In my personal life, over the last two years, God has impacted me in a special way. It has been a time of intense spiritual renewal and incredible personal growth. Some of it has been fun; some of it has been painful. However, through it all, my gracious Heavenly Father has targeted me for revival and improvement. I am thankful for the work he has done and is doing, and I trust I will never be the same. It is a fantastic truth to realize that, “He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it.” The same is true for you; that is if Jesus Christ is your Savior and Lord. He loves you too much to leave you as he found you.
Well, one might be wondering, “Joe, in what areas has the Lord most adjusted your thinking and practice?” For me, this is a very easy question to answer. Today, I believe I better understand both the undeserved, unlimited, unalterable Gospel of Grace and the incredible importance of Leadership. Oh, please do not misunderstand me. I am not claiming to be the expert in either of these two subjects; I feel I will always a student and rarely the scholar. In addition, I am also not saying these are the only areas in my life the Lord needs to work on. There are too many to list, and I am positive more glaring deficiencies will be addressed in future days. However, this I know, as of late the Wonderful Counselor has brought the Gospel and Leadership front and center. Consequently, I find myself consumed to make up for lost time. I am hungry to better communicate the gracious Gospel of God, to continue maturing as a bold, Christlike, servant-leader, and to spend the rest of my days influencing people to be Gospel-understanding, Gospel-expressing, Christlike, servant-leaders in their various circles of influence.
Friends, let’s talk about the Gospel … again. I cannot seem to get over it. I cannot get past it. I cannot leave it behind to treat other subjects right now. It is too fun to talk about. Everywhere I go; in everything I read; it keeps rearing its beautiful head and screaming to me of God’s undeserved favor. Now, all I want to do is help sinfully warped people see God, man, law, consequence, holiness, mission, this life, and the afterlife through the lens of God’s Gospel of grace.
- The Gospel presents God to us as the Divine Being who has eternally chosen to love, sacrifice, purchase, keep, improve, and bless us.
- The Gospel presents the holiness of Jesus in contradistinction to the hellishness of man. We are forced to see ourselves as we are; we are nothing but depraved rebels consistently transgressing God’s laws and precepts. Sadly, this is true both before and after our conversion, for we still cannot do his perfect will. Therefore, the Gospel forces us to recognize our plight and hope in something outside us. The Gospel requires us to see ourselves as sinfully warped people needing the gracious assistance of a merciful God.
- The Gospel makes the Passion glorious. On the cross of Calvary we see love and justice meet. All sins are paid for. All requirements are supplied. All the work is perfectly and completely accomplished by the Son of God.
- The Gospel then creates a love in our breasts for the Law. Following our conversion, that which is an unkeepable and intolerable burden transitions to become that which informs, encourages, and delights us.
- The Gospel screams to us of God’s unchangeable favor shown to us each and every day in each and every circumstance. Therefore, whether we encounter pleasurable or sorrowful days; for better or for worse; for richer for poorer; in sickness or health; till the day of our death; God presents himself as immutably fascinated with us. Since he sees us always clothed in Christ and filled with his Spirit; consistently he smiles at our undeserved but glorious righteousness. We are always his beloved.
- The Gospel helps us understand properly both consequences and rewards, all of which are gracious blessings. Yes, we get full-credit for everything Jesus Christ has already done for us as he lived his life on this earth. Then, somehow we get extra-credit for those things which Christ is still doing through his Spirit through us. That’s right; I know it sounds crazy, but Christ sends his Spirit, fills us, fruits us; empowers us, and grants us success, and then we get the trophies and crowns. What a deal! And on those days when our Heavenly Father determines it is best to discipline us, even while we cry we see this only as another sweet expression of his immutable Gospel-favor.
- The Gospel assists us in displaying holiness more faithfully. It promises an improvement in our daily worship. Our sanctification is first and foremost God’s business. Unless he provides the leadership, we are foolish to think we can make any progress. However, he does lead, and he engages us in his work. Therefore, though our holiness is already a gracious reality, it is also a gracious work, and a gracious promise. Through the Gospel we learn we are already positionally holy, we are daily progressing in holiness, and one day we will only be perfectly holy. This is God’s business. This is our business.
- The Gospel informs us as to our fantastic mission … or our Great Commission. As part of the family, we receive gifts and a calling. Consequently …
Leadership becomes a huge deal. Because we have been so loved, served, led, and influenced, we must love, serve, lead and influence. The Gospel promises to make leaders of each and every one of us.
- As husbands, it is our privilege to love, serve, lead, and improve our wives. They are our chief ambition. So sweetly compelling are we to be that as they follow us, they grow in their affection of their Heavenly Groom.
- Wives, you have the ability to lead your husbands as well. Leadership is a verb, and you can be of incredible value as you cheer, serve, and pull the best out of us. Yes, in the way you honor and respect, you can spur us on to be greater servant-leaders for you, your children, your church, and your community. Ladies, please do not underestimate your influence in the lives of your husbands. Scripture even encourages you who are married to unbelievers to live and lead quietly. You can minister and preach without words in such a way that your unbelieving man can come to know Christ. You can lead your husband to the Lord.
- Parents, with children comes the calling to lead. It is our sacred duty to honorably minister, die to self, and lead our children to love and follow the King.
- Churchmen and churchwomen, all of us are to lead and influence. As stated earlier, all of us have spiritual gifts. All are to edify. All of us are to serve. All of us are to influence. All are to spur one another on to godliness and good deeds. All are to encourage one another to press on and persevere. No, all of us are not to be ordained. All of us are not called to be elders or deacons. All of us are not called to have offices or titles. However, influence is not tied to office, title, gender, or giftedness. All of us are to be like John the Baptist, using our gifts and pointing our disciples away from us and to the Son. The more mature are to be focusing on the less mature.
- Finally, Christians, all of us are to seek to lead people to their only possible Savior. Our work is not done as we have only focused on our homes and churches. We are to go out into the world and influence. All of us are to be apostles of Jesus Christ, heralding him, serving him, communicating both his common and saving grace, and leading our neighbors towards reconciliation with their Creator, Redeemer, Friend, and Leader.
Friends, I do not know why I wrote on such today. Perhaps the Gospel became so compelling to me this morning, and my Inner Leader (Holy Spirit) influenced me to write on this matter. This is certainly a possibility. No, it is an actuality because My Leader foreordains whatsoever comes to pass.
However, perhaps I also wrote on these things because I wanted you to be consumed and comforted with the Gospel, and because I hoped to be a leader who influences you to influence others. Friends, be warmed with the undeserved, unlimited, unalterable, immutable, Gospel; rest in the Father’s love. Then, get busy loving, serving, leading, and influencing. You are not called to manipulate. You are not called to dominate. You are not called to win. However, you are called to point every man, woman, boy, and girl to the Lord of lords, King of kings, and Leader of leaders. Therefore, use your influence well. Be humble, and be bold. Do not be a poor steward of the gifts and opportunities put before you today. Engage in Gospel-leadership, and see what the Holy Spirit might do through you.