Leaders Developing the Heart of Christ
Matthew 9:1-8; 1 Corinthians 1:13-17
stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. 2 Some men
brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he
said to the paralytic, "Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven."
3 At this, some
of the teachers of the law said to themselves, "This fellow is
4 Knowing their
thoughts, Jesus said, "Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?
5 Which is easier: to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up
and walk'? 6 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on
earth to forgive sins. . . ." Then he said to the paralytic, "Get up, take
your mat and go home." 7 And the man got up and went home. 8 When the
crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had
given such authority to men. NIV
What would make people so excited to come
to Christ that they would tear the roof off the house to get to him?
These men tore the roof off of the house to get this paralytic to Jesus.
Donít you wish people were that excited to get into this church building.
The drawing power of Jesusí life is staggering. Zacchaeus, a wealthy tax
collector, was drawn to Christ. He came to Jesus promising to give up half
of his wealth to the poor, as he promised to reimburse anyone he had
cheated fourfold (Luke 19:1-8). A woman with an issue of blood fought a
crowd of people just to be able to reach out and touch the hem of his
Do you know what made Jesusí heart attract
sinners? Matthew says that when the crowd saw the paralytic
healed, ď. . . they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had
given such authority to men (Matthew 9:8). Jesus says to the Pharisees,
ďBut if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God
has come upon youĒ (Matthew 12:27-28 NIV). The power of Christ was the
result of the Spirit of God presence in his heart.
The heart of Jesus Christ is the drawing
power of the gospel. The people didnít come to Jesus because of
his logical arguments. They didnít come to him because he was a Jew. They
didnít come to him because he was poor, or because he was powerful, or
because he was the Son of God, or because he was resurrected. They came to
him because the heart of Jesus drew them to him.
The authority and power of Jesus emanated
from a heart possessed by Godís Holy Spirit. David Chadwell says,
ďThe person who relates to people with his heart is the person who relates
to people by touching their hearts.Ē Chadwell goes on to say, the
qualities people love most about Jesus Christ is his meek or unassuming
nature. His compassion. His mercy. His forgiveness. His kindness. His
unselfishness, sacrificial nature. These all are issues of the heart.
Emptying the Cross of Its Power
The biggest problem with the church in the
twentieth century was that we tried to build the church solely upon human
reason and human wisdom. When the Corinthians sought to do this
they emptied the cross of Christ of its power.
13 Is Christ
divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of
Paul? 14 I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus
and Gaius, 15 so no one can say that you were baptized into my name. 16
(Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don't
remember if I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to
baptize, but to preach the gospel-not with words of human wisdom, lest the
cross of Christ be emptied of its power. NIV
The Corinthians were emptying the cross of
its power. The Corinthians were not lacking in knowledge, or
spiritual gifts, but they were lacking in spiritual wisdom.
They were empting the cross of its poweróthey had spiritual knowledge but
they remained carnal minded.
They had the proper foundation, but they
were using shoddy building material to build Christ kingdom.
10 By the grace
God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone
else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. 11
For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which
is Jesus Christ. 12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold,
silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 his work will be shown for
what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. NIV
The Corinthians possessed spiritual
knowledge, but the call of the flesh was stronger than the call of the
18 Flee from
sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but
he who sins sexually sins against his own body. 19 Do you not know that
your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have
received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price.
Therefore honor God with your body. 19 Do you not know that your body is a
temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?
You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God
with your body. NIV
The flesh calls us away from a Spiritual
birth. Spiritual knowledge can be gleaned from the Scriptures, but
Spiritual wisdom comes from God. James says, if any man lacks
wisdom, let him ask God for wisdom. He gives it to everyone without
impartially (James 1:5). The wisdom to use spiritual knowledge comes from.
There is no way the flesh can direct us to use spiritual knowledge.
6 Flesh gives
birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. NIV
63 The Spirit
gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you
are spirit and they are life. NIV
Spiritual wisdom comes from God as we
allow Godís Holy Spirit to work in our hearts. The Corinthians had
acknowledged the truth with their heads, but their hearts were untouched
by the truth because the Holy Spirit was not directing their lives.
Only the Holy Spirit can lead and empower the heart to do what the
head knows. When the Holy Spirit directs the heart, our hearts are set on
obeying what the head knows, and spiritual lives are developed.
We Need Spirit Led Leaders
Difficulties arise when we seek to carry
on the work of the church with those who possess spiritual knowledge but
are not filled and guided by the Holy Spirit. Where we have Spirit
led leaders whose hearts are filled with the Holy Spirit the word of God
6:1 In those
days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among
them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being
overlooked in the daily distribution of food. 2 So the Twelve gathered all
the disciples together and said, "It would not be right for us to neglect
the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. 3
Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the
Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4
and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word."
5 This proposal
pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of
the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and
Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. 6 They presented these men to
the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.
7 So the word of
God spread. The number of disciples in
increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the
The flesh was in full control of the early
church, so the apostles instructed them to choose men full of the Holy
Spirit to lead them to a resolution. There was a racial barrier
preventing the proper distribution of food to the Grecian Jews by the
Hebraic Jews. When they listened to these Spirit led men the barriers to
the gospel were removed.
The Promised Gift of the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is promised to all who
believe in Christ. Wherever the work of the Holy Spirit thrives
the world finds living water.
37 On the last
and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If
anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in
me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from
within him." 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in
him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given,
since Jesus had not yet been glorified. NIV
Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, but after his resurrection
Jesus gave his disciples the Holy Spirit to guide their efforts.
21 Again Jesus
said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." 22
And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 23
If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive
them, they are not forgiven." NIV
The disciples of Jesus received the Spirit
before Pentecost, but they experienced the Holy Spiritís power on
Pentecost as he directed their efforts. It was the power of the
Holy Spirit that overcame the language barriers hindering the preaching of
2:1 When the day
of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound
like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole
house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of
fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were
filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the
Spirit enabled them.
5 Now there were
staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6
When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because
each one heard them speaking in his own language. NIV
On Pentecost the gift of the Holy Spirit
was promised to all who believed in Christ.
replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus
Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of
the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all
who are far off-for all whom the Lord our God will call." NIV
The heart will never be developed to touch
the lives of the list until we are filled with the Holy Spirit.
The power of Godís Spirit is not realized until we allow the Holy Spirit
to fill our lives. It is not enough to just receive the Holy Spirit at
baptism; we must allow the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts.
Being filled with the Holy Spirit is a personal choice.
15 Be very
careful, then, how you live-not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most
of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be
foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. 18 Do not get drunk on
wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. 19
Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make
music in your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father
for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. NIV
Many visitors may get turned off within
the first two songs we sing a cappella. I know we may be out of
harmony, and off key, but our singing is designed to persuade everyone
here to make a heart felt response to God. When we speak to one another
through the songs with our hearts filled with the Holy Spirit we move one
another with that heart felt response just as Jesus moved the crowds with
his heart felt response in reaction to their deepest needs.
When we fail to move one another with this
type of singing, it is probably because we are here to fulfill the ritual
of worship rather than being here because we are filled with the Holy
Spirit. If this is the case, our worship is no longer in spirit
and in truth. It is vain.
Being filled with the Holy Spirit moves us
beyond worship as we touch the lives of those who have much deeper needs.
Jesusí was a great leader who touched the lives of sinners because he was
led and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
The first requirement of leadership in the
first century was spirit filled Christians appointed by the Holy Spirit.
25 "Now I know
that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will
ever see me again. 26 Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent
of the blood of all men. 27 For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you
the whole will of God. 28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the
flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be
shepherds of the church of
God, which he bought with his own blood.
29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and
will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and
distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on
your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of
you night and day with tears. NIV
The Holy Spirit is still in the business
of appointing spiritual leaders over Godís people. The message of
the Holy Spirit found in the New Testament instructs us how to appoint
leaders. When we follow his instructions, we will have leaders appointed
by the Holy Spirit.
1 Timothy 3:1-7
3:1 Here is a
trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he
desires a noble task. 2 Now the overseer must be above reproach, the
husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable,
hospitable, able to teach, 3 not given to drunkenness, not violent but
gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own
family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. 5 (If
anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of
God's church?) 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become
conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7 He must also
have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into
disgrace and into the devil's trap. NIV
There is a difference in self-willed
leadership and Spirit filled leadership. Self-willed leaderships
seek to have it their way. Spirit filled leadership seeks Godís way.
7 Since an
overseer is entrusted with God's work, he must be blameless-not
overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent,
not pursuing dishonest gain. 8 Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves
what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. 9 He
must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that
he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.
A grave mistake is made when we seek a
form of Christianity void of the leading and filling of the Holy Spirit.
We may seek to observe five steps to salvation, five acts of
worship, and we may seek to organize the church without considering the
need of Godís Spirit filling our hearts.
Seeking to carry on Godís work without the Holy
Spiritís leading robs the church of its only poweróit empties the cross of
Want you be baptized into Christ today for the
forgiveness of your sins? (Acts 2:38).
Want you receive the gift of the Holy Spirit to
give you a new life in Christ? (Acts 2:38).
Want you be filled with the Holy Spirit?