Flip over if you would to 1 Corinthians 4. Keep your finger there in number 16. We're going to come back to number 16. But this morning, I preached about those who are puffed up and arrogant. There was a lot that I didn't get to. Tonight I'm preaching a sermon that's going to include some of the material that I didn't get to this morning. The title of my sermon tonight is this: Pride Versus Strong Leadership. Now, these two things are often confused. Sometimes people who just exhibit strong leadership are called out for being prideful, arrogant, or puffed up, when really they're not being prideful whatsoever. They're just being a strong leader. Okay.
Now, I touched on this this morning but I just want to show it to you briefly again in 1 Corinthians chapter 4, where the Bible reads in verse 14, "I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons, I warn you. For though you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers. For in Christ Jesus, I have begotten you through the gospel. Wherefore I beseech you. Be ye followers of me. For this cause I have sent unto you Temothious, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways, which be in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church. Some are puffed up as though I would not come to you, but I will come to you shortly if the Lord will and will know not the speech of them which are puffed up but the power. For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. What will ye? Shall I come unto you with a rod or in love and in the spirit of meekness?"
Now, some people would point to this and say, "Paul is arrogant. Paul is prideful. Paul's ..." But in fact, Paul is just showing strong leadership here. Sometimes strong leadership has to pull out the rod. He says, "It's up to you. Do you want me to come to you with a rod or do you want me to come to you in love and in the spirit of meekness?" A leader, sometimes, has to do both. There's a time for meekness and humility and there's also a time to get out the rod.
Go to Jude, if you would. I want to show you a couple of Bible stories just to help you understand the difference between pride and strong leadership. Now, it is definitely possible for a leader, even a leader that's in a legitimate position of authority, to become prideful and to become arrogant and to abuse his authority. But there's a difference. I'm going to show you some stories in the Bible that illustrate that difference between someone who's just being a strong leader and someone who's being prideful.
Now, the reason that this sermon is so important is that now, more than ever in America, we have a need for strong leadership to rise up and lead God's people and to lead families and homes to serve the Lord. If you study the Bible, everything rises and falls on leadership. Think about as you read through the scriptures and you see the children of Israel languishing in the land of Egypt until God sends a great deliverer to lead them out, Moses, to come and lead the people out. Then he sends another great leader, Joshua. Then, after Joshua dies and the elders of that generation die, the people turn away from the Lord until God raises up another great leader.
In the book of Judges, we see over and over again God's people going astray and going into sin when they don't have a strong leader. Then God will raise up men like Ehud and he'll raise up the Gideons and the Samsons to rally the people. All throughout the book of Judges, you see that. Then, when you get to the books of the Kings, you see whenever there's a bad king in power, the whole nation turns away from the Lord. Then, a godly king comes in and shows some leadership like a Hezekiah or a Josiah and they turn the whole nation back to God with their leadership. God raises up men like Elijah, Elisha, that will rally the people back to God and be a leader and take a stand. These men say as Jehu said, "Come with me and see my zeal for the Lord. Come up into the chariot with me. Let me show you what I'm going to do for the Lord."
Paul, here, is saying, "Follow me." That's leadership. That's not pride or arrogancy when you're a person that's in a position ordained by God. In this case, he's an apostle. He says, "Follow me. Follow me as I follow Christ." Strong leadership. If everything rose and fell on strong leadership throughout the whole history of the Old Testament, I'm sure that it's no different today. When we have homes with weak leaders, the families will fail. When we have a nation with a weak leader and when we have churches with weak pastors who don't take a stand and who don't give a strong signal about the direction of the church and stand up and preach God's word with power and boldness and call a spade a spade and sometimes use the rod, proverbially speaking. If we don't have these type of preachers in America, then people will go astray as sheep having no shepherd. Yes, we have Jesus, but Jesus has appointed under-shepherds on this Earth to be leaders. We need leaders today. Then, we need people who are willing to follow the leader and get on board with the leader.
By the way, every great leader starts out as a great follower. All throughout the Bible, it's that way. That's the way it is throughout our lives. Before Elisha was a great leader of all the prophets, 50 prophets that he lead, first he poured water on the hands of Elijah. Before Joshua was the great leader that lead the children of Israel to conquer the promised land, he first was the minister of Moses, the servant of Moses. We all go through different phases in our lives where we are a leader or a follower. Sometimes we're both at the same time, because we might be a follower at our job, but then we come home and we're a leader to our family and so on and so forth. In different areas of life, every single one of us will go through times of leading and following. The leader of the church, the pastor, is also a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. He could be a follower at his job if he works a secular job and so on and so forth. There are times for us to do both, but we need strong leadership. God ordains strong leadership. In fact, when Jesus comes and rules this planet, he is going to be the ultimate leader. Wouldn't you agree with that? When Jesus rules and reigns on this Earth for a thousand years, he'll be the ultimate leader.
Here's what the Bible says, "He's going to rule with a rod of iron." Now, that sounds like strong leadership. That doesn't sound like he's just going to be like, "I don't know, guys. What do you want to do?" And just kind of have a relaxed, loose attitude about things. No. He's going to say, "It's this way. Period." He's going to rule with a rod of iron and have strong leadership. I don't think we're going to be voting throughout the millennium to figure out what we're going to do. All these propositions ... I don't believe there's going to be any voting going on. I think Jesus is just going to rule. He's just going to lead. It's going to be his way, period. All right. That's strong leadership. You say, "That sounds like a dictatorship." Just because you have some buzz word that you don't like, dictatorship, you know what. Strong leadership, and I'm going to get into this later in the sermon, strong leadership is not about ruling with a rod of iron for your own benefit, but rather, it's about doing what's best for everybody. Doing what's best for the group.
When the men of God of the Old Testament in the book of Judges and the books of the Kings, when they came in and lead and when they came in and rallied the people and showed strong leadership, what were they doing? They're bringing the people back to God. I mean, that's what's best for everybody. The tyrants of the Bible that we would look at as abusing their power were people that lead the people away from God, leaders who use their authority just to secure themselves wealth and power and to lead the people of God. An example of that would be Jeroboam. You know, Jeroboam said, "I'm going to have the people worship these golden calves just because I'm afraid of losing territory to the king of the South, Rehoboem." He said, "If they go down to Rehoboem's kingdom and they worship the Lord there, like they're supposed to, at the house of God in Jerusalem, then a lot of them might go over to his side."
In order to protect his position, protect his power and wealth and his numeric superiority in the northern kingdom of Israel, he leads the people astray. He leads them to worship idols, golden calves that he had made. That's bad leadership. That's a tyrant there or someone who just breaks the backs of the people to build great monuments and build great, magnificent structures for his own glory, versus a leader who judges the people and leads them toward a righteous life where they can live in peace and prosperity.
There's a difference between pride and strong leadership. Now, first of all, I want to say this. Number one, pride is when you lift yourself up to a position that you haven't earned. Whereas strong leadership is when you use your legitimate authority for the benefit of others. Okay. Pride is someone who exalts themselves to a position that they don't belong in, whereas strong leadership is one who's in a position that they deserve and then they use that position for the benefit of others. Let me give you some examples along these lines. First of all, we have the example of Korah. Now, look at your Bible there in Jude verse 11. The Bible reads, "Whoa unto them for they have gone in the way of Cain and ran greedily after the era of Belem for a reward and perished in the gainsaying of Korah." Now, in this scripture, the Bible is telling us about false prophets and it uses three men from the Old Testament to illustrate the attributes of a false prophet. He says, "First of all, they went in the way of Cain. Second of all, they followed after in the era of Belem for a reward." Then, he said that they are perished in the gainsaying of Korah.
What is the gainsaying of Korah? Well, let's go back to Number chapter 16. In this passage, we see two leaders. We see Moses, who's a leader, and we see Korah, who is a prideful, arrogant man who is showing bad leadership and rebellion. What is the difference between these two men? Well, the first difference we see right away is that Moses is the legitimate leader. He's the God-called leader. He's the one that's actually in a legitimate position of authority, whereas we see Korah lifting himself up to a position that does not belong to him. Now, he does this in the guise of, "I'm going to lift everybody up to this position of leadership." He doesn't seem prideful on the surface, he disguises it like, "Well, everybody's going to be in charge."
This is like the communists will tell you. "The common man's going to rule. We're going to lift everybody up." When, really it's just a few elite tyrants. Look at the Soviet Union. They promised them, "The dictatorship of the proletariats. The workers will be in charge. We're going to put the workers in charge." But really, who's in charge? Eventually, Joseph Stalin, a total tyrant and dictator who builds his own power on the deaths of tens of millions of innocent people. Okay.
He comes in, this story number 16, with an attitude like he's going to bring Moses down. He's going to bring the real leader down and lift everybody up. But really, he's just trying to get glory and power for himself. Okay. Look what the Bible says in verse 1 of number 16. "Now Korah the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and on the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben took men and the rose up before Moses with certain of the children of Israel 250 princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown, and they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron and said unto them, 'Ye take too much upon you. Seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them.'" This everybody should be in charge mentality. "'And the Lord is among them. Wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the Lord.'"
This is the only statement that Korah is recorded as making in the entire Bible. When the Bible talks about the gainsaying of Korah, notice the word "saying", gainsaying. This is the only saying that's recorded from Korah. This must be what the Bible's referring to. What he said in this verse. What did he say in this verse? "You take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them. And the Lord is among them. Wherefore, then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the Lord." Now, on the surface, what he's saying sounds good. It sounds nice. You could hear all the people around him like, "Yeah. Yeah. We're all holy. Yeah. Yeah. Why is Moses the boss? Why is he in charge?" Trying to bring down the strong leader.
Why? Because evil people always want to bring down the strong leaders so that they can take over because they want the power. Okay. They want to bring down strong fathers and strong pastors and strong men who lead because they want to fill that leadership void. That's why anarchy is such a stupid political philosophy. "Go. We're going to have anarcho-capitalistic." No, no, no. Because as soon as you take away leadership, there's a void there that evil people fill. You have to have some leadership. You have to have someone governing or the worst people come in and fill that void. Period. Often, the worst people fill that void.
The Bible says here, "Wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the Lord." They're accusing Moses and Aaron of lifting themselves up. Now, let me ask you this. Did Moses lift himself up? No. In fact, when God came to Moses and said, "I want you to lead my people out of the land of Egypt," he didn't want to do it. He said, "Send someone else," basically. God had to get angry with him and tell him like, "No. You're doing it." God practically had to make him do it. Not only that, but the Bible tells us elsewhere that Moses was the meekest man upon the face of the Earth. That's why God liked him. That's why God chose him. Because he was a humble person. Look in this exact passage, verse 4. "When Moses heard it, he fell upon his face." That's what really prideful arrogant people do when they're confronted, right? They fall on their face. I mean, look this guy, when people are confronting him, rebelling against him, attacking him, criticizing him, what does he do? Bows down. Is he prideful? Is he arrogant? No.
What does he say? Verse 5, "And he spake unto Korah and unto all his company saying, 'Even tomorrow, the Lord will show who are his and who is holy and will cause him to come near unto him. Even him who he hath chosen will he cause to come near unto him. This due, take you sensors Korah and all his company and put fire therein and put incense in them before the Lord tomorrow. It shall be that the man whom the Lord doth choose, he shall be holy.'" Watch this last statement. "'Ye take too much upon you, ye sons of Levi.'" What was it that they said to him? "You take too upon you, Moses." And he turns around and says, "No, you take too much upon you. How are we going to decide who's right? Well, the Lord's going to choose. The Lord's going to decide." Of course, the Lord chose in the story who's right because he answers Moses' prayer and he opens up the Earth and these men fall down quick into Hell. It's very clear who was the legitimate leader here, who God had really chosen, and who was really holy in the story.
Now, the reason that I wanted to point this out is that often people accuse a strong leader like Moses of being prideful and being arrogant. They're saying to him, "You take too much upon you." But in reality, who's the one who's really being prideful? The one who's trying to bring down the strong leader and lift himself up to a position where they don't belong. It's actually the rebellious one in the story, Korah, who is actually prideful. It's not Moses who's prideful. God said he was meek. The story shows him to be meek and humble. But he was a strong leader. They didn't like that strong leadership. They didn't like the fact that he was the boss, "seeing everybody should be the boss". That's why they're angry and God shows which side he's on by opening up the Earth and swallowing them down into it.
Now, if you would, go to 1 Peter, chapter number 5. 1 Peter, chapter number 5. There are people today that believe in a church, it should be a democracy. "Seeing all the congregation is holy, every one of them. We've all be chosen by God." They think that it should be a democracy, a free-for-all, an open mic. They think that basically whoever wants to preach should be able to just get up and preach. Here's the problem with that. If that's how you ran the church, where there's just no leader, no authority, anybody who wants to gets up and preaches whatever they want, then the worst people would come in here, the Korahs, the Dathans, and Abirams, would get up behind this pulpit and preach lies and bring in all kinds of garbage and all kinds of false doctrine and all kinds of nonsense and vain jangling would come across this pulpit. You see, the Bible teaches that we should have a strong leader in the church and that false prophets will often parish in the gainsaying of Korah. That's what he said. People who will basically lift themselves up.
Acts chapter 20 comes to mind. I'm going to turn there. It wasn't in my notes. Acts 20 is a great illustration of this. Where Paul warns the church at Ephesus what's going to happen after he's gone. He says in verse 28, "Take heed therefore unto yourselves and to the all flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers." Just as Moses was chosen by God and made a leader back in the Old Testament, here he's speaking to the elders from Ephesus and he says to them, "Take heed therefore unto yourselves and to the flock, over which the Holy Ghost has made you overseers." These people in the New Testament are just as ordained by God as overseers, or leaders, as Moses was in the Old Testament. The Bible says, "Hath made you overseers to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing, shall grieve as wolves enter in among you and not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise speaking perverse things to draw away disciples after them." We see here that Paul's warning that wicked people will rise up and try to create a faction, try to create a group like Korah, Dathan, and Abiram did with those 250 people, that wants to rebel and turn against the legitimate, God-ordained, Bible-preaching leadership.
The Bible says here, "Therefore, watch and remember that by the space of three years I cease not to warn everyone night and day with tears. Now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. I've coveted no man's silver or gold or apparel. Ye yourselves know that these hands have ministered unto my necessities and them that were with me. I have showed you all things how that so laboring, ye ought to support the weak and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus how he said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"
Now, it doesn't seem from that passage like Paul is a self-aggrandizing, self-glorifying leader. It doesn't sound like he's telling people to be overseers of the church so that they can benefit personally and so that they can abuse the people. No. He's saying, "You are overseers to make sure that you feed the flock and to guard against the wolves that are going to come in and bring lies and damnable heresies. You need to be that watchdog to stop that from happening." There has to be a strong leader that's willing to tell people, "No. No to the false versions. No to worldliness. No to the NIV. No false doctrines. No to Calvinism. No to lifestyle evangelism. No to this false doctrine." And to stand up and proclaim the truth. Not just have confusion where everybody's got a Psalm, everybody's got an interpretation, everybody's got something to say. It's like these Bible studies you go to in the new evangelical churches where everybody just wants to hear themselves talk. It's the blind leading the blind, people who haven't even read the Bible cover to cover one time are just going on and on expounding the Bible. It's like, whoa. And they don't know what they're talking about.
There's a reason why God has qualifications for the pastor. There's a reason why God has qualifications for the deacon. Because he doesn't want his people to be like sheep with no shepherd. That's why he said, "The harvest truly is plenty, but the laborers are few. Pray ye therefore the lord of the harvest that it will send for laborers into his harvest and to ordain elders in every city." This is what God taught in the New Testament. Now, over in 1 Peter, chapter 5, this is covered. Again, the sermon is about the difference between pride and strong leadership.
Look what the Bible says in 1 Peter 5:1. "The elders which are among you, I exhort, whom am also an elder." Elder, bishop, and pastor are all used interchangeably in the New Testament. "Who am also an elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed. Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight, thereof." Sound familiar from Acts 20? "Not by constraint, but willingly. Not for filthy looker, but of a ready mind. Neither is being lords over God's heritage, but being in samples to the flock. When the chief shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Ye, all of you be subject one to another and be clothed with humility for God resisteth the proud and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore unto the mighty hand of God that he may exalt you in due time."
What's the Bible teaching here? Here's the balance. Okay. The pastor is not one who is lording over the flock. He's one that's leading by example and the church submits under the pastor's leadership. Not lording over them and wanting to be served of them, but to be a servant to them and to teach them and lead them as a minister, not one who's being ministered to. Now, flip over to Hebrews chapter 13. Hebrews chapter 13. Now, the fact that the pastor is supposed to be a strong leader is clear in scripture because the Bible teaches that one of the qualifications for being a pastor is one who rules well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity. "For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?" The testing ground for a man to be a pastor is ruling his own house. This is why singles are not qualified to pastor a church. The Bible says that the bishop then must be blameless. The husband of one wife. Singles are not the husband of one wife. Okay. Singles are not qualified to lead the church.
Then, the Bible says that they should have faithful children, not accused of right or unruly. Those who do not have children are not qualified to be a pastor or a deacon, according to the Bible. Why? Because the proving ground for leadership is in the home. You lead your family and the Bible says, "That if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?" The Bible said, "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor." Look down at your Bible in Hebrews chapter 13. The Bible refers to this term of ruling.
It says in verse 7, "Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God who's faith follow considering the end of their conversation." The Bible says in verse 17, "Obey them that have the rule over you and submit yourselves for they watch for your souls as they that must give account that they may do it with joy and not with grief, for that is unprofitable for you." Look at verse 24, "Salute all them that have the rule over you and all the saints, they of Italy salute you."
This idea that there should be no ruler in the church, basically nobody's in charge, anything goes, open mic, is that what the Bible is teaching here? No. The Bible is teaching there are elders in the church, there's a bishop in the church, there's an overseer in the church. There are strict qualifications for this guy. The Bible says this guy is supposed to meet these qualifications, be ordained by God, and be ordained by the local church, by the way. The church begets the church. This isn't something where somebody just says, "I now declare myself a pastor." Churches should be started by other churches. Men should be sent out just as we've sent out men to go start churches in different areas. We've sent out Pastor Bursens to Prescott Valley, Arizona. We've sent out Pastor Romero to Steadfast Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas. Why? Because if someone could just declare themselves these things, who is even checking if they meet the qualifications? You see, it's the church that looks at that person and says you have met the qualifications to be able to fulfill this leadership role and they're ordained by the leaders of the church to go out and be a pastor and to fulfill that position of authority.
But today, people think that we don't need this position anymore. It blows my mind because there's all these qualifications. If we don't need this, why do we have all these qualifications? Why would God spend all this time giving qualifications for a bishop or and elder and he just wanted there to be all these churches with no pastor? It's a whole sermon of itself. I don't want to go off on a big tangent about that. Let me say this. When we're talking about pride here, one of the attributes of pride that we see here is people who don't want to follow the leader. This could be child who just doesn't want to obey their parents. Think about this. A teenager, right? This about this. Don't all teenagers think they know more than their parents, pretty much?
Speaker 2: I did.
Pastor Anderson: You thought that or you did know more?
Speaker 2: I thought that.
Pastor Anderson: All right. Just want to make sure there. Here's the thing. Teenagers think they know more than their parents, right? Here's the thing, a lot of times when somebody gets saved and they get in church and they start learning the Bible, they go through like spiritual teenage years. Like a spiritual teenager where they're like, "I know, Pastor Anderson. I know more than he knows. He's not right." They get all puffed up and arrogant. Look, pride doesn't want to follow any leader, whether it's your boss at work ... I mean, there are people who can not take correction from the boss at work. They can not obey their boss at work and that's why they can't hold down a job. Constantly being fired, right? We've all seen it. We've all seen people who were too prideful to take orders at work and say, "Yes, sir." Well, there are children who refuse to obey their parents, wives who refuse to obey their husbands, church members who think, "Well, I don't care what Pastor Anderson says. We're bringing in whatever special music or whatever the doctrine." They basically just think that no one can have authority over them. They just want no leadership, no one ruling over them.
This is pride. This is ungodly. This is not what the Bible teaches. A humble person wants to follow the leader, whether that leader is God as supreme or whether that leader is the pastor, whether that leader is in their church or in their job. They're humble enough to get on board with a godly leader or even at work, they're humble enough to get on board with any leader to get a paycheck. Even the froward boss, the Bible says we're supposed to be submissive unto because he's the boss. It's that simple.
But today, there's a movement of people out there who do not want to submit under anyone's leadership. They don't want to go to church, be humble, and play ball and get involved with the ministry. You see, people have a choice today. When they're living in an area where they don't have the perfect church, this is the choice. They can either go to the church that's there ... I'm talking about a Bible-believing baptist church. Okay. But it's not perfect. They're wrong on some doctrine. They can either get in that Bible-believing baptist church that's available in their area or they just say, "There's no good church in my area," and refuse to go to church. I see a great difference between the outcomes in these two choices. I see people all the time who bite the bullet and go to that church that's wrong on Bible prophecy or wrong on this or wrong on that or it's kind of watered down or whatever. But you see them winning souls every week. You see them bringing people to church, being used by God, being a blessing, submitting to that church's ministry, not being a trouble-maker. Then you see other people who are too puffed up to do that, too prideful to do that, because they feel like, "I've been listening to sermons on faithfulwordbaptist.org for six months so I know way more than this church could ever teach me anything."
It's ridiculous. You try to explain this to people, they don't see how ridiculous they're being. Here's the thing. We have a brother visiting from Brazil. He doesn't have a good church in his area. Here's the thing, that's actually true though. When you talk to people from Brazil and they say, "I don't have a good church in my area," they're actually telling the truth. Because in places like Brazil, other places in the world, sometimes Bible-believing Christian churches can be few and far between. There are areas that are just dominated by Catholicism. Other areas are dominated by Islam. Other areas are just dominated by whatever the protestant, Lutheran, which is kind of Catholic-light type of church, that dominates. There are places where there are legitimately isn't a church. Let me tell you something, in the United States of America, I'm not buying it. Okay. In the city that we're in right here in Phoenix, Arizona, there are about 40. 40. There are about 40 independent fundamental baptist churches in Phoenix alone that are using the King James Bible. Okay. I'm not saying that they're all perfect, that they're all great. I'm sure that a lot of them are as dead as door nail, doing little or no soul winning.
But out of all those 40 churches, guess what. There are multiple churches that do have soul winning, that are preaching a King James Bible. You say, "Well, but they're wrong on this, wrong on that." Yeah, I'm not saying that they're right on everything or perfect, but there are churches that you could go to. Not you though, because you're in the right church. All right. You're at Faithful Word Baptist Church. My point being that if Faithful Word Baptist Church disappeared tomorrow, there would be plenty of options for you to go to in this area. Not to sit at home and say, "There's no good church." By the way, you don't like my preaching, you think I preach too hard, then you know what. You might as well go to one of those other churches because we're running out of room in this building anyway. This morning we were packed. Don't let the door hit you on your way out if you can't tell the difference.
The point that I'm making is this thing of people across America ... Again, I'm not talking to people in other countries. But this thing of people who live in the United States of America, "There's no Bible-believing church in my area." Look, you're just setting the standard too high and you're also thinking too highly of yourself. You're not that awesome. Okay. You just need to go to church because God commands us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together and you're an imperfect person and you need to get in that imperfect church and say, "What can I do in this imperfect church to win some souls to Jesus Christ? What can I do to get people saved? What can I do to make ..." Here's the thing, if all these wonderful people that are too good for the churches would actually come to church, maybe the church would get better. All these amazing, wonderful people start showing up, then it would become an awesome place. Look, I'm not saying to go to a church where the pastor's not even saved, but you can find a church.
If you're in the United States, my friend, there's a church in your area where the pastor's saved and where the Bible's King James. Get in that church, be a blessing, get on board with the program, don't be a blowhard, don't be a loud mouth, don't be a trouble maker, don't be Korah, don't be Dathan. Just get in there and serve God. I'm seeing people doing it all over America where they serve God in their church, even though their church isn't perfect. So what? You're not perfect. "Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth," is what the Bible said in the scripture we read this morning. That's really important. Other people, they're too puffed up, the sit at home or they start a coffee clatch with some friends and it's not the same. It's not a bonafide church. It's not a God-ordained preacher from a local church, et cetera, et cetera.
Now, look. To the people who do live in other countries who are struggling because they legitimately don't have a church because they're in these areas that are just spiritually darkened, at that point, what else can you do but just try to find whatever other Christian fellowship you can possibly find and invite them over for a Bible study and sit down and listen to sermons and get together and try to organize soul winning and pray that God would send a man of God to come eventually preside over a church there. In the mean time, all they can do is just fellowship and serve God in whatever way they can. Try to find other people and get some good Christian friends. What else can they do?
We're privileged in the United States of America. In fact, we just did a project where we shipped out a copy of New World Order Bible Versions, the DVD that we did about a year and a half ago. We shipped that out to every independent fundamental baptist church in America that we could verify the address on. We had people helping us and we did a ton of research and we did our best to identify and locate every independent fundamental baptist church that is in America, that at least uses a King James. Not even that they're King James only, but at least they use a King James and they're independent fundamental baptist churches. It went to over 6,000 churches. That's what we could verify an address on. Okay. Did you hear that? We're in a country where there are 6,000 plus, so don't tell me, "There's just no churches." I don't think there are 6,000 independent fundamental baptist churches in Brazil or in places like Norway, Sweden.
I researched Sweden. I could not even find one Bible-preaching baptist church in Sweden. I'm not saying it's not out there, but I couldn't find it. I found two baptist churches in the whole country of Sweden, independent baptists, and they were pastored guys that were really into Ray Comfort and they were against King James only-ism they believed that salvation was through repenting of all your sins, not by faith alone. It's like a works-based thing. Norway has like two that I know of, solid soul winning type independent baptist churches. Yeah. There are places where it's not out there. We have 6,000 in the United States. I'm not saying all those 6,000 are doctorally sound, but I'm willing to bet that there's many in each of the 50 states that are. People just need to work a little harder at finding a good church in their area or drive a little further or move somewhere where there's a good church. Move within the United States. This attitude that just says, "I'm just so puffed up that I just can't find ... Everybody in my area."
People say the weirdest things like, "Every church in my area is apostate." I've heard single dudes say this, "Every woman in my area is a whore." What? What in the world? Do people listen to things that come out of their mouth? "I'm in New York City and every single woman's a whore." It's like no they're not. I'm sure that there are godly women in every city in America. "All whores. Every church is bad. Every pastor is on the government payroll. Every church is an apostate." It's stupid. But it's also arrogant. "I'm the only one left in my area that loves God. Everyone else is damned." It's nonsense, folks. Be clothed with humility.
Go to Daniel chapter 4. What are we talking about tonight? We're talking about pride versus strong leadership. What's the difference? Pride is when you lift yourself up to a position that you don't belong in. You think you're the pastor when you're actually not the pastor. You think you're the boss at work when you're actually not the boss. The boss barking orders at work, he's not being prideful, he's just being a strong leader telling you what to do because that's his job to tell you what to do. Mom and Dad, who give stern directives to their children when the time comes for that, they're not being prideful. God's not being prideful when he demands all glory. He's in a position of legitimate authority. No. It's actually the followers who are in rebellion that are the ones that are prideful. Okay.
What's the difference between pride and strong leadership? Well, pride lifts up yourself as the leader and basically not saying, "I'm in authority," because you're supposed to be in authority as a leader, but it's when you want to basically bring glory to yourself instead of doing what's best for the follower. It's all about glorifying self. Here's an example of a ruler who glorified self, Nebuchadnezzar. Right. Look at the story here. This is where Daniel is interpreting the dream for Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4:20.
"The tree that thou sawest which grew and was strong, whose height reached into the Heaven, and the sight thereof to all the Earth, whose leaves were fair and the fruit thereof much and in it was meat for all under which the beasts of the field dwell and upon whose branches the fouls of the Heaven have their habitation. It is thou, oh king, that are grown and become strong. For thine greatness has grown and reacheth unto Heaven and thy dominion into the Earth. Whereas the king saw a watcher and a holy one come down from Heaven and saying 'Queue the tree down and destroy it yet leave the stump of the roots thereof in the Earth. Even with a band of iron and brass and tend the grass in the field, let it be wet with the dew of Heaven and let it's portion be with the beasts of the field till seven times pass over him.' This is the interpretation, oh king, and this is the decree of the most high, which has come upon my lord, the king. That they shall drive thee from men and the dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen and they shall wet thee with the dew of Heaven and seven times shall pass over thee till that know that the most high ruleth in the kingdom of men and given the tombs over he will. Whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots, thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee after that, thou shall have known that the Heavens do rule. Wherefore, oh king, let my council be acceptable to thee."
Now, watch the council that Daniel gives to Nebuchadnezzar. "Break off thy sins by righteousness and thine inequities by showing mercy to the poor, if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquility."
Now, Nebuchadnezzar is a great king. He's called a king of kings because he's ruling over a great kingdom that's been conquered by Babylon. This great man is warned by Daniel that God is going to chop him down because of pride. Now, Nebuchadnezzar, in the dream, is likened unto a great tree. That tree is a tree where all the birds of the air are lodging the branches thereof and the animals are taking shelter under it. What is he supposed to be as a leader? A benefit to those around him. He's supposed to be a benefit. He's supposed to provide shade and provide comfort and provide. That's why when Daniel rebukes him, he says that you need to show mercy to the poor. Right now, Nebuchadnezzar is a burden to the poor in order to aggrandize himself. Okay. That's why look at the next scripture. "All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar," verse 29, "At the end of 12 months, he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon. The king spake and said, 'Is not this great Babylon? That I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power and for the honor of my majesty?"
He's wrong on a few different points here. Number one, he thinks that he's responsible, when really, it was God that gave him everything he has. Number one. That's pride. Not giving God the glory. Paul, on the other hand, was humble and said, "God counted me faithful putting me in the ministry." Who was before a blaspheme and a persecutor and an injurious, "But I received mercy because I did it ignorantly and in unbelief." He's being humble and saying, "By the grace of God, I am what I am." Whereas Nebuchadnezzar says, "I've done all this by my glory and my power." Then he says that the purpose of his kingdom is for the glory of his majesty. When God had said the purpose of his kingdom was to be a blessing. He was supposed to, as a leader, bless the people and help them and help the poor and basically be a blessing and not a curse unto them. This really illustrates pride versus strong leadership. Because here's a guy who's in it for himself and he doesn't give a rip about the Bible. Where do you see him caring about his subjects and especially the poor and downtrodden of his subjects?
A really good leader cares about the people that he's leading, especially if they're suffering and he wants to find a way to help, you know, what he can do to help them. Not just, "How can I increase my glory?" Therefore, God brings this punishment upon him. "While the word was in the king's mouth," verse 31, "there fell a voice from Heaven saying, 'Oh, King Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken the kingdom is departed from thee.'" God can take away our position of leadership if we abuse it. Is it possible for a leader to abuse their authority? Absolutely. Is it possible for them to be filled with pride and begin to glorify self and lift himself up and not care about benefiting the poor, helping out the least in the kingdom, but rather where it's all about them? Of course that's possible. You know what though? There's also just strong leadership that's for the benefit of the people. We never want to accuse a strong leader of being prideful just for being a strong leader.
God forbid that a wife would look at her husband when he tries to take charge in his home, as God tells us to lead our home, rule our home. The husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. I mean, God forbid that a husband would start to lay down the law in his home and his wife would respond by saying, "Well, you're just arrogant. Who do you think you are?" You don't think that's happened millions of times, probably? Think about that. How many millions of times has a husband said, "Listen. We're going to do things my way here. There has to be a leader here. Christ has ordained me." Look, we don't need the Earth to open up and swallow any woman to tell us that God ordained the husband as the leader, do we? Moses says, "I'm chosen by God. I'm holy." Dathan's like, "Well, no. We're all holy." God had to open the Earth to show us who was right. We don't need the Earth to open because we have Ephesians 5 telling us the husband's the head of the wife.
How many times has a husband laid down the law in his home and said, "Look. I'm taking charge here." And the wife turn around say, "You're so arrogant. You're so puffed up. You're so prideful. Who do you think you are?" Who's really being prideful? The wife who's refusing to submit to her husband as the Bible commanded her to do. Pride says, "I'm not going to obey my husband." That's pride. See how the things get reversed? Who's prideful? The parent who says, "Johnny, you're going to bed when I tell you to go to bed," or little Johnny who says, "I'm going to go to bed when I want to go to bed." Who's prideful in that scenario? Hello. There's a difference that we need to see here. Who's prideful? A pastor who gets up and says, "Hey, this church isn't a democracy because we're doing things the Bible way. We're not voting on which Bible version. We're not voting on whether we do soul winning or not. We're not voting on whether we do effeminate Christian contemporary music or whether we do the old hymns. It's not up for debate. This is what we're doing. Case closed. All in favor, who cares? You don't like it then hit the road, Jack, and don't you come back no more."
You know what people will say about a leader that says that? Prideful. Arrogant. The haughtiness. No, no, no. It's just that guy who's in a God-ordained position who knows what's right and that's the direction we're going to go. The right way. We're going to go the right way, not the way that is popular, not the way that we do a ballot and figure out. Here's a newsflash for you, the majority's always wrong. "Broad is the way that leads to destruction. Many there be which go in there. Straight is the gate and narrow is the way which leadeth to the light and few there be to find it." Don't come at me with democracy. Don't come at me with this everybody's holy dictatorship of the proletariat garbage. We need to understand that strong leadership is a virtue when it's selfless, when it's humble, and when it's for the benefit of everyone. This weak leadership isn't helping anyone.
"Oh, he's so humble because he just lets everybody do whatever they want and just walk all over him. Oh, what a humble husband." His wife's like, "Honey, go out in the car and wait for me. I'll be out there in a minute." You know what. There's nothing humble about a man who's hen-pecked. He's just a wuss. There's nothing humble about being a hen-pecked husband. It just means you're a weakling. It makes you a loser, but it doesn't make you humble or meek. You can be a humble and meek man and still rule your home. You can rule a whole nation and be humble, like Moses. Let's not confuse strong leadership and pride. We want to have strong leadership, we want to be a boss, but we don't want pride to enter in. How does pride enter in? Glorifying of self, not giving God the glory, or taking positions that God has not given us and usurping authority that God's not given us. That's pride. When we just want to serve self at the expense of the followers, instead of doing what's best for everybody and seeking to serve ...
We as husbands, we as fathers, don't we serve the family? Hello. We put food on the table. We pay the bills. We go out and work every day to make money for our family. Isn't that serving the family? Now, a husband that would abuse that or a father that would abuse that goes out, earns the paycheck, and then go buys booze with it, goes gambling with it, goes out and buys pornography with it or something. Obviously, yeah, there could be an abuse there. It's a fine line, but we need to study the scripture and understand the difference and not throw out the baby with the bathwater and say, "We want everybody to be humble so no leaders." No. We need leadership today. Our country needs a great leader.
Wouldn't it be great if we had a great godly leader at the helm of our country? Could you imagine if we had a great leader, politically, that was calling people back the Bible and calling people back to God and standing up for the truth and standing for the gospel of Jesus Christ and standing against all the queerness and all the weird perversion and the abortion and the murder and all the fifth? Wouldn't it be great if we just had a strong, godly leader who was actually manly? I mean, the leader that we have right now is this effeminate, worthless piece of dung. It's like, whoa. That's why our country is in the condition that it's in.
We don't need a bunch of spineless pastors. Last thing we need. Some people think that I need to just water down and just chill out and just have a free-for-all here. I'm not saying that you think that, I'm saying that there are people out there who think that. There are people that think that husbands need to chill out. But honestly, we need strong leadership more than ever. We need husbands to step up and start leading and make things happen. We need pastors to stand up and lead and make things happen and not be afraid of their own church members, afraid to preach the Bible, afraid of what people are going to think. No. We need fearless leaders. We need men of God who will humbly serve God and be a strong leader. Husbands, fathers, bosses at work, pastors, political leaders. We need strength, not weakness. But we need humility, not pride.
Let's bow our heads and have a word of prayer.
Father, we thank you so much for these stories, Lord. Nebuchadnezzar as a bad example, Korah as a bad example. But then you gave us godly examples like Moses and Paul, who were humble men but they were also very strong leaders. They knew when to pull out the rod and use it. But they were also loving people and people who really did what was best for others and didn't just care about glorifying self. Help us never to let pride creep in, Lord. Whenever we have a position of leadership, help us to be a strong leader like you are. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.