Good morning and welcome to “Moments of Truth”, a weekly broadcast brought to you by the brethren of the Pekin church of Christ located at the corner of First Street and Karnes Court in Pekin, Indiana.
Each week, we endeavor to present a portion of God’s Word to help you to “Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18). We also cordially invite you to come and study God’s Word with us. We have Bible Classes for all ages! They begin at 9:45 and are followed by our 10:30 AM Worship and 5 PM Worship. All are invited to come and worship with us. We continue to utilize our Facebook “Live-Stream” capability for all our services. Don’t forget about our daily “Bible Point to Ponder” which is also “Live Streaming” on our Facebook Page at 9 AM Monday through Friday. We hope you will be able to take advantage of all these opportunities to study more of God’s Word.
As well we would also like to ask that you do all you can to remain righteous before God so that your prayers will be heard and answered. James tells us in James 5:16, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
And when you pray, we ask that you remember to pray for all men as Paul instructed in 1 Timothy 2:1-2, “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.”
If you have any questions concerning today’s lesson or would like a transcript, please give us a call at 812-967-3437 or 812-896-6613. You can also contact us through our web site at www.pekinchurchofchrist.com. We’d also like to offer you a Home Bible study at your convenience as well as a free Bible correspondence course. Our desire is to help you with your walk with God.
For the past 22 weeks we discussed various leadership qualities we are to work on as Christians. We examined numerous examples throughout Scripture. However, did you know, that the entire Bible is designed to help the Christian to lead? We’d like to do a series of lesson beginning with the Book of Genesis and really hi-light the fact that the Bible is in fact a book on leadership and It All Begins with God the Ultimate Leader! So today we examine: The Book of Genesis and Leadership.
Genesis, the book of beginnings, overflows with leadership lessons. It profiles some of the greatest leaders in the Bible – but everything begins with God, the Ultimate Leader. After creating the universe and the planet on which we live, He handed leadership of the earth over to humankind which we read in Genesis 1:26, “Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."
You and I were created to lead and to rule. Sin marred our ability to lead, however, and Genesis introduces the story of God’s plan to redeem sinfully independent people from the bondage of following their, we’ll call it, fallen nature. Isn’t most of history the story of conflict among people trying to lead and rule one another, independent of God’s direction? That’s why Genesis often gives accounts of men and women trying to sort out whether to lead or follow, obey or rebel, serve God or live for themselves.
Because God designed people to lead – to “have dominion over” the earth (1:26, 28) – we know that we possess a ruling capacity. But as sinful beings, we tend to go our own way instead of following God’s leadership.
Let’s take a moment and ask a question, “Have you ever recognized God as the ultimate Leader? Not only did He create the universe, redeem humankind, innovate with entrepreneurial energy, and act as a maverick – He also leads.
Although God could have ruled and redeemed planet earth on His own, He chose to include mortals in His plans. Think about it! He could have limited His creation to animals of instinct – but He didn’t. He created human beings with a will of their own, men and women who must choose to follow His leadership according to His plan. God always brings others with Him. From Genesis 1:1-2:25 we see in Creation that God, the ultimate Leader, initiates. He initiated the creation of the universe. He initiated the birth of our species. And He initiated the redemption process, extending Himself to us so that we might be saved.
As you read the Scripture, watch how often God demonstrates His magnificent leadership. Truly He is the Ultimate Leader! That means You and I were born to lead! In Genesis 1:26-31 we read, “Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth." 29 And God said, "See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. 30 "Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food"; and it was so. 31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and
the morning were the sixth day.” Take a look at five observations from this text that suggest our God-given leadership potential:
1. Being made in God’s image means we were created to lead (v. 26). After God says, “Let Us make man in Our image,” He says, “Let them have dominion…” One way we reflect God’s image is by leading.
2. God commanded both male and female to have dominion (v. 27). Both men and women have been given the ability and authority to lead. Leadership is not gender specific.
3. We are to rule over the earth, but not necessarily over each other (v. 28). We were not directed to rule each other, but over the earth’s creatures. History is largely the story of how men and women have perverted their God-given roles by trying to rule each other.
4. All of us are to serve one another in the areas of our gifting and purpose (vv. 29, 30). God created everything for a purpose. Our general purpose is to lead, but each of us should ask God, “Lord, what’s my specific purpose?”
5. Each person’s leadership is best exercised in his or her area of giftedness (v. 31). When we discover our gifts, we will naturally lead in those areas where we are most productive, intuitive, comfortable, influential, and satisfied.
So, it is very important, that we recognize that we follow the ultimate Leader, God. He provides for us all we need to know in order to lead in this world.
One of those areas is communication. God uses Adam to help us the importance of good communication, because Adam failed to connect with Eve. In Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-6 we read the story of the first couple ever to inhabit God’s creation, Adam and Eve. However, when we get to Genesis 3 we see a leader who failed in an area crucial to all leaders: communication. By failing to communicate effectively with his wife, Adam botched his role as the first spiritual leader of the human race.
God clearly told Adam that a certain tree was off limits. In Genesis 2:16-17 we read, “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 "but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." At the time Adam received this command, Eve was not present; according to Genesis 2, she had not yet been created. Consequently, it was up to Adam to pass along what God had said.
So why didn’t Adam clearly communicate God’s instructions to Eve? Why the breakdown in the line of communication? Certainly Eve did not completely understand what would happen if she ate the forbidden fruit. Consider her muddled response to the serpent in Genesis 3:3, “but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.'" Eve added the phrases, “nor shall you touch it,” and “lest you die.” God never said any such thing. So where did she get her faulty information?
Maybe the telephone game can give us a clue. Have you ever played it? Everyone sits in a circle. One person whispers a message into the ear of an adjacent player, who whispers the words to the next person, and so it continues down the line. When the last person to play whispers the phrase into the ear of the one who began the game, a great distortion in the message is often revealed.
Well, here are 5 reasons for Adam’s faulty communication. Like in the telephone game, Adam’s communication to Eve went similarly astray. His message broke down for five basic reasons:
1. He ignored some details in the message he was supposed to communicate.
2. He allowed Even’s voice to influence him more than God’s voice.
3. He failed to hold himself accountable for his communication.
4. He forgot what God had said about the consequences of disobedience.
5. He did not take responsibility for the results of his faulty communication.
As leaders, you and I must learn from Adam’s mistake. We may be good speakers, but are we good communicators? Do we pay close attention to what God tells us in Scripture? Do we give appropriate attention to detail? When we lead, do we make sure our audience gets the message? And do we take responsibility for what God has entrusted to us in His Word?
At the moment Adam received God’s mandate to rule over the earth, Adam became the first spiritual leader in human history. Initially, this meant overseeing the garden and providing direction to his family. Adam was to be a good steward over his resources and relationships. Unfortunately, he failed on both accounts.
When Eve brought the forbidden fruit to Adam, he mismanaged God’s creation by eating it. Adam also mismanaged his wife by remaining passive when he should have taken a stand, thus allowing both Eve and himself to fall morally. When God confronted him with his sin, Adam blamed others as we read in Genesis 3:12, “"The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate." Did you notice, Adam blamed God!
Spiritual leadership isn’t complex; it simply requires a willingness to take responsibility. Sadly, many spiritual leaders continue to duplicate Adam’s mistake by shirking their responsibilities at home, in the neighborhood, on the job, and in the church. They forget that while Ad’s failure started at home, in just a short time it damaged all his relationships, spoiled the beautiful place he lived, and ultimately devastated the entire world. And the whole mess can be traced back to one spineless refusal to lead with good, clear, communication
Now let’s not put all of this upon Adam. Let’s also take some time and learn from Eve, who, when we read in Genesis 4:1-5:5 learned from failure. Remember, God created Eve to fill an unmet need in Adam’s otherwise perfect world. She entered a land free of pain, heartache, and sin, but her fluctuating emotions made
obedience a struggle. Eventually she influenced Adam to join her in sin. Their choice to follow Satan rather than God brough devastating consequences that continue to plague us even today.
Eve exchanged a life without pain for a hostile and even brutal environment. Yet her subsequent life demonstrated an ability to recover from failure and move forward. She restored her relationship with God, and when her firstborn child arrived, she acknowledged her dependence on God. While Scripture does not comment on her parenting skills, it does indicate that Cain developed a resentful and jealous spirit. As a result, Eve became the first mother to endure the heartache of a murdered child.
Eve did not use her pain as an excuse to reject God or question Him as she had in the garden. Nor did she allow a root of bitterness to spring up. When God gave her Seth, she expressed gratitude for this new life. Ultimately, Eve came to represent a strong leader willing to accept the consequences of her choices and learn from her mistakes. As we all must do, for as the apostle Paul tells us in Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”
Now that we have learned from our first ancestors, their story concerning leadership, communication, failing forward, and recognizing our dependence on God we find ourselves years later seeing what had become of mankind with sin in the world.
Genesis 6 tells us that humankind became so wicked and self-serving that God determined to start over. Here is what we read in Genesis 6:5, “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Some of the saddest words in Scripture occur in Genesis 6:6, “And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.” It saddened God that every human being except for Noah’s immediately family would have to
be destroyed. He loved the men and women whom He had created to be like him, those who were to rule the earth and reflect His glory.
God determined to start again, even without a guarantee that the survivors and their descendants would do a better job of following him. In response to this great wickedness of man God flooded the earth, sparing the family of only one man, Noah. God made a covenant with Noah, giving up his right to ever again flood the earth to cleanse it of sinful humanity. Noah gave up everything he had accumulated in his long life in order to start over. Sacrifice always precedes success. They had to give up to go up.
In Genesis 6:8-18 we read about this man of Righteousness, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. 9 This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God. 10 And Noah begot three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. 11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. 13 And God said to Noah, "The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth. 14 "Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch. 15 "And this is how you shall make it: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. 16 "You shall make a window for the ark, and you shall finish it to a cubit from above; and set the door of the ark in its side. You shall make it with lower, second, and third decks. 17 "And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die. 18 "But I will establish My covenant with you;
and you shall go into the ark-you, your sons, your wife, and your sons' wives with you.”
There’s something about righteousness – the kind of morally virtuous lifestyle powered from above – that qualifies a person to lead God’s people. Noah, the man God chose to rescue the human race from extinction, demonstrated just this kind of righteousness.
Humankind had grown so evil that God pledged to destroy it and all living things on earth (Gen. 6:7). But the Lord’s pronouncement of judgement didn’t come without hope, God had charged righteous Noah to save a remnant.
God didn’t choose Noah randomly. He knows who He can count on to get things done – and it’s not necessarily the one with the most skill, talent, or social standing. Rather, it’s the one who daily walks with Him, the one who hears His voice and follows His lead. Noah was just such a man.
No doubt Noah had his own weaknesses and frailties. But he walked with God, and it was that close walk that made him righteous before the Lord (Gen. 6:9). Noah’s righteousness qualified him to be used by God to help save the human race from annihilation, and in the bargain kept him and his loved ones from certain death.
Noah still stands as an example of the kind of person God wants to use. God hasn’t changed, and even now H looks for righteous leaders who can help Him change the world.
Now, as we move on in Genesis and after the Flood, the earth began to repopulate itself, and people learned to cooperate with one another – but still they failed to follow God. The Tower of Babel provides a major symbol of humankind’s arrogance in Genesis 11:1-9, “Now the whole earth had one language and one speech. 2 And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there. 3
Then they said to one another, "Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly." They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. 4 And they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth." 5 But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. 6 And the LORD said, "Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. 7 "Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another's speech." 8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. 9 Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.” As we can see the people had a clear vision and strong leadership, and they had Momentum, which is a leader’s best friend. Unity of vision, language, and effort among the people of Babel provided tremendous momentum. Notice their words in Genesis 11:4, 4 And they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth." Unfortunately, they used the Big Mo to go their own direction, they rebelled against God. That is why God halted their momentum, confused their speech and inaugurated a new leadership plan for them. He divided the people into language groups, then later chose one of those groups – the Hebrews – as His very own, to set an example for others.
God’s leadership of the Hebrews began just before His eternal covenant with Abram (later renamed Abraham) and continued with the patriarchs: Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. The leadership lessons they learned fill
Genesis. God intended not only for them to remain pure for him, but also to lead other nations back to God by modeling a lifestyle that would attract followers.
Well, we come to another end of “Moments of Truth”, and we want to thank you for listening and studying God’s Word with us today. It is our hope that you have been encouraged and will continue your studies of God’s Holy Word and seek to grow in the Grace and Knowledge of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Next week we will pick up our study beginning in Genesis 12 and the story of Abram.
Remember also, if you have any questions concerning today’s lesson or would like a transcript, please give us a call at 812-967-3437 or visit our website at www.pekinchurchofchrist.com. Please visit us on Facebook as well! Remember, we are providing our worship services “live streaming” on our Facebook page. The thing is, Scripture teaches in Acts 20:7, “Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together…” Please recognize the importance of being with your brethren in worship. We all need to remember Hebrews 10:24, “Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works…” Please hang on to and live by Paul’s words in Philippians 2:3-4, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Finally, we ask that you please remember, we want to help you with your walk with God