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Finishing Well-Six Barriers

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C.      Six Barriers to Finishing Well:

1.    Money –

Many leaders fail to finish well because they misuse money, their own and the ministry’s money.  They show a lack of integrity.

Gideon is a well known Bible leader.  Most people, when you ask them what they remember about Gideon recall the fleece

A.    FLEECE of wool.

1.      Judges 6:36-40

2.      Being led by the Spirit of God.;

a.       Romans 8:16

b.      Heb. 10:14-16

c.       15 And the Holy Spirit also beareth witness to us; for after he hath said,[1] ASV

                        3. This is how the Lord will usually speak to you.

B.     On the other hand, you might remember Gideon's victory he won with his tiny army of 300.

1.      Judges 7:16-22a

C.     But how did Gideon finish?

1.      Judges 8:22-27

a.       Gideon got it right when he said he wouldn’t be king (vs. 23). 

b.      But he got it wrong by being snared by gold (vs. 24). 

c.       The ephod he set up in his house not only caused his own downfall but “All Israel prostituted themselves by worshiping it there” (Judges 8:27)

2.      1 TIM 6:10

a.       What about Simon in Acts 8:6-13?

b.      Acts 8:18-22

2.  Abuse of power –

One characteristic of leadership is spiritual authority. Leaders do hear from God and do speak on behalf of God.  However, when a leader begins to use that authority for his or her own purposes, no matter how good their motivation may be, they are abusing the authority given to them.

One biblical example of a leader who failed in this area is Uzziah.  In 2 Chronicles 26:16-21 we find the story of how he went into the temple to offer incense.  Think about it¾what was wrong with this action?  It wasn’t his proper role!  But how did he react to the rebuke of the priests?  He became angry and raged at the priests (vs. 19).  Because of his abuse of power, leprosy broke out on his forehead and he spent the rest of his life isolated and excluded altogether from the Temple while his son, Jotham, took control in his place (2 Chronicles 26:21). 

3.  Pride –

A leader mightily used of God may begin to credit him or herself as the source of success.  Or a leader may begin to insist on privileges and respect because of their positionPride is ALWAYS a hindrance to the work of the Holy Spirit.

In Isaiah 39 and 2 Kings 20 we find the story of Hezekiah and the envoys from Babylon.  Hezekiah had been sick but God had spared him and promised another 15 years.  Envoys arrived from the king of Babylon with congratulations for his recovery.  Hezekiah, feeling very full of himself, was quite proud to show off all his wealth.  Isaiah comes to confront Hezekiah for his thoughtlessness.  “Where did those men come from?” he asked.  “From a distant land,” Hezekiah replied.  “And what did they see in your palace?” Isaiah asked.  “Why, everything, off course!  I showed them all my VAST wealth!” Hezekiah returns.  then Isaiah gives him the bad news: all this wealth and his own descendants would one day be carried off to Babylon.  Hezekiah’s response?  “Well, good.  At least there’ll be peace in my own life-time.” (2 Kings 20:19).  Hezekiah’s pride contributed to the downfall of the nation. 2 Kings 20:16-19


19 “The word of the Lord you have spoken is good,” Hezekiah replied. For he thought, “Will there not be peace and security in my lifetime?” [2]

For he thought, Is it not good, if [all this evil is meant for the future and] peace and security shall be in my days? [3]

4.  Misused sexuality –

This includes not only adultery but all forms of misuse of one's sexuality.

The most famous biblical example of this is, of course, the story of David and Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11).  What we don’t often think about, though, is the far-ranging consequences of his action.  Nathan’s prophecy was that the sword would never leave his house, and it didn’t.  First, the child born to them died.  Then Amnon was killed by Absolom for raping Tamar.  Then Absolom was killed in his revolt.  Finally, Adonijah who had set himself up as king before David died was killed at  Solomon’s orders.  Four sons for the life of Uriah. 

5.  Social base / family –

Family crises can sideline a leader.  A failed marriage and a child gone wild are two of the family problems that will cause a leader’s ministry to break down.

Eli and his sons are a prime case of the consequences of family breakdown.  Their story is found in 1 Samuel 2-4.  Eli’s sons were abusing the women who came to the tabernacle and taking meat that was not rightfully their portion as priests.  A man of God came to Eli and gave him a message: “Why do you scorn my sacrifice and offering that I prescribed for my dwelling?  Why do you honor your sons more than me by fattening yourselves on the choice parts of every offering made by my people Israel?” (1 Samuel 2:29).   Eli is recorded to have rebuked his sons.  But consider this:  When Eli died, he did so because he fell over backwards and his great weight caused his neck to be broken (1 Samuel 4:18).  How did Eli get so fat?  He might have rebuked his sons on the one hand, but he was eating their illegal loot on the other!  How seriously do you think his sons took his rebuke when he was giving it with a mouth full of illicit meat?

6.  Plateauing –

People tend to become comfortable doing what they’ve always done.  What has led to past success is assumed to lead to success again.  When a leader stops learning and growing, he or she has plateaued.  That leader will never become what he or she was intended by God to be.

David is again an example for us when we look at 2 Samuel 15-18.  Think about the story of Absolom’s revolt and all the time just preceding the revolt.  What was Absolom doing?  He was standing in the gate, greeting the people, and sympathizing with their troubles.  He was saying things like, “It’s a pity the king is too busy to see you.  If only I were king, I would see you got justice.” (2 Samuel 15:4)  Absolom did this for four years.  Where was David all this time?   Sitting on his throne, twiddling his thumbs?  Seems like it.

Is any of this alarming to you?  Have you seen things like this happen in the church?  Can you see yourself in any of these hindrances?  Which one (or two) do you think you might be most vulnerable to?

It is true that most leaders studied do not finish well.  That is the bad news.  But just as there are things that hinder a good finish, there are things that enhance a good finish.


[1]American Standard Version. 1995 (Heb 10:14-15). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[2]The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (2 Ki 20:19). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

[3]The amplified Bible, containing the amplified Old Testament and the amplified New Testament. 1987 (2 Ki 20:19). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

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