A New Leader

*Highlight indicates slide transitions ** All scripture references English Standard Version, unless otherwise indicated. Intro Good morning, Church. If you’re a guest with us this morning, I want to thank you for being here to worship with us. My name is Steven. I’m the associate minister here at Mt. Hope. This morning we’re going to be talking about leadership and I thought it could be fun to find the “Types of Leaders from TV and movies.” Let’s look at the first one: Our first group is the “Michael Scott.” These are the leaders who just want to be everyone’s friend. It’s not always a bad thing, but these people do tend to be “people pleasers.” Some other examples include Tim Taylor, Leslie Knope, Ron Burgundy, and Buddy the Elf. So, while Buddy the Elf is a pretty solid leader (I mean he did save Christmas), but these probably aren’t the best of the best. The next group is the William Wallaces. These are the inspiring leaders who give amazing inspirational speeches and then lead you in example. Other examples: Mufasa, Nick Fury, Capitan America, and Princess Leia. I think this kind of leader is generally good, but have you ever met someone who really tried to give inspiring speeches, but wasn’t actually good at it? It can be rough. Then we have the Mr. Krabs leaders. These are the selfish leaders who are motivated by what they can get more of. In this group are Mr. Burns, Frank Underwood, Bob Kelso (Scrubs), and Pre-Ironman Tony Stark. Obviously, you don’t want to be here, but these leaders are redeemable (like Ironman), you just don’t want to stay here. Next, we’ve got the Dumbledore leaders. These are the encouraging leaders who care about your personal development. Others include: Professor X, Howard Cunningham, (one of my favorite TV characters) Dr. Karl from KSN, Gandalf. Lastly, these are the Lieutenant Dan leaders. These are the drill sergeants who want you too succeed, but if you don’t they’ll tell you again at a higher volume. In this group are Colonel Phillips, Captain Holt, Ron Swanson, and M. This group can be good leaders, but they might have to grow on you, because can be harsh at first. Bridge Which do you feel like you see the most often in your life? Which one do you feel like you see most often in the church? I’m a firm believer that equally great leaders can have incredibly different leadership styles. You can also have people with the same leadership style, one of which is a very effective leader and another which is incredibly ineffective. But surely there are some specific qualities which separate good leaders from bad leaders. If it’s not style, then what is it? Body This morning we’re continuing our series “Wanderers.” We’ve been following the people of Israel as they have been making their way, slowly by surely, to the promise land. All of this time, the people of Israel have been following Moses, but this morning we’re going to look at the story of the leadership transition from Moses to Joshua. As we look at this story this morning, I think we can pick out 4 Necessities of Christian Leaders. Let’s go ahead and dive into our main text. [Numbers 27:12-14] So, if you were here two weeks ago, you might remember Karl’s lesson over Moses and Aaron’s disobedience, when God told them to speak to the rock and Moses hit it instead and God told them that they would both die before they entered the promised land. Now in our text this morning, Moses is able to climb this mountain and see the promised land, which means they’re getting close. God says Moses will be “gathered to [his] people.” Yeah, that’s a nice Hebrew euphemism for “you’re gonna die.” Of course, this is bad news for Moses, but it’s also bad news for Israel, because, like I said, Moses has been their leader since before they left Egypt. Once he’s gone, who could possibly take over? Moses expresses this to God in the next couple of verses: [Numbers 27:15-17] They will be left as a sheep without a shepherd. We see this language used in other places in scripture, one place is Ezekiel 34: [Ezekiel 34:5] To be sheep without a shepherd is to be in danger. The people would be scattered. Then once scattered they could be destroyed by foreign powers or forced into slavery. But there are spiritual implications, too. [Matthew 9:36] You see the people Jesus spoke of weren’t in physical danger, but they were separated from their God. They didn’t have spiritual leadership and therefore were lost like sheep without their shepherd. Without Moses or without a new leader to replace Moses the people of Israel would have been like sheep without a shepherd, both physically and spiritually in danger. We may not be quite in Moses’ position. We may not be soon gathered to our people, but each of us has an expiration date our leadership. Whether we pass away, move to a new congregation, take on new responsibilities at work or home, whatever it is, our time in our current leadership roles is limited. Unless Christ’s return comes first, there will be a day when every person is this room will have passed away and the Church of Jesus Christ will still need leaders. Each generation needs leaders who are raised up by the Church. That’s our first necessity of Christian leaders: they must be raised up by the Church. Each generation must have individuals willing to take on responsibility and authority for the sake of the Kingdom, but those of us in leadership now must prepare those younger than us to take our place. Because if we don’t, then the Church will be left like sheep without a shepherd. Let’s look back at our text and then to the next verse: [Numbers 27: 15-18] Notice, now the time has come for the new leader to take his place and what is Moses’ response? He asks God. He does not simply go out and pick his favorite person to fill the position. He anoints the person whom God has chosen. We see this model for leadership throughout scripture. In the book of Judges, the Judges who rise up to save Israel are those whom God calls. When Israel asks for a king, even though God was still not too thrilled about it, they actually asked God for a King. Then in the New Testament when the 11 are replacing Judas, they do so by praying and casting lots. Both in this instance and throughout scripture, we see that Christian leaders are to be sent from the Father. That’s our second necessity this morning: leaders must be sent from the Father.I think we still have role in developing and training leaders, but ultimately, if this is God’s Church, the offices are His to fill. Back to our main text, I want to look once again at verse 18: [Numbers 27:18] Notice that word “Spirit.” In Hebrew that word is “ruach” That word can mean breath or wind, but it also means “spirit” as we see translated here. The problem is that sometimes that word is used to denote spirit like a person’s inner being like how we would say a person has a joyful spirit, but it also can mean God’s Spirit or the Holy Spirit. I’m working out of English Standard Version, which you can see translates it as Spirit, with a capital S, indicating that they think this means the Holy Spirit. That’s also how its translated in the New American Standard Bible, the Christian Standard Bible, and the New Living Translation. But the King James translates this word with a lower case “s,” indicating they don’t necessarily this refers to the Holy Spirit. The New International Version is so sure this isn’t talking about the Holy Spirit that they add the words “of leadership.” To be clear I think this is the worst translation since the words “of leadership” are not in the Hebrew, so the translators are editorializing a little bit here. I think this verse is referring to the Holy Spirit, indicating that God’s presence was in Joshua the same way He is in Christians today. This would make sense given what we see about Joshua in other parts of Scripture. The famous verse, Joshua 1:9 is speaking about Joshua when it says: [Joshua 1:9] If we know God is with Joshua wherever he goes, it would make sense that he was indwelled with the Holy Spirit. But let’s consider for a second that that’s not what our verse from Numbers means. Maybe the word “spirit” in Numbers 27:18 is just referring to a “spirit of leadership.” Even in that case, we know that God gave him that spirit of leadership in order to prepare him for this task. As it says in James: [James 1:17] So no matter what that word means we know that Joshua was prepared by God for this task and that God was with him. In our modern context, as Christians post-Pentecost, we know that the Holy Spirit makes his dwelling within us. So we should expect, and in fact require, our leaders in the Church to be filled with the Spirit. That’s our third necessity, leaders must be filled with the Spirit. How do we know if they are filled with the Spirit? Well, Christ says we will recognize them by their fruits [Matthew 7:16]. We know the fruits of the Spirit from Galatians: [Galatians 5:22-23] When we as the church are appointing men and women into leadership and when we are evaluating our leaders we must ask ourselves, are these people loving? Are they joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, faithful, gentle? Do they have self-control? I’m not saying that if a person doesn’t exemplify all of these perfectly all the time, that they don’t have the Holy Spirit, but I am saying that if person allows the Holy Spirit to work through them, if a person is faithful to the Spirit’s leading you should see these things in them. If you consistently do not see these things, maybe that person needs to be led, not to lead others. Do the leaders in your life bear these fruits? Do you? Let’s move on to the end of our text, starting in verse 19: [Numbers 27:19-23] Joshua is given authority and people are expected to obey him but notice that Joshua doesn’t just get to do whatever he wants. Joshua is directed to consult God, to get his instructions from God, and with those he was to lead the people. Sure, Joshua was a leader, but more importantly, he was God’s servant. He wasn’t a king so much as he was middle management. In verse 21, Joshua is required to consult the Urim through the high priest. The Urim was an object kept in the breastplate of the high priest that used to communicate with God. Some commentators suggest it would have been like casting lots. But, in any case, it was a tool used to communicate with God. It was from this communication that Joshua got his instructions that he was to pass on to the people. Of course, today we don’t have the Urim, although our leaders can, should, and do ask God for his instructions through prayer, but we also have a pretty good set of instructions from God through scripture. Just like Joshua obeyed the commands of God through the Urim, leaders in the church today must be faithful in following what Scripture teaches, both for themselves and for the body. Have you ever seen a church leader caught in a double life deep in sin? When we find that someone who we have looked up to, someone who you thought was a strong ambassador for Christ on Earth, someone who you considered a mentor in the faith, when someone like that is revealed to not be who they say they are it hurts. It can be painful and cause all sorts of doubts and confusion. But even before it is revealed, a leader caught deep in sin can’t lead people out of sin. A leader far from the throne can’t lead people to it. Sinful leadership make ministry less effective, the church less unified, and the gospel less clear. Jesus addresses a leader like this in Revelation: [Revelation 2:20-22] Corrupt leaders in the church cause the church to become corrupt. To use Jesus’s words we can’t tolerate sin in church leadership. That will be our final point this morning. Christian leaders must be obedient to the Son. Conclusion Church, if I haven’t already made this clear, I think we have a fantastic group of elders, ministry leaders, and small group leaders at this congregation. We are so blessed to have godly men and women devoted to Christ in service. But the fact remains that new leaders will one day be needed. People will move on and move out. When the time comes, we need to be prepared to fill their shoes. Because each generation needs leaders who are from God, of God, and for God. Each and every generation needs leaders who are from God, of God, and for God. I usually end these things by suggesting that if you’re struggling you should find an elder or minister to pray for you. Can I suggest that today you pray for them? Can you pray for our elders and other leaders this morning? Of course, if you realize that you have not been stewarding your leadership well, whether at home, church, or work, if you haven’t been the Christian leader you should be, I’d be happy to pray with you this morning. Can we all pray together now? [Prayer] *Highlight indicates slide transitions ** All scripture references English Standard Version, unless otherwise indicated.
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