Consider the Faith of Your Leaders

“Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:7, 8)

To follow this word, we need to have human leaders.

I know that it is easy to be disappointed in church life. I know sometimes human leaders fall well short of the biblical standard of loving others as Christ loved them (John 13:34,35). But consider the fact that is implied in this word from John first of all – Christ has loved these leaders. If Christ loves them, not only should they love God’s people, but God’s people (us) (who are also loved by God), should love these leaders.

Even if we get disappointed, we need to trust God enough to believe that it is for our good to have some human leaders in church life.

In the Bible, these leaders are for the most part called “elders”. Today we call them “pastors”.  I don’t want to depart too far from the original text to discuss this matter. You may wish to research what the New Testament says about this to get more understanding.

We should remember our leaders, both past ones and present ones. So its important to be part of a Christian community which has leaders. But the quality of leadership is very important for us to consider.

“Remember your leaders, who spoke the Word of God to you”.

A true Christian leader speaks the Word of God. That is the important part of what that leader says. We should not follow church leaders who do not speak the Word of God. We ought to distinguish between the Word of God and mere human tradition. Human traditions are those customs and habits and forms that are passed down sometimes from one generation to the next, without people really considering whether it is according to the Word of God or not. Sometimes the observance of human traditions hinders the people of God from really giving time and thought to implementing what God Himself has commanded in His Word. We can easily fall into the trap of thinking that keeping the traditions is all that really matters. A lot of things that Jesus commanded his disciples are not always taught and practiced by church people today for this very reason.

It says we are to CONSIDER the OUTCOME of the way of life of the leaders we have known and heard about.

What things did they do that were really wise? What results came of that? What did they do that was not so wise? What results did that give?

God is after all interested in OUTCOMES.

We should REMEMBER these leaders.

Don’t forget them.

Maybe there are leaders who have now moved on to other fields of service. It is good to remember them. Try to remember what you learned from them. Sometimes we become mentally lazy. We don’t make any effort to remember things. This is a weakness. If we can’t remember important things, we can’t learn lessons well either. And God does want us to learn, so we can grow.

The Bible also says here concerning leaders to IMITATE THEIR FAITH.

Faith is a quality which enables people to triumph over the setbacks and disappointments of life, by considering God faithful, and enduring. Faith pleases God and attracts the favour of God.

Good leaders should have this kind of enduring patient faith, and it will lead to good results.

It is important to have a long term view of things also. Sometimes the decisions we can make as leaders might solve a problem for us in the short term, but create a longer term problem. Hopefully the decisions we make, and the decisions our Christian leaders make, will have good long term results. Giving up is sometimes easiest, but great leaders don’t give up on the promises and things God gave them,

We should imitate the faith of leaders.

It doesn’t mean we should imitate their mannerisms, or ways of talking, or personality.

Faith is something different to this. Be yourself in God. But imitate the faith of godly leaders.

Ultimately, Jesus Christ is the standard for leadership. Jesus Christ is not only the standard for evangelism, or for signs and wonders and miracles, but also for leadership. Leadership is the context of Hebrews 13:8.

It is the character of Jesus that we see revealed in the entire Bible that is the measure of what a great Christian leader should be.

That standard has never changed. Jesus Christ is that standard. We see in Jesus someone who confidently relied on the provision of the Father for every human need. We see in Jesus someone who was determined to lay his life down for others according to the will of the Father. Ultimately, it is only by the life of Christ in us that we can be conformed to this high standard. We must consent to change, to lay down our selfishness, and allow Christ, by His Holy Spirit, to dwell in us and live through us.

In remembering that Jesus Christ is unchanging, we can also have hope that it is HE who raised up great leaders in the past, and remains with His church to raise up leaders today and for the future.

Remembering Your Leaders

Can you remember a particular leader in your life? What do you remember about their faith, and what had a particular impact upon you?

One leader I remember that had an impact on my life was a man named Warren Searles. He was the founder of Students for Christ, the first National Pentecostal student mission in Australia. What impacted me most at first was his boldness and pioneering spirit,  seeing things like him take his guitar into the University of New South Wales, and get in front of a smaller group of people and just present his convictions. In those day, the Pentecostal movement was not very big in Australia yet. I think it is the boldness of people like Warren who were willing to stand up and do something different, and boldly stand up for Jesus Christ and even the supernatural power of God in a place where it seemed like NO ONE was doing that yet, which impressed me.

I think this put a seed in my own life, because many times in the last 30 years since, I have gone into different countries and places and preached and demonstrated the supernatural power of Jesus Christ where no one was expecting or believing for such things to happen. Places like Romania post revolution, where we preached salvation and healing on the streets of Bucharest, in the 1990s. Or in government offices and schools in the Philippines, in 2015.

But many times it is the EXAMPLE of a leader who does something before you do, or who shows faith in a way you have not seen before, which is so powerful.

It is quite easy to join a crowd once something is considered “cool”. It is another thing to pioneer or bring in a new kind of daring faith, when as yet no one sees it your way.

I think we all need to remember specific defining examples from our past that impacted us. It is part of the heritage we carry with us.

Perhaps for you there will be completely different memories but still equally valid ones, of leaders who have influenced you positively. God set those experiences in your life as foundation stones for your life and future.

In remembering our leaders, past and present we are giving honor to the Lord Jesus Christ’s work in and through those people’s lives. These memories speak to us of the faithfulness of the Lord Jesus Christ and of God the Father to us.

One category of leader which is sometimes forgotten by us is that category of PARENTS. Our parents, especially if they were Christian parents, have been very important leaders in our lives. Try to think of the best things you have learned from your own parents. In my case, I think I learned a lot about integrity by looking at the example of my father. Or a love of justice and kindness, by looking at my mother. We receive a lot through the example of our parents also.

 

 

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About Michael Fackerell

The Christian faith is about Jesus. He came to save the lost. About Jesus Christ, Bible teaching, Testimonies, Salvation, Prayer, Faith, Networking.

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