Who Will Lead the Leaders?
Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit. (Ephesians 5:17-18)
The scandal predictably involved athletics. But surprisingly it wasn’t with a major-college football or basketball team.
It involved the less-publicized softball team – but the scandal still stung the community. The coach knew her players were being given illegal, performance-enhancing drugs by the team doctor … but she turned a blind eye to the cheating.
She was controlled by a ravenous appetite for fame – what we call a “win-at-all-costs” attitude.
This coach should have realized her role was to teach 18-year-olds how to live honestly, and thus successfully, in the world.
Instead, she warped their system of ethics. All because she, the coach, the leader, was driven by the monster of pride.
Your leaders play an integral role in your life – especially in your Christian life. In fact, YOU are a leader in some area: parent, boss, teacher. YOUR actions can have a monumental effect on those around you.
And as far as being a Christian leader and example, you might be the only “church” some folks ever see. It is tremendously important, then, to know what leads you to think and to act as you do.
What guides your ministers and elders?
What guides YOU?
This morning’s lesson from Leviticus 10 paints a vivid portrait of what (who?) should guide Christian ministers and elders. You and I see plainly what ought to guide you in your daily walk with Christ.
First, if we are to lead others to Christ, you and I must be guided and motivated by the Word of God. We secondly must be guided by the Spirit of God. And third, you and I must be guided by humble devotion to God.
If your Christian leaders – and if you yourself – are to show Christ to this dying world, then you and I must be guided by the Lord and no one, and nothing, else.
The first step in honoring God as a leader in His church is to submit totally to His Word. If a minister is to show you the Lord – and if you, in turn, are to show the Lord to those around you – then he must preach and reflect the Word of truth.
But oh, how you and I love to defy God and to make ourselves into gods! Remember, it didn’t take long in Eden for Adam and Eve to disobey God – and that’s been our pattern ever since. God gives; we wander.
Likewise, it took only one day after their consecration for Nadab and Abihu, two of Aaron’s sons, to rebel against the Lord in their ministry. They offered “strange fire,” which could have meant they offered incense to the Lord at an unscheduled time, or that they used coals not from the altar, or that they went into the Holy of Holies when they shouldn’t have done so.
The point is, though, they offered fire “which the Lord commanded them not.” They dared defy the Lord in something so sacred as His worship, and He judged them to the uttermost so that God’s people would know, as organized worship began in Israel, that the Lord was serious about obedience to His Word.
His Word was – and is – always to be obeyed. And His Word alone.
It doesn’t matter what Joe Rolison thinks about God; it matters what the Lord says about Himself in Scripture. How many churches today will do things in worship that are contrary to God’s Word, simply in order to gain new members? (And at the heart of their actions, really, is pride in wanting a “megachurch”). How many liberal denominations countenance all kinds of immorality and false belief, such as relativism teaches, and yet claim they are leading people into the presence of the one, true God?
If I don’t lead you by the Word of God alone, then I am leading you – and you will lead others – straight into the pit.
Second, ministers must be driven by the Holy Spirit, and not by any other spirit, if we are to lead you into God’s presence.
The command from Moses here in chapter 10 is that Aaron and his remaining sons not drink alcoholic beverages before they go in to minister and to teach the people. Comforters often gave mourners some wine to ease their grief, and many folks in Israel would have been tempted to give Aaron wine after he lost his sons in God’s righteous judgment.
Certainly they were sad. But as priests Aaron and his sons had serious responsibilities to fulfill: teaching God’s people His Word and ministering on their behalf. They couldn’t allow their discretion and mental faculties to be clouded by strong drink.
Likewise in the New Testament, the ministers of Christ must not be given to excessive drinking. At present we don’t have time to explore the biblical use of alcoholic drinks; but suffice it to say wine is a gift from God that may be used by adults in moderation, with thanksgiving and with discretion.
Alcohol, though, can take command of your mind. That’s why all of us, especially ministers and elders, must be cautious in using it. We are to be filled with God’s Spirit, not with the spirit of drunkenness and of foolishness. Such behavior brings disrepute on the church and hinders our work.
Yet the Lord has more in view here than alcohol.
Many evil influences can drive a minister – and you. The quest for approval by men. The hunger for power over people. The longing for respect and for status.
These influences can cause a minister to compromise the Word of God by changing his message to suit his hearers. They can make him hurt parishioners in order to “climb the ladder” (and be assured there is an enormous ladder in church politics).
If you’re going to be led and to lead others into the Lord’s presence, you need a leader who listens intently and willingly to God’s Spirit – and not to substance or to self.
Third, a Godly minister must be guided by a spirit of humble devotion to Christ.
Aaron and his living sons didn’t eat the sin offering that they were supposed to consume. In not doing so, they erred. They simply failed to do what the Lord had required.
When Moses inquired of Aaron, however, he learned that Aaron was concerned about his own worthiness to minister. Had Aaron eaten the sin offering, he wondered aloud, would his actions have pleased God? Aaron was concerned first and foremost to honor the Lord – so he refrained from eating.
Yes, Aaron was wrong. But his spirit was humble and sought the honor of the Lord.
You will make mistakes trying to serve the Lord. I and all ministers and elders fail God every day.
If our hearts seek to glorify God, though, we will see His forgiving grace. Don’t be proud or willfully disobey your God. To do so would be to wander from His grace: grace that, in Christ, pardons even the worst offenders.
Thank the Lord for our Savior, Jesus Christ!
Jesus came not to destroy the law – the Word – of God but to fulfill every least bit. Jesus came to be led by the Holy Spirit, to take up his cross, to endure cold and hunger and rejection and, finally, the wrath of the Father – all for your salvation. And Jesus came in humility, not to be ministered unto but to minister. Through his obedience you and I have forgiveness and life.
If you want to see the invisible God, you must look at Jesus.
If others want to see Jesus, can they look at you?