Summary: Advice, Last words, Leaders, Peace, Revenge
FOLLOW THE LEADER – Final Instructions
1 Thessalonians 5:12-28 (pg. 826) September 20, 2015
I will never ever forget Christmas of 2003...a few weeks earlier I’d sat with mom and dad in the doctor’s office as he gave us the news that dad’s cancer had spread...and there wasn’t much more they could do. Dad weighed 125 pounds soaking wet before this disease...and the chemo and lack of appetite took its toll through the battle...so without a doubt my father and all of us knew this would be his last Christmas with us here on earth.
In fact it would just be a little over 2 months before he was gone. He died on March 2, 2004. I preached his funeral on March 4.
But I’ll never forget that Christmas of 2003...It wasn’t the presents I remember (although he’d ordered me a Scottie Cameron putter from Ebay and the one who taught me how to play golf...gave it to me). I don’t play much anymore...but I’ll die with that putter in my bag.
But that’s not what I remember the most...I remember Dad purposefully sitting alone with each of his grandchildren on the sofa and talking with them...In his own courageous, stubborn, loving kind of way he challenged them to be everything they could be...He was saying “goodbye” and these were some final instructions...
I think Dad knew they were his legacy...after he was gone it would be his children and grandchildren that would carry the torch...and he wanted them to know some of the priorities he’d discovered in life. He’d lived them...even shared them before...but now time was short...He knew what he was doing...and so did they! He was giving some final instructions.
The Apostle Paul comes to the end of this first letter to the Thessalonians...A letter that’s been filled with love and encouragement to follow the leader...these are words of final instructions to his spiritual children and grandchildren...His legacy...
Listen to our text this morning:
1 THESSALONIANS 5:12-28 (p. 826)
Respect your leaders...Live at peace with people...Don’t seek revenge...stay in the will of God...nourish your spiritual gifts...and others...Remember the One who called you...and P.S. STAY IN HIS WORD AND HIS GRACE!
You see Godly leaders know that we are always one generation away from extinction...unless there are Christian children and grandchildren, there is no future legacy.
It’s why he poured his heart out to Timothy, his son on the faith in 2 Tim. 4:6 with these words: “I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure!”
There is no success in God’s kingdom of disciple making if we leave no successors.
John Maxwell put it this way “A leader who develops people adds...but a leader who develops leaders multiplies.”
Gardenside Christian Church is no different than any other church in God’s kingdom when it comes to this essential priority...And it’s important to understand.
I. LEADERSHIP IS HARD WORK
There’s a very weird thing that has happened in American Christian Churches...when it comes to leadership...we’ve given people authority when there’s been no evidence of disciple making in their lives...We sometimes give titles...to individuals who have no real ministries.
Scripturally this is something that the Apostles including Paul just simply wouldn’t understand.
Paul says “Brothers and sister acknowledge those who work hard among you. (That “among you” thing again! It’s what koinania fellowship is built on), those who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work.
That hard work Paul’s referring to has nothing to do with the facility...(and yes I’m thankful for those who take care of our facility) but the hard work of leadership always involves caring for people...admonishing people.
Why? The next verse tells us...because every church has idle people, disruptive people, disheartened people, weak people, and vengeful people.
Getting idle people off their “blessed assurance” to do ministry is hard...for many reasons...schedules, selfishness, laziness...who knows...but there are 168 hours in every week...if every adult at Gardenside served 1 hour a week in a real ministry each week...we’d have to develop new ministries...leaders are always part of the non-idle...seeking to grow disciples in their ministries...not guarding turf...my goal is to work myself out of a job...and then God can reveal a new job. Leaders are men and women who say, “Come with me...help me...serve alongside me...we urge and warn “apathetic” believers that “serving” includes sacrifice, but it’s where joy is found in the Lord. By the way Paul links idleness with disruptiveness. Makes sense doesn’t it? You’re idle because you don’t want to serve others...Life is about your needs. So becoming disruptive usually comes from a heart that is self focused instead of “others” focused.
Have you ever noticed that Satan uses idleness as one of the greatest tools to disrupt our peace and the peace of the Kingdom.