#84 The Leaders Of This People Cause Them To Err

Pastor Strobel brings a Bible study that takes a close look at leadership. Leadership could mean the responsibilities of being a Pastor, or it could be as the spiritual leader of your household, the leader on your job, or the Christian leader/example at your place of work or at the school you attend. How are you doing? Are you meeting the responsibilities that you have been given? Listen in and see!

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SHOW NOTES

The Leaders of This People Cause Them to Err…

Today I’m going to bring you a Bible study on the subject of Leader-ship.

And though this will have a particular emphasis on spiritual leader-ship, the basic premise will apply to all leadersPolitical, Parental, Scholastic, Business, etc.

Lee Roberson, a preacher of the not too distant past, used to say, “Everything rises or falls on leadership.”

And while arguments can be made that that is overstating the matter, the point is still well taken Leadership is important, and with the exceptions duly noted, it is still generally true, that, as goes the leader, so goes the follower.

In Ezk. ch. 16 the Lord was calling out His people for their sin and wickedness… Hear what He says to them in v. 44

Behold, every one that useth proverbs shall use this proverb against thee, saying, As is the mother, so is her daughter.

…As is the mother, so is her daughter. That is, the daughter tended to behave like the mother… Her leader & example.

Then the Lord begins the next verse by saying Thou art thy mother’s daughter…

We speak similarly today, when we see a child behaving like a parent… You are your father’s son! You are your mother’s daughter!

They say, The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
All of these things speak to the influence of leadership.

And while we are here in Ezk. 16 we might just as well follow this passage a little further for it reveals another phenomenon that often transpires in the case of corrupt leadership

Ezk. 16:44-47 Behold, every one that useth proverbs shall use this proverb against thee, saying, As is the mother, so is her daughter. {45} Thou art thy mother’s daughter, that loatheth her husband and her children; and thou art the sister of thy sisters, which loathed their husbands and their children: your mother was an Hittite, and your father an Amorite.
{46} And thine elder sister is Samaria, she and her daughters that dwell at thy left hand: and thy younger sister, that dwelleth at thy right hand, is Sodom and her daughters.
{47} Yet hast thou not walked after their ways, nor done after their abominations: but, as if that were a very little thing, thou wast corrupted more than they in all thy ways.

The disturbing phenomenon that is often seen as a result of corrupt leadership, is that the followers become worse than the leaders…

That once the downward spiral begins, it has a tendency to spiral out of control as the followers buy into it and take things to another level of corruption.

This is one of the reasons that God has a higher standard for leader-ship.

Jas. 3:1 My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.

Leadership receives greater condemnation… Two things about that
1.) First, we receive greater condemnation from people.

This is born out in the context of the verse

James 3:1-2 My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.
{2} For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.

The immediate context of this verse has to do with offending people. And all leadership does. You can’t please everyone.

Whoever is president, will always have critics… And whoever is preaching, will always have critics.

And in this politically correct culture, with everyone walking around with chips on their shoulders, it won’t be long before you say something to knock one or more of their chips off

You can’t please everyone!

When I took over as pastor of our church about 32 ½ years ago I had been made keenly aware of some of the things that transpired before I was there.

My podcast colleague and friend, Pastor Steve Baer had been pastor directly before me. He had taken over as pastor in a situation where the church had been thrust into turmoil, after the founding pastor had left. Bro. Steve was voted in and he helped keep the church afloat.
However, he found out firsthand, you can’t please everyone! And a number of folks gave him a very hard time. I had been made aware of a lot of the things he had faced.

Knowing that how they had treated him was unacceptable, and that if this church was going to rise from the dead things were going to need to be different going forward, on my first Sunday as pastor, in the evening service I preached on, You Can’t Please Everyone, So You’ve Got to Please the Lord.

My text was Gal. 1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

And I let our church know that night that they might not always like everything I do, but what I do I’m going to be doing trying to please the Lord. And if that rubbed them the wrong way, I was still going to have to do what the Lord wanted me to do.

All right, a second thing about Jas. 3:1, which again, says

My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.

First, we receive greater condemnation from people, second…

2.) We receive greater condemnation from God.

In Luke 12:48, the Lord Jesus says …For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

When a man is given the position of leading people spiritually, there is more expected of him by people, and there is more required of him by God.
And as one who has been put in that position, when I read this verse, and think of the words, “to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more…”

I think of how much has been committed to me by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and how they will ask more of me at the judgment…

God enumerates particulars regarding these requirements as He lays out the pastoral qualifications for the office of a bishop in I Tim. ch. 3 & Titus ch. 1.

On Wednesday nights, I have been teaching through I Timothy, II Timothy and now, Titus…

When I expounded these qualifications of the bishop those passages, I told our folks I teach these things with fear and trembling… Why?

Because as a pastor, I am especially accountable to God!

Now, a side note… As I taught these things, I did not let the people off the hook, for I noted that the pastor is to be an ensample to the flock.

I Pet. 5:3 indicates that, and similarly, I Tim. 4:12 has Paul telling the young pastor, Timothy, that Timothy is to be “an example of the believers…”

Thus the behavior of the spiritual leader shows the people how they are to behave.

That being said, let’s go to the book of Malachi, the last book in the OT, and see more about this higher standard God has set for His men in positions of spiritual leadership.

Mal. 1:6-10 A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name?
{7} Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the LORD is contemptible.
{8} And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the LORD of hosts.
{9} And now, I pray you, beseech God that he will be gracious unto us: this hath been by your means: will he regard your persons? saith the LORD of hosts.
{10} Who is there even among you that would shut the doors for nought? neither do ye kindle fire on mine altar for nought. I have no pleasure in you, saith the LORD of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand.
Mal. 2:1-2 And now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you. {2} If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the LORD of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart.
Mal. 2:7-9 For the priest’s lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.
{8} But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the LORD of hosts.
{9} Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people, according as ye have not kept my ways, but have been partial in the law.

Partial… The word signifies being biased in their application of the law. But it also signifies not being thorough in delivering the words of God.

Contrast this with the testimony of the Apostle Paul who said in Acts 20:26-27

{26} Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.
{27} For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.

Our country, yeah, our world, is suffering for a lack of good spiritual leadership. Leadership that preaches & teaches all the counsel of God.

And leadership that endeavors to hold up the standard, by practicing what they preach.

It has been well said, that, “The pew will never rise higher than the pulpit.”

And again, there are exceptions to that rule, but don’t miss the point that the tendency is for the people in the pew not to exceed the spiritu-ality of the person that is in the pulpit leading the flock.

And the truth is, there will be in the pulpits of churches this Sunday

*Ministers that are partial in their delivery of the word of God…

*Ministers that are failing in their charge of delivering all the counsel
of God…

*Ministers who love the praise of men, more than the praise of God…
*Ministers who are poor examples of what a Christian should be like…

*And in some cases ministers that ought to be in jail because of their
abuse of power…
*And there some ministers are shepherds who fail to follow the
example of the Lord Jesus Christ, but are hirelings.
In John 10:11-13, Jesus said of such

{11} I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
{12} But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. {13} The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.

These type of ministers tend to tiptoe through the tithers and scratch the itching ears of the people who will not endure sound doctrine as per II Tim. 4:3-4.

These type of ministers are well described in Jer. 6:13-14

{13} For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely.
{14} They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.

Listen also as the book of Ezekiel weighs in on these things

Ezk. 34:1-10 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, {2} Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks?
{3} Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock.
{4} The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them.
{5} And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered.
{6} My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them.
{7} Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD;
{8} As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock;
{9} Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD;
{10} Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.
A preacher’s primary charges include Preach the word… and
Feed the flock of God…

Our church pulpits today are occupied by many who do anything but.

Hear Ezekiel again Ezk. 13:1-10 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
{2} Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel that prophesy, and say thou unto them that prophesy out of their own hearts, Hear ye the word of the LORD;
{3} Thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!
{4} O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts.
{5} Ye have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel to stand in the battle in the day of the LORD.
{6} They have seen vanity and lying divination, saying, The LORD saith: and the LORD hath not sent them: and they have made others to hope that they would confirm the word.
{7} Have ye not seen a vain vision, and have ye not spoken a lying divination, whereas ye say, The LORD saith it; albeit I have not spoken?
{8} Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye have spoken vanity, and seen lies, therefore, behold, I am against you, saith the Lord GOD.
{9} And mine hand shall be upon the prophets that see vanity, and that divine lies: they shall not be in the assembly of my people, neither shall they be written in the writing of the house of Israel, neither shall they enter into the land of Israel; and ye shall know that I am the Lord GOD.
{10} Because, even because they have seduced my people, saying, Peace; and there was no peace; and one built up a wall, and, lo, others daubed it with untempered mortar:

Listen to Jeremiah

Jer. 23:25-40 I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed.
{26} How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart;
{27} Which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbour, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal.
{28} The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD.
{29} Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?
{30} Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour.
{31} Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He saith.
{32} Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD.
{33} And when this people, or the prophet, or a priest, shall ask thee, saying, What is the burden of the LORD? thou shalt then say unto them, What burden? I will even forsake you, saith the LORD.
{34} And as for the prophet, and the priest, and the people, that shall say, The burden of the LORD, I will even punish that man and his house.
{35} Thus shall ye say every one to his neighbour, and every one to his brother, What hath the LORD answered? and, What hath the LORD spoken?
{36} And the burden of the LORD shall ye mention no more: for every man’s word shall be his burden; for ye have perverted the words of the living God, of the LORD of hosts our God.
{37} Thus shalt thou say to the prophet, What hath the LORD answered thee? and, What hath the LORD spoken?
{38} But since ye say, The burden of the LORD; therefore thus saith the LORD; Because ye say this word, The burden of the LORD, and I have sent unto you, saying, Ye shall not say, The burden of the LORD;
{39} Therefore, behold, I, even I, will utterly forget you, and I will forsake you, and the city that I gave you and your fathers, and cast you out of my presence:
{40} And I will bring an everlasting reproach upon you, and a perpetual shame, which shall not be forgotten.
Jer. 23:21-22 I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.
{22} But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.
And now at long last, we come to our text

Is. 9:16 For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed.

Is. 3:12 As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.

Cf. King Manasseh

II Chron. 33:9 So Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err, and to do worse than the heathen, whom the LORD had destroyed before the children of Israel.

Jer. 50:6 My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their restingplace.
If you are such a shepherd… Come back to God… Come back to Jesus…

Or maybe you need to come Jesus for the first time as a lost sinner, and repent and receive the Lord Jesus as your own Saviour.
For don’t disregard this warning given by the Lord Jesus Himself

Matt. 7:21-23 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
{22} Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
{23} And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Prov. 29:12 If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked.

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