Sermon: Leadership Pt. 4

Written by Timothy

Leadership, Part 4

John 10:14-15- I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me just as the Father knows me and I know the Father and I lay down my life for the sheep.

What should you expect from leadership? I am amazed at some sins I really can’t even relate to some of them. When you look in your own heart there are certain sins men commit that are understandable. But for leaders to teach that the congregation cannot challenge, correct, or bring advice to them amazes me. I literally cannot fathom where that teaching comes from, other than men just wanting to control other people and wanting the least amount of problems in their life as possible. The other teaching that amazes me is that people can’t call, communicate, or be in contact with those in leadership.

John 10:11- I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

That’s what a pastor, shepherd, elder, deacon, or preacher, should be in his heart first and foremost.

John 10:12- The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away

The man who is on his own and doesn’t want to be bothered by anyone is not a true shepherd. If a leader doesn’t want to be contacted, corrected, or admonished he is just a hired hand. He does it for what he can get out of the congregation by fleecing the sheep.

John 10:12- So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it.

Many people flee from shepherds who come in only interested in feeding themselves. Eventually the church falls apart and the sheep are scattered everywhere.

John 10:13- The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

We should expect the very heart of Jesus Christ in godly leadership. First of all, godly leadership will not conduct itself in a worldly manner according to the standards and ideas of what a pastor should be. You may be wanting a pastor who will greet you at the door, say “Thanks for coming” with a smile on his face, tell you how cute your babies are, and tell you to just trust the Lord. If so, you are looking for a worldly pastor who will tell you things that just make you feel good for at least another week until you come back.

2 Corinthians 1:12- Now this is our boast:

This is something that he bragged about, and was not ashamed of.

2 Corinthians 1:12- Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God.

Some pastors and shepherds conduct themselves in the holiness that comes from their church, their opinions, or what they think the flock would expect out of them. Paul said when he was with the body he was totally separate from the world’s ideas or his own ideas of how he should conduct himself.

2 Corinthians 1:12- …in the holiness and sincerity that are from God. We have done so not according to worldly wisdom but according to God’s grace.

Basically, if someone wants flattery then they need to go somewhere else. Those who have known me for years can testify to this fact. If you are looking for gimmicks, again go somewhere else, because you won’t get them here. If you want to be motivated to do anything in Christ Jesus other than by the motivation of the cross then this is not the place to be. I will not conduct myself according to worldly wisdom or please you in any form or fashion. What I will do is seek the Lord and let him work his love and grace in a way that should be manifested for your good. That’s what we should look for in a shepherd who lays down his life. This isn’t something so strange and high that you can’t understand it.

2 Corinthians 1:13- For we do not write you anything you cannot read or understand.

This isn’t some weird spiritual kind of thing that says “I will conduct myself in God’s grace,” but then you won’t be able to put your finger on what that is. Or it’s so high and holy that it is a revelation from God and only a few people can see it. This is very clear and plain. Most men don’t want that which is clear and plain, but it is plain and anybody can understand it.

2 Corinthians 1:14- as you have understood us in part, you will come to understand fully that you can boast of us just as we will boast of you in the day of the Lord Jesus.

A pastor who conducts himself according to God’s grace, holiness, and righteousness is a different kind of individual and leader. We come in with worldly expectations of what a pastor should be, and when he’s out of the box that we put him in, we’re not sure why he does what he does. Many times we think that some strange motive or some weird thing is going on. Paul said when they looked at him they only understand him in part. That is, they would look at Paul and say, “We understand why you do certain things here. That’s pretty clear. But then there are areas where you do some things that we are not sure are of and we are not too sure God’s spirit would do.” Until the cross is formed in them, they won’t understand that the way he conducts himself is according to God’s grace. They will think it something strange, different, and out of the ordinary.

2 Corinthians 1:14- as you have understood us in part, you will come to understand fully that you can boast of us just as we will boast of you in the day of the Lord Jesus.

There will come a point in time that if you carry the cross and let God transform you, you will be able to say, “Yes, that is of Jesus Christ.” For instance, there will be times when the Spirit might lead me to rebuke somebody and you will think that it’s harsh and out of proportion to what the person did. You won’t really understand why I do what I do. But if you go back and ask the Lord, “Lord, was that of you and was it your hand? Was it by the Holy Spirit?” He will be able to communicate to you whether it was or wasn’t. So you’ll be able to understand fully what God works and how godly leadership should conduct itself.

2 Corinthians 1:13- For we do not write you anything you cannot read or understand.

It’s all out in the open. Do you want to check it out and examine it? It’s all clear in terms of scripture.

2 Peter 3:15-16 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

If you are ignorant of the cross of Jesus Christ and what godly leadership looks like, you won’t be able to understand why Paul wrote the things he did and the way he conducted himself. You will have be very wise about what godly leadership is. One of the reasons people are taken in is that they don’t know what to expect. They don’t know what godly leadership looks like.

2 Peter 3:16- which ignorant and unstable people distort

If you are unstable in your walk with Jesus Christ you will misunderstand Paul’s letter. All you have to do is get a quiet time for two weeks and then skip it for the next six weeks. All you have to do is be unstable in some of the basic things that are in Jesus Christ and you will misunderstand what Paul was about.

2 Peter 3:16- which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

You have to go back to the cross. You have to begin now to ask God what godly leadership should look like. Leadership walks in the light. Not only can you correct, ask questions, and rebuke, but leadership also wants you to wrestle with them, examine, and have dialogue. Scripture says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” We expect some heat and fire.

2 Corinthians 4:1- Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.

Paul simply said, “When I look at my own life and abilities, I would lose heart except for God’s grace. I’m not qualified for what I’m doing.”

2 Corinthians 4:2- Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

When he came to a group of people he literally said, “Here I am, now look at your conscience and examine every aspect of my life.” Not only is leadership accessible, but leadership invites people to examine their lives. Examine what I teach and ask the Lord whether or not I am in him. Ask any and every question that you have. Do so with a humble and teachable heart, but ask the questions.

2 Corinthians 4:2- by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

Why do you think men come out with big revelations about what Scripture has to say? Because if they can make it complicated enough nobody can examine their hearts. But if you come in and say, “This is what the truth is and this is how it is to be lived.” Guess what? The sheep will apply that to leadership. If I can make it just a little complicated with a special revelation, then you can’t quite apply it to leadership.

Paul said, “This is what the truth is. If you walk in the light as he is in the light we have fellowship with one another.” That applies to everybody. So if the sheep are obedient to what Scripture says, they will ask the leadership, “How come you are not walking in the light? You just told us to do it. “ Anybody can look at it and read it. That’s how you know whether a man is of God or not, because it is plainly set out for all men to examine. Not only the message, but his life as well. That’s why I have to laugh when people say to me, “Who’s over you and who checks your life?” It’s mainly everybody, because as everybody walks in the light my life is exposed and has the light of the Lord. So in a real sense I have everybody over me, checking me, and watching me. Most of you just have the circle of fellowship that you are in.

2 Corinthians 4:3- And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.

They may not understand this. How simple and clear it is, but how little men can understand it.

2 Corinthians 4:4-5- The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves

There’s a big test right there as to whether a man promotes himself or not.

2 Corinthians 4:5- For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.

He came fully into the light and said, “This is what Scripture says about how we are to conduct ourselves. This is what godly leadership is about. Now ask yourselves whether you live it or not.” He also preached that a leader should be a servant and a slave. So my question is, “What do you want leadership to be in the Lord?” Paul said, “I am your slave and servant and that’s what I preach. That’s my declaration.” He literally said his life was not his own. A true leader will be poured out for his sheep. So what is it you want in God? What can I get for you in the Lord? How can I bless you in the Lord? How can I lay down my life for you? When I hear there are shepherds who do not want to be contacted, I can’t even relate to that because the good shepherd lays down his life. He comes in among the sheep and says, “Here I am. What is it you need in Jesus Christ?”

2 Corinthians 4:6- For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.


If we would seek the face of Christ we will understand all of this.

2 Corinthians 4:6- For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

The same illumination that fills a dark universe will fill your heart. The same power that flooded the whole universe will also flood your heart. It’s not a question of being taken in by someone who is bad. This is about having light that fills the whole universe and having power to see through all men. Being able to examine and say whether that person is of God or not of God. A teaching is going around that people are to submit to anyone that calls himself a leader. Since when did the title guarantee anything? Leadership is something that you earn and demonstrate. Paul invited people to look at the message and then look at his life. The same light that fills the whole universe, God wants to give to you. He wants you to recognize that who he sends is not according to worldly wisdom but according to his grace. People need to ask themselves the question, ”Do I really want leadership that comes according to God’s grace instead of the world’s wisdom?” Let us seek the face of Christ and ask for leaders who are of him and he will give them.

2 Corinthians 4:7- But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

Look at what the following passage says about what leadership will experience.

2 Corinthians 4:8- We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;

He didn’t have the answers to everything. He was confused about what direction to go. He had to wrestle to find out God’s will.

2 Corinthians 4:9-12- persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

In other words, Paul said, “We are servants for Christ Jesus’ sake, therefore, we are among a body that lays down our lives and offers ourselves to be crucified. All these sufferings and difficulties are for your benefit.”

2 Corinthians 4:12- So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

We must lose their lives and be on call and in demand. We are called to answer questions. We are perplexed and hard pressed on every side to know every proper course to take. This death is at work. The weakness is manifested. This suffering is done by Jesus Christ. This inability, this weakness, these jars of clay, demonstrate that the gospel call is not according to a man’s power and ability, but according to God’s power in a man’s life. So anybody can be righteous and holy in Jesus Christ. It’s not for a select few. It’s not as if some people have teachers that have a special revelation.

Matthew 23:8- But you are not to be called “Rabbi,” for you have only one Master and you are all brothers.

We all have to walk in the light. We all have to make our conscience plain. We all have to look at our lives and ask, “Does it match the gospel?” Do you understand why people have leaders who do not want to walk in the light? It’s simply because they don’t want to walk in the light. Leaders do not want to make their consciences known to everybody because they do not want their lives examined. Many people who want to come in and examine my life for every fine detail but they don’t want their life examined. We are all brothers. We are all called into the same light. No one is exempt from that. If leadership draws back from the light, you know that there is great danger ahead. Those people feed themselves or hide something.

2 Corinthians 5:11- Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience.

Ask yourselves why you share the gospel with other people. Do you share because you know what it is to fear the Lord? Are you afraid for other people? Is there an authority, power, and clearness in speech because you are afraid for them?

2 Corinthians 5:11- Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience.

He said, “We are not playing a game. We don’t have a gimmick or don’t try to hide anything. We come before God in the light and hope it’s plain to your conscience also.” Over and over again we hear Paul say, “Examine my life, get before the Lord and see what your conscience tells you.”

2 Corinthians 5:12- We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again

We don’t try to puff ourselves up or make ourselves look good. We won’t bring you recommendations. Paul didn’t try to commend himself.

2 Corinthians 5:12- We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart.

Who would you rather have over you, King Saul of the Old Testament or King David of the Old Testament? Everybody will say King David, but which one committed more sins? Which one brought more trouble on Israel? Which one had to repent more? Which one had to go through more struggles and battles than anyone else? King David. Do we really want godly leadership? It doesn’t mean they are perfect in all they do or live up to everybody’s expectations. It means they come in before the Lord and into the light, plain and simple, as to who they are.

2 Corinthians 5:12- so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart.

I could kiss the babies, tell you how fine you are and how happy everything should be, and give you the promises of Jesus Christ. Outwardly I can have programs, entertainment, and make myself look like I am accepted by God. I can answer every question with the answer everyone wants to hear. By the way, if I tried to please all men, that answer would be different for everyone. Everyone has ideas about how everything should be done and their own way they want questions to be answered. So pastors run around trying to give 15 different answers and tell people what they want to hear. They try to answer people who take pride in outward things instead of examining what is in the heart. What does someone do who has been taught all his or her life than you can’t know the heart of another man? How can you ever pick out godly leadership when you have been taught from the very beginning that you can never know the heart of another man? You are taught to weigh everything about a man by his outward conduct, by the smoothness of his speech, how spiritual he acts, and how he conducts himself in certain circles of people. How would you know whether Paul was who he was unless you judged him by his heart? If we tried to hire Paul of Tarsus to be our pastor and researched all the recommendations of the people who knew him bothhis enemies and his friends, we would never hire him. We would never be able to come to a conclusion.

2 Corinthians 5:12- so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart.

You must ask and determine what is in my heart. So when a life is laid out to be examined, you must judge all the way down to the heart, not just outward circumstances. You must decide either I am of God or not. Either my heart is striving for the Lord or it is not. You must judge to such a degree that you are able to answer other people who constantly bring up objection after objection. I guarantee you I am not perfect, nor will you find someone who is perfect, no more than King David was perfect. In fact, you’ll find that most people will consider me to be out of my mind.

2 Corinthians 5:13- If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you.

“If we are in our right mind, it is for you.” Whatever I do, whether I am out of mind or in my mind, it is for your benefit. I am out of my mind for the sake of God. When people looked at Paul they would say he was out of his mind, and didn’t have a clue about what this world is about. He lived in an impractical way. He demanded things that are too hard. Whatever it was, they looked at Paul and said he was out of his mind. Remember the charges in Acts? They said Paul’s great learning had driven him insane. The gospel call where we hate our own life and walk a narrow road leads to a conclusion that a pastor like Paul is out of his mind. But if you consider me to be in my right mind, then it is for your benefit. Then you understand the gospel and know what it’s about. The same light that flooded the universe floods your own soul.

One of the first things that need to be destroyed concerns the phrase, “You eat the meat and throw out the bones.” Are you just supposed to come in and use me for all the good you can get and then spit out the stuff that’s bad and walk away? Am I here for your own pleasure and benefit in whatever way you want to use me? You act as if there is to be no fellowship, light, or walking in the Lord together.

2 Timothy 1:8- So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner

You cannot be ashamed of the message of the cross, of hating your own life, walking the narrow road, and of those who live it. When you start talking about hating your own life and the message of the cross, they will immediately seek to divide you from your brothers and sisters, and begin to plant evil suspicions. They will immediately start to separate the fellowship because they are embarrassed and ashamed of the cross and they want you to be ashamed also. Paul said, “I will go into a church and live or die with you. I will say this is my brother, imperfect as he might be, but I will die for him. I am not ashamed of the gospel nor this brother who has laid hold of Jesus Christ.”

2 Timothy 1:8- So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God,

This isn’t about just suffering for suffering’s sake or to prove that we’re righteous because we are persecuted. It has to be by the power of God. It has to be by God’s direction. Join with Paul. Can you imagine trying to fellowship with a man who has the attitude “I’m not too sure about the guy, but I’ll listen to what he has to teach and throw out what I don’t like.” How do you get close to a man like that? How do you fellowship with him? The relationship is always at arms’ length. A man like that will just dish out whatever he wants to hear and throw out the rest. You use the guy for your own benefit. It is the total opposite of love.

1 Thessalonians 2:1-5-You know, brothers, that our visit to you was not a failure. We had previously suffered and been insulted in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in spite of strong opposition. For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts. You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed God is our witness.

If I am trying to build a church and bring people in, I am doing it completely backwards! You don’t tell people they have a lot of pride that needs to be dealt with if you are after large numbers. You don’t threaten their Christianity or make them feel like slime balls that’s not how you bring in the numbers.

1 Thessalonians 2:5- You know we never used flattery

You will never find me using flattery to get you to do something. You will do it because it is the righteous thing to do in Jesus Christ and you want to do it in your heart, or don’t do it at all.

1 Thessalonians 2:5-6- You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed God is our witness. We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else. As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you,

You can hear the determination in his voice. I don’t look for a pat on the back or to hear someone say, “Gee, you’re a spiritual man.”

1 Thessalonians 2:6- We were not looking for praise from men

We could care less about it. We don’t even wait for it to happen.

1 Thessalonians 2:7- but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children.

You can expect that kind of patience, love, and care from a pastor. This destroys the whole idea that a pastor can be a “project” person not a “people” person. That would be like a mother saying she enjoys being a mother except for the kids.

1 Thessalonians 2:8- We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.

There are many people that I share the gospel with but not my life. This is talking about wanting a relationship based not only with sharing the gospel but also hating our lives, the narrow road, and every aspect of our lives. We became so unified, so together in the Lord that we shared not only the gospel but our lives as well.

1 Thessalonians 2:9-10 Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you. You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed.

Now think about what he said. Think about the power of the cross. Who of us can say this in all humility? Who of us can say, “As God is our witness,” and God can say, “What Paul tells you is true.” Either this man is an egomaniac who thinks he is so righteous, holy, and put together, or the cross has done a powerful work. Think if I stood before a group of people and said, “You know, God is my witness of how holy, righteous, and blameless I was among you who believed.” People would either think I am an egomaniac or a cult leader seeking to control everybody. If we know the power of the cross, if we understand what God is able to do, then you know that a man can say this in humility. It says in the Old Testament that Moses was the most humble man on the face of the earth. Do you know who wrote that? Moses. That’s how powerful our God is to deal with pride.

1 Thessalonians 2:11-13- For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory. And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.

There should never be isolation from leadership. You should never say, “I’ll go back in before the Lord and it will just be me and God who will make me righteous.” This is about fellowship and communion, dying for one another, being crazy in the Lord for the sake of another, or being sane for one another in the Lord. Everything has to do with fellowship. Just as a father and mother care, urge, and are concerned about their children, so will leadership be with the church. There will even be sleepless nights, worrying about someone. That’s what a father and mother do. That’s the concern and labor. So when someone is challenged or rebuked, they should know that it comes from the deepest of love, not to use them or get something from them. This is not a mask to cover up greed, or flattery used to get some work done. It has to do with the other’s righteousness, their condition, their walk with the Lord, the need for fellowship, and the concept called love. There is gentleness, mercy, grace, longsuffering, and everything that you can imagine that’s in a good parent.

2 Corinthians 10:10- For some say, “His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing.”

Some people might say your sermons are weighty and powerful, but in person, you’re not that bold. Don’t take me for a fool.

2 Corinthians 10:11- Such people should realize that what we are in our letters when we are absent, we will be in our actions when we are present.

I have rebuked men in an instant. I have thrown them out of my house within five minutes. I do not tolerate fools. The good shepherd lays down his life for the flock and the protection of the flock is above all else.

Titus 2:15- These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.

This isn’t some weak, mild-mannered, little pastor who hides in the corner just watching the church mice go back and forth. This is someone who is actively pursuing, demanding holiness, talking about the righteousness of God, protecting the flock and standing up and saying, “This is what counts.” As I told someone last Sunday, the reason the sermons come out with fire is so I don’t have to sit down in your face and do it. I don’t want to have to sit there and yell in your face, “You must hate your own life!” I want to fellowship with you. The sermons are weighty so that you understand the importance of this message. But don’t think that I will not stand up and do what I need to do. Let me tell you, you are a fool if you think that, because I will do what I need to do. This will be a safe place for people to seek the Lord.

This you have already seen and can expect, a preaching of the word in total and complete seriousness. Listen to the weight with which Paul writes this.

2 Timothy 4:1- In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge:

Can you get it any weightier than this? Read it again.

2 Timothy 4:1-2- In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.

“Preach the Word” It does not say, “Preach about the word.” It does not say to tell jokes, or give one little scripture and then deviate to all kinds of cute stories that people can enjoy. It says to preach the word. It is one scripture after another, declaring the very word of God. So when you leave you are fully prepared to worship the Lord, lay down your life, and know every proper course. “Preach the word and be prepared in season and out of season.” There are times when this message is more acceptable than other times. What does it say for Timothy to do? The first thing that he was supposed to do was correct and we saw that’s how wisdom is gained, right? In the sight of God he gave this warning. He said to correct, rebuke, and encourage. Most people would think two of those words are mostly negative. They don’t want to be corrected, and they certainly don’t want to be rebuked, but we certainly want the encouragement part. All of those are part of the gospel, but two-thirds of this has to do with correction. He said do it with great patience. Yes, you will be rebuked but with great patience. You will be corrected, but with great love and careful instruction. You see how Paul was perplexed? “What are the polite words to say to this brother or sister? What is the correct thing to say? Lord, how should I approach them? What should be done?” It is agonizing work to know exactly what to say, when to say it, and how to say ithow much to hold back, how much to push forward, how much to leave out and how much to add in. It is a very difficult thing to weigh where someone is in Jesus Christ and how to urge him to move on. It is extremely difficult and hard work that requires a man to pour out his life for others, not to mention that he must continue to carry a cross, be crucified, and hear in his own life what he should do and where he should go.

Titus 2:7- In everything set them an example by doing what is good.

Now is that walking in the light or not? I set you an example of how you should conduct yourself, how we should behave in Jesus Christ, and what kind of people we should be. Love manifests itself by setting an example in everything. Yet people still say, “Oh you’re just following a man.” They’ll say anything to separate fellowship and keep themselves and others from going to the cross to die to self.

Titus 2:7-8- In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned

This is talking about laying out the gospel in such a plain fashion that everybody can understand it if they want to. It is laid out so clear and concise that each person you meet knows exactly what he or she must do. Recently, a brother spoke about hating his life and denying self. He was eloquent about having it all down. I turned to him and asked, “What’s your plan?” His face dropped. He didn’t have a plan. Paul spoke of a seriousness of speech direct and loving speech so that those who oppose may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about you. We’re talking about being fully in the light. It’s a tough call. A very tough walk to walk. So if you expect jokes and entertainment in preaching, you won’t get it from me. If you’re looking for doctrines that are easy to digest, you won’t get that here either. If you want scripture and preaching that are done in such a way that digests easy and is enjoyable, then you are in the wrong place.

Revelation 10:8-9- Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me once more: “Go, take the scroll that lies open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.” So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, “Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.”

What happens? You eat of it and it will be sweet in your mouth but bitter in your stomach. It’s not easy to digest. You know it’s sweet and tastes good. It’s right, and it’s of the Lord. But then you go home to digest it and let it work in you by the power of the Holy Spirit, your flesh kicks up. All the churning that goes on to try to work out your salvation with fear and trembling must take place. If you are looking for the gospel in ten easy steps, you won’t find it. The gospel will be sweet, but it will be hard to digest.

2 Timothy 4:3-5- For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

There will be a lot of pressure, questions, persecution, and opposition but keep your head in all situations and make sure that you are clear at all times about what you need to do in Jesus Christ. Do you understand now why leadership needs prayer? Do you understand it is to your benefit to pray such a prayer? Now if you want a milk-toast leadership, fine, go get it. But if you want leadership that can stand up for the things that are about to come, then pray diligently for leadership to keep their head in all situations.

2 Timothy 4:5-6- …endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure.

He was poured out. This is what godly leadership is about, being poured out for other people. You may not want to drink, that’s up to you, but that’s the nature of leadership.

2 Timothy 4:5- …discharge all the duties of your ministry.

People might say to me, “So Tim, basically all you want to do is sit in your office all day long and study the word and pray. How come you have everyone else doing all these other things? You’re just basically lazy to the bone.”

Acts 6:1- In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables.”

Look at the arrogance and the laziness with which they speak. Wouldn’t we challenge them and tell them that they’re supposed to be the servants of all? “Jesus Christ said to lay down your life. How come you’re not waiting on tables? Is it beneath you? How arrogant and haughty can you be?” We would probably quote James 1:27 where it says that religion that is pure and faultless is to look after widows in their distress. “You guys are breaking the purest kind of religion because you are unwilling to wait on tables.” But is that really the heart with which the Twelve spoke? If we judge everything from outward appearances we will always make the wrong judgment. Of course there will be the same outward acts in godly leaders and ungodly leader sit’s the heart that matters. Let me ask you some questions. Do you pray? Do you give to the poor? Do you enjoy listening to the teachings of Jesus Christ? Do you enjoy surrendering all and following Jesus Christ and going to the cross? Do you like sitting with him at the Last Supper? Judas did all those outward acts also. We should not judge by outward appearance. We have to judge the heart. The apostles didn’t say this from a position of comfort, nor out of trying to get out of responsibilities or because the task was too menial. They said it out of the deepest of love for what was best for the kingdom and for others.

Acts 6:1-4- In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”

When I get my paycheck, I don’t ask myself how many committee meetings I attended, how many people I went to see in the hospital, how many babies I said were cute. I ask, “Did I earn it by prayer and ministry of the word?” It doesn’t mean that you don’t go out and do the other things. It’s hard work. There’s a lot to do, but you discharge all the duties of your ministry so that you are free to do what God has called. He needs men who will devote themselves to prayer and ministry of the word. There are those who take pride in what is seen. “Our pastor goes out to the homeless, he visits people in the hospital, and he came by my house the other day.” The list goes on and on. You can say, “Our pastor doesn’t do any of those things, he just prays and ministers the word. That’s all he does.” They will think you are out of your mind. What we need is God to put forth his word so that it is alive. Prayer is hard work, as we all know.

Almost from day one as I sat down to discuss about the building of this body, we went to this passage. Don’t ask me to be on committee meetings because I won’t go. I’m not interested in balancing the books, or making all the decisions, but not because those don’t have to be done. They do need to be done and done in a godly way. Those who do those tasks with hard work deserve the reward for the work that they do. But I won’t get sidetracked from that which I have been called to do and what would be of benefit to you. If it were a benefit to do those things, I would do them. It’s not the work that is the problem; it’s where God wants to direct the energy for each person to do his work within the body. Otherwise if the duties of the ministry are not discharged, it winds up being a one-man show. Everybody has his or her work to do, and we can fellowship together in that labor. I’m not interested in preaching myself or promoting who I am. I’m not trying to say, “This is my church,” “This is what I built,” or anything like that. We each have a work and labor to do together. I need to devote myself and keep focused on exactly what I need to do so that it will benefit you. If you will do what God has called you to do, it benefits you and everybody else in the body. If you want to hire somebody to do all your work so you can feel spiritual, go ahead. But I won’t be sidetracked and moved from anything else accept that which is God’s will.

Acts 6:5- This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism.

I think it will please the whole group. Notice how they chose men known to be full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom to do the most menial tasks in church. In this body we will not ask for volunteers to do anything. We will seek out the most spiritual people to do the smallest things. We need to pray that if we ever have a church building, one of the most spiritual people in the church is the janitor. He bumps into everybody. The pastor is busy with the Word and praying. People meet the janitor everywhere they go.

Acts 6:6-7- They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.

Of course the word of God spread! The apostles could devote themselves to prayer, which obviously will cause the word to go forth. They could devote themselves to the word of God and preaching it, which caused the gospel to spread. They chose seven men known to be full of the Holy Spirit to wait on tables. You can just hear it. Paul comes in preaching the message and then seven men, full of the Holy Spirit, pass out food to the congregation. Someone turns and asks, “What do you think about what Paul said?” Much discussion goes on. These men who are qualified to wait on tables answer the questions and concerns of the people they wait on. No wonder the word of the Lord spreads.

Acts 6:7- So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.

It has a deep impact on the most spiritual or religious elements in the town because you see the beauty of it all. The leaders devote themselves to the work necessary and the spiritual men devote themselves to work. Every man can answer every man’s questions and they can contend for the gospel as one man. As long as we go around thinking our leaders should conduct themselves with worldly wisdom, this kind of fellowship will never happen. You’ll pass out tracks and flyers and give away tapes, but the word of the Lord will not spread.

1 Thessalonians 5:12- Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you.

There is an authority and responsibility and there is no running from it. We have seen that everything about this is for the protection and devotion to the flock, to never run away, and to always be faithful. It is the very heart of Jesus Christ. I can assure you in my 23 years I have never abandoned anybody. I have been abandoned and totally left, but I have never abandoned anybody. I say this not to boast, but to let you know that I have proven this is so. This body will be protected and defended. It will grow in righteousness and holiness if we all seek the Lord.

1 Thessalonians 5:12- who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you.

Leaders are supposed to correct, encourage, and urge on the members of the body.

1 Thessalonians 5:13- Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other.

The cross is able to manifest and bring forth men who will be concerned about your spiritual growth and life. Paul admonished them to live in peace with each other. All of this is so contrary to the way the world conducts itself. It is opposite of how the church functions. Doesn’t everybody go to church and tolerate each other for a couple of hours and maybe a couple more hours during the week? This should be a close communion of dying for and with one another. We should relate to each other on an intimate level in Jesus Christ and be vulnerable and exposed to one another. No wonder it says live in peace with each other. When you have this kind of dynamics and fire going on, it requires the oil of the Holy Spirit to keep people rejoicing. This is why it’s so important to pray and ask for godly leadership. This is a little bit of what you can expect. Let us pray that it is so. My life is exposed. Whatever questions you want to ask, whatever you want to examine, go ahead. If you find fault, let us wrestle and pray until there is a righteousness that comes from him.

Let’s pray:

Father, glorify your name and raise up many men. Men who will be able to keep their heads in all situations, who will be able to contend for the gospel and the cross of Jesus Christ, no matter what the circumstances or the opposition. Open our eyes, Father, as to what to expect. To be able to say, Father, “That is godly leadership.” with that grace, holiness, and righteousness to keep us safe from sin and stumbling. We pray this is Jesus’ name. Amen.

This transcription has been edited to a reader friendly format. Every effort has been made to be true to the speaker’s original message. Any mistranslations are unintentional.

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Host of The Consider Podcast
Examining today’s wisdom, madness, and folly.