Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Part 2 in a three part series on leadership.


Part 2-Leading The Church

Daniel’s Story

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Pastor Brian Matherlee

An out-of-towner drove his car into a ditch in a desolated area. Luckily, a local farmer came to help with his big strong horse named Buddy. He hitched Buddy up to the car and yelled, "Pull, Nellie, pull!" Buddy didn’t move. Then the farmer hollered, "Pull, Buster, pull!" Buddy didn’t respond. Once more the farmer commanded, "Pull, Coco, pull!" Nothing. Then the farmer nonchalantly said, "Pull, Buddy, pull!" And the horse easily dragged the car out of the ditch. The motorist was most appreciative and very curious. He asked the farmer why he called his horse by the wrong name three times. "Well... Buddy is blind and if he thought he was the only one pulling, he wouldn’t even try!" (sermoncentral.com)

Today we’re talking about leading the church. Someone has to take the lead but, unlike Buddy, we don’t need to be tricked into thinking we’re part of a team. Church leadership is about the team of people and how they use their gifts in the Body of Christ. Let’s be sure of the real leader of the Church.

Jesus said I will build my church.-Matthew 16:18

• It doesn’t belong to the pastor

• It doesn’t belong to denominational leaders

• It doesn’t belong to the board

• It doesn’t belong to the grumpiest naysayer in the bunch

It belongs to Jesus

• He died for the church

• He lives for the church

• He empowers the church

• He gives the church marching orders

And what did Jesus say to us?

You are the salt of the earth. -Matthew 5:13

You are the light of the world. –Matthew 5:14

The hope of Jesus for the church is that we would be individually and corporately people of influence.

One of the greatest people of influence in the Scripture is Daniel.

Daniel was taken into captive by the Babylonians under the rule of a king named Nebuchadnezzar. The book bearing Daniel’s name has some of the most vivid accounts of faith in the entire Bible.

The first chapter of Daniel paints a picture of a great test of faith. Daniel and his friends have just lost everything. They are taken away from their homeland to Babylon. They are placed in the service of the king as slaves. They are forced to study and train to benefit someone else.

Nobody would blame Daniel for being angry with God; in fact, most probably quickly abandoned their faith in this new land. How would you feel if you had lost it all?

But a funny thing happens. When Daniel is under pressure to eat and drink from the king’s table he refuses because of his faith. Where had his faith gotten him? In captivity! But Daniel refused to violate the dietary customs of his faith and trust God to take care of him. Daniel illustrates the understanding that our faith cannot rest upon the circumstances of the day which are constantly changing but rather faith must rest upon the character and promises of the eternal God that never changes.

In captivity, as a servant of the king, Daniel was a person of influence. He influenced in two key ways:

1. Through consistent living (Daniel 6:3-4)

a. His consistent living led God to grant Daniel favor (1:9)

b. His consistent living led God to grant Daniel knowledge (1:17)

2. Through enduring hardship (Ch. 6, the lion’s den)

a. Daniel’s faithfulness was used against him. He prayed everyday and his enemies devised a scheme to get rid of him. He violated a decree by remaining faithful to God and was therefore condemned to death.

b. But, of course, Daniel was spared by the hand of the Lord.

c. Daniel was able to make a difference in the life of King Darius and an entire nation because he faced the lion’s den in faith and came out with a testimony.

How can the church influence today? Phil Stevenson says there are several things we should do to influence the world around us:

1. Be generous (Acts 4:37)

a. This is a timely truth. Our nation, from highest to lowliest, seems to be in panic mode. Tough times, we are told, are ahead for everyone and for an extended time. The church must be generous with what God has entrusted to us.

b. That means we must be faithful as individual givers.

c. This also means we must seek to reach our community needs however we can.

d. We can’t pull back to protect ourselves. We must give and trust God to provide.

2. Believe the best in people (Acts 9:26-27)

a. A busload of politicians were driving down a country road when, all of a sudden, the bus ran off the road & crashed into a tree in an old farmer’s field. The old farmer, after seeing what happened, went over to investigate. He then proceeded to dig a hole & bury the politicians. A few days later, the local sheriff came out, saw the crashed bus & asked the old farmer where all the politicians had gone. The old farmer said he had buried them. The sheriff asked the old farmer, "The coroner wasn’t here. Are you sure they were all dead?" The old farmer replied, "Well, some of them said they weren’t, but you know how them politicians lie."

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