Net Questions

1. Do you consider yourself a leader? Why or why not?

2. When we make the decision to follow Jesus, He will begin working on us to make us a leader. We are saved by faith in God’s grace, but true faith will be accompanied by good works. If a person claims saving faith, but nothing changes in their life, there’s a problem. Why is it not just enough to engage in following?
James 2:14  What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?
James 2:15  Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.
James 2:16  If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?
James 2:17  In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

3. A Godly leader wants to bring glory to God with everything he or she does. A Godly leader also wants to live in such a way that they never cause their fellow man to stumble. Having these goals will impact the life choices we make. When making decisions, what questions could we use as filters for those decisions?
Phil 1:9  And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,
Phil 1:10  so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ,
Phil 1:11  filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ--to the glory and praise of God.

4. Paul asked others to follow him as he followed Christ. Could you make this statement?
Bro. Larry stated this to be a great goal for a Christian. None of us are perfect, so is this a realistic goal?
Phil 3:12  Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
Phil 3:13  Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,
Phil 3:14  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Phil 3:15  All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.
Phil 3:16  Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
Phil 3:17  Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.


Sermon Notes

The ironic thing about engaging in following Jesus is that as soon as you start following Jesus, He will call you to engage in leading!
You can't follow Jesus without becoming a leader to others. It's a part of the plan, it's a part of His plan to save the world.

Make no mistake about it, being a leader takes courage. In the world, you can choose to only be a follower, but in God's Kingdom, that choice is not on the list! When you enter God's Kingdom and engage in following Jesus, you will be called upon to become a leader.
But here's the deal...

To many of God's people have decided they don't want to be leaders. Leadership brings responsibility and too many of us don't want the responsibility. The tragedy is when we shirk back from our leadership responsibility our families suffer. Our Churches suffer. Our communities suffer.

"But, Pastor Larry, I'm just not leadership material."
Maybe you don't think you are leadership material, but God has a way of changing that!
When you ask Jesus to be Lord of your life, He begins immediately working to make you everything He created you to be!!
Of course we've got to give Him permission to do the work! But hear me on this!

You might be tempted to point out your lack of abilities. Let me remind you, God's doesn't need your ability, He needs your availability!
Listen...

God has a way of taking a man who stutters and makes him stand before the Pharaoh of Egypt to demand freedom for God's people!! Think Moses!

God has a way of taking a shepherd boy and turning him into a mighty warrior and King after God's own heart! Think King David!

He has a way of taking a young Jewish orphan, raised by her uncle, and making her the Queen of Persia. In this position she was used of God to save the Jewish people from slaughter.
Think Ester!!

He has a way of taking a few fishermen, a tax collector, and a handful of other common folks and giving them the responsibility of taking God's message of hope to the whole wide world. Think the twelve disciples.

And God has a way of taking an unbeliever who once persecuted Christians, and turned him into one of the greatest church planters ever! Think Paul the Apostle.

By the way, Paul, under inspiration of The Holy Spirit, wrote our text for today.
Let's PRAY and we'll
see what he had to say about engaging in leading!

PRAY!!

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31 (NIV)

Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God —
1 Corinthians 10:32 (NIV)

even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.
1 Corinthians 10:33 (NIV)

Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
1 Corinthians 11:1 (NIV)

I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the teachings, just as I passed them on to you.
1 Corinthians 11:2 (NIV)

While giving instruction on delicate cultural issues in the Corinthian church Paul inadvertently gives great instructions on what it means to be a Christian leader.
Followers of Christ are called to be leaders!

Let's look at the traits of a Christian who engages in leading.


Trait #1

A Christian who engages in leading desires to bring glory to God in all he or she does!

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31 (NIV)

Here's the issue Paul was dealing with. Corinth was a very secular and pagan city. A majority of the meat sold in the markets had probably been used as a sacrifice to false gods.

Paul instructed them not to go to the pagan temples and get involved in their pagan feast. Even though their god's were false god's and not real, Paul told them not to engage in their wicked celebrations or feast, because, while their god's weren't real, the demonic activity was real and very harmful. It would not bring God glory for His children to be involved in eating the food at their feast.

However, he let them know that if they bought food at the market that may or may not have been used in a pagan sacrifice, the meat itself was created by God and in and of itself was not a problem.


Here's the lesson for us. Whatever activity we engage in needs to be run through a filter.

Here's the filter...

"Would this activity bring Glory to God?"
or
"Does this activity have the potential to bring dishonor to God?"

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,
Philippians 1:9 (NIV)

so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ,
Philippians 1:10 (NIV)

filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
Philippians 1:11 (NIV)

Trait #2

A Christian who engages in leading would never want to cause someone else to stumble!

Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God —
1 Corinthians 10:32 (NIV)

Back to the situation Paul was dealing with.
Even though he had already stated that the meat itself was not bad, he let them know if they knew the meat set before them had been involved in a pagan ritual, it would be better not to eat it due to the fact it might cause a weaker, less mature person, stumble.  

Here's the application for us. Once we decide to follow Jesus, we are looked upon by others as a leader. Right or wrong, people judge Jesus by what they see in His followers.

When you are going to engage in an activity it is imperative that we ask the question..."Would or could this cause someone to stumble?"

Paul put it this way just a few verses earlier...


“Everything is permissible”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is constructive.
1 Corinthians 10:23 (NIV)

Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.
1 Corinthians 10:24 (NIV)

As leaders it is imperative we ask the questions...

"Is this beneficial?"
"Is this constructive?"

Parents, this is a crucial area for you!
Do you ask these questions regarding the example you set for your children?
What you watch on tv?
What you listen to on the radio?
How you talk about others?
The beverages you consume?
Attitudes?
Temper?
Selfishness?

They are watching and learning!!

And that little word selfish keeps cropping up in messages, doesn't it it. In fact let's look at our next trait of a person engaged in leading...

Trait #3

A Christian who engages in leading puts others ahead of his or her self!

even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.
1 Corinthians 10:33 (NIV)

First of all, I must comment on Paul's words that he tried to please everyone in every way.
He was not saying that he compromised his convictions to please people. He was saying that he tried to live his life in a way that would have the greatest impact on others in a Godly way, even if it meant giving up his own personal wants and wishes! In fact that's what he goes on to say...


For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.

The book "Courageous" has a chapter entitled "Becoming a Chain Breaker."

Let me read you a portion of this...

"The generations of a family will lead one another further and further away from God unless a chain breaker steps up and turns things around--because although children are not punished for the sins of their parents, they are definitely affected and negatively influenced by them...

There are not perfect fathers. Like everyone else, they are flawed, sinful, human beings who make mistakes. But because of their spiritual authority and influential position in our lives, they have impacted who we are, what we experience, what we believe, and what direction we've taken as we've grown up...

Not only do we receive a sin nature from them, but sin nurturing. We will tend to live in their wake, be influenced by their same mistakes, believe the same lies, and maybe even struggle with their same issues and addictions."

"Unless..."

Unless somebody decides to stop being selfish and self-serving, and decides to engage in being a spiritual leader.

This is the only way to become a "chain breaker!"

You become a "chain breaker" when decide you're going to put your spouse and your children ahead of yourself!

And the only way to have the power to do that is to allow Jesus total control over every decision you make.
In other words...

"The only way to become a Christian leader is to become a Christ follower who is totally surrendered to God's will."

When you've totally surrendered to follow God's will for your life, then and only then can you say what Paul said next...
In fact it is our fourth trait of a person engaged in leading...

Trait #4

A Christian who engages in leading is a totally committed follower of Christ!

Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
1 Corinthians 11:1 (NIV)

Here's the kicker for me...

Could I make the same statement and feel good about it?

Could you?
Could we say, "Follow me as I follow Christ?"

It is my goal to someday get to a place where I can say..."Follow me as I follow Christ!"

If this could be every Christian's goal!
What a difference we would see in our families, our churches, our communities!




Do we care enough about God's will to desire this goal? Do we care enough for our children to desire this goal?
Do we care enough for the lost and dying man out there to say this?

It will take great courage to make this your goal, but what better goal in this world could there be?

George W. Truett told the story of B. H. Carroll in one of his sermons preached in the early 1900's...

"I heard Dr. B. H. Carroll, tell of a revival meeting he held in a remote rural section when he was a young preacher. The people had come in great numbers, but there was no response, no action, no turning to the Lord. He said he went away one evening before the hour of preaching and prayed:

"Oh, give me the strength to preach as a dying man to dying men. Give me the power to preach so that the message will be irresistible and and will take hold of men's hearts."

Wouldn't it be amazing if we as Christians had the courage to pray like that. Not all of us are preachers, so maybe the prayer could be worded something like this...

"Oh, give me the strength to present the gospel with my life as a dying man to dying men. Give me the power to live so that the message will be irresistible and and will take hold of men's hearts."

This leads us to our final trait. It is similar to the second trait...

Trait #5

A Christian who engages in leading pours the teachings of the One he follows into the lives of those he leads!

I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the teachings, just as I passed them on to you.
1 Corinthians 11:2 (NIV)

A Christian leader is not just concerned with not making someone else stumble, they want to tell them and show them what it means to follow Jesus!
What is your life teaching?
What do you want to teach?

You might be tempted to say,
"Pastor Larry, truth is, I'm not really in a position to teach. I'm not the one in charge where I work. I don't lead any teams at church or school."

Some people think that leadership equals being in charge. I can assure you just being in charge doesn't make you a leader. You may have the positional authority to be leader, you may have the power to be leader, and you may even have a take charge personality that makes it appear you are a leader, but there's so much more to being a leader than position, power and personality!

When it comes to being a Christian leader, it's so much more about who you are and the way you live your life than it is your position in life. Sometimes it's not the boss who is the real leader. The real leader in most situations is the one who can be trusted, has integrity, and a vision that includes others!

For the Christian leader, there is one other major factor...

Henry and Richard Blackaby said it well in their book "Spiritual Leadership..."

"More than anything else, people are looking for spiritual leaders who are clearly experiencing God's presence. There is no greater source of influence for spiritual leaders than the manifest presence of God in their lives!"

Paul was writing to young Timothy about engaging in leadership. We'll close with his words of wisdom...

Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.
1 Timothy 4:7 (NIV)

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
1 Timothy 4:8 (NIV)

This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance
1 Timothy 4:9 (NIV)

(and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.
1 Timothy 4:10 (NIV)

Command and teach these things.
1 Timothy 4:11 (NIV)

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.
1 Timothy 4:12 (NIV)

Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.
1 Timothy 4:13 (NIV)

"set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity."

End Sermon here!

You and I are called to be a part of leading others to Jesus. There will be a whole sermon on engage in telling, but for today, we must concentrate on what it means to be a leader.

ETS: While giving instruction on delicate cultural issues in the Corinthian church Paul inadvertently gives great instructions on what it means to be a Christian leader.
ESS: Followers of Christ are called to be leaders!
OSS: I want my hearers to understand what it means to be a Christian leader.


Unifying Word: Traits
Transitional Sentence: Let's look at the traits of a Christian who engages in leading.