Faithlife Sermons

Godly Leadership In Action

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God leads Israel from their place of comfort to a new area so that He can reveal Himself in a new way. He again calls Israel to obey His commands so that they can know Him. God uses the leadership that He established through Moses to communicate with His people.

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God calls Israel to Himself so that they can know Him.

Exodus 19:1–4 ESV
1 On the third new moon after the people of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that day they came into the wilderness of Sinai. 2 They set out from Rephidim and came into the wilderness of Sinai, and they encamped in the wilderness. There Israel encamped before the mountain, 3 while Moses went up to God. The Lord called to him out of the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel: 4 ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.
God call’s us to himself so that we can grow in knowledge of who He is.
This isn’t new insight for us, but looking at it from someone else’s perspective reminds that God working in our lives moves us from one place to anther.
This could be in a Spiritual, physical, emotional, understanding, or a combination of all of those.
As we are discipling people in our lives we need to be watching for that movement and growth.
If we aren’t seeing movement of growth in their lives we need to see that so that we can know how to pray.
We need to be asking God to both move them and what role we are to play in that process.
If someone isn’t growing, they are stagnating.
Think about this for a minute and consider someone being in school and not learning anything while they are their. Are they really being a student? Does simply being a warm body in a class make them a learner? Of course it doesn’t. All it makes them is annoying.
The same logic follows for those of us in the church.
We aren’t disciples if we aren’t both being discipled and making disciples.
We all know that the point of our faith is to know God through Christ crucified so that our relationship, our reason for being, can be restored and as we know God we become more like God. That process in itself is us changing from being sinful to less sinful.
Therefore, if you aren’t becoming like God, if you aren’t daily being moved closer to Him, you aren’t really being a follower of Jesus. Followers follow, disciples disciple,
The very act of God bringing Isreal to the mountain, is God moving them closer to knowing Him. We are going to see later in our passage that Israel knowing and believing in God is the very point of them going to the mountain.
God moves us, he calls us to action, so that we can know Him.
If you aren’t moving you aren’t learning and as a result you cannot have knowledge (genosko).
God is moving us as a body, so that, we can know him, and this process will never stop.
This isn’t a growth spurt. This is what it means to be a follower.
I think the church in america suffers unnecessarily because of our pride.
We look around and compare ourselves to others and because of our pride, judge ourselves better than them and then just stop growing.
Our culture is so obsessed with competition and we put it in every area of our lives whether we mean too or not.
The result is we judge ourselves better than others, lie number one, then convince ourselves that we deserve a break because of how good we are doing, lie number two.
The enemy has convinced us that growth isn’t necessary and that at some point in our lives unnatural.
Do you place a high value on growth and learning in your spiritual life? What about in other areas of your life?
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
God is going to continue to grow and change us so that we become more and more like him.
Exodus 19:5–6 ESV
5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; 6 and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”
All Israel needed to be rescued from Egypt was acceptance of God's deliverance.
That’s it and that in itself was hard for them.
Do you remember how they grumbled as God was in the process of getting them out of Egypt?
This is a process. Just like God built Moses’ faith with the staff before he sent him to Pharaoh.
God used that initial experience to jump start their understanding of the fact that He was their God.
As we just talked about, God wasn’t done there.
We see him again moving Israel into a new understanding.
Now the thought is introduced that obedience is needed as well as faith. This is not a contradiction: It is a fuller explanation of the nature of faith as response.
The expectation and natural response of walking in faith is obedience to God.
This is not a new thought for us.
What is step number two in the abiding cycle?
We know well and understand that obedience is the way in which we are able to see God reveal himself.
We have talked so many times about the fact that God is going to give you a directive and He is going to wait for you to obey before he gives the next one.
If Israel chooses not to follow God and move from this place of comfort and peace to this new place that is unknown and uncomfortable, they won’t experience who God is.
They will stagnate in their disobedience.
What is God asking you to do that you find challenging to obey?

The giving of God’s covenant is unconditional, but enjoyment of God’s covenant is conditional.

ex. parental relationship works this way w/ child. A parent loves their child regardless of their behavior.
Do what you are told, life is good.
Don’t do what you are told and life is NOT good.
As we are making disciples it is important that we share the whole gospel.
Salvation is a free gift, but the result of authentic salvation is devotion.
ex Marriage, in the spiritual realm, is free, but there is an expectation of activity that results from the union.
Mark 1:16–20 ESV
16 Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19 And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20 And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.
Jesus calling us to himself always includes a call to action.
The plan for the furthering of the gospel is, the people that have understood the gospel, sharing it with others.
A big part of the reason that the church is full of "professional" ministers and lots of unhappy people is because we cheapened the gospel by selling it as a free gift and never moving those people beyond that point.
The church, in it’s most recent history, has had a focus on conversion and baptism, but very little activity in the area of discipling.
This focus on just “accepting Jesus” creates "blind" date Christians. Imagine going on one blind date and then marrying that person after just one blind date because you learn that they are really rich.
You don't know that person. You've only seen what they wanted you to see.
“Cultural Christians are those who genuinely believe that they are on good terms with God because of church familiarity, a generic moral code, political affiliation, a religious family heritage, etc. Cultural Christianity is largely based on confusion..."
- Dean Inserra, The Unsaved Christian
He goes on to explain a "typical" conversion of going down during an invention to be saved from your sins.
Sharing that Jesus died to save us from our sins is a very important part of the Gospel, but it’s not the whole Gospel.
There is more and for a lot of us we didn’t hear the rest of the gospel until much later in life.
No one ever explained that being a follower of Christ meant that we had to actually follow him.
When you became a believer, did someone share the whole gospel with you or just part?
How has that affected you relationship with Jesus?
Are you surprised to hear that there is an expectation of following where God leads?
Matthew 7:21–23 ESV
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
Did you hear that? “but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
We have seen in both the Mark and Matthew passages a clear message from Jesus.
The expectation for a believer is that they do what God commands!
Mark 10:17–31 ESV
17 And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’ ” 20 And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” 21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. 23 And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” 28 Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.” 29 Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
The offer was there, it was available to him.
However, he wasn’t willing to obey Jesus’ call to obedience
The disciples are astonished! This was such a good man!
If he can’t get into heaven, who can?
If you are struggling with this idea, let me say this...
I am in no way taking away from God’s gift grace. His grace covers all of our sin.
But that same grace that covers our sin also motivates us to action.
If you aren’t motivated by His grace then you don’t know or understand His Grace.
Jesus is saying in the Matthew 7 passage that many will claim him and do works in his name, but that doesn't make them followers.
This idea is perpetuated by the church through it's action as well as it's message.
New believers look around and see everyone just sitting and showing up and assume that’s what being a "believer" is.
The pastor is the weird one. If that kind of life was really required of all believers the rest of the church would be doing it too..
This idea of setting people free, means setting them free by telling them the whole gospel and not just trapping them in a building with a bunch of moralistic therapeutic diest.
Let’s see what God’s plan is for this communication of the whole gospel.
Exodus 19:7–9 ESV
7 So Moses came and called the elders of the people and set before them all these words that the Lord had commanded him. 8 All the people answered together and said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.” And Moses reported the words of the people to the Lord. 9 And the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I am coming to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may also believe you forever.” When Moses told the words of the people to the Lord,

God uses established leadership to communicate to the people.

Here we see God using the leadership structure that was created in the last chapter in order to communicate with Israel.
Instead of Moses addressing all the people directly, he speaks to the elders with the expectation that they will then go and share that with their people.
The purpose of that is to allow for discussion and questions which wouldn’t be possible in large groups.
This is one of the reasons that we emphasize our Life Groups so much.
They provide an environment where each person can be truly known, can ask hard questions, discover truth, and grow in their understanding of God with people that they love and that love them.
How is God calling you to participate in sharing the truth about who God is?
While we are here, let me take a moment to bring some clarity to the role of the Life Group leaders.
In the past and particularly at the LG leader training, Glen referred to the LG leaders as pastors.
His intent was to communicate the level of care that each LG leader should be giving the life group.
Our cultural understanding of what a Pastor, is a person who literally does 90% of the meeting of the needs in the church.
As we looked at the text last week, that is not what God intended.
The elders have been discussing the questions that some of you asked and have decided that a better term to use for LG leaders is a Fellow Worker.
Thank you for asking questions. As I confessed last week, I make mistakes and the same is true for the elders. Our goal is always to communicate what God has told us in the most clear way possible.
If we aren’t clear, please let us know!
Fellow Workers because...
This is what Paul calls those that he trust to take care of the church.
The LG leaders have been entrusted by the elders to take care of their LG in a similar fashion.
The idea here is that the leaders are only responsible for a small number of people instead of one person being responsible for a whole church.
In that same thought let me say this, we are not expecting that single person to carry the entire load of their life group.
Our expectation is, that the LGL is mentoring someone to take their place or start another group, and that each member of the life group is fulfilling their role in that group.
We would love it if each life group had a deacon or deaconess in it.
However, we aren’t going to come to your life group, notice you don’t have one, and then ask you to nominate someone for the position.
Another question I’ve been asked is are we transitioning each LG to be an autonomous church?
No, and we are sorry for the confusion.
Again...
We are saying that there is a great deal of responsibility that has been entrusted to each leader, but they have no authority to act outside of the direction of the elders.
The elders, primarily Glen as of now, work with and mentor the LGL until they are ready to be entrusted with caring for a group.
The expectation is that the LGL fully understands who we are as a church, the vision God has for us, and the distinctives in which we operate.
Under those parameters they care for and disciple that group.
We want everyone to understand that being a LGL isn’t just a warm body that can read some questions or review a book.
It is a person who is daily pursuing the Lord, praying for, caring for, and loving those in the LG.
The elders, deacons, and fellow workers work in concert together to take care of the needs of the church.
There is a synergy that comes by all of us in the church knowing the role God has called us to and operating, as He leads, in that role.
As we all begin to walk in obedience to God’s call, we start to see the beauty of what God intended the church to be.
Last week we spent a fair amount of time defining the different roles that we have here at TGP and we specifically looked at the role of a Deacon and Deaconess.
I’d like to briefly review some of that for those that weren’t here.
Also, please go back and listen to the podcast if you weren’t here so that you can hear all that was communicated.
There is clear distinction between an Elders and Deacons.
Elders are overseers in the church, whose primary focus is on spiritual matters.
Deacons are servants in the church, whose primary focus is on physical matters.
We get the words deacon and deaconess from the Greek word diakonos [dee-ak’-on-os] , which translates to servants or minister, in the church.
Why is it important to make the distinction between Elders and Deacons?
We looked at the fact that Paul specifically mentions that a woman can serve as a deaconess.
Romans 16:1–2 ESV
1 I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae, 2 that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints, and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a patron of many and of myself as well.
Paul is telling the church in Rome to receive her in this role because she is called to it and has been serving in it.
I know that traditionally that SBC’s haven’t had female deacons, but it is clear in scripture that they served in this capacity.
The elders talked about this again this week in our meeting because we were asked some really good questions.
As we look at these passages, it is clear to us that women served in this role.
If you are struggling in any way with that, please come talk to us. Let me share with you what we have discovered as we have prayed and studied this out.
I want to bring us back to our exodus passage to close us out today.
Exodus 19:9 ESV
9 And the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I am coming to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may also believe you forever.” When Moses told the words of the people to the Lord,
Listen, in the midst of all this talk about deacons, elders, and fellow workers; it is so important that we don’t loose site of the purpose of all of this.
God wants to reveal himself to his people.
That is it.
He does all of this activity in the lives of Israel so that they can know him and know that he loves them.
The same is true for us.
Why is God continuing to push us forward?
Because He wants us to know that he loves us and he wants us to make that known to his people.
He is calling us to himself, calling us to action, and establishing a framework in order to get it done.
That is it. Bottom line.
Here is my hope. Here is all I am asking of my people.
Know God. Get in the word, pray, abide, ...
Last week I shared a basic rundown of my week.
You wanna know why I do that? D you want to know why I stay up late studying all week? Because I am encountering God and learning so much.
I want that for you!
Yes, I have some fancy software that helps me break some of it down, but the vast majority of what I say are things that the Holy Spirit reveals to me as I simply read and meditate on the passage.
Read one chapter a week. Study it.
Use resources if you want, but spend the majority of your time reading and meditating on the word.
It is going to blow you mind
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