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October 2, 2020 4:00 am
The way Christians met for church in the first century different than the way we meet for church today, but the reasons we gather and the respective roles. We feel that hasn't changed. Today on Truth for Life. Alastair Ben continues. A study introduced yesterday in first Thessalonians 5 it's here we find timeless biblical direction for leaders and members alike. Quite simply this morning I want us to consider. First of all, the activity of the leaders and then the anti-should of the members. First of all, then the activity of the leaders, these individuals who are working hard to are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. In other words, these are the elders or the pastors of the church.
Secondly, who are over you in the Lord who work hard and you are over you in the Lord. In other words, the exercise leadership. They do so as men who are over others, but they are under Christ, and it is the fact that they are under Christ to give an account that gives them the characteristic of leadership because really good leadership is not about authority or credentials. It was about humility. It was not about power.
It was about gentleness when you read this phraseology here, you read it wrong. We read it wrong.
If we take the phrase who are over you in the Lord somehow in a way that is regarded as autocratic, authentic servant leadership demands management. You cannot leave without managing things. Ultimately, a pastor is not a manager but a pastor must know how to manage an elder is not called to read management consultant books, but an elder will do well to read management consultant. What because you have to manage things however the chairs going.
How many chairs are there, I will. The will the walls be pulled back or will the walls stand for the Christmas Eve services. Somebody has to manage system in the same whether you have to manage your family if you don't manage your family is chaos.
And of course the mismanagement of family life is, therefore, is all to see, not least of all of the present time.
As young mothers and young fathers, despising the instruction of the Bible concerning what it means to respect for authority, and so on are are in the process of trying to carve out an entirely new landscape for themselves and that's why in the New Testament there is a constant correlation from the lesser to the greater to the management of those are under our care to the exercise of those responsibilities in the framework of the church and the greatest joys and physical parenting are not in issuing orders but in establishing the parameters so that our children might grow up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord and the same is true in terms of if you like spiritual parenting or fatherhood or leadership within the church. Notice that you are to recognize that this is in the Lord who are over you in the Lord. In other words, it is within the framework of Christian relationships. It is as it relates to the matters of spiritual life.
And thirdly who admonish you.
In other words, who seek to keep you on the path that's really what it means to admonish is nothing negative in the word except the warning aspect of it all don't go there. That's too close to the edge or don't listen to this person, they'll tell you the wrong things the same thing again is apparent delighted to see your children walking in the truth and that is hard work and there is leadership. Hence, there is admonishment and Paul gives is the flavor of that kind of admonishment when he describes his relationship with the Ephesian elders in acts chapter 20 and he says I never failed night and day to admonish every one of you with tears in my eyes.
In other words, is not heavy-handed's. His brother leanness is big brother leanness tender enough so as not to shame. Those who are under our care firm enough so as not to allow those under our care to wander into bypass meadow and as in family relationships. So in the church getting that balance is absolutely crucial because to go on one site is to become heavy-handed and to break the spirit of our children to go on the other side is to become so lax as to deprive our children of the very benefits that they require for wholeness will not, then is something concerning the activity of the leader's return of to the attitude of the members to the attitude of the members are just three things concerning them. First of all, what are they to do while they are to show respect.
Verse 12 now we ask your brothers to respect those who work hard among you, in other words, to appreciate the value of appreciate the value of annuity.
That's what it means to teach your children respect for a dollar and reading Warren Buffett of the mom and the snowball someone gave it to me as a very kind gift. What a fat book and but it is not as daunting as it looks is actually a page turner and it was fascinating for me to discover our young Warren Buffett at the age of six, as selling chewing gum and refusing to break a pack of five sticks of chewing gum for a lady who wanted only one because it sincerely FAF.
It is severely affected his profit margin and left him with four states, which were then a responsibility to edifying for more people who only wanted one so he refuse the age of six. No I never break up my packs no surprise that by the age of 14 he was already filing his first tax return and that by the age of 17. It already established five small companies under his jurisdiction. It is a quite fascinating book and he understood from the get go. The value of a penny, and the value of a dollar and the value of compounded interest. He had respect for, we might say on on June respect but nevertheless he understood what it was to respect wealth. It is that notion that is here to appreciate to respect the value of leadership. God has given leadership to the church because he cares for the church because he intends the church to enjoy the benefits of that leadership.
It is therefore incumbent upon the members of the local church to make sure that they are submitting in the Lord under the Bible to the guidance of nurture and admonishment of those who are set in positions of responsibility. Note it is a very very word isn't to respect them to respect them to respect those who work hard among you, and I was not to flatter them or to fawn over the Mr. Alex is so wonderful. I've never heard anyone like him.
Never met anyone I go please be quiet. Mr. Alex can do no wrong.
You have never met him talk to his wife. Mr. Alex is the key to this.
While he may be the key to that, but God just change the locks on that door and what you find. Traditionally, in the church, large and in the church.
Local is a pendulum swing between adulation and denigration.
You know, in the first few years the idolize you. You know in the next few years.
They criticize you in the next three year few years. The ostracize you and then if you stay long enough you can actually people's memories go and they come back around, you have another little idolize time mellow special honeymoon, like the children of left knee and golfer of for a weekend by yourselves or in the back around so where are you now idolize ostracize criticize marginalized whatever it is is truly leadership in any cases in your schoolteacher. You know that one day your hero the next day or about one day the parents are all in sending you chocolate chip cookies and exterior and telling you going to the board of governors and you never teach for a day in your life.
The same lady that was in last week it was chocolate chip cookies this week is something entirely different. While the same is true in the church.
So what you find is the people flatter or they despise. They either regard you as indispensable or as totally dispensable. Or, we could never do without you.
We don't care if you ever come back again so I sometimes is like the weather in Scotland is on the shape of this all in the space of 20 minutes. That's why the New Testament says again and again. Don't forget the leaders who taught the word of God to you.
Don't forget them, and if you don't forget them.
You remember to pray for.
I do remember that there just like you they have a different responsibility, but they still have the same challenges the sale of the same temptations. The still of the same things that wake them up in the night.
They still of the same dilemmas of family life.
They still of all of that stuff and they will give an account for every word spoken from the Bible and every counsel given in response to a telephone call and every word spoken harshly and unwisely and every time they fogged off the responsibility of taking a stand when they couldn't raise the challenge that was there. All of that as well respect on secondly hold them in the highest regard that takes it upper-level again doesn't hold them in the highest regard. In other words, the anti-Jude is not simply one of appreciation, but is one of affection and the affection you will notice this love is not on the basis of personal liking. It doesn't say hold them in the highest regard because they are such wonderful individual no hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work, not because they champion our personal causes because they stroke our egos because they tickle that which is our fantasy. My experience in 30 years of pastoral ministry. Is this the people who follow in support leadership on that basis will as quickly dessert the con man are not on the crest of a wave and they go out in the undertow and sometimes within the shortest period of time. Why because they come in with wrong expectations. There is only one perfect leader Jesus.
There is only one authoritative Shepherd, Jesus.
There is only one foundation for the church.
Jesus and every other person under Christ will only on their best stay be an approximation to that to which all of us are called by the New Testament so the church member needs to learn to say it's not my personal preference that matters here, but the good of the church which is the important thing in this is especially important when it comes to issues of personal preference as opposed to something which is a biblical mandate.
In other words, it is a biblical mandate to pray. It is a biblical mandate to celebrate the Lord's supper is a biblical mandate to baptize is a biblical mandate to worship God. All of those things are not even in question is a biblical mandate to exercise discipline, but how many times you have to pray and when are you supposed to pray when my friends a long way from here is having a very, very difficult time of the moment because he is trying to change the time of his church prayer meeting is trying to move it from Saturday night to Wednesday nights and he has our Royal circus on his hands is not shutting down prayer he just trying to move the night.
While I think we ought to sing using those hymn books. I like it when they'll bang down again into the pew. I don't think we should have screens so on why you have strengths. Why are they not going away, why, why doesn't that organ play all the time why don't you have a big cross up in the middle. Here are two big crosses get your face out of the road. Why don't you do all these.
I understand people of all kinds of personal preference, but if they're not biblical mandates. They're not worth arguing and sold many local churches end up in deep difficulty because they take what is peripheral and they make it central and as a result, what is central becomes peripheral.
They failed to remind themselves again and again that the main things are the plain things and the plain things are the main things either. Neither in business or in church life can people exercise effective leadership. If those on their team are continually critical, often it is small wonder wrote one of my colleagues. If we are continually critical of our leaders that are set over as it is small wonder that they cannot perform the miracles we demand of the leaders can never do their best work when they are subject to the carping criticism of those who should be there followers respect them, hold them in highest regard in love because of the work, and finally I just a sentence on this live in peace with each other.
Many of the commentators I noticed move that final sentence into verse 14 and put it in the realm of fellowship. While it does act as a bridge. There's no question of that. But I wonder whether Paul is not just tipping his hat here to first Corinthians chapter 3.
Make sure that you respect them. Make sure that you hold them in high regard and make sure that you live in peace with one another. Remember when he wrote to the Corinthians in first Corinthians 3's that I can address your spiritual, but as worldly mere infants in Christ I gave you milk, not solid food, for you weren't ready for it.
Indeed, you're still not ready. You're still worldly.
Now what what is he going to say you're still worldly. What is good what what is coming next.
When I was growing up in Scotland you're still worldly.
What came next was cinema or whatever else is that was that was worldly and there's no question that it was and is more of a concern now than it was then, and sadly now it is no concern. And so anyway that's another day for another subject, you are still worldly or since there is jealousy and quarreling among you are, you know, worldly. So here's here's the indication of the church began to crumble jealousy and quarreling and what is the basis of generous jealousy and garlic. Are you not acting like mere men and women and how is that for when one says. I follow Paul and another.
I follow Paula's on you not mere men, what, after all, is a Paula's and what is Paul interestingly asked in the neuter task in the masculine doesn't say who is Paul, and who is a policy since one. What is Paul what supports their only servants to whom you came to believe, as the Lord is assigned to each his task and others as this was God's plan from all of eternity. He just decided to use a policy or he just decided to reuse bill. He just decided to use Fred. He just decided to use the individual.
I planted the seed screwball is water that although you what God made it grow, so neither he plans and review waters is anything, but only gardening who makes things grow because the manic plants in the manner waters of one purpose and each will be rewarded according to his own labor, not according to his own success in about how many of my colleagues are in tiny, tiny little congregations and if this said here that they will be rewarded according to their apparent success. How amazingly discouraging know they will be rewarded, rewarded, according to their labor. In Scotland tonight is already almost 4 in the afternoon in Scotland tonight. There would be congregations in remote parts of the Highlands, where only a cluster of people gather where 12 or 20 or maybe 25 show up for church. But still, the pastor is there.
Still, he is done. The study still.
He is teaching the flock and he will be rewarded according to his labor. For we are God's fellow workers. You are God's field, you are God's building. Our time is gone. But here's the code and it is vitally important that you hear this, especially if you're here as a visitor this morning. As you perhaps have come and you said wow I don't know what's going on, but there was a sermon about leadership, and apparently there's some rebellious commando group apart say that is just emerging from somewhere in and the elders of chart bag with the responsibility of trying to put these boys into shape know. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth, at least as far as I know, it's always possible that it happens not on my watch. But no, I want to encourage you in the way in which Paul encourages the Thessalonians as you start these instructions look at first Thessalonians 41 as we finish. Finally, brothers, he says we instructed you how to live in order to please God.
Now notice this next phrase, as in fact you are living now.
We ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. What a privilege it is this morning church family to come to this instruction regarding the activity of leadership and the attitude of membership knowing that in the mercy and goodness of God. We do not address it to correct the problem as much as to continue a pattern, but we must never rest on our laurels. We must never take these things for granted.
We must always be aware that we are engaged in spiritual warfare that the evil one is a roaring lion, seeking those whom he may devour that he is an expert in infiltration that he is masterful at sowing the seeds of bitterness and disgruntlement. Therefore, let us hold on to what we have. That is a firm constantly.
Christ is the only foundation of the chair.
Let us remind ourselves entirely that while one may plan to another may water and we may be thankful for this individual or for that ultimately it is only God who makes things grow and therefore it is to him that we will constantly turn as we given thanks for the past as we trust in for the future. You're listening to Truth for Life with Alister bag and the conclusion of the first message in a new series called pastors and people. Today's message represents just one sermon.
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We are deeply grateful to truth partners and anyone who financially supports the Ministry of Truth for Life and today were pleased to offer an exceptional book written by pastor and blogger Tim Shelley's. It's called epic and around the world journey through Christian history Tim log more than 180,000 miles. He visited over 80 museums to photograph artifacts that told the story of God's faithfulness over the centuries the book again is called epic. It's a collection of photographs.
There are 33 in total. Each is paired with the story it tells about Christian history.
Tim went to places like Scotland and France, Ecuador, Zambia, Israel on a scavenger hunt of sorts. Epic is part history book and part travelogue and it comes with our thanks when you give a one time donation to support Truth for Life or when you become a monthly truth partner you can do either of those.
By visiting our website Truth for Life.org or call 888-588-7884 October is set aside as pastor appreciation month. One of the reasons why were featuring the pastor's study series and as a service to those in leadership. We've curated a list of highly recommended books for you.
These are not only for pastors. Also, for those in youth ministry are those who serve as elders or deacons. Maybe Sunday school teachers visit Truth for Life.org to view some of our favorite books or look for the list on the Truth for Life mobile app now here's Alister close with prayer father, look upon is in your mercy, we pray so that your word might dwell in us richly enabling us to sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs as we give thanks in our hearts to you. Our sovereign God to your son Christ, the great foundation of your church and to the Holy Spirit who enables us to both understand and to do that which the Scriptures teach triune God, we bless you in Jesus name.
We are grateful you joined us for today's study on Bob Lapine for Alister bag and all of us a Truth for Life. Hope you have a refreshing weekend.
Hope you can join us again Monday as we continue the pastor study series. Today's program was furnished by Truth for Life where the Learning is for Living