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Leadership - Part 2

Turning Point / David Jeremiah
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November 16, 2020 12:25 pm

Leadership - Part 2

Turning Point / David Jeremiah

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November 16, 2020 12:25 pm

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Think about salt for a moment. It doesn't draw attention to itself.

It just makes other things taste better. It's no wonder that Jesus wants his followers to be like salt. Today on Turning Point, Dr David Jeremiah considers more of the qualities that Jesus desires from those with the courage to share his love with a world that desperately needs it. Listen as David introduces the compelling conclusion of his message, Leadership. We've learned so far yesterday that Jesus teaches us to be leading by cooperation rather than by competition, to be leading by conviction rather than convenience, and to be leading by courage rather than cowardice, three very important principles for leadership that translate all the way to right now, right today.

Whatever it is your leadership task is, those three principles will help you lead according to Jesus. Let's get back to our study. It is a sad fact that pride and competitiveness often lead us to work against others who are on the same team. The result of it is, if you stop and ponder it for a moment, the result of it is that those who are living in the kingdom of darkness who need our witness are left in their oppression and suffering while we argue about what is the right way to reach them. I just want to go back and remind you that we have the same goal. We're trying to reach this lost world for Christ, and as everything around us seems to be crumbling, and as all of the things that used to separate us seem to be so insignificant and foolish, if we're going to make an impact on this world for Jesus Christ, we've got to quit playing the silly games we've been playing for so long and remember that if we're on the same team, we should fight in the same way, work with one another, and try to make a difference in the world where we've been called to make a difference.

We have the same goal. But notice, Jesus added one more thing. We have the same God. In verse 41, he says, "'For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in my name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.'"

Here's the question. Does he belong to Christ? If he belongs to Christ, I don't mean he just by word belongs to Christ, but genuinely belongs to Christ is a follower, a disciple of Jesus Christ.

That's the core that you need to care about. Does he belong to Christ? These words, if kept before us, will deliver us from a party spirit and from petty bickerings and from jealousy in Christian service.

Does he belong to Christ? Romans 14, 7, and 9 says, "'For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's. For to this end, Christ died and rose and lives again, that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.'" We serve the same God.

Let us not forget that. So the first part of Jesus' instruction that day was to his disciples, and I want to just pause for a moment and remind you that here in this section of the book of Mark, we actually see Jesus Christ doing a little leadership training for his disciples. He knows that one of these days he's going to be out of the picture, and the whole thing will rest on them. I believe that some of these lessons, which are so very to the soul, were lessons meant to help the disciples after Jesus had gone back to heaven, for we know for a fact from the Scripture that when Jesus went back to heaven, the Spirit of God brought back to their minds many things that they had learned from Jesus while he was on this earth. Now, the Lord's going to switch gears a little bit with his disciples and teach them another lesson, which is also vital for us to learn today, and this is a very tedious section of Scripture. I don't mean that in any way to be disrespectful to the Scripture, and you'll know what I mean as we get into it. The first lesson we learned from the text today was how to lead by cooperation rather than by competition, but the second leadership lesson Jesus is giving his disciples is learning to lead by conviction rather than by convenience, and he begins in verse 42 by helping the disciples to understand that they have been given a great gift, and that gift is the gift of influence, and in the 42nd verse we read these words, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. This is a sober warning to his followers against injuring or destroying the faith of simple and ordinary people. The Greek word translated causes to stumble refers to destroying the faith of a fellow believer or causing a believer to fall away from God. The punishment for such an offense is calamitous according to Jesus. To cause someone to sin because of our attitude of superiority and elitism as a leader is a very serious issue with our Lord. Jesus tells us that we are not only to accept the downtrodden and the outcast pictured by the little child that we saw in the last lesson, we are also to make sure that we do not do anything that causes that child to stumble. Jesus says that when you are given influence as a leader, you have a double responsibility to live your life in such a way that it does not become a means for others to misunderstand who God is and to stumble in their faith.

To be in a leadership role or to have folks who look to you doesn't mean you have to be perfect or paragons of virtue, but it means you need to take seriously that you have been given a gift of influence and you need to use that influence carefully. In the ancient world, grain was ground by big cylindrical shaped millstones that were so large they could only be turned over by the power of oxen. The millstone imagery was so dreadful for a Jew. Jesus said it would be better to take one of those huge millstones and tie it around the neck of a person and drown him in the sea. It would be better for him to experience that than to have to stand before a righteous God someday with the knowledge that because of the way you lived and the things you did, you caused many to stumble and lose their faith. I read this passage very soberly.

I would rather die than ever do anything that would cause somebody to not see Jesus as he is. I'm not a perfect person by a long shot in case you want to debate that, you can call Donna. I make a lot of mistakes. I'm a flawed human being, but I do understand the responsibility of the stewardship of influence.

Some people that I know and love and respect have done some things that they shouldn't have done, in my estimation, and they've made it very difficult to comprehend what is this all about. Sometimes we like to flaunt our freedom. If we preach grace as we should, if we're not careful, we think, well, that means I can do whatever I want to do, and I can do whatever we should.

If we're not careful, we think, well, that means I can do whatever I want to do. I'm a child of the King. I live by grace.

If you don't like it, you just don't understand grace. Well, that's just not a very good way to go through life. When God honors you with influence and a position of leadership, you have to walk by a different set of guidelines than anyone else. How do you know if you're a leader? Look around and see if anybody's following.

If nobody's following, you're not a leader, and people do not follow for very long if they know you're not genuine in what you do. Are we going to have mistakes? Yes.

Will we slip up along the way? Yes, but the key is, if you're a follower of Christ, you don't let it go long before you make it right and you get back on the path toward the Lord. But to do something that is totally outside of the context of what a leader would do and then flaunt it in the name of your freedom, I don't want to have to answer for that.

That's just flat out wrong. It's not just about me, though sometimes I thought the Lord was preaching to me before I could ever preach to you. It's about any of us. All of us have roles of leadership within the body. Some of us are teachers. Some of us are leaders in our small group. Some of us are on boards.

Some of us are up in front of people singing. When we take for granted that this is just what I do here and I can live any way I want to in the rest of my life, that's just not the way the Bible is written. God wants us to be people of integrity and to be the same people wherever we are.

If I preach the Word of God and then I go out and live in a way that is unbiblical, I have just undercut all of the authority that comes with the preaching of the Gospel and I have been an incredibly bad steward of the influence God has given me. God gives all of us a stewardship. There's a stewardship of time and talent and treasure. We all have that. But sometimes God gives to some people the stewardship of influence and when you get that stewardship, to me that's one we don't talk about nearly enough.

That's a serious, sober thing. So look at your own life. Who are the people that look to you? Who are the people that follow you?

Who are the people that believe you're the person who follows Christ and so they're trying to figure out what that's like so they're looking at your life? Acknowledging the reality of your influence, here's the second thing. This section about accepting the responsibility for your influence begins in verse 43 of the ninth chapter. Listen to the words of Jesus.

This is red letter stuff here. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than having two hands to go to hell into the fire that shall never be quenched where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame rather than having two feet to be cast into hell into the fire that shall never be quenched where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.

It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched. Jesus uses three parallel statements to illustrate the importance of walking in holiness. The hand, the foot, and the eye symbolize our entire life. The hand symbolizes what we do. The foot symbolizes where we go.

And the eye symbolizes what we see. And in the simplest terms, Jesus is setting two opportunities before us, one which flaunts one's freedom and the other which takes life seriously and would rather lose a hand, a foot, or an eye than to cause someone to stumble because of one's carelessness. The point is that it is imperative that we should take swift and earnest action against anything that might take us away from our commitment to Christ. And the Lord Jesus isn't really telling us to cut our arm off or cut our leg off or pluck out our eye. What he is saying is that if there is something in our life that is causing us to live in a way that is not with integrity, you would be better off without an important part of your body than to go through life hurting others and in the end hurting your own soul. So this whole thing about being a Christian is not for wimps.

This is not for people who just want an easy life. And sometimes you get that impression when you listen to what goes on in churches because we just seem to be coming to church to try to help everybody feel better. Christianity is not about feeling better. Christianity is about doing better. And when you do better, you'll feel better. It's about following the Lord and taking his truth seriously and living a life that has integrity in it so that when people see you and they see right through you, there isn't any change.

You are who you are. And the Bible tells us that sometimes when God shows us something in our life that is hindering our progress with him, we need to take swift action. We need to deal with it ruthlessly. We need to quit doing whatever it is.

I could give you all kinds of illustrations, but I know you're cycling through your own set, so I'll just let you do that. What is it in your life that's keeping you from really going on with the Lord? What is it in your life that's causing others to wonder what this Christianity is all about? Jesus says you'd be better off to just get rid of it.

Take the drastic action that is illustrated by amputation and deal with it. And then there's one last thing in this text, and we'll be finished. Leading by cooperation rather than competition, and leading by conviction rather than convenience, and thirdly, leading by courage rather than cowardice. In the 49th verse of Mark 9, Jesus says, For everyone will be seasoned with fire, and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt. Jesus is saying, if you're going to be a follower, remember this whole thing is a continued teaching from Jesus who is telling his disciples what it means to be a disciple. Remember, the disciples wanted a Messiah with a crown, and Jesus says, You've got this all wrong. The Messiah you're going to follow is a Messiah with a cross. You want the easy life, three tabernacles on top of Mount Transfiguration.

You want life seated at the right hand and the left hand of the Master in his dominion. I'm telling you that the Christ you've got, the Messiah you've got, is on his way to the cross. And if you want to be a follower of his, you've got to understand some of that's going to spill over into your life, like what you do with your influence, and how you deal with the success of other people, and most of all, how you face suffering in your own experience. He says, Everyone will be seasoned with fire, and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt. The key to understanding this is to realize that in the Old Testament times, the temple sacrifices had to be accompanied by salt. Salt speaks of sacrifice, so the thought here is that everyone who follows Christ, every disciple, is to be a willing sacrifice. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. Romans 12.1. Let's not make any mistakes here about what it means to follow the Lord.

There's wonder and joy and the mountaintop experiences like Mount Transfiguration. But the most of the life is lived in the valley, in the trenches, following the Lord. Remember, we're following him, and where is he going?

He's going to the cross. The Bible says those who live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution, and none of us want that. We want the easy life.

We want the life that doesn't have any hurts or problems, but you won't get to a walk with Christ in discipleship if you are going to try to avoid the difficult things all of your life. This is not easy, this thing God calls us to do. It is wonderful. It is fulfilling. It is venturesome.

It is rewarding, but it's not easy. And Jesus says, if you're going to follow me, I'm going to the cross. And if you're going to follow me, you're going to have your cross as well.

I want you to go with me to the very last verse of the ninth chapter, for here's the major application from this whole section. Salt is good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves and have peace with one another. In the days of the New Testament, salt had two purposes. First of all, it was a preservative. They would salt down meat to keep it from spoiling. They used salt as a preservative to deal with decay so that it wouldn't happen. But it was also a flavor, and salt was used to flavor food, and we use salt today to flavor food. The job of salt in our world today primarily is to make something taste good. I don't know about you, but I can't stand corn on the cob without salt.

This is the words of somebody else, but it's my word too. When I have eaten a piece of corn on the cob that I really like, I put it down and what do I say? That was great salt. No, I put it down and I say that was great corn on the cob.

Why? Because the job of the salt is to make you think how great the thing that's being salted is. And what Jesus is saying here is that you can be a Christian and you can be a flavorless Christian. How do you become a flavorless Christian? You worry about what's going on with other people.

You don't worry so much about what's going on with you, and you don't want anything to do with the hard things of life. If that's who you are as a Christian, I'm not saying you're not a Christian, but I'm telling you you are a saltless Christian. That kind of a Christian doesn't make anything happen, and when people are around you, they don't think, boy, I would like to be a Christian like they are. They probably may not even know you're a Christian. What Jesus' point is with his disciples is this.

This is a tough thing I'm telling you. You're going to the cross with me, and you're going to live a life of persecution from that moment on all the days of this earth. And while he may not have said it, he could have said, and all of you will die through martyrdom. But if you want to make a difference in your world, here's what it looks like.

And he lays out all of these stipulations, and he says, you got a choice. You can either be a Christian so that wherever you go when you leave the room, it's better than it was before. Maybe you're in a small group, and you show up, and you're the salt of that group. What that means is when people leave that group that night, they don't say, wasn't she wonderful? No, they say, wasn't that an incredible group?

And you know why the group is incredible? Because the salt got there and made it incredible. Every one of us is salt to something if we're walking with the Lord and living according to his principles. And what Jesus wants us to know is this.

There's two ways. You can't be a disciple without salt. Salt is the essence of a disciple. But following Jesus is the most incredible, wonderful experience you will ever have in your whole life. And whatever is demanded from it is well worth it and the wonderful truth is it just keeps getting better and better until ultimately you stand before him one day and he says, well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord. Someone told me a long time ago that people who do not know the Lord are on a journey away from their reward.

Everything they have that's good is down here. But if you walk with the Lord, you're on a journey toward your reward. This down here isn't anything compared to what God has for you. I'm on a journey toward my reward. I have some tough days like you do and some disappointing moments like all of us and sometimes I wonder if I can do this, but then I remember I'm a follower of the one who went to the cross and because he went to the cross one day, he's gonna wear a crown. And the Bible says when he wears a crown, I am gonna reign with him on this earth as one of his associates. That's the way it works in the Christian life.

And that's what God wants us to know from his Word today. Well, that's great. Thank you for being with us. We'll see you right here tomorrow. God bless you.

Have a great day. The message you just heard originated from Shadow Mountain Community Church where Dr. David Jeremiah serves as senior pastor. Let us know how Turning Point keeps you spiritually strong. Write to us at Turning Point, Post Office Box 3838, San Diego, California 92163. Or visit our website at forward slash radio. Ask for your copy of O.S. Hawkins' new book, The Bible Code, finding Jesus in every book in the Bible.

It's yours for a gift of any amount. You can also download the free Turning Point mobile app for your favorite smart device or search in your app store for the keywords Turning Point Ministries for instant access to our programs and resources. Visit forward slash radio for details. I'm Gary Hooke Fleet. Join us tomorrow as we continue the series in search of the Savior. That's here on Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-27 09:58:58 / 2024-01-27 10:07:49 / 9

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