Ephesians 4_11-15      Servants - Not Caesars

Rev. David Holwick  F                                   We Are Gifted, #6

First Baptist Church

Ledgewood, New Jersey

February 22, 2009

Ephesians 4:11-15


SERVANTS - NOT CAESARS



  I. We live in critical times.

      A. Echoes of the Great Depression.

          1) Stock market freefall.  (my retirement is down about half)

          2) Massive national debt.

          3) Unemployment rising.


      B. My father remembered the Depression.

          1) His family did OK, but many others were hurting.

          2) He was greatly encouraged by President Roosevelt.

              a) There was a feeling that he would lead them out of it.


      C. Where are the Roosevelt's today?

          1) Many hope that our new president can rise to the occasion.

          2) But there are plenty of other leaders who have not.

              a) A-Rod and his lame excuse for why he used steroids.

              b) The impeachment of the governor of Illinois, and the

                    shady excuses of the senator he appointed.

              c) Not to mention the banking and auto executives who

                    are not exactly Masters of the Universe.


      D. It is not only the government that needs leaders.

          1) The church has had leaders from the beginning.

          2) Perhaps you are one of those leaders, even if you don't

                realize it yet.

              a) A Sunday School teacher is a leader.

              b) A deacon is a leader.

              c) A Christian parent is a leader.


II. Our leaders are chosen by God.

      A. Charismatic rather than hereditary.

          1) Hereditary: dynasties of father to son.

              a) King David's line is a classic example.

              b) Churches that go the hereditary route often don't do well.

                  1> Robert Schuller recently fired his son.

                  2> Billy Graham and Pat Robertson don't seem to have

                        sons who can fill their shoes.

              c) God can use the hereditary route, but he usually doesn't.

          2) Charismatic: chosen by God.

              a) Charisma is the Greek word for "gift."

                  1> Eph 4:11 - God "gave" the leaders to the church.

                  2> It is also behind the idea of a "calling."

                  3> In Romans 1:1, Paul says he was called to be an

                        apostle.

                      A> Preachers must hear a calling as well.

              b) There is a need, and God raises up a person.

                  1> The book of Judges exemplifies this kind of leader.

                  2> God chooses men and women (Deborah), young and old.

                      A> There are no physical limits on who can be a

                           leader.

              c) Most New Testament leadership follows this model.


      B. Not everyone is a leader.

          1) You need followers, too.


             S. I. McMillen tells a story of a young woman who wanted to

                go to college.

             Her heart sank when she read the question on the application

                that asked, "Are you a leader?"

             Being both honest and conscientious, she wrote, "No," and

                returned the application, expecting the worst.

             To her surprise, she received this letter from the college:


             "Dear Applicant: A study of the application forms reveals

                that this year our college will have 1,452 new leaders.

             We are accepting you because we feel it is imperative that

                they have at least one follower."

                                                                    #5142

          2) Followers should respect and support their leaders.

              a) Americans love to dump on leaders of all stripes.

                  1> We point out all their failings.

                  2> But one reason they can't accomplish much is

                        because we complain whenever it impacts us.

              b) Maybe that is why decent people avoid high positions.

                  1> We all hurt as a result.


      C. Even "gifted" leaders are not perfect.

          1) God calls imperfect people all the time.

              a) The Bible is full of examples.

          2) Baptists don't believe in infallible leaders.

              a) This is why we share power through the congregation.

              b) Leaders are chosen, and fired, through the will of

                    the people.

                  1> And hopefully the people are seeking God's will.

          3) An old biblical principle is that no one is above the law.

              a) Deut 17:18-20.  Leaders have their own handwritten copy.

              b) Paul: leaders should be publicly rebuked when necessary.

              c) Nevertheless, leadership is a high calling and should

                    be honored.


III. Leaders must be qualified.

      A. A classic passage is 1 Timothy 3.

          1) Note that you can "set your heart" on being a leader.

              a) The gift of leadership doesn't mean can sit back until

                    God bops you on the head.

              b) It is appropriate to have a desire to serve in this

                    capacity.

          2) Paul lays out extensive expectations for leaders.


      B. They must have high moral standards.

          1) They should have a good reputation in the community.

          2) They should have a respectable family.

              a) One wife.

              b) Kids under control.

          3) They should practice self-control and moderation.

              a) Special areas of concern:

                  1> Alcohol.

                  2> Violent temper.

                  3> Quarrelsomeness.

                  4> Greed.

              b) Instead, they should be loving and hospitable.

                  1> 2 Tim 2:23 emphasizes the gentle nature of leaders.

                      A> Avoid stupid arguments.

                      B> Be kind to everyone.

                      C> Even be gentle with idiots who disagree with you.

                  2> The goal is always that those under them grow in

                        knowledge and be in right relationship with God.


      C. They must be knowledgeable about their faith.

          1) Able to teach.                                     1 Tim 3:2

          2) Other passages stress them being grounded in sound doctrine.

          3) They should be experienced as well - no recent converts.


      D. They must be spiritual.

          1) Criteria for an original apostle: someone who has been

                with Jesus.

          2) Church leaders should have a sincere, personal relationship

               with God.


IV. If you are a leader, start leading.

      A. Have a vision.

          1) Some leaders in the Bible had literal visions.

              a) For us, it is usually not that cut-and-dried.

          2) When he went up to heaven, Christ's final charge to the

                church was to make disciples of the world.

              a) What are you doing to reach your little corner of the

                    world?

              b) Sunday School teachers - plan to grow your class.

              c) Deacons - focus on people, not meetings.

                  1> Who could you disciple this year?


      B. Work hard.

          1) Romans 12:8 - if your gift is leadership, govern diligently.

          2) Times like these are no times for shirkers.

              a) All the news focuses on what is going wrong in country.

              b) Yet many areas are thriving.

              c) We ourselves are growing because many of you are being

                    diligent.


      C. Set an example.

          1) People follow those whom they want to emulate.

          2) Be worth emulating.

              a) Be humble, but don't worry about false pride.

              b) If Christ has done something genuine in your life,

                    you have something worthwhile to share with others.



      D. Serve others.

          1) Christian leadership is different than the world's model.

              a) Or at least, it should be.

          2) Jesus showed how to lead by dressing like a slave and

                washing feet.

              a) We should never be too proud to serve others.

              b) And it is not because they can do something for us.

          3) Success is not numbered by numerical growth, but spiritual.


  V. Jesus is our ultimate leader.

      A. Our efforts should glorify him.


      B. One day our work will be judged by him.


      C. Do you belong to him?



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SOURCE FOR ILLUSTRATION USED IN THIS SERMON:


#5142  "Followers Are Necessary, Too," by S.I. McMillen, Rev. Brett

          Blair's Illustrations by Email, www.sermonillustrations.com,

          January 10, 2000.


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