On the second and fourth Thursday night of each month, I meet with a group of men at the church I attend and we have a Bible study. This past Thursday, a discussion started that I thought I would share with everyone.
We were discussing Acts 4. In this chapter, Peter and John are arrested for teaching about Jesus. They are questioned by the High Priest and told not to teach these things any more. We had a very good discussion about this.
One of the men made the observation that the Jewish leaders in this chapter had complete proof that these men were from God through Jesus and that what they said was true yet, they chose to ignore it. He commented that what happened then was very similar to what is going on in our country today. He asked what we, as Christians, could do to turn our country back to God.
What followed was a discussion about answers to that question. I spent the last few days thinking about that discussion and I feel like the following covers the topics that were discussed. I call them the “4 L’s”.
Learn – 2 Timothy 2:15 says “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” There are two reasons to study the word. First, we need to study so that we know what is truth. We have to understand what God wants us to do for Him. Secondly, we need to study so that we will have a ready answer to anyone who asks us about God. So that we can share God with others.
Those are the two reasons that we have the men’s class. Firstly, to learn the word of God more perfectly and secondly, to make us able to teach others.
The Bible asks in Luke 6:39 “Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?”
If we hope to lead others to Christ, we must first make sure that we have learned the correct thing to do. We must make sure that we are not “blind”.
Love – This is the central theme of the Bible, isn’t it? God loved us enough to send His only Son, and we should love Him enough to do what He tells us to. Every word of every page of the Bible is a story of love. Jesus was our perfect example of love.
Now, it’s easy to love people who love you, but the Bible says:
(Mat 5:43) Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
(Mat 5:44) But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
If we are to love our enemies, then it stands to reason that we should love everyone else. That we should care enough about everyone’s soul and eternal life that we want them to have what we have. We should have a loving care in our hearts for people who don’t know Jesus and help them find Him. We need to constantly pray that God helps us have that love and concern for everyone.
Labor – This is the most important point. Before Jesus ascended to heaven, he gave what has become known as the Great Commission.
(Mat 28:19) Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
(Mat 28:20) Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Our mission, our work, our goal is to teach others. We are supposed to bring others to Christ. It is our duty. Our life should be given over to teaching others, to laboring for the glory of God and to helping others find Him. Furthermore, we should strive to teach those we bring to Christ how to teach others themselves. This should be an ongoing process. If we continue to labor like this, it should be an exponential return.
One of the men in the study told us about a discipleship program that he is going through with these goals in mind. I can’t remember the name of it, but I will post the web site when I find it. He brought up the point that if we teach others and they, in turn, teach others, it won’t take long to increase our numbers dramatically.
He is exactly right. What this country needs more than anything else is more Christians. We started as a country of Christians but we have failed to stay that way. We need to work diligently to convert more people to Jesus.
Lead – Finally, we must lead. 1Ti 3:1 tells us “This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.” Men are told to strive to become teachers and leaders. But, we must realize that everyone is called to be a leader. Jesus says the following in the sermon on the mount:
(Mat 5:14) Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
(Mat 5:15) 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.
(Mat 5:16) Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
This tells us that we are all leaders whether we want to be or not. We either lead in a good way or in a bad way all the time. We need to make sure that we lead in a good way, that our light always shines for Jesus, and that we always try to set the example that God wants us to set.
But, there is another aspect to leading. And that is one possible answer to the question that was posed about how to turn our country back to God. At the same time we are Learning, Loving, and Laboring to bring others to Christ, we must identify and encourage Christian men and women who would be good leaders to think about becoming the leaders this country needs.
So, what kind of person makes one of those good leaders? Well, unfortunately and fortunately, it is usually someone who doesn’t want to do it. I call this type of person a “reluctant leader”. Typically, the people who want to be leaders, want to do it for power or because of ego. The people we actually need to lead are the people who don’t want to do it for self. These “reluctant leaders” want to lead so that they can help others. They truly care for the well-being of others and want to make sure that the right things are being done. In other words, they are more interested in serving than in leading.
Many times, these “reluctant leaders” have to be encouraged to pursue positions like this because they don’t wish to be in the lime light. They often don’t feel like they are good enough for the job. But, usually, these are exactly the people we need. When you run across one of these people, encourage them, help them, and uplift them.
So, now, it is up to us. If we want to turn our country back to God, we must learn, love, labor, and lead. Each builds on the last and all are equally important. If you don’t learn, you can’t appreciate the love that God has for us. If you don’t love, you will have no desire to labor. And finally, if you don’t labor to increase the size of God’s Kingdom, no amount of good leadership will matter. We need to pray to God that he helps us each day to remember and follow these four L’s.