Sunday, March 13, 2005

Jesus - The Leader!

Intro:  The story is told of a dog who loved to go on walks with the family. He would always run out in front of the group, then proudly walk along with his head high and his tail wagging. Undoubtedly he believed himself to be the leader. However, he would constantly keep looking back to check the direction in which the family was walking. When a corner was reached he would stop and wait to see which direction the family took, then run out front to resume “leading” once again. Although the dog manifested the outward appearances of leadership, the fact was he was following out in front! In our homes, at work, among our friends, and in the church, we are called toward heaven. Through our daily commitment and example, we encourage others to follow along with us. Neither dominating others nor deferring to popular opinion, we lead the way. Someone once said, “A good leader not only knows the way, but shows the way!”—Al Maxey The Aloha Spirit  [AMG Bible Illustrations. 2000 (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; Bible Illustrations Series. Chattanooga: AMG Publishers.]

Read Mark 10:32-34

There is absolutely no direct connection between my sermon this morning and the meeting that I had here yesterday.

  1. It was the nominating committee that met yesterday. We went over a set of names and considered where they might fit into various roles in our church.

  2. Those positions represent the leadership of our church.

  3. The sermon topic, leadership, was set long before the meeting was scheduled.

  4. Yet it seems appropriate that the day we begin to think about our church leadership for the coming year, we also look to the scriptures for and example of leadership.

  1. Leadership means going ahead of the crowd, even when it means being alone.

    1. It was going to be Jesus' last trip to Jerusalem. He had already told his disciples about his upcoming death and sacrifice – in fact he had told them twice before. He knew what was coming – and still he set his path toward Jerusalem.

(Ill.) Charles Swindoll has said, “No one deserves the right to lead without first persevering through pain and heartache and failure.”

    1. There were a lot of emotions that day. “They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way”

    2. Jesus knew what would happen. As he hung on that cross, there would be those who would see the last three years as wasted. Here was their friend, their leader, being hung like a common criminal among other common criminals. They would see their task as a failure.

    3. But knowing this, it was Jesus' direction that day. He was not following His disciples. He was not just tagging along with the crowd. No, Jesus was setting the direction and destination of their travel.

    4. But there were other emotions that day. It had been an amazing three years that the disciples had spent with Jesus. Why just the other day Jesus had told his disciples that “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” And as they walked along that road to Jerusalem, the disciples were amazed at all they had seen and heard during their time with Jesus.

    5. But there were other emotions that day. Along with Jesus and His disciples there was also a crowd. Mark records their emotions as being one of fear. We often fear what we do not understand and they did not understand Jesus.

(Appl.) Individuals come to Jesus with a great many emotions. Some with tears, some with joy. Some will come with a load that we cannot fathom. But however we come to Jesus, may we remember that day so many years ago, “They were on their way... and Jesus was leading the way.”

  1. Leadership requires the tone of courage in the midst of fear.

    1. In the midst of three sentences, Jesus tells his disciples

      1. the location of his suffering

      2. those who will carry out his execution

      3. the type of abuse he will suffer on the way to the cross

    2. Jesus did not want it – but it did not deter Him from traveling the path that God had laid out for Him.

    3. Adversity is part of the Christian life. It was part of the path that Jesus had to follow.

(Ill.) Martin Luther understood the role of opposition to the Christian life. He wrote, “‘If the Devil were wise enough and would stand by in silence and let the gospel be preached, he would suffer less harm. For when there is no battle for the gospel it rusts and it finds no cause and no occasion to show its vigor and power. Therefore, nothing better can befall the gospel than that the world should fight it with force and cunning.’

(Appl.) I expect that during this coming week there will be someone in this room today who will be faced with an adversity that they did not expect. It may be a problem that they did not anticipate, it might be a temptation that they have never faced, or one that they thought they had moved beyond years before. Let me suggest three thing to remember when you are facing adversity:

  1. You are not alone – You are not the first believer to face adversity. Jesus did, the disciples did, the early church did.

  2. You are not alone – You cannot get so much trouble that God is not there. When trouble comes, we can pray. We can take our loads, whatever they may be, to God. Let Him carry that load that you are trying to carry alone.

  3. You are not alone – As a believer, you are part of a family – the family of God. Look around you. This is part of your family. We can help carry part of that load that you have. We can do that through prayer. We can do that through listening. We can do that through by making ourselves available.

      I do not know what adversity you will face this week. Whatever it might be, remember, you are not alone.

  1. Leadership means taking responsibilty for living with the consequences of our decisions.

    1. There were consequences to being the Son of God.

    2. Jesus would go to Jerusalem.

    3. Jesus would be betrayed.

    4. Jesus would be handed over to the Gentiles.

    5. He was mocked, he was spit upon, he was flogged, and he died.

    6. I expect Jesus was appreciative of all he suffered as we might be.

    7. But his life did not end there – the final proof of all that he taught was not that he was able to predict the future. That could have been lucky guesses.

    8. The real proof that Jesus knew what he was speaking of was that on Easter Sunday he rose to live again.

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