Joshua and Judges: The doctrine of leadership part 3 - good and bad ambition. Mar 10:42-45; 2Co 5:9; Psa 75:7.
length: 64:35 - taught on Dec, 31 2015
Announcements /opening prayer:
The doctrine of leadership.
1. Good and bad ambition.
When it comes to ambition, the good ambition is the desire to be a servant and never anything for self, even self-promotion. A man may aspire to be a pastor or deacon but he never self-promotes to that position. He aspires by training himself in the spiritual life and he awaits the actual appointment by God through the office of the church.
MAR 10:42 And calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, "You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them.
MAR 10:43 "But it is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant;
MAR 10:44 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all.
MAR 10:45 "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."
Jesus Christ was the greatest leader of all and He served. No one can properly lead who cannot also follow and serve.
Christ from His humanity followed and served the Father and by doing so He served mankind as the greatest authority over them. He did not relinquish His authority to another, but from that position He served them. We will further develop this point later on.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.
At the outset of any study of spiritual leadership, this master principle must be squarely faced:
True greatness, true leadership, is found in giving yourself in service to others, not in coaxing or inducing others to serve you.
True service is never without cost, sometimes is entails painful suffering. But the true spiritual leader is focused on the service he and she can render to God and other people, not on the residuals and perks of high office and holy title. We must aim to put more into life than we take out, especially the lives of others.
If only our leaders would have this attitude. Then we would actually have leaders.
"But neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and hapiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt. He therefore is the truest friend to the liberty of his country who tries most to promote its virtue, and who, so far as his power and influence extend, will not suffer a man to be chosen into any office of power and trust who is not a wise and virtuous man. [Samuel Adams]
When Ben Franklin traveled to Europe, he noted that there was a violent struggle for appointments to public offices because they paid so well. He felt this was a serious mistake.
Franklin wrote to a friend:
"In America, salaries, where indispensable are extremely low; but much of public business is done gratis. The honor of serving the public ably and faithfully is deemed sufficient. Public spirit really exists there, and has great effects." [Ben Franklin]
At the Constitutional Convention in 1787 he gave a discourse:
"Sir, there are two passions which have a powerful influence in the affairs of men. These are ambition and avarice; the love of power and the love of money. Separately, each of these has great force in prompting men to action; but when united in view of the same object, they have in many minds the most violent effects.
Place before the eyes of such men a post of honor, that shall at the same time be a place of profit, and they will move heaven and earth to obtain it. The vast number of such places it is that renders the British government so tempestuous.
The struggles for them are the true source of all those factions which are perpetually dividing the nation, distracting its councils, hurrying it sometimes into fruitless and mischievous wars, and often compelling a submission to dishonorable terms of peace." [Ben Franklin]
The men at the Convention were there at great personal sacrifice. Madison had to actually borrow money. Franklin continued:
"And of what kind are the men that will strive for the profitable preeminence, through all the bustle of cabal, the heat of contention, the infinite mutual abuse of parties, tearing to pieces the best of characters? It will NOT be the wise and moderate, the lovers of peace and good order, the men fittest for the trust.
It will be the bold and the violent, the men of strong passions and indefatigable activity in their selfish pursuits. These will thrust themselves into your government, and be your rulers. And these, too, will be mistaken in the expected happiness of their situation; for their vanquished competitors, of the same spirit, and from the same motives, will perpetually be endeavoring to distress their administration, thwart their measures, and render them odious to the people." [Ben Franklin]
In the end of that quote, Mr. Franklin was on to something that the Bible clearly teaches.
For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, " You shall love your neighbor as yourself." But if you bite and devour one another, take care lest you be consumed by one another.
Franklin was prophetic in peering down through the corridor of time, continuing at the Convention:
"Sir, though we may set out in the beginning with moderate salaries, we shall find that such will not be of long continuance. Reasons will never be wanting for proposed augmentations; and there will always be a party for giving more to the rulers, that the rulers may be able in return to give more to them.
Hence, as all history informs us, there has been in every state and kingdom a constant kind of warfare between the governing and the governed, the one striving to obtain more for its support, and the other to pay less. And this has alone occasioned great convulsions, actual civil wars, ending either in dethroning of the princes or enslaving of the people.
Generally, indeed, the ruling power carries its point, and we see the revenues of princes constantly increasing, and we see that they are never satisfied, but always in want of more. The more the people are discontented with the oppression of taxes, the greater need the prince has of money to distribute among his partisans, and pay the troops that are to suppress all resistance, and enable him to plunder at pleasure." [Ben Franklin]
Franklin was right about many things and because of ambitious pride our government has grown to mammoth proportions and far too much power has been concentrated in the executive branch.
The ambition of the greedy weakens any organization, yet this does not deter the Christian from his proper ambition.
2CO 5:9 Therefore also we have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.
2CO 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
Because we children of Adam want to become great,
He became small.
Because we will not stoop,
He humbled Himself.
Because we want to rule,
He came to serve. [Oswald Sanders]
2. God appoints His leaders, not men, and He only appoints when they are prepared.
Because of the condition of fallen man and his lust for idols, real leaders are in short supply. The sacrifice that needs to made by real leaders is a sour taste to most people.
PSA 75:4 "I said to the boastful, 'Do not boast,'
And to the wicked, 'Do not lift up the horn;
PSA 75:5 Do not lift up your horn on high,
Do not speak with insolent pride.'"
PSA 75:6 For not from the east, nor from the west,
Nor from the desert comes exaltation;
PSA 75:7 But God is the Judge;
He puts down one, and exalts another.
Saul was chosen by lot, but still, he was chosen by the Lord. Because he would not obey the Lord and rather chose personal greed he was removed from the esteemed position as king of Israel and he was replaced by a man that was after God's heart.
But now your kingdom shall not endure. The Lord has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.
When Judah was at its height of depravity there was none to lead.
"Roam to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, And look now, and take note. And seek in her open squares, If you can find a man, If there is one who does justice, who seeks truth, Then I will pardon her.
When the moral condition of the people degrades to such an extent poor leaders can seize power and they are welcomed by the degenerate citizenry. The moral condition of society degrades quickly when the believers in the nation reject the word of God and opt for legalism or licentiousness. When the majority of believers either attend legalistic churches, convenient churches that do not teach much truth, or opt to not attend churches at all, then the nation has no pivot of believers that think and walk in the sound doctrine that is the mind of Christ. When this happens Christ is hardly manifested to the people of the nation while the evil of the KOD is greatly manifested and not at all checked by the light of truth. Given enough time, which isn't very much at all, the population degrades to a weak moral condition from which condition they elect poor leaders. The only solution is for a greater amount of believers to submit themselves to the plain teaching of the word of God and so begin to manifest Christ to the nation. So then, truly, as goes the believer, so goes the client nation.
The Bible shows us that when God does find a person who is ready to lead, to commit to being a disciple with his life, and to take responsibility for others, that person is used to the limit.