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How Would Jesus Lead - Part 2: Self-Control

How Would Jesus Lead   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Thesis: Self-control by keeping your priorities straight

For kids: self-control - the fruit that holds all the others together. (Need a basket for different objects.)

Carrie: The Queen of the Yellow Spot
Carrie: The Queen of the Yellow Spot
The Law of Escalation with Gerard from Lebanon
We
It is far easier to stop a fight before it gets started than after the first punch is thrown or ugly word said.
How was Jesus able to be a peace-maker without getting drawn into the drama and violence Himself?
God
Mark 3:22–30 NRSV
22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons.” 23 And he called them to him, and spoke to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26 And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but his end has come. 27 But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be plundered. 28 “Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— 30 for they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.”
???????Transition?????
Jesus and Beelzebul
(; )
Then he went home; 20 and the crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat. 21 When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, “He has gone out of his mind.” 22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons.” 23 And he called them to him, and spoke to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26 And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but his end has come. 27 But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be plundered.
28 “Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— 30 for they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.”
Priorities of Jesus.
I. Seeking the Truth:
1. Facing His own devil.
The first step of having the self-control of Jesus is to face down your own demons before you go after everyone else's.
I believe Jesus taught this expressly when he taught, not that we should not judge, but that we need to judge ourselves first - get the planks out of our own eyes before we go picking at specks in the eyes of others.
We don't want to do this first, probably not at all, because we know that the devil knows our weaknesses and will leave us weak and bleeding before we can do any leading.
However, as Jesus shows us by example, it is only in facing our demons through our faith in and with the help of God, that we will really have anything to truly give.
It allows us to lead from our weakness, by pointing to the grace of God in our own life, rather than trying to lead out of our own strength, without God's help, and trying to cover up our own hypocrisy.
It's like taking a shower every day before you try to go conquer the world. It requires you getting vulnerable and preferably changing clothes from the night before. People may not be able to see if you've showered, but they will be able to smell it eventually.
Get vulnerable with God first, face your own demons with His help, and then you will have a more humble and clear mind to maintain self-control in the mess around you.
II. Speaking the Truth:
1. Casting out demons
I am a little surprised that the Protestant reformers like Martin Luther, John Calvin, and later our own John Wesley - each who claimed that Scripture was the number one authority in their lives and in the formation of their faith, had little to do with the practice of casting out demons.
Each one of them took the bulk of scripture as plain truth to be read with the sense to take literal commands literally and metaphors metaphorically, and sarcasm with a grain of salt.
But when it came to the casting out of demons, one of the most powerful miracles Jesus performed in His ministry, and one of the challenges of the disciples as well, many of them seemed to have checked their faith at the door and sought more scientific explanations. They were intelligent men, but I think the negative social perspectives about exorcism and the horrible things that had been done in the name of casting out evil spirits probably frightened them away from touching the subject. Wesley, in particular, was far more interested in learning and teaching basic medicine and first aid, and if he were alive today, some basic counseling skills as well I imagine, than he was in rituals to cast evil spirits out of people... and honestly, I can relate to that.
Here is the problem with that approach.
Many, if not most, of our personal and social ills we face have a spiritual component, and often the spiritual problem is not the added on bit, it is a root source of the problem.
Why is that so?
Problems like addiction, depression, anger, anti-social behavior, selfishness, and many more all are significantly affected if you have God helping you with them. If you don't believe in God, you are left either trying to find the right pill to cure your problem (which rarely works) or trying to convince yourself that you can just cope with it.
We do not have to wave crosses in peoples faces, and I don't recommend doing so. But if there is a spiritual problem in someone's life, don't leave them lying there dying in the ditch. Help them. Show them the love that God has for them and the spiritual healing He wants to give them.
We cannot fix the world without naming the spiritual sicknesses and oppression it faces and addressing that - and Jesus addressed those needs first, before he went into the medical, psychological, or often even basic physical needs.
To maintain self-control, we need to see the spiritual perspective of the conflicts we face and deal with them, speaking the truth of God's grace into those situations.
III. Doing the Truth:
1. Healing and Forgiveness (Phyiscal and Spiritual Healing)
After Jesus preached the truth and addressed the demonic presences in his midst, he then dealt lovingly with the victims of those evil spiritual forces. Those spirits left physical and relational trauma in their wake and to these people Jesus brought both physical healing and forgiveness. He did not forgive them on behalf of other people they had sinned against, but he forgave them on behalf of God, which restored the possibility of them rejoining the community and getting a fresh start. Indeed, even if others still held their sins against them, they would be faced with the new problem themselves that God found it right to forgive them, why not them as well? Were they better than God?
While physical ailments are not always a direct result of evil spiritual forces, we often get ourselves in physical trouble because we are listening to the devil instead of the angel on our shoulders. Scripture tells us that the devil seeks to destroy us, and physical pain and injury is often a part of that plan. Jesus came to heal those wounds after defeating the evil spiritual forces, so that we could be restored completely to relationship with God and each other, and serve Him fully as He calls us.
IV. Teaching the Truth:
1. Standing up to for the truth and passing it on to others
If you follow through the first several chapters of Mark, in the ministry of Jesus, you will note that it is only after doing all of this minstry Himself, serving others, that He finally confronts those who oppose Him and begins teaching the truth to others.
A true leader, showing self-control will always demonstrate by example that which they are trying to teach others to do. The attitude of "Do as I say, not as I do" does not work and will eventually back us into a corner from which we cannot escape, and there we will either surrender our leadership, or lose control of ourselves and the situation.
So we
face our own demons first
Speak the truth
Do the truth
And then finally teach the truth
And in that way we keep our focus on the truth that God is doing in us, that we are sharing with others with integrity, and we will have self-control
We lose self-control when we give up on those priorities and try to control the world around us ourselves. It cannot be done. The only person you have any hope of controlling in your life is you, and you exhibit the best influence on the world around you when you focus on self-control rather than the ridiculous and offensive act of imposing your will on everyone around you.
You don't have to be smart or strong of funny or good looking to lead, you just have to be able to keep your head on your shoulders. In the middle of a crisis, we all instinctively follow the calmest person, not the one who screams their head off like a madman or woman. Those are the people we tend to just avoid altogether.
When the world threw it's worst at Jesus, He, while keeping his focus on the truth and seeing those panicked people for the misguided and hurting people they were, gave them His best... and He won over more hearts by speaking plain truth - the whole truth (good news and bad) than by falling into their trap and escalating the conflict.
You
Where do you get sucked into this conflict? Where does the devil trip you up?
Are you willing to face your own personal demons and deal with them before trying to witness to your friends, care for your children and grandchildren, lead and teach others around you?
Are you willing to look for and call out those spiritual forces that fight against God and against you and those around you?
Are you willing to step in, get your hands dirty, and serve by bringing healing and forgiveness - grace to those who are trapped in guilt and sin?
Are you willing to then actually teach others - make disciples - who are doing the same as you... not for the sake of winning an argument or securing your own leadership, but in order to spread this grace and love rather than keeping it to yourself?
We
That is the last temptation we face as leaders. The temptation to just do what we can ourselves, rather than share and teach it to others who may be able to do more and better than us, if we are willing to help them.
One person keeping their faith and focus on God and the truth in the middle of a storm can help direct an entire community.
An entire community that can keep their faith and focus on God and the truth in the middle of a storm can change the whole world.
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