Gospel Culture: Respect and Esteem Your Leaders
Sermon Series: The Affectionate Gospel
Sermon Title: Gospel Culture: Respect and Esteem Your Leaders
1 Thessalonians 5:12-13a
Like a company or a family, a church possesses a particular culture in which its core values are best revealed through active engagement with its people. In the passage today, Paul addresses a gospel-informed “house rule” regarding the distinctive of church leadership: We are to respect and esteem church leaders. In doing so, the gospel takes on a beauty and visibility in the church.
Point 1: To Respect and Esteem Leaders
This “house rule” may appear self-serving. And members may feel suspicious of people in authority due to church leaders who have wielded their power sinfully. Such abuse of power is wrong and understandably painful. Yet the grace of God is strong enough to address such situations. A congregation is to possess a healthy esteem for its leaders as “God’s fellow workers” (1 Cor. 3:5-9), viewing them as servants and stewards (1 Cor. 4:1) who are like Joseph—a slave with responsibility. Christ was the ultimate servant and steward who condescended Himself, faithfully following the will of the Father.
Point 2: Why to Respect and Esteem Leaders
The apostle Paul instructs the Thessalonians to recognize with appreciation their leaders’ labor (v. 12)—hard work that is both physical and thought-filled. The latter requires a willingness to take the time to know God. Leaders embrace a heart-burden for the church (2 Cor. 11:28) which ties them to the spiritual health of their congregation. Leaders are positioned over us in the Lord (v.12) to oversee (Acts 20:28), to rule (1 Tim. 5:17), and to manage (1 Tim. 3:5). Moreover, we are to respect church leaders because of their God-given call to admonish us (v. 12) by instructing us in Christian living. Lastly, we are to esteem them very highly in love because of their work (v. 13).
Every church has a culture. Ours must be shaped by Jesus and His gospel. This gospel culture begins with its leaders who humbly know their call as servants and stewards. And the church members are to respond with respect and esteem for them. The gospel is beautifully displayed when pastors care for their congregation, members respectfully receive from them, and the witness for Christ is visible.
- Avoid flattery,
- Avoid blind loyalty (ignoring sin),
- Avoid the tendency to blame leaders,
- Parents, speak of leaders with respect in your home, and
- Follow the principles of Matthew 18 if there is a legitimate concern, bringing it to the leader first.