Volume. XXIV, No. 44
Sunday, 02 May 2010

The Marks of a Spiritual Leader (Part I)

Biblical spiritual leadership contains an inner circle and an outer circle. The inner circle of spiritual leadership is that sequence of events in the human soul that must happen if anyone is to get to first base in spiritual leadership. These are the absolute bare essentials. They are things that all Christians must attain in some degree, and when they are attained with high fervor and deep conviction they very often lead one into strong leadership. In the outer circle are qualities that characterize both spiritual and non-spiritual leaders. What I would like to try to do now in this paper is simply explain and illustrate these qualities on the inner circle and the outer circle.

The Inner Circle of Spiritual Leadership
That Others Will Glorify God
The ultimate goal of all spiritual leadership is that other people might come to glorify God, that is, might so feel and think and act as to magnify the true character of God. According to Matthew 5:14-16, one of the crucial means by which a Christian leader brings other people to glorify God is by being a person who loves both friend and foe. "14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” This text shows that there is an attitude and lifestyle that is so distinctive that when it appears in the arena of fallen humanity it gives valid evidence that there is a God and that he is a gloriously trustworthy heavenly father. When the reality of God\'s promises to take care of us and to work everything together for our good grips our hearts so that we do not fall prey to greed or fear or vainglory but rather manifest a contentment and a love and a freedom for other people, then the world will have to admit that the one who gives us hope and freedom must be real and glorious.
Love Both Friend and Foe
But how shall we attain to a love that is strong enough to bless and pray for its enemies? The answer given in Scripture (and this is the third level in the inner circle) is that trust in God and hope in his promises leads to love. Galatians 5:6 says, "For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love." That is, when we have strong faith in the goodness of God it inevitably works itself out in love. Colossians 1:4, 5 says, "4 Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints. 5 For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel." In other words, when our hope is strong, we are freed from fears and cares that prevent the freedom to exercise love. Therefore, a spiritual leader must be a person who has strong confidence in the sovereign goodness of God to work everything together for his good. Otherwise, he will inevitably fall into the trap of manipulating circumstances and exploiting people in order to secure for himself a happy future which he is not certain God will provide.
Meditate On and Pray Over His Word
But how shall we sinners come to have this kind of confidence in God? Romans 10:17 says, "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." And Psalm 119:18 says, "Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law." These two texts together show us that faith in God is rooted in God\'s Word. When we hear God\'s Word, especially the preaching of Christ in whom all the promises of God have their yes, we are moved to trust him, but this does not happen automatically. We must pray that our eyes be open to the true significance of the Word of God in Scripture. So the spiritual leader must be a person who meditates on the Word of God and who prays for spiritual illumination. Otherwise, his faith will grow weak and his love will languish and no one will be moved to glorify God because of him.
Acknowledge Your Helplessness
But finally, we must ask how a person comes to be willing to spend time with and be open to the Word of God? The answer seems to be that we must acknowledge our helplessness. All true spiritual leadership has its roots in desperation. Jesus commended the man who said, "God be merciful to me, a sinner." Jesus said of his own ministry, "They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick (Mt 9:12b); I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance (Mt 9:13b)" This means that the beginning of spiritual leadership must be in the acknowledgement that we are the sick who need a physician. Once we are humbled to that point, we will be opened to reading the doctor\'s prescription in the Word. And as we read the wonderful promises that are there for those of us who trust the doctor, our faith will grow strong and our hope will become solid. And when our faith is strong and our hope is solid, all the barriers to love, like greed and fear, will be swept away. When we become the kind of people who can risk our lives, even for our enemies, and who don\'t hold grudges and who devote our energies to do others good rather than seeking our own aggrandizement, then people will notice and give glory to our father in heaven.
The implication of this inner circle of leadership is that in order to lead you have to be out ahead of your people in Bible study and prayer. I think there will be no successful spiritual leadership without extended seasons of prayer and meditation on the Scriptures.
Spiritual leaders ought to pray with the saints the body of believers and willing to study the Scripture regularly as a personal exercise or with other believes in Bible study group settings. They will probably want to keep a journal of insights and ideas as they read the Word or take relevant notes on Sunday morning’s message and pray with fellow Christians. They will want to read books about the Bible and about prayer. If you want to be a great leader of people you have to get away from people to be with God. We shall continue with our discussion with part two in the next article.
Ps Weng
Adapted from John Piper’s ‘The Marks of a Spiritual Leader’ (www.desiringgod.org) 

More Lively Hope



*Kitchen Rosters: Team Leader: Bro Cong Pham. Next Lord’s Day: Team Leader: Bro Lucas Yiew
*Deepest sympathy to Mr Lajos (Lou) Lodi & family on the home-going of Sis Aranka Rejtoe on Thurs, 29 April. 
*Mother’s Day Lunch on Sat, 15 May. Anyone interested in going & for details, please let Sis Peng Ha Yeo know by today. 
*Nominations for Sixth Session Election close next Lord’s Day.
*New photocopier required urgently. The cost is about $9,000 (including GST).
*Hope Bookshop in Room 8 upstairs. Opening hours: Sunday, 12:30-1:30pm. Enquiries to Sis Sarah Carpenter. 


Looking Ahead
*AFG Bible Camp/Retreat in 11-14 June.
*24th Anniversary Thanksgiving on 20 June
*Vacation Bible School, 12-16 July. 
*ACM & Sixth Session Election, Sat, 28 August.
Praise & Thanksgiving
1. Journey mercies: Dn Edwin D’Mello; Bro Bruce & Sis Marilyn Huggards (Adl); Dr & Mrs Joseph Seow; Bro Raymond Chia’s mother (S’pore); Bro Joseph Selvanayagam (Europe/Adl); Sis Mariam Atijatuporn & Jayden; Mr & Mrs Opaskiatikul (Adl); Sisters Joyce Chen (S’pore), Joyce Gong (Adl), & Sarah Lo (Keith/Adl), & others who have travelled. 
2. Church activities - over the past week. 
3. Gospel Rally Meeting last Lord’s Day. 
4. Street Evangelism - by YAF
5. Daily mercies, protection & guidance.
Prayer Items
1. Health & God’s healing - Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren; Dr & Mrs S H Tow; Rev & Mrs James White; Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros Colin Creaser, Weng San Kam (Sis Yvone’s father), Makoto Kobayashi (JPN), Elton Law, Jonathan Liao, Len & Richard Pearson, Moses Tan, Winston Selvanayagam, & Fred Volvricht; Mr Swee Liang Ng; Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Auntie Oei; Sisters Lynette Booth, Mabella Booth, Annie D’Mello & her mother (Mumbai), Lydia Fan, Myung Ki (UK), Choon Fong Lee (KL); Fiona & Lehia Paauwe; Margaret, Dianne, & Sarah Pearson; Susan Veradi, Irena Kurek-Braden; & others in affliction.
2. God’s comfort: Mr & Mrs Lajos (Lou) Lodi & family.
3. Cambodia Missions - Khmer Bible Students in Seminaries & Bible Colleges .
4. Laos Missions - Bro Surish Dharmalingam & family.
5. iSketch&Tell Studio - Pr H S Lim & his ministry in S’pore & Malaysia (June).
6. IBPFM (USA) - Board, missionaries & funds.
7. Ps & Sis Ki & ministry in New Life BPC (Lond).
8. Hopefuls in S’pore; In Kuching: Teo family.
9. Journey mercies: Bro Jason Teng (Syd/Adl); Sisters Sarah Lo (Keith) & Sally Teng (Syd/Adl); others who are travelling.
10. New Photocopier for church - urgent.
11. ACM & Session Election in August.
12. God’s protection & guidance: Bros Yick Ho Lam & Rexson Tse in Kopiam (PNG).
13. Job - Sisters Xandrea Cai, Marion Chan, Judy Li, Corinne Teng.
14. Good health in pregnancy - Sisters Demelza Ting & Josephine Wong. 
15. 24th Anniversary Thanksgiving Speaker: Elder KH Koh of Sydney BPC.
16. Street Evangelism - Salvation of those who received Gospel tracts.



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