This sermon on ‘leadership in the Kingdom of God’ is based on 1 Thessalonians 5: 1-11 (Proper 28A)
- Probably Paul’s earliest letter, sent in haste to deal with specific issues.
- Here he was trying to reassure Christians who had lost loved ones, wondering what would happen to them – at the time he expected Jesus to return soon (this view changed later).
- He urges the church to remain alert and on good behaviour, because we expect the imminent, yet unpredictable, return of Jesus.
- He first uses the military armour analogy for
correct Christian character:
- Is he thinking of a military-style organisation, which will carry out the Great Commandment?
- As Christ will return soon and unexpectedly, there is no time to spare on anything but the Mission. (In effect this is still true for each one of us.)
Leadership in the Kingdom
‘Leadership’ is dynamic, it’s about going from A to B, not staying as we are (c.f. ‘Management’ is about maintaining “business as usual”).
From the OT reading we learn that Deborah leads in three ways:
- Judgement, to settle disputes by discerning right from wrong;
- Prophecy, to discern what God wants for the future, perhaps by seeing events in the context of God’s will and plans.
- Action, based on the results of judgement and prophecy.
Paul does the same. He looks at the church’s situation, considers the spiritual context and urges a course of action – in this case, resist pressure from the pagan world to conform.
What is the purpose of leadership? Paul seeks to restore
- Not just through preaching or Theology; also
- Charity restores the bad done by
an injusticein society.
We are all leaders now, as we have been given the Holy Spirit and the Bible. We can all judge the situation, discern God’s will in scripture and act.
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