Bad Leaders, Good Leaders

Leadership According To Jesus: Find Rest For Your Soul

Dan Franklin
Mar 3, 2024    40m
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Are you struggling with the heavy weight of leadership responsibilities? Do you find yourself burdened by expectations, rules, and the need to maintain status? In this eye-opening sermon, we explore "leadership according to Jesus" - a revolutionary approach that turns the world's view upside down. Discover how Jesus calls leaders to be servants, focused on function over titles. Learn to lead with humility, bringing relief instead of burdens to those under your care. Find freedom from using others to boost your ego, and experience the true rest that comes from following Jesus' counter-cultural leadership model. If you're tired of worldly leadership weighing you down, this message offers a refreshing, biblical perspective that will transform your approach. Video recorded at Upland, California.

Transcription
messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Intro: [00:00:00] Hey there. Thanks so much for checking out one of our messages here at Life Bible Fellowship Church. And we know there are two great ways you can connect with us. You can visit our website at LBF.church to learn more about all of our ministries and what we believe. Also, you can subscribe to us on YouTube to make sure that you don't miss one of our future videos.

Rebecca: [00:00:19] Good morning. My name is Rebecca, and I am a Sunday School teacher here for our preschoolers, and I also have the pleasure of attending our Monday evening prayer group. If you would follow along with me, we're reading out of Matthew 23, verses 1 through 12, "A Warning Against Hypocrisy. 1Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2“The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. 5“Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries a wide and the tassels on their garments long; 6they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others. 8“But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11The greatest among you will be your servant. 12For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted." This is God's word. Amen.

Dan Franklin: [00:01:59] So if we're looking to follow King Jesus, you've got to get used to just sort of being surprised. You've got to get used to the idea that Jesus loves to turn things on their head, especially things that we're used to in the world around us, this happens all throughout the Gospel of Matthew that we've been studying through for over a year now. If you were to go all the way back to the sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapters 5, 6, and 7, you see this happening from the beginning of that, because Jesus starts that big speech with what we call the Beatitudes, all these statements about the sort of people in the world that should consider themselves blessed or fortunate. And what does he say? He says, blessed are those who mourn; blessed are the poor in spirit; blessed are those who are hungering and thirsting; blessed are those who are insulted because of the sake of righteousness; blessed are the meek; blessed are the merciful. He goes through all of these qualities of people that we would not call blessed today because Jesus loves to turn things on their head. He's been doing this all throughout the Gospel of Matthew. He's told us that the last will be first, and the first will be last. The humble will be exalted, and the exalted will be humbled. That he's come not for the healthy but for the sick. Jesus is constantly surprising us and providing a contrast between how he does things and between how the world does things, and that's going to happen again today when specifically, we're going to talk about how Jesus in his kingdom views the idea of leaders and leadership.

Dan Franklin: [00:03:40] We're at a point in the Gospel of Matthew where the conflict between Jesus and the Jewish religious leaders has reached its apex. He is in Jerusalem for the Passover, and this will be his last trip to Jerusalem because he's going to be crucified at the end of this trip. So things are at their height, and Jesus in this passage is going to take on and critique the current Jewish religious leaders and provide a contrast between how King Jesus does leadership in his kingdom. And specifically, we're going to get to see this. we're going to get to see that King Jesus's vision of leadership turns the world's approach upside down.

Dan Franklin: [00:04:23] Now, here's the deal, as I talk about this, as I talk about leaders and leadership, some of you right now, you're like, you're leaning forward. You're just like, this is great, you're a leader, or you aspire to be a leader and you're really excited, like, what is Jesus going to have to say about this? But there's also probably some of you that as this comes up on the screen, you're thinking, well, this is nice, and I suppose it's important, but I don't know if this is for me because maybe you don't consider yourself to be a leader, it's not something that you're really after.

Dan Franklin: [00:04:54] And so here's what I want to say, first of all, any words from King Jesus are always valuable to all of us, whether they directly apply to the specific situation that we're in. This is our King; we want to hear what he has to say. But also all of us in our lives will at some point, whether it's really formal or maybe informal, we will find ourselves in leadership. We'll find ourselves in a position where there are others entrusted to our care and guidance, and we need to lead them. At the most simple level, if you are a parent, you are a leader. If you are a husband, you are a leader. If you're a captain on your sports team, or if you're part of student government at your school, you're a leader. If you're a school teacher, if you have employees, if people report to you, you are a leader. And sometimes we even function in leadership when we don't have a title, but people just are influenced by us. We all are in on what Jesus is talking about here, because for all of us, we will exercise leadership of some kind, so we want to know what leadership looks like under King Jesus, and we're going to see that it looks pretty different than it does in the world.

Dan Franklin: [00:04:54] And so here's how this is going to unfold today, we're going to go through Matthew 23 verses 1 through 12, as you already heard read. We're going to see three things unfold. We're going to see Jesus talk about the behavior of worldly leaders, then we're going to see him talk about the motives of worldly leaders, and then we're going to see him provide a contrast to worldly leaders by what things look like under his rule. And so let's jump right into it.

Dan Franklin: [00:06:40] In Matthew 23, verses 1 through 2, give us the lead-up to what we're going to talk about. It says, "Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2“The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat." Now, Jesus, he's talking about the current Jewish religious leaders. And so even though I'm using the label worldly leaders, even a religious leader can be a worldly leader, can be doing things according to the way that the world does things. By the way, as we're talking about this, do you think our world right now needs a message about leadership? Do you think we need some help? And the truth is not just outside the church, but within the church we need help. There are leadership scandals outside the church, but sadly, there are leadership scandals within the church. And those don't happen because we're following the way of King Jesus, those happen because even within the church, we can start acting in a worldly way. So he's talking about the religious leaders, the Pharisees, who are the religious conservatives of their day, and the teachers of the law, who are the scholars and experts in what the Bible says. He says, all right, currently they sit in Moses's seat. Which is not literal, it's metaphorical, he's saying they now are in the same role that Moses had back when Israel became a nation. And if you had a problem or if you wanted to know what the Bible said, or if you wanted to understand God's guidance for a tricky situation, you went to Moses and Moses told you what God wanted you to do. So he says now in that seat are the Pharisees and the teachers of the law. They are now in the role that if you have a tricky problem, if you have a Bible question, you go to them. But then he says in verse 3, “So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach."

Dan Franklin: [00:08:38] We're only going to be going through the first 12 verses of this chapter, but if you went through the whole thing, you would see that this is the sharpest rebuke that Jesus gives to the Jewish religious leaders of the day. In fact, if any of you are watching The Chosen, our very own Phil Shabazz plays a primary role in a scene where this all unfolds. He says, hey, sometimes you're going to be listening to these Bible teachers and they're going to tell you what the Bible says, so that's good, so do what they tell you to do because they're telling you what the Bible says. But he says, unfortunately, you can't imitate them, they're failing in the most fundamental way that a leader can fail, which is you can't follow their lead. You can't do what they're doing because they don't practice what they preach. They talk a good game, but they don't actually do it.

Dan Franklin: [00:09:24] And then he gives this stinging retort in verse 4, he says, "They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them." This is the verse in all the verses we're going to go over, this is the one that's haunted me the most for years in thinking about this idea. So, just kind of follow me on this. you're a first-century Israelite, and you decide that you're going to go see one of these leaders, and there's a variety of reasons that might drive you to do this. So let's say you're having family problems, there's a real lack of family harmony, people aren't getting along, people are fighting, you can't get on the same page. And so you decide, all right, we're going to go to these leaders and we're going to ask them to help us and guide us to what do we do because we're in such conflict with each other. Or maybe it has to do with financial provision, you're just like the rains didn't come this year and the way that they were supposed to, and so our crops aren't very good, and so we're struggling to make ends meet, and we're kind of upset with God because we feel like he's not doing what he's supposed to do, and so we'll go to these leaders and we'll get some guidance and help from them. Or maybe you're struggling in some kind of area of sin, and you don't feel good about it, but you've been failing, and you feel stuck. You want to go and say, I'm not proud of this, but this is what I'm doing right now, and I've been trying to stop, and I haven't been successful, so I'm going to go to my leaders. I'm going to go to my leaders about my financial problems, about my family problems, about my sin problems, I'm going to go to them.

Dan Franklin: [00:11:03] I'm going to go to them, and I'm already burdened, I already feel weighed down as I'm going to them. You go to them burdened. Do you know how you leave? You leave more burdened, more weighed down than when you came. Probably for two reasons. The first is that when you go to them with all your problems, you know what they give you, they give you a whole bunch of rules, and sometimes you're like, I know the rules. I'm not doing great at following the rules. And so they're like, all right, here's four more rules to help you follow that rule. We'll add some more rules to help you follow God's rules because you're not very good at following God's rules, so here's a bunch more rules to follow, that's number one. And number two is that you leave more weighed down because they're not talking to you about God's grace, they're not presenting to you a God of love and forgiveness, it is all on your shoulders to fix your problems by doing what God has called you to do. You go burdened and you leave more weighed down there, not willing to lift a finger to help. And this is such a contrast to what Jesus did for people when they came to him.

Dan Franklin: [00:12:19] Let me just put it on the screen. Are you allowed to have favorite Bible verses? Is that okay? Yes, no? All right yeah, I don't care, I do. And this is my favorite thing that Jesus says in the Gospel of Matthew, it's from chapter 11, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." They go to the worldly leaders burdened, and they leave more burdened. You go to Jesus burdened, and you experience rest and relief. Which is weird, because if you're paying close attention to verse 29, you know what Jesus is saying he's going to do when we go to him. He's saying, I'm going to tell you what to do. I'm going to give you stuff to do. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, if you come to me, I'm going to tell you what to do. Have you ever had something where you're trying to figure out what to do, and you go to Jesus, and he guides you in something you got to do? Like, this happens, if you go to Jesus, beware, he's probably going to tell you to do something.

Dan Franklin: [00:13:33] But even in Jesus telling us to do stuff, there's rest, and I think for at least three reasons. There's rest when we do what Jesus tells us to do, first of all because we know all of his commands are for our good. They're not random and arbitrary, they are for our good and out of his love. Secondly, we get rest when we do what Jesus tells us to do because we know even when we fail, we still have forgiveness, we still have grace. The weight of the world is not on our shoulders, because the weight of the world fell on the shoulders of Jesus, and he died for every sin. We leave saying, I want to do what Jesus has called me to do but thank God I know I will be forgiven if and when I fail. The third reason why we get rest when we do what Jesus tells us to do is because he is with us when he calls us to do it, he will help us do it.

Dan Franklin: [00:14:37] A bunch of years ago, there were some things in my life that made me feel really overwhelmed, in some ways that God was at work in my life, calling me to change some things, and it felt very daunting. In fact, the image that I would have in my head during that time was an image of warfare, it was like, I guess it was World War I because there was a trench involved. But it's like I was in a trench, I was like peeking over the top of it, and there was just gunfire and warfare going on out there, and I'm trying to psych myself up. Like, all right, you got to get out there, you have to be brave, you got to get out there and fight this battle, this is what Jesus is calling you to do, you got to get up and do it. And then I felt like God sort of gave me a different image that I still hold on to today, and it's still very helpful to me today. And it’s that same idea that I'm there, and I'm like, all right, I got to get ready to go. And as I'm getting ready to go into the war zone, I just feel a hand on my shoulder. And I looked to my right, and Jesus is standing next to me, and he says, are you ready to do this? He's not sending me out into the battlefield, he's walking with me out into the battlefield. Spoiler alert, do you know the last thing Jesus says in the Gospel of Matthew? The very last thing he says is, "I will be with you always to the very end of the age." And Jesus is with us through the Holy Spirit, he is not telling us what to do, he is saying, let's do it. He is with us to help us every step of the way. Man, you go to these worldly leaders, you come away more burdened. You go to Jesus with your burdens, and you get rest because he's with you.

Dan Franklin: [00:16:24] And it's worth just pausing for a minute here and looking at ourselves and asking the question, are we the sort of people who bring relief or who bring burdens? As you're a leader in whatever sphere, are you somebody that when you're interacting with those around you, with those entrusted to your care, are they walking away more weighed down with what they need to do for you? Or are they walking around saying he is going to be with me, she is going to be with me, they are on my team all the way? The Jewish religious leaders were not bringing relief, they were bringing burdens.

Dan Franklin: [00:17:04] And it's worth us just pausing and saying, why would they behave in that way? Like, why would they behave in a way that they're bringing these sorts of burdens? And that gets us into the middle section of this passage, which is the motives of these worldly leaders. And Jesus lays out their motives starting in verse 5, he says, “Everything they do is done for people to see." They're not leading because they believe in this special calling from God to serve God's people, everything they do is done for people to see. Do you know why they're doing what they're doing? They're doing it for the applause of other people, to get the validation of those that are supposed to be under their care.

Dan Franklin: [00:17:52] And Jesus explains what this looks like starting in the rest of verse 5, he says, "They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long." We all get that, right? Let's move on. No. Let me actually put up a picture, and this is to show what Jesus is talking about here is not just something that was an ancient Near East thing, it's something that many Orthodox Jews still practice today. So we've got a Jewish man here at the Wailing Wall, do you see that box on his head? That's a phylactery. And what it is, it's a small box like that, you can also, if you're looking closely, see one on his left arm. They would strap it to their forehead and to their left arm, many still do, and these little boxes would contain, in very small print, different key passages from the Old Testament. And it was actually this really cool idea to say, hey, at my hand in whatever I'm doing, on my forehead, wherever I'm looking, I see God's commands and God's guidance leading me wherever I go. It was a way of physicalizing that concept. And then the tassels, you can also see the tassels on his garment, the little fringes hanging down. That's something that's based off a command that God gave in the Book of Numbers, and it was once again meant to be a reminder, these tassels were meant to be a reminder of God's commands. And many Jews still today, what they'll do is as they're walking, especially if they're walking by themselves, they'll fidget with the tassels. And as they're doing that, they're reciting Scripture in their minds, reminding themselves of what God has called them to do. And so I don't know about you, but I love this, I think that this is a really cool idea to say, what we physicalize, what we use, even our clothing, even our apparel to remind ourselves of God's commands and what he's called us to do? But Jesus says they make their phylacteries wide, they make their tassels long. I don't know what the wide phylactery means, like, he has got a sunshade up there, it's just like real big for everyone to see. The tassels are real long so that everyone knows how spiritual these guys are. This might be the ancient equivalent of like the modern humblebrag on social media, where you're sort of like acting like you're sharing something really cool that just happened to you, but really, it's an opportunity to brag about how great you are. This was sort of the humble brag for the Jewish world, they made their phylacteries wide for everyone to see and their tassels long.

Dan Franklin: [00:20:23] He goes on in verse 6 and he says, "They love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogue." Man, they go to a party, and they get prime seating. And they go to the synagogue, and certainly, they have prime seating for everybody to see how important they are. And then he says in verse 7, "They love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called Rabbi, teacher, by others." They love the title, and they love the status, and they love all that goes along with it. These guys did not get into leadership because they felt a special calling to serve God's people, these guys got into leadership to see what they could get from the people who were under their care. They're not interested in lifting people up; they're interested in stepping on people if that gets them higher. They're interested in leadership for the validation and the ego boost that it brings.

Dan Franklin: [00:21:28] And let's pause again and look inward and ask the question, are any of us in danger of using those entrusted to our care to boost our ego, to make us feel like we matter? And let's be real on this, one of the results of the fall and the fact that we live in a fallen world, is that every single one of us in here is insecure. You can feign confidence, everybody in here is insecure about who we are and about how we fit into the world. And so one of the ways that we try to fix that is by boosting our ego, based on those under our care, they exist to prop us up.

Dan Franklin: [00:22:13] There are 100 different applications of this but let me zero in on one that I think is worth talking about, and that's the fact that we can do this with our children. Whether they're young children or whether they're adult children, we can look at our children as a way to boost our egos and validate our lives. Look at how great my children are doing, they all have high-paying jobs, they're all in stable marriages, and suddenly you start to feel like this validates me as a good parent and as a good person. Look at my child out on the field, look at how they're competing and winning the game for my team. And suddenly you start to feel like you matter because your kid matters. Now, if you're a parent, I think there's actually something positive about the fact that we all want to brag about our kids, that there's something great about feeling like my kids are just the greatest, there's something beautiful in that. But not when we start to turn it into an opportunity to validate ourselves or boost our own ego by how our kids are doing at school, by how our kids are doing in their jobs, by how they're doing with their music, by how polite they are. If we do this, two things are going to happen. Number one is that we're going to have to recognize this is just a form of idolatry. It's a form of idolatry, saying I get my validation not from God, but from how well my kids are doing. It's a form of idolatry, but secondly, let me guarantee you this, if you do this to your kids, eventually they will resent you for it because nobody is built to bear that burden and to bear the weight of your identity and validation, only God can give that to you. But we're tempted to be like these worldly leaders who use those under their care to boost their egos.

Dan Franklin: [00:24:18] Jesus, though, has a different way. And that's why I love how verse 8 begins when he says, "But you..." He says, all right, this is how they're behaving, but you are going to do something different, you are going to provide a contrast. He says, “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah." So most obviously Jesus is providing a contrast to what he just said about how they love to be called Rabbi when they're met in the marketplaces, they love that. And he says, all right, but here, as for you, you're not going to be called rabbi, which means teacher. You're not going to be called rabbi. You're not going to be called father, and the whole idea of them being called father may relate to in the first century, just the idea that it was a form of respect from a spiritual leader or somebody who was prominent in the society that they call them my father, or my mother if it was a woman. The whole, you won't be called instructor, it's a slightly different word that's used for rabbi and teacher back in verse 8, it seems to have more of the idea of a guide or a mentor, so maybe even a leader. So he says, all right, you're not going to be called rabbi, you're not going to be called father, and you're not going to be called leader or instructor.

Dan Franklin: [00:25:48] Now here's the deal, this is King Jesus speaking, this is our King speaking, so we want to really get what he's going for here. And we can have the temptation, on the one hand, to just be like, we know what he's doing, those three titles, we're not using them. Like we might find synonyms, but we're not using those three titles. Or we could kind of say Jesus is clearly getting at something bigger here, which he is, but often when we say Jesus is getting that something bigger here, we never get around to actually figuring out what that bigger thing is, we just let ourselves off the hook over here.

Dan Franklin: [00:26:18] So let's look at it, Jesus is getting at something bigger here, he's not simply saying, don't use these three words. And part of how we know that is that Jesus says, you won't be called Rabbi, and at the same time he ends the gospel, one of the last things that he says in the Gospel of Matthew is, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and, yeah, some of you know it, teaching them to obey everything that I've commanded. Jesus says there's going to be teachers within my church. There's going to be teachers, and that's good, there's nothing wrong with that.

Dan Franklin: [00:26:18] And then we could look at verse 9 and say, well, does that include literal fathers? Like you're not supposed to call your literal fathers...We'd look at that and say that that doesn't seem to be what Jesus is getting at here. It's not primarily about avoid these words, and it's not even about avoid the idea of leadership, because Jesus was very pro-leadership. He appointed 12 apostles; he sees this as something good. I think the bigger point that Jesus is getting here is that within his kingdom, and within his church, we are not going to find our identity in the titles or the positions that we hold. We're going to look at them as positions that give us a certain function, a certain way that we serve the Christian community, but it's not going to be where we find our identity.

Dan Franklin: [00:27:41] Which brings us to the question of, whether are we focused on title or function. Are we focused on what we are called by others, or are we focused on what God is calling us to do? Let me give an example of this. So here at this church, obviously we have some of us who have the title pastor, some have the title elder. We have different leaders, life group leaders, small group leaders, all of that, so we have different ones with titles. So I'm one of the pastors here. Pastor means shepherd, so shepherding is the activity I am called to. That's what I am called to do, I'm not primarily called to a title, I'm called to an activity of looking to shepherd. Some of you like to call me Pastor Dan and like to call the different pastors, sort of, you know, Pastor Troy, Pastor Jeff, that's fine, we're not going to be the word police here. I don't want everybody leaving here super self-conscious, like, don't do that. Some of you just call me pastor because you don't know my name, and so you're just like, hi, pastor, that's all right. So once again, I don't want you to leave and be, like, super nervous about this. Those of you who have got to know me, don't call me Pastor Dan, you just call me Dan. And that's great because that's my name, and because even though I'm entrusted with being one of the shepherds at this church, you know what I am before I'm a shepherd? I'm one of the sheep. We're all sheep in this. We're all part of Jesus's flock. I'm one of the sheep, and some of us are entrusted to the way that we're serving the flock is in some form of leadership, and that's great, but that is not who we are at the core. I love when he says, don't call each other rabbi because you're all brothers, you're all brothers and sisters. When I get up here and teach God's Word, you could say, well, Dan, right now is being a teacher and that's fine, that describes the function that I'm doing. But what I'm trying to do up here is I'm trying to bring us into an experience where everybody, including me, is underneath God's Word, trying to figure out what God is calling us to do. We are all sheep, and then there are some shepherds among the sheep. We're all learners, and then there are some teachers among the learners. We're all following, and then there are some guides and some leaders amongst those who are following. But we don't get hung up on the title. In fact, I know there's going to be a day, and I don't know if my plan is going to come to fruition, but my plan is that this is like 20 years from now, I'm not interested in being anywhere else, I want to be here until I'm done pastoring full time. But let's say 20 years from now, I retire, and I will no longer at that point be a pastor, and that's fine because that will have described a function that I held for a while. But do you know what I am before a pastor? I am a sheep. I am a blood-bought, Spirit-indwelt, child of God, whether I'm pastoring or not.

Dan Franklin: [00:30:49] Every once in a while, somebody who's a part of our congregation will come to me and say, I feel like maybe God is calling me to be a pastor or to be a leader or to be an elder. And I'm always excited when I hear that, I always want to interact with people who feel like God might be calling them to that. But I'll tell you, just in case you come to me about this, this is probably the first piece of advice that I'm going to give you. If you feel like God has called you to do that, start doing it before you have the title. Don't wait until you have the title pastor, you finish seminary, and you get hired at a church, start shepherding God's people now in whatever appropriate way you can. Don't wait until somebody gives you a formal teaching role, look to teach God's Word in the appropriate ways that you can right now. Don't wait until somebody says you are a leader, start leading. Be faithful in what God has given you to do, and sometimes the title never comes because that's just not that important to God, and sometimes the title does come because you've already shown yourself to be trustworthy. But Jesus says we're not going to be the people who are focusing on titles, we're going to focus on the idea that we are all serving within the body.

Dan Franklin: [00:32:01] In fact, he says in the first of two summary statements at the end of this passage, he says, the greatest among you will be your servant. The greatest among you won't be the one using others to get ahead, it will be your servant. Man, there's a lot more to say about this, but I'll just briefly say, Jesus, is not saying that that means that leaders are those who look to those under their care and just say, what do you want to do? We'll do it. That is not servant leadership. By the way, is that what Jesus does with us? Is Jesus like, Dan, what do you want to do? Well, we'll just do that. Thank God, no, that is not how Jesus leads us. Jesus is not saying leaders within the home or leaders within the community are just those who ask those under their care what they should do, and then they just do that. What he's saying is this, for some of us, the way we serve is by leading. And the way we lead is by seeing it as an act of service and sacrifice to help God's people. It says the greatest among you will be your servant.

Dan Franklin: [00:33:02] And then in the second summary statement, he says, for those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. This is not the only time Jesus says this, again, this could be a whole sermon in and of itself. But but just briefly, take what Jesus is saying right here and think about this. The wise person chooses to look at it and say, If I'm going to end up humble, I would rather humble myself than put myself in a position where God has to humble me. And the wise person says, if I'm going to get exalted, I want to leave that to Jesus to be the one who's going to exalt me, because that's going to be better than any self-exaltation I can get. The humble will be exalted, and the exalted will be humbled. Because in Jesus' way of life and in Jesus' way of leadership, things are upside down from the way that they are in the world, and Jesus provides us a different path.

Dan Franklin: [00:34:04] And here's what I want to do during this last segment of time, I want to talk about how God might be calling us to respond to these words of Jesus here. And actually, as I'm getting into it, I want to invite the members of our prayer ministry team to just go ahead and come to the front right now. Because, man, every week Jesus is calling us to respond to him. And this week, maybe even for some of you, there's a special way in which you're going to be called to respond. And in a second, I'm going to put some points of application up here that are not going to be brand new, they're going to be things we already talked about today. But before I do that, I want to say this, maybe for some of us, first and foremost, before we even get into the question of how is God calling me to respond to Jesus and His call as far as my leadership, maybe even before we get to that, some of you today just need to respond by saying, man, I need to come to Jesus and get rest. You're burdened and you're weighed down because you're in the battle against sin and you feel like you're losing, or because you've got big things going on with your finances or your family or your work, you're burdened. And maybe the only reason for you to come forward today to one of the members of the prayer ministry team is just to get prayer, to say, I am weighed down and I believe that Jesus will give me rest, so help me come to him now.

Dan Franklin: [00:35:24] But with that said, let's talk about some of the things that we've talked about and look at ourselves on this. Some of you may want to come forward and get prayer today because you want to be the kind of person who brings relief and not burdens to others. And if we're honest with ourselves, some of us are going to realize I'm not necessarily that person. Are you the boss? That when you're interacting with one of your employees, they're looking forward to the interaction because they're like, I'm going to get help here, I'm going to get guidance, they're going to be in this with me; or are they just worried and dreading all the burdens that you're going to heap on them? If you're a husband and a dad when you get home, what happens to the mood in the family? Does everybody say, oh, good, Dad is home, things are going to be okay; or do they say, we're not quite sure what we're going to get here? We want to seek to be the people who bring relief and not burdens. And maybe for some of you, your heart is in the right place, you're like, I want to be that person, I need to pray that God will empower me to be that person. Some of us need to pause, and maybe we need to come forward today because we need to repent of using others to boost our ego. Our kids, our employees, our students, our teammates, we're in a position where they're just there to prop us up, and we need to repent first and foremost before God because this is idolatry, this is a serious heart issue here, and maybe God's even calling some of us to repent before those that we've been treating in this way. Maybe for some of you right now, one of the takeaways from today is you're like, I need to get in contact with my adult child because I've been putting the weight of the world on their shoulders as if their success validates my personhood, and there needs to be some apologies and, God willing, forgiveness, given there. And then third, maybe there are some of us here who need to realize we've been much more focused on the status and titles, whether it's here in the church or outside than we have on what God is actually calling us to do, and it's time to turn from that. But you're saying, I want to turn from that, and maybe you need to come forward and get some prayer because it's not so easy to root out that habit. We want to be those who provide a way in a world where leadership is all about getting ahead and standing on the backs of those under our care, to say in the words of Jesus, but not among you. Among you, the greatest will be the servant, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Dan Franklin: [00:38:11] I'm going to ask you to bow with me and let's pray together right now. Father, thank you so much, first and foremost, thank you so much that you offer us rest in Jesus. When we come to you, we don't leave more weighed down, we leave lighter, and more joyful, and more hopeful; and in fact, we don't leave because you will be with us always. Father, please help us to get greater tastes of that rest so that we can be the sort of people who pass that along. Father, make us people who bring relief instead of burdens, forgive us of the ways that we use others to boost our ego. And Father, please lead us to shrug our shoulders at the idea of titles and status, and instead simply to do what you've called us to do in serving you and your people. Father, I pray that you move in hearts today, and I pray that we wouldn't rush out of here if you're calling us to pause and to pray, and to partner with others in what you're doing in our hearts. I pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.

Dan Franklin: [00:39:27] Let me just invite you to stand as I briefly read a word of benediction over us. And once again, if God is at work in your heart right now, don't rush out of here, the prayer ministry team is here for a reason. But for our benediction to send us out, let me just read again those precious words of Jesus in Matthew 11, verses 28 through 30, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Amen? Amen. God bless you for the rest of this Sunday.



Recorded in Upland, California.
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Life Bible Fellowship Church
2426 N Euclid Ave
Upland, California 91786
(909) 981-4848