Friday, December 16, 2005

Characteristics of Christian Leaders (1)

The prerequisite qualification for leadership in the church is servanthood.

" Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave - just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Matthew 20:26-28 NIV)

Paul applies this principle to various relationships, especially the husband-wife relationship. He says "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. ... Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Eph 5:21-25).

We should note from v. 21 that Paul teaches mutual submission, not just the submission of wives to husbands (isn't it strange that many marriage services start the reading at verse 22, not verse 21?). The wife submits to her husband in the same way that the church submits to Christ, and the husband submits to the wife in the same way that Christ served the church to the extent of surrendering His own life for it. In this way the husband demonstrates his leadership by following the example of the Servant-King.

The foundation of authority in Christian relationships is love. The husband does not seek to rule, but to give himself. The leader in the church seeks to serve, not to rule. If the husband does not love his wife and give himself for her, then he has no basis for authority. If the Christian leader does not become the servant of the church, then he has no real authority.

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