Sermons

Summary: Leaders in the church must know their spiritual gifts, and how to use them effectively for the kingdom. #2 of 5.

Title: What Should We Expect From Church Leaders?

Series: Discovering God’s Special Gifts

Text: Ephesians 4:11-16

Theme: Leaders in the church must know their spiritual gifts, and how to use them effectively for the kingdom.

Introduction - Define Reality

Max DePree gets to the heart of things with this succinct formulation: “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality.” Leaders need to have a good picture of what is really going on around them. And they need to help others take an honest look at this reality. (Uncommon Decency, Richard J. Mouw, p. 117.)

Position of Leadership

Don’t take a position of leadership in church unless you are prepared to be honest, pure, and loving in your lifestyle. Leadership is a privilege, and with privilege comes responsibility. God holds teachers of His truth doubly responsible because we who lead are in a position where we can either draw people toward Christ or drive them away from Him.

This is illustrated in the life of the famous author Mark Twain. Church leaders were largely to blame for his becoming hostile to the Bible and the Christian faith. As he grew up, he knew elders and deacons who owned slaves and abused them. He heard men using foul language and saw them practice dishonesty during the week after speaking piously in church on Sunday. He listened to ministers use the Bible to justify slavery. Although he saw genuine love for the Lord Jesus in some people, including his mother and his wife, he was so disturbed by the bad teaching and poor example of church leaders that he became bitter toward the things of God.

Indeed, it is a privilege to be an elder, a deacon, a Sunday school teacher, or a Bible club leader. But it is also an awesome responsibility. Let’s make sure we attract people to the Savior rather than turn them away. (http://www.bible.org. Source unknown.)

I. JESUS CHRIST GIVES GIFTS TO EVERYONE WHOM HE HAS CALLED INTO THE MINISTRY. (Ephesians 4:11)

Illustration: Two Ministers

A Baptist Minister and a Presbyterian Minister are sitting next to each other on a long flight from LA to NY. The Presbyterian leans over to the Baptist and asks if he would like to play a fun game. The Baptist just wants to take a nap, so he politely declines and rolls over to the window to catch a few winks.

The Presbyterian persists and explains that the game is real easy and a lot of fun. He explains “I ask you a question, and if you don’t know the answer, you pay me $5. Then you ask me a question, and if I don’t know the answer, I’ll pay you $5.”

Again, the Baptist politely declines and tries to get to sleep. The Presbyterian, now somewhat agitated, says, “Okay, if you don’t know the answer you pay me $5, and if I don’t know the answer, I’ll pay you $50!”

This catches the Baptist’s attention, and he sees no end to this torment unless he plays, so he agrees to the game. The Presbyterian asks the first question. “What’s the distance from the earth to the moon?”

The Baptist doesn’t say a word, but reaches into his wallet, pulls out a five dollar bill and hands it to the Presbyterian.

Now, it’s the Baptist’s turn. He asks the Presbyterian “What goes up a hill with three legs, and comes down on four?”

The Presbyterian looks up at him with a puzzled look. He takes out his laptop computer and searches all of his references. He taps into the air phone with his modem and searches the net and the Library of Congress. Frustrated, he sends e-mail to his church— all to no avail. After about an hour, he wakes the Baptist and hands him $50. The Baptist politely takes the $50 and turns away to try to get back to sleep.

The Presbyterian, more than a little miffed, shakes the Baptist and asks “Well, so what’s the answer?”

Without a word, the Baptist reaches into his wallet, hands the Presbyterian $5, and turns away to get back to sleep. (Bits and Pieces, http://www.bible.org.)

A. He Gifted Some To Be Apostles.

1. The apostles are the 12 who had seen the risen Christ, including Matthias, who replaced Judas. (Acts 1:21-22)

2. Later, Paul was set apart to become the apostle to the Gentiles when he miraculously encountered the risen Christ on the road to Damascus. (Acts 9:1-9; Galatians 1:15-17).

3. The apostles were given three basic responsibilities.

a. To lay the foundation of the church. (Ephesians 2:19-20)

Note: As important as they were, it was not them personally, but the divine revelation they taught, as they authoritatively spoke the word of God to the church before the completion of the NT, that provided the foundation.

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