Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Preaching Points - How to Preach Matthew 23:1-12 - Thoughts for Leadership

(Read Matthew 23:1-12.)

This passage deals with leadership more than anything else and serves as a chance for us to examine ourselves.

First, Jesus points out the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and teachers of the law, saying they don't practice what they preach. Are you practicing what you preach? In everything?

Jesus next says that these religious leaders give the people all kinds of burdens (rules to obey) without doing anything to help them carry those burdens. How do / your church's ministries do at this? Are you teaching HOW to obey rather than just WHAT to obey? Are you giving them the tools they need to live successfully? Do you teach your congregants how to pray, read Scripture, serve, take care of their bodies in a Godly fashion, manage their money, etc.? Do you hold support groups or have ministries that assist your members with crisis situations? If not, you may be telling them the rules on how to live, but not giving them any real help in actually living that way.

Finally, Jesus rebuffs the leaders for placing too much emphasis on the respect people give them. He said that the leaders liked to show off their holiness by wearing special clothes or ornaments. They liked to have people call them Rabbi and Father. Let me ask you this. Do you wear special clothes or ornaments to perform your ministry? These clothes / vestments / robes / collars separate you from your people and make you seem more holy than they are, just like the Pharisees' phylacteries.

Do you insist people call you Pastor or Reverend or Father or some similar title? Do you call your members Engineer Tom or Data Analyst Susan or Student Jameel? If not, why do they need to call you by any certain title? Aren't all Christians valued as equal in God's sight? Don't we believe that He has called and ordained each of us to our professions, whether they be ministerial or "secular"?

We want people to respect our office and our leadership, but I bet they would respect you more if you preached this passage directly from a standpoint of telling them how you want to be a genuine, humble leader, about how all Christians are equal, meaning you want them to call you by your given name and leave titles out of it, and how you're going to strive to show them HOW to live the Christian life rather than just telling them about the Christian life.

Just some things to think about, my friends. As Jesus leads, so we will follow.

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