Leaders set an example in the character, nature, way, power, and authority of Christ to those they lead. Leadership is not about ministry. It is about community. We lead for the sake of the expression of the community of Christ that God has sent us to. We minister the life of Christ because we are the community of Christ. Being the family of God is more important than doing the works of the family. We do the works of Christ because we are the body of Christ. Surely doing the works of Christ is both important and essential, but we do them because of who we are. What we do does define who we are, but who we are sure does define what we do. Paul instructed Timothy in regard to the character of the family of God.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self- control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
Paul instructed Timothy that leaders were to turn away from people who were self-seeking in their motives, agendas, and ways. Our responsibility is not just to lead people into the works of God; it is even more to lead them into the character of God. Leadership is about accepting responsibility in the family of God to lead members of the family into the inheritance of the character, nature, way, power, and authority of the family of God. The body of Christ is to be the body of Christ, not pretenders or those who mascaraed in the name of Christ to receive the benefits of being inheritors of Christ. Leaders must recognize who is in their sphere of influence and make it their objective to focus on Christ in all things. Leaders were to teach those they lead to do the same. The self-seeking rebels of Timothy’s day were like the self-seeking rebels in every generation. They are those who seek to deceive gullible and vulnerable people for their own personal gain.
2 Timothy 3:6-9 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jane’s and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.
Paul likened the rebellious of heart to that of Jannes and Jambres. There is no record in the Bible of who Jannes and Jambres were, but Hebrew tradition speculates that these were two magicians that resisted Moses in the time of the plagues in Egypt and the deliverance of Israel. If this is the case, these rebellious individuals in the church were being compared to soothsaying magicians in the kingdom of darkness. Self-seeking ways and self-seeking agendas have no place in the hearts of believers. Leaders must accept the responsibly of dealing with such. Leaders do not seek to control the rebellious; they simply give no room for their rebellious voice in the community of life.
Timothy had carefully observed Paul’s doctrine and manner of life. He had embraced and carried on with Paul’s example of purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, and afflictions. These were examples to Timothy of what one might expect to have to endure when endeavoring to live godly in Christ Jesus. These are things are expected of all believers, but especially of leaders.
2 Timothy 3:10-12 But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra — what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
Leaders must know and teach others to desire to live godly in Christ Jesus even in the face of resistance. When we seek to live godly in Christ we will suffer persecutions of various kinds. Some will not endure. As there was in Paul’s day, there will be evil men and imposters who seek to deceive the untaught and unstable in every generation.
2 Timothy 3:13-15 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
Leaders must set an example of endurance and continuing in what God has given in in the midst of persecution. Pressure doesn’t define a leader; it simply reveals that they are a leader. Pressure doesn’t define a believer in Christ, it simply reveals who a true believer is. Leaders set an example for the church community to follow. In order to do so, they must model a clear understanding of the purpose of Scripture so those they lead can do the same. Leaders must know the purpose of Scripture, embrace that purpose, and present it to those they lead. Knowing the Scripture is essential. It is a witness to the inner voice of God within our hearts. Hearing God will change our way of life and Scripture is profitable for our doctrine – our way of life. Scripture is profitable for reproof, for bringing Christ out of our hearts. Scripture is profitable for correction, keeping us in the path of life. Scripture is profitable for righteousness, keeping us dependent upon God in all things. Leaders must live in this process and lead those they are responsible for into the same process of transformation and testimony.
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson