A Call to Become Good Followers Before Becoming Good Leaders
1st Corinthians 11:1
Oct 20, 2013 AM
Pastor Craig Ledbetter
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland
I. Introduction (1st Corinthians 11:1)
A. Throughout history, God has called people to follow Him – to become good followers
1. Abraham (Gen 12:1-4a)
2. The nation of Israel (Exod 13:21,22; 40:34-38)
B. Today, “Follow the leader” is a children's game. (From Wikipedia)
1. First a leader or "head of the line" is chosen.
2. Then all the children line up behind the leader.
3. The leader then moves around the room and all the children have to mimic the leader's actions as they go. Whatever he does, they had to do.
4. Any players who fail to follow or do what the leader does are out of the game.
5. The last person standing other than the leader, takes over, and is now the new leader.
C. But For the Christian… “Follow the Leader” is an actual way of life! It means to…
1. To Emulate, to copy, to become LIKE the person you are following
a. Not just mimic like a ‘Mime’ does – that is only external
b. But learn to have the same mannerisms and reactions INTERNALLY as they do
2. To think the same as they do
3. To talk like them, love like them, become like them!
4. To become so much like your master, that people can’t tell you apart!
D. I’ll ask you this… who is your Master that you are following? That you are copying?
E. Ever since we were born, we have been following some-thing, or some-one
1. At first, it was parents, and our brothers and sisters
2. Then it was our friends
3. Later it was the culture around us – the movies, the advertisements – the music
4. And then it was our own sinful selfish heart that we followed so blindly
5. We were only puppets – controlled and discarded by a world that never cared about us at all!
a. The music industry doesn’t care about you!
b. The movie industry doesn’t care about helping you raise your children
c. Beer companies couldn’t care any less about your health or your family, or your losses when you die!!!
d. The pornography photographers and producers care nothing about your marriage or purity or sanity or joy!
e. If you are following ANY of that, you are only a puppet slave, wrapped with chains!
F. But Jesus Christ firmly calls us to stop, listen, and follow HIS voice – His will – and start doing things HIS way!
G. It was so that He could change us – to teach us how to live and think and act and react – so that we could affect our world for good!
H. The world needs different leadership – better leadership – better examples! This world needs people who affect our culture, our generation – actually turn our world upside down
1. This country needs right leadership – and I am not talking politically
2. Every church needs right leadership
3. Every home represented in this room needs right leadership
4. Because without right leadership, the whole world is going to one day soon end up following the worst and most dangerous leader of all time – the antichrist!
I. Before the world can get a new generation of leaders, they need to see a new generation of godly followers!
J. That’s why the apostle Paul in 1st Corinthians 11:1 challenges us to “follow the Leader”
1. Oh that we all learned HOW to FOLLOW the Leader, THE Leader, this morning!
2. Because, we are failing at it. There are not many good followers today – not many!
3. Let’s take a fresh look at how to follow the Leader of all leaders, Jesus of Nazareth!
II. Message - To Follow The Leader Means…
A. Choose the Right Leader that you are going to Follow (1st Kings 18:21) – Choose the Right Example to be like!
1. Who you study, and who you listen to, AND WHO YOU FOLLOW is YOUR CHOICE – and it will affect you for good, or for evil!
2. Wrong Leaders Abound – people who influence entire generations!
a. Thousands of names, thousands of ‘personalities’ that have the attention of the world today
b. Oprah Winfry
c. Lady Gaga
d. Barak Obama
e. Michael Jackson
f. Marilyn Monroe
g. Mohammad Ali
h. Elvis Presley
i. John Lennon
j. Britney Spears
k. And the ‘new’ kid on the block… Miley Cyrus
3. I will say it again… Who you study, and who you listen to is YOUR CHOICE – and it will affect you for good, or for evil!
a. What do you watch?
b. What songs fill your heart?
c. What examples do you constantly see and end up emulating???
d. THAT is what you are going to become! And it won’t be pretty!
4. Only ONE leader deserves our attention! Jesus of Nazareth!
a. HE is OUR Example (1st Peter 2:21; John 13:15)
b. The Bible is filled with the lives of people whom God called, and they responded – some successfully, most with many failings
c. But Jesus calls everyone to follow Him (Mt 4:18-22)
d. Not just think going to church is the end, but learning from Jesus everything it takes to live (Mt 11:28,29; 28:20)
5. To be like Jesus… that’s life’s greatest goal!
a. Don’t be like anyone else!
b. Too many in this room are “just like your mother”, or “just like their father”!
c. Way too many are just like their friends!
d. Be very careful!
e. You probably have picked up all their bad habits
f. And your children probably have too!
g. Take a good look at your life and start repenting and forsaking whatever things are not like Christ!
h. So that you can start replacing your quick temper, and bad attitudes, and sharp tongue, and harsh words, and wandering eyes, with Christ!
B. Be a Good Follower (Philp 3:12-14)
1. Everyone wants to tell GOD what to do for them
a. They want to be in charge of running their world
b. They want a ‘Jesus’ that works well for them
c. Rarely do you meet someone who is willing to switch sides, and fall under new “management”
2. We all want the position of a ‘leader’, with all its privileges and praise! We want to:
a. To set the pace
b. To set the standard
c. To show everyone else the way to do things, and the way to go
d. All those things may need to be done
3. But Christ has other plans at first in all our lives!
4. God’s work in us is to FIRST humble us, and make good followers out of us – wise sheep – out of us – to get us to get OUT of the driving seat, and into the BACK seat, and let HIM drive! Let HIM lead and YOU follow!
5. Thankfully, He does not call the perfect, or the righteous… but sinners to follow Him (Luke 5:32)
a. God ONLY uses those who start low
b. God ONLY grows those who are soft
c. God ONLY makes great kings out of unknown shepherds – see David for example!
6. So, starting today, become a good learner – a great disciple – an apprentice of the Master, the Lord Jesus Christ (Mt 23:8,10)
a. Stop racing ahead of God – let Him lead!
b. Stop trying to be like each other – you may end up only copying al the faults!!!
c. Never comparing ourselves with ourselves!
d. Only ever just following the life that Jesus lived!
7. Become a Biblical Apprentice - Apprenticeship means, Learning the ways of the Master
a. Psa 81:13 Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in MY WAYS!
b. Psa 95:10 Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and THEY HAVE NOT KNOWN MY WAYS:
C. Follow His Steps – Do Things His Way (Luke 6:46; 1st Peter 2:20-23)
1. What good is hearing what Jesus says, but not having the heart to DO what He says? (Luke 6:46)
a. That is probably the biggest reason why people don’t enjoy this Book anymore – they are not willing to do what it says
b. So, the Bible goes dark – becomes empty and cold
c. But if you seek to do what God says, this Book will come alive and shake you up, and stir your heart, and light up your life, and will save our world!
2. So, Don’t just hang around Him, waiting for HIM to do something, DO what He said do (John 12:26; 13:15; 1Pet 2:20-23)!
a. It is called, Serving HIM! Serve the Lord (John 12:26) – minister for Him, and to Him – please Him by your life
b. Never forget, you serve the Lord Christ – not people
c. Do things as if you were serving your Best Friend!
d. We come to church, and do our smallest bit – but the Lord deserves our best!
3. Follow Christ’s example! (John 13:15; 1Pet 2:20-23)
a. Step how He stepped, walk how He walked. Stop when He stopped.
b. Change the way you normally act and react, and bring it in line with HIS ways
c. Patiently Suffer (1Pet 2:20) – what a thing to say!!!
d. Not giving in and sinning when under pressure (1Pet 2:22)
e. Never lying or deceiving – EVER!
f. When reviled, revile not again
g. When you suffer, threaten not any revenge
h. But instead commit yourself to him that judgeth righteously!
4. People wear these bands with WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) on them. They need to change It to, WDJD (What DID Jesus Do)!
5. Do the smallest things that He asks, and doing them HIS way
a. Reading through your Bible, every day
b. Praying about the things in your life, asking for help, and wisdom
c. Just trusting Him when nothing makes sense
D. Follow His Voice (John 10:27; 10:3,4)
1. Not your own heart anymore – or how you feel – or what you like – or what excites you or thrills you
2. And don’t follow the many voices of the culture and world around you
a. The college culture
b. The co-worker culture
c. The music and movie culture
3. But follow HIS voice
4. But, Where can His voice be heard?
a. In a cave in Arabia?
b. In the stars?
c. Via the internet?
d. No! Only by hearing His written words on these pages!!!
5. The Bible alone! Reading THIS Book is the only way to actually HEAR His voice today 1Th 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.
6. Did you know God wrote this book for YOU! He has YOUR name written on these pages
a. He knows your name!
b. He placed YOUR name in every “whosoever…”
c. You are being spoken to every time God says “I say unto thee…”
d. He is talking to every one of us from the pages of this old Book of books, the Bible!
7. Have you learned to HEAR His voice?
a. Most never will (John 8:43)
b. But some of you heard it once when you got saved (Rev 3:20)
c. Listen for it again – listen hard until you hear HIM speaking as you read every line of every page (Heb 3:7, 15; 4:7)
d. If you haven’t heard it, you need to be worried – and start reading, and listening because this may be the last call before you check out of this life, and have no more chances to be saved!
e. Hear HIS voice! Harden not your hearts!
E. Stop Following Those Who Do NOT Follow Christ (2Thes 3:6, 11-15; Rom 16:17,18)
1. Take a good look at your friends, at your music
2. Be bold enough to be different - To go another route than everyone else
3. Psalm 66:18
F. Start Following Those Who Do Follow Christ Well – let them help you
1. Don’t just follow “anybody” who says they are a Christian! Don’t follow immature believers, no matter how old or successful they may seem – they are not worth following!
a. Modern Christianity is following the success oriented groups out there
b. It’s better to follow the ones that have suffered as they stayed faithful
2. The Bible says, Follow other MATURE believers (1Cor 4:16; 11:1).
a. 1Cor 4:16 Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.
b. 1Cor 11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
c. Wow. God has given all of us living breathing examples of what it means to follow Christ! Thank God! That makes it much easier!
d. Look around and find the most spiritual person, the most serving person, the most joyful person in this room, and watch them! Learn from them! Follow their examples! They will not be perfect examples, so allow them to fail, but learn from them as they follow Christ!
3. Watch how they handle things like:
c. Money and Debts
d. Health problems
f. Marital problems
h. Spiritual attacks
i. Even death
4. God gave you a pastor, not as a figurehead, but as an example (Heb 13:7)
a. Learn how he follows Christ
b. So Follow your pastor – he IS supposed to be your example of what it means to live by faith, do right, love right, pray right, give right!
5. God also has given us loads of other great examples throughout history - great men and women of God – great preachers and missionaries that are worthy of emulating, and following, and being like!
a. Like Missionary William Carey to India (early 1800’s)
b. Like Charles Spurgeon in London (late 1800’s) – Metropolitan Baptist Tabernacle with over 5,000 attending
c. Like Adoniram Judson missionary to Burma (Mid 1800’s)
d. Like David Livingston to Africa (mid 1800’s)
e. Learn from them how they lived for souls getting saved, and for nations being reached with the Gospel! How they loved their families, and served the Lord passionately!
G. Have Fun Following (1Thes 1:6) – Stay Joyful!
1. 1Th 1:6 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost.
2. I can’t emphasize this enough!
a. We have far too many grouch’s and complainers, and unhappy people in Biblical Christianity…
b. No wonder people wonder why we keep going to church!
c. The time will come when you will have to take the lead, and it will be even more lonely, and harder still!
3. So! Enjoy the ups and downs now!
4. Jesus never complained ONCE, even though He had constant ups and downs
a. No money; No place to sleep; No food; No one understanding Him; No rest
b. He would be surrounded one day, being praised and honoured, and the next day, be abandoned, and rejected!
c. Yet He never complained! He just kept a joyful spirit about Him (Luke 10:21)!
5. Trust that the Lord knows where he is leading you – whether over a mountain, or through the valley of the shadow of death even!
6. Laugh a lot – don’t let the devil rob you of your smile as you just follow the leader
7. It one day will be worth it all!
H. But most of all, Make Sure You Finish the Journey (John 6:66-69)
1. You have to be a Follower, yes!
2. But be a Finisher!
a. It really stinks when Christians only try and do a little bit like Jesus for the smallest amount of time, or until the smallest obstacle comes their way – and then they quit!
b. Be a Christian is a follower who finishes the race that Christ has set before us (Acts 20:24; 2Tim 4:6,7)
1) Act 20:24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
2) 2Tim 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
3. Be Faithful – Consistent in your direction and actions!
a. No matter what happens to anyone else around us (John 21:18-22)
b. No matter how many finish, or how few!
c. Never quit doing what is right, and most important as a Christian!
d. People quit church, and quit giving and tithing, and quit soul-winning, and quit reading their Bible, and quit praying
e. And yet they want to still call themselves Christians
f. Christians keep going – keep faithful – when they fall, they get up; when they fail, they get right
A. Our world needs to see a new generation of godly followers!
1. People who Emulate, copy, become LIKE Jesus Christ
2. Learn to have the same mannerisms and reactions INTERNALLY as He did
3. To think the same as He does
4. To talk like Him, love like Him, become like Him!
5. To become so much like your master, that people can’t tell you apart!
B. People Who Choose the Right Leader to Follow – the Right Example to be like
1. Wrong Leaders Abound
2. Only ONE Leader deserves our attention! Jesus!
C. People Who Are Good Followers before being Good Leaders
1. God’s work in us is to FIRST humble us, and make right followers out of us – wise sheep – out of us – to get us to get OUT of the driving seat, and into the BACK seat, and let HIM drive! Let HIM lead and YOU follow!
2. Thankfully, He does not call the perfect, or the righteous… but sinners to follow Him (Luke 5:32)
3. So, starting today, become a good learner – a great disciple – an apprentice of the Master, the Lord Jesus Christ (Mt 23:8,10)
D. People Who Follow Christ’s Steps – Doing Things His Way
1. DO what He said do!
2. Follow Christ’s examples to the letter!
3. Learn the ways of the Master
E. People Who Know Jesus’ Voice
1. Have you learned to HEAR His voice?
2. Harden not your hearts!
F. People Who Stop Following Those Who Do NOT Follow Christ
1. Take a good look at your friends, at your music
2. Be bold enough to be different - To go another route than everyone else
G. People Who Follow Those Who Do Follow Christ Well
1. Don’t follow immature believers, no matter how old or successful they may seem – they are not worth following folks!
2. Look around and find the most spiritual person, the most serving person, the most joyful person in this room, and watch them! Learn from them!
3. Watch how they handle things:
4. Follow your pastor – he IS supposed to be your example
a. Pay attention to how I do things!
b. Learn how I follow Christ
c. I won’t be perfect, but I at least WANT to help you follow only Jesus
H. People Who Have Fun Following (1Thes 1:6) – Stay Joyful!
1. Enjoying the ups and downs
2. Laugh a lot – don’t let the devil rob you of your smile as you just follow the leader
3. It one day will be worth it all!
I. But most of all, People Who Finish the Journey
J. Have you even STARTED the journey?
1. A Christ-ian means, a Christ-Follower
2. Not just knowing about Him, but following Him, learning from Him, becoming more and more like Him!
3. To start, you have to be born all over again – on the inside!
4. Here is how!