Developing Kingdom Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Trusting God

Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together. … Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. Genesis 22:7-8, 13 (NIV)

Trusting God often scares us to death!  We are trusting Him for the unseen, something in the future that is unknown (at least unknown to us).  Living by faith is a lifestyle.  It is a process, not an event.  We never arrive at a point in this world where we can stop trusting God.  Four times throughout the Bible God says, “the righteous will live by faith” (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38).

Abraham had passed the test of trusting God for the son he was promised.  God tested Abraham to see if he would still believe, even if Isaac was taken away.  Abraham eagerly accepted this new trial of faith, leaving “early the next morning” (:3). 

  • God’s command to Abraham required an act of obedience on his part (Genesis 22:1-2).  Abraham responded by doing as God asked (:3-11).  Faith and obedience are linked together. — Mark 1:14-20; Hebrews 11:8-10
  • In life’s trials of faith, God’s answer often comes at the last minute.  Notice when God stopped Abraham (:10).  The following passages speak about God’s timing. — Joshua 3:14-16; Daniel 12:1-14

Question to ponder: Why do you believe God waits, often much longer than we desire, to answer prayer?

Passages for further study: Romans 4:20-21; 2 Corinthians 1:8-11

The Reality of Heaven

No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.  They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.  There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.   Revelation 22:3-5  NIV

You, a believer in Christ, were made to reign with Him forever and ever!  You will live with Him in an eternal city, the New Jerusalem, with eternal bodies, and reign with Him over His creation.  Heaven is real and our eternal destiny is assured.    

The reality of heaven should impact our life today.  We are passing through this life on our way to a better one, a life with the living God for eternity!  Heaven is our hope and our final home.

  • As believers, our citizenship is in heaven, not this world.  What is said in the following passages about heaven? — Philippians 3:20-21; Revelation 7:9-17
  • Our existence in heaven will be much different than our earthly existence.  What do the following passages say about our life in heaven? — Romans 8:17; Revelation 21:4; Revelation 22:5

Question to ponder:  How is the reality of heaven impacting your life and leadership today?

Passages for further reflection:  2 Corinthians 5:1; Hebrews 11:10

The Eleventh Commandment

And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it.   2 John 1:6  NIV

Moses received the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai, but Jesus added a new one–love one another (John 13:34).  He summed up all the Old Testament with two commandments–love God and love people (see Matthew 22:37-40).  In particular, the love believers have for one another would so mark them, that all people would know they are followers of Christ (John 13:35).

Love is more than emotion; it is emotion that moves us to action.  God’s love moved Him to send His Son to die for our sin (Romans 5:18).  Our love for God is demonstrated in our obedience to His commands (John 14:21).

  • Love is the supreme character trait of a disciple of Christ.  What is said in the following passages about love? — 1 Corinthians 13:13; Galatians 5:6; Colossians 3:14
  • True love is demonstrated by our actions, not just our words.  What do the following passages say about demonstrating our love? — John 15:13; Ephesians 5:1-2; 1 John 3:16-18

Question to ponder:  To whom does God want you to demonstrate His love today and how will you do it?

Passages for further reflection:  John 15:12; 1 Peter 1:22

The Adversary

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  1 Peter 5:8  ESV

Satan, the devil, is a powerful angel who led a rebellion in heaven against God.  God put down the rebellion and sentenced Satan and his rebellious angels to eternal punishment in the lake of fire – hell.  For this present age the devil is permitted limited freedom in the universe to accomplish God’s ultimate purposes.

The devil is a created being and as such his power is no match for his Creator’s.  All children of God have access to God’s power and thus have power over Satan and evil spirits.  We are not to fear our enemy, rather respect him, for we have victory over him through our union with Christ.

  • Satan is out to destroy mankind.  What do the following passages say about the devil? — Genesis 3:1-20; Job 1:6-12; Revelation 20:7-10
  • The devil is a defeated foe who we need not fear.  What is said in the following passages about our struggle with him? — Hebrews 2:14-18; James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8-9

Question to ponder:  How do you see Satan working in your life to keep you from leading well for Christ?

Passages for further reflection:  Ephesians 4:26-27; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 

God’s Discipline

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.  Hebrews 12:11  ESV

Just as a loving parent disciplines their child, so too does God discipline his children.  God’s discipline is hard and painful, but it is pain with a purpose.  God disciplines us to make us more like Himself, more Christlike.  

Our response to the Lord’s discipline can be one of two choices.  We can submit to it and reap the benefits, or we can resist it.  If we try to run from it, God will raise up new opportunities to teach us the lessons He intends.  He loves His children too much to let them go undisciplined.

  • God disciplines all His children because He loves them.  What do the following verses say about God’s discipline? — Job 5:17-18;  Psalm 119:65-68; Proverbs 3:11-12
  • God’s discipline is designed to build Christlike character into our lives.  What do the following verses say about the results of God’s discipline? — John 15:1-2; Hebrews 12:10-11; 1 Peter 1:6-7

Question to ponder:  Is there an area of disobedience in your life that is bringing God’s discipline? 

Passages for further reflection:  Deuteronomy 8:1-5; Job 23:10

Live for the World to Come!

For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica…  2 Timothy 4:10  ESV

Demas started well but did not end well.  He had been one of Paul’s co-workers for several years (see Colossians 4:14;  Philemon 1:24).  But now, during Paul’s later years, Demas deserted him because he loved the world more than Christ.

If the enemy can’t keep us from trusting Christ, he will seek to mute our witness and stifle our growth in Jesus through this world’s temptations.  Demas gave in to that temptation and shipwrecked his faith.

We are not living for this world, but for an unseen world that is yet to come.  This current world is but a brief experience compared to life in our future home for all eternity.  We must not love this world for we will leave it behind.  We live for the world to come!

  • We must be on our guard not to fall in love with this world.  What do the following passages say about loving this world? — James 4:4-10; 1 John 2:15-16
  • The world to come is so much more in every way.  What is said about a believer’s future world in the following passages? — John 14:1-4; 1 Peter 1: 3-9

Question to ponder:  What worldly temptation is the enemy currently using against you and what can you about it?

Passages for further reflection:  Matthew 16:26; Colossians 3:2

Good News!

This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.  For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.   1 Timothy 2:3-6  ESV

Because of sin, all people are separated from a holy God.  Because God is just, He must punish sin.  Because God is love, He sent His Son, Jesus, to die for our sin so that we will not have to die.  Those who believe in Him by faith are forgiven for all their sins and reconciled back to God.  This is the Good News!  This is the gospel!  

The Good News of forgiveness and reconciliation is for all people.  We who have discovered the Good News are to share it with others.  Simply, one beggar showing another beggar where to find bread. Sharing the Good News with others not only brings joy to those who receive it, but also to those who share it. 

  • The Gospel is good news to those that are lost and separated from God.  What do the following passages say about the Gospel? — Matthew 24:14; Mark 1:14-15; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10
  • The Gospel is meant to be shared with others.  What is said in the following passages about sharing Christ with others? — Romans 10:9-15; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Philippians 1:27-30

Question to ponder:  When was the last time you shared the Good News?  What steps can you take to share the Good News with someone today?

Passages for further reflection:  Acts 20:24; Ephesians 6:19-20

Follow-up: Helping New Christians Grow

For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed–God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us. 1 Thessalonians 2:5-8 ESV

When someone trusts Christ as their Savior their sins are forgiven, and they are born again.  That is, they are born a second time, born spiritually, into God’s family.  These new believers are spiritual babies and as such, need special care.  They must be loved, cared for, fed, and protected to insure healthy spiritual growth to maturity.

Dawson Trotman, founder of The Navigators, called follow-up “spiritual pediatrics.”  It is helping another believer grow in the basic foundations of their walk with God.  It means imparting God’s truth, as found in the Bible, to others.  But in addition, it is the giving of oneself, motivated by love, to another so that they may know God intimately.

  • Trusting Christ, salvation, is the beginning of a spiritual growth process that continues our entire life.  What do the following passages say about growing in Christ? — Philippians 3:12-14; Colossians 2:6-7; 2 Peter 1:5-9
  • Helping another believer grow in Christ is a great privilege and responsibility.  What is said in the following passages about helping others grow in their relationship with God? — 1 Corinthians 3:5-15; 1 Thessalonians 2:7-13; 2 Peter 1:12-15

Question to ponder:  Has God placed someone in your life and leadership for you to help them grow spiritually in Christ?

Passages for further reflection: 1 Corinthians 3:1-2; Colossians 1:28-29

The Greatness of Knowing Christ

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ. Philippians 3:8 ESV

God could have created humans on any third rock out from any star amidst the billions in His vast universe and then hidden Himself away, never to be heard or seen.  He could have retired to a corner of His creation and we would never have known Him.  But God desires a relationship with the people He creates.  He does not want to hide from us, rather, He wants to build a deep, intimate friendship with us.

God came to earth in the form of a man, Jesus, that we might know Him better.  One day, those who believe in Him, will see Him face-to-face and fellowship with Him forever.  We will reign with Him over all of His creation!  Yes, it is the greatest privilege a person can have–personally knowing the living God!

  • Jesus is God incarnate, God in the flesh.  What do the following passages say about knowing God through Christ? — John 14:5-11; Hebrews 1:1-3
  • Through belief in Christ as our Savior, we enter a personal relationship with God.  What do the following passages say about our relationship with God? — John 15:14-17;  Romans 8:12-17

Question to ponder:  How does your deepening friendship with God impact your leadership?

Passages for further reflection: John 12:44-46; John 16:12-15

God’s Grace and My Good Works

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10 ESV

No one can work for their salvation; it is an unearned gift from God.  God does not grade on the curve; His is a pass-fail course.  In His perfect justice He has said that all ‘fail’ because of sin.  But the Good News is that all can ‘pass’ through belief in Jesus as their Savior.

Though we can’t earn our salvation by doing good deeds, God does expect believers to do good.  These good works are the result of our gratefulness for all He has done, not a seeking to earn His favor for our salvation. By doing good works, believers bring honor and glory to God.

  • We are saved by the grace of God, not by doing good deeds.  What is said in the following passages about salvation and good works?  —  Galatians 2:15-16; Ephesians 2:8-10
  • God desires all believers to do good to others.  What is said about believers doing good works in the following passages?  —  Matthew 5:16; Hebrews 13:16; 1 Peter 2:12

Questions to ponder:  What good work does God want you to do today?

Passages for further reflection: Acts 10:38; James 2:17-18

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