Summary: Sermon looks at the need for leadership and qualifications of leaders.
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Pastor Brian Matherlee
• The leaders of the church were being persecuted and the church was increasing rapidly. Thousands of people at a time were coming to faith in Jesus Christ.
• With the blessing of more disciples the responsibilities grew in caring for one another.
• A smaller segment of the believers felt that some of their own were being left out of the circle of care. They went to the Apostles and shared their concerns.
• The Apostles answer was not to take it upon them; instead they suggested the people choose leaders from among the group that was noticing the problem.
• The people agreed and chose seven to minister to the needs of the people.
3 General Points:
1. When a church grows, needs arise and increase
a. It doesn’t take long for problems to arise when a church is reaching the lost. The devil is unpleased about the success and will do anything, within or without to destroy God’s work.
b. Unmet needs can cause friction and division (Grecian vs. Hebraic)
c. People who notice needs going unmet are most often the ones who God is prompting to meet the needs. Complaining is not part of the solution.
d. People who refuse to get involved in problems of their community are like the two shipwrecked men in a lifeboat. From their end of the boat, the pair watched as those at the other end bailed frantically to keep the boat afloat. The one said to the other, “Thank heaven, the hole is not on our end of the boat.”
2. The ministers of the Word need to stick to the Word
a. It wasn’t that “waiting tables was unimportant”. Rather, these Apostles were to focus on their calling in the Body. It was to pray and preach.
b. Today, the best thing I as your pastor can do is to give myself to praying and preaching. Interceding for needs and seeking insight from the Lord is not a quick task. Preaching is not a thrown together effort. Much study, prayer and thought must go into every message. To be done in a way that is pleasing to the Lord requires dedication to this task.
3. Every ministry in the Body is important
a. The task of ministering to the needs of people was so important that the Apostles laid hands on those chosen to perform the tasks signifying the calling and anointing of the Holy Spirit.
Qualifications of leadership:
1. Good reputation
a. Luke records that they were to be known
b. This takes time to be born out
c. The real McCoy wasn’t really a McCoy. His real name was Norman Selby. Raised on a farm in Indiana he left home around 1890, and after year in training, emerged as a boxer with the name "Kid McCoy." In a day of bare fisted boxing, the Kid was something. He said he’d fight anyone, anywhere, and he did. For years he averaged a fight a month, and won most by knockouts. But the popularity of his reputation created an atmosphere where a host of imitation Kid McCoys soon cropped up - perhaps hoping to cash in on his reputation and the potential purses he would be offered. That created a certain amount of confusion until “The Kid” agreed to a title fight with the legendary Joe Choynski on March 24, 1899. With that fight, “The Kid ended the confusion of his identity for all time. In a titanic slug-fest that cost him three broken ribs, Kid McCoy finished off the legendary Joe in the 20th round. After the fight, the San Francisco Examiner’s boxing writer declared, "Now You’ve SEEN The Real McCoy!"
2. Spirit filled
a. Fruit of the Spirit in their life (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control)
b. Nowhere does it say that they are to be perfect or flawless. Everybody makes mistakes and leaders will make them too. But we have to judge on motivation and effort before results.
a. Leaders full of wisdom know when to speak and when to listen
b. Know when to correct/rebuke and when to encourage.
c. Know when to further assign and divide ministry tasks to make it more effective.
The outcome of shared, team-minded leadership is effectiveness in the Kingdom of God. Verse 7 tells us the Word of God spread and the disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly.
S. I. McMillen, in his book "None of These Diseases," tells a story of a young woman who wanted to go to college, but her heart sank when she read the question on the application blank that asked, "Are you a leader?" Being both honest and conscientious, she wrote, "No," and returned the application, expecting the worst. To her surprise, she received this letter from the college: "Dear Applicant: A study of the application forms reveals that this year our college will have 1,452 new leaders. We are accepting you because we feel it is imperative that they have at least one follower."
Let’s commit to follow our leaders…as they follow Christ.