MISSION WOODS CHURCH
Worship Sunday August 29 2021
      • Bible Trivia
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      • Bible Trivia
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  • Come Let Us Worship And Bow Down
  • A Shield About Me
  • Soldiers of Christ, Arise
  • Agnus Dei
      • Mark 7:15ESV

  • John Maxwell is a known leadership consultant and speaker. He’s written countless books on the topic of leadership, and one of his most often spoken phrases is:
    “Everything rises and falls on leadership.”
    Those words are powerful. There is truth there.
    Today we will be installing our elders and deacons who will be serving in leadership of our congregation. There is great responsibility there for each one of these fine people who will be taking their oaths of office before you today.
    And still, there is more. There is a responsibility for you as a congregation as well, and I don’t want you to miss that point.
    So, my message today is about leadership. It is a charge to our leaders, our deacons, our elders, and...
    it is a charge to each one of us.
    When I pray with our worship team I often pray something like: “Lord, we know we cannot lead where we do not go, so I ask you to lead us in worship today that we may lead our congregation to you.”
    All of us as believers are called by God, and as part of that call we are to be a light to others. Shining the light of Christ wherever we may go. That means in a real way each one of us is like a light house helping guide a lost ship home to safe harbor in our Lord’s arms. That makes all of us a leader in one way or another.
    So as you listen today, as we read passages that are specifically aimed at elders and deacons, don’t imagine that there is not something there for you.
    With that, let’s turn to God’s Word.
    Our first reading comes from 1 Peter 5:1-11
    1 Peter 5:1–11 ESV
    So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
    And then from the book of the Acts of the Apostles:
    Acts 6:1–6 ESV
    Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them.
    This is a reading from God’s Holy Word.
    Thanks be to God.

    A Charge to Leadership

    The term elder is presbyteros in the Greek. It’s where the word Presbyterian comes from. It is important that we recognize these individuals have been selected, chosen, set aside as shepherds (or leaders) of the flock of God (the church).
    That is a huge responsibility.
    Peter gives them three charges as to how they will carry out their responsibilities as shepherds:
    Elders are to “shepherd” the church gladly, or “willingly” in accord with God’s will, instead of doing it out of a sense of compulsion.
    They are to do the work eagerly and not out of greed or for shameful gain.
    They are to serve as examples to the congregation, and not use their place of leadership as a means to be domineering.
    Willingly
    Eagerly
    Serve as examples
    It is important that neither our elders nor our deacons feel coerced to serve. Serving as an elder or deacon is a part of their service to God as they serve the church. The elders are serving as shepherds to the flock and in doing so they are following the chief shepherd, Jesus Christ himself. The deacons as ministers among us making sure that no one is neglected.
    They are not serving with an eye to any selfish gain, but are doing the work of the Lord eagerly, seeking the Lord’s glory.
    In doing so, they serve as examples for all of us.
    When we consider our reading from Acts and the appointment of the deacons we see that there was a sense of importance to prayer and preaching of the word.
    When we read verse 2, we might imagine a hierarchy of importance to the roles.
    Acts 6:2 ESV
    And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables.
    Yet, that is not what is being said. What is being said is that for these 12, they were called to preach the word of God. They were called in their ministry to be praying, and preaching the word. To add to their responsibilities would only limit their ability to preach God’s Word. All of us are only given a certain number of hours in a day.
    If you’ve ever served in a position with an ever expanding job descriptions you may have seen how over time you are not being as effective in a certain area simply because your job description has continued to broaden.
    An illustration of this is about 20 years ago, there was an effort to try and help the fish coming “home” to spawn. In an effort to make the trip “easier” the rivers and streams were widened clearing the way for the fish. What they didn’t seem to think of was that if you widen a stream, you also make it shallower. The result was the fish they were trying to make a way for were unable to go upstream to the spawning grounds because the depth of the water prevented them from doing so.
    The disciples did not want to be less effective in preaching God’s Word, so they had the people of the church appoint seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, and appointed them to this duty of serving.
    Back to our passage in 1 Peter - Peter speaks to all of us:
    1 Peter 5:6–7 ESV
    Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
    What an amazing promise for all of us. Our ultimate leader is not an elder, deacon, mayor, governor, president, it’s our God. And God cares for us, so we can cast all of our anxieties on Him.
    1 Peter 5:8 ESV
    Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
    When I read this passage I’m reminded of Genesis 4:6-7
    Genesis 4:6–7 NIV84
    Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”
    When we get anxious, we tend to take our eyes off of God. that’s what happened to Peter when he was walking on the water. If anyone can speak from experience don’t you think Peter can?
    And Peter concludes with these words:
    1 Peter 5:9–10 ESV
    Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
    We all have challenges to our faith. Each and every single one of us. Elders, deacons, congregations, people who are in our neighborhoods, but we can put our anxieties on God, and he will lift us up.
    My charge to you as a congregation, and to our deacons and elders in our church is for you to be:
    Humble before God,
    Casting your anxieties on Him
    Resisting the adversary knowing that
    God has called you and will restore, confirm, strengthen and estabilsh you.
    As we learned in Ephesians, “To the praise of his glorious grace!”
    Or as Peter put it,
    1 Peter 5:11 ESV
    To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
    I want to invite our elders and deacons to step forward as they affirm and reaffirm their commitment to serve our congregation as God has called them.
    And I want our congregation to also take their role seriously to uphold these men and women in your prayers as they seek to serve as God has called them, and to follow as God has called you.
      • 1 Peter 5:1–11ESV

      • Acts 6:1–6ESV

      • Acts 6:2ESV

      • 1 Peter 5:6–7ESV

      • 1 Peter 5:8ESV

      • Genesis 4:6–7ESV

      • 1 Peter 5:9–10ESV

      • 1 Peter 5:11ESV

  • We Are an Offering
  • Onward, Christian Soldiers

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