of them. The ultimate goal of a godly leader is to serve. Leadership is a position of influence. Do you lead others so you can follow Christ’s example? If you give to others and sacrifice your time, you are leading and influencing others toward the kingdom of God and the great hope we all have. This is ultimate godly leadership. Happy leading!