Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org
Men's Leadership Support Group Meeting notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/mensupport/20050211.m.htm
MEN'S LEADERSHIP SUPPORT GROUP
Part III: God's ENCOURAGING PATTERN For Developing US Into His Leaders
(1 Timothy 1:12-17 et al.)
Lesson: Paul's (Saul's) great transition from an unbelieving abuser of the Church to a great Apostle and missionary statesman exhibited great grace and patience from Christ, and set God's encouraging PATTERN for what He is WILLING and ABLE to do for any other man with unedifying "baggage"!
- Sometimes when we view our mistakes or errors in the oversight roles we have, be they as a husband, a father, a boss, a leader or teacher in a church or an official in government, we may be tempted to give up for having made a mess with much baggage for past mistakes and sins in these roles!
- Actually, God has encouraging direction for us about His willingness and plan to develop leadership in us in SPITE of such pasts, something 1 Timothy 1:12-17 in its historical context in Acts offers (as follows):
- God's ENCOURAGING PATTERN For Developing US Into His Leaders, 1 Timothy 1:12-17 et al.
- Paul revealed to Timothy, his "student in leadership" that Paul's transformation from an abuser of the Church as a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin to become an Apostle of Christ and missionary statesman was a pattern for others that God had the patience to DISCIPLE them as He had Paul, 1 Tim. 1:12-16.
- In particular, Paul testified that he, the chief of all sinners, was set forth as an example of God's "perfect patience" (from the Greek word, makrothumia , which is that quality that leads one to refrain from taking vengeance on another when he has it in his power to do so, Richard C. Trench, Synonyms of the New Testament, p. 195) in order to transform such sinners like Paul as had Christ, 1 Timothy 1:16; This unmerited favor of God toward Paul (when the Lord had every reason to have crushed him for what he had done in persecuting Christians) caused Paul to state a doxology to God's glory in 1 Timothy 1:17.
- Taking our cue from 1 Timothy 1:12-17, we can survey God's work in Paul as laid out in the book of Acts for a pattern for how God can lead us in His great patience from leadership failure to blessing (as follows):
- Stage One - Getting Paul (Saul, cf. Acts 13:9) to receive Christ and end his abusing the Church:
- Christ let Saul as a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin be exposed to the gracious witness of the martyr, Stephen as a "wake-up" call that he was in great error, Acts 26:14b with Acts 7:54-8:1.
- Saul then intensified his persecution of believers to cover his troubled conscience for his errant beliefs and actions, but Christ checked him with a dramatic, shocking confrontation, Acts 26:11-15.
- Saul thus came to trust in Christ as his Savior from sin (John 3:16 with Acts 9:5-6).
- Stage Two - Getting Paul (Saul) to mature in his walk with God in his hometown of Tarsus:
- As a new convert, Saul was led by God to submit to the discipling efforts of Ananias, Acts 9:6-12.
- Saul then began to get experience in witnessing for Christ; however, since he was too brash in his immaturity and stirred up unnecessary trouble, other more mature believers sent him off to his hometown of Tarsus (cf. Acts 9:11) to mature, finally causing rest for the Church, Acts 9:19-31!
- Stage Three - Getting Paul (Saul) theologically reeducated by Christ, Galatians 1:15-18a, 11-12.
- Stage Four - Getting Paul (Saul) into LOCAL church ministry under recognized leaders:
- Later, Jerusalem's Church leaders sent Barnabas to Antioch to organize its converts, Acts 11:19-24.
- Noting his own teaching limitations, Barnabas acquired the now more mature, formally-educated and Christ-trained Saul [Acts 22:3] from Tarsus to bring him to Antioch to minister, Acts 11:25-26.
- Stage Five - Getting Paul (Saul) into UNIVERSAL church ministry under recognized leaders:
- The Antioch Church sent Barnabas and Saul to minister to poor Christians in Jerusalem, 11:27-30.
- While there, Saul experienced mutual ministry with other Apostolic leaders of the Church, giving him insight and readiness for ministry that was wider than that of the local church, Acts 12:1-25.
- Stage Six - Getting Paul (Saul) into an Apostolic TEAM missionary ministry: as he was now ready for full leadership in the Church worldwide as an Apostle, the Lord sent Barnabas and Saul forth as team missionaries by the authority of the elders in the church at Antioch, Acts 13:1-3.
- Stage Seven - Getting Paul into SOLE HEADSHIP as a missionary statesman - In Acts 15:36-40, Paul learned to part with Barnabas for reasons of conscience and to minister as a leading Apostle!
Application: May we take heart and direction from Paul's pattern in growing into effective leaders.