Joshua and Judges: The doctrine of leadership part 6 - The good leader is authoritative, spiritual, and sacrificial. Mat 20:20-28.

Class Outline:

Title: Joshua and Judges: The doctrine of leadership part 6 - The good leader is authoritative, spiritual, and sacrificial. MAT 20:20-28.


Announcementsopening prayer:  



2. God appoints His leaders, not men, and He only appoints when they are prepared.


The prepared are those who have grown up spiritually to a certain level of maturity through their consistent intake of the word of God under the filling of the Holy Spirit, in application of the word to himself, his relationships, and his circumstances, and in service in the common everyday things in which he has had opportunity to serve the body of Christ as well as all mankind.


"It is the mark of a grown up man, as compared with a callow youth, that he finds his center of gravity wherever he happens to be a the moment, and however much he longs for the object of his desire, it cannot prevent him from staying at his post and doing his duty." [Dietrich Bonhoeffer]


The young convert finds this difficult to do. He is constantly pulled away from doing the right thing in the right way by his own personal desires.


Leaders must be authoritative, spiritual, and sacrificial.

Authoritative - they must be confident in where they are going and in getting there.


People don't desire a wishy-washy leader. We have leaders that say one thing and do another. They do not inspire anyone to follow them unless they're paying them well. A leader who is unsure is impossible to follow. Our Lord wasn't unsure. He knew His goal and He was absolutely sure of getting there.


However, all leaders, the best of them, are flawed and there are times when they become unsure. Hence a spiritual leader must be prayerful. We saw Joshua confused after the initial defeat at Ai, but then we also saw him turn to prayer.


The word of God gives us clear direction and this is the saving grace of every spiritual leader. He doesn't have to come up with his own way. He has to only find the Lord's way and then pick up his cross and follow Him. So then, the spiritual leader can exhibit great confidence to his congregation or organization.


Spiritual - their relationship with God must take priority over their relationship with people.


Without spirituality the most attractive and competent person cannot lead. His power, wisdom, and self-control flows from the spiritual life. Also, the ways of the spiritual life must take precedence over the will of people. If a leader just wants to be popular then he will always conform to popular opinion whether it is right or wrong. This becomes tyranny of the majority. If he desires to please people above God then he will always do what pleases the majority and the majority is often wrong. People are fallen and if they can manipulate their leaders to give them what they want, eventually they will. I have heard of instances where a certain group within the church greatly manipulates the pastor because they are loud and aggressive in their pursuit of their own personal desired atmosphere within the church. I know of one instance where a man promised a very large financial contribution if the pastor would teach a certain non-truth. The pastor rightly turned it down and broke off any relationship with that person.


2TI 4:3

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires;


The rising culture in our nation is one in which people call it wrong and even illegal for them to be challenged, confronted, made to feel uncomfortable, or to even hear anything that they disagree with. This is why many of our college campuses have free speech zones and safe zones. To them there is no right and wrong, but their view is right and cannot be challenged. And they find for themselves professors who panhandle this garbage, which is not education at all, who rise in the ranks of collegiate society. They just flat out deny the existence of painful realities. In other words, nothing should be painful. So then, on college campuses, such a thing as trigger warnings are taught.


Trigger warning - "a statement at the start of a piece of writing, video, etc. alerting the reader or viewer to that fact that it contains possibly distressing material." [Oxford dictionary]


These are people of a very low moral and spiritual character. Generally our leaders will say whatever it takes to get elected, so then they care more about the prestige of the position than they do about what is right and good for the republic. Much of the press has become owned by those who desire low moral and spiritual character and so the mainstream press does not call them out on the evil that they promote. This attitude is also in many pulpits around America where there are pastors who will do or say whatever it takes to maintain their position. However, as we will see, pastors are elected by God and not by congregational vote. People may choose to attend and support a local assembly or not, but they do not elect their leader.


Sacrificial - they follow Christ, who gave of Himself sacrificially for the betterment of others.


The greatest leader, Christ, was the greatest and most sacrificial servant. The leader must be the servant of all.


James and John had their mother ask Jesus if they could be promoted to the highest positions in Christ's kingdom. What all three of them failed to see is that a believer does not promote himself but that only God promotes him and if God is going to promote him, he must first have a sacrificial heart that is willing to serve all and not to seek to be served. As we saw in 1TI 3:1, it is a fine thing to aspire to leadership, but it is not a fine thing to promote yourself. If you aspire to it then prepare yourself for it through your own spiritual growth and then wait for God to promote you, if He will.


MAT 20:20 Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee [Salome] came to Him with her sons, bowing down, and making a request of Him.


MAT 20:21 And He said to her, "What do you wish?" She said to Him, "Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right and one on Your left."


MAT 20:22 But Jesus answered and said, "You do not know what you are asking for. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?" They said to Him, "We are able."


They will obviously not drink the cup of the sins of the whole world, but they will be called to give their lives for the gospel and therefore for mankind who desperately needs the gospel.


I don't emphasize their martyrdom [James was the first martyred apostle in 42 AD] as I'm sure Christ isn't either, but they will have to lay aside all selfish motivations in life and serve mankind through their ministries of the gospel. And Christ is sure that they are going to do so.


MAT 20:23 He said to them, "My cup you shall drink; but to sit on My right and on My left, this is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father." 


MAT 20:24 And hearing this, the ten became indignant with the two brothers.


LUK 9:46

And an argument arose among them as to which of them might be the greatest.


This is hypocritical since they often argued amongst themselves as to who was the greatest. So are the ten indignant because of the presumptuous arrogance of James and John? If they are they are hypocrites. Are they indignant because they asked first before the rest of them could ask, kind of like calling shotgun for the passenger seat?


MAT 20:25 But Jesus called them to Himself, and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them.


MAT 20:26 "It is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant,


MAT 20:27 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave;


MAT 20:28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."


Notice that He doesn't condemn the aspirations of a spiritual leader, but He is clear in warning that for such a person, he must understand that in Christ's church such leaders will be sacrificial servants of others.


This is a revolutionary idea. It has always been that the great men have exercised authority over the people. The smartest, the strongest, the most ruthless and conniving, and the wealthiest have always been the rulers, but Christ introduces the principle that any ruler in the church must first be a great servant - a lowly serving slave.


If a leader is authoritative, spiritual, and sacrificial then the supernatural power and wisdom of God flows through him and his church, organization, family, etc. will grow.


By growth we do not mean numbers, but that those who remain under the good leader will move forward spiritually.  


1CO 3:1 And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to babes in Christ.


Flesh is often translated carnal. It is the function of the fallen nature, Adam's nature, in the believer who refuses to walk by means of the Spirit.


Speaking broadly, the carnal or fleshly denotes the sinful element in man's nature, by reason of descent from Adam; the spiritual is that which comes by the regenerating operation of the Holy Spirit.


1CO 3:2 I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able,


1CO 3:3 for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?


1CO 3:4 For when one says, "I am of Paul," and another, "I am of Apollos," are you not mere men?


What would cause the believers in Corinth to choose favorites? It certainly could not be the content of teaching since they all followed Paul's blueprint, which he received from God. It couldn't be that the power of the Holy Spirit was in one and not the other since Paul would have never used a man not filled with the Spirit. Therefore, it could only be human characteristics that caused the Corinthians to play favorites, which characteristics cannot lead anyone spiritually. They themselves are fleshly and so they choose their favorite leaders according to their flesh and the flesh they perceive in the leader.


2CO 5:16

Therefore from now on we recognize no man according to the flesh [our flesh and theirs]; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh [our flesh], yet now we know Him thus no longer.


Before salvation we beheld what we knew about Christ from the vantage point of our own flesh and we concluded something false about Him, but by means of the Spirit who revealed the gospel to us through His ministry of common grace, we came to know Him from a different vantage, the Spirit. The Corinthians began this way but they soon degraded to the viewpoint of the flesh.


1CO 3:5 What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one.


1CO 3:6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.


1CO 3:7 So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.


1CO 3:8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one [unified]; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor.


The leader who allows God to work His will through him will be rewarded. Alone he is nothing, but as a vessel of honor in the hands of God he accomplishes much.