Sermon Outline

God’s Plan for Leaders – First Shall Be Last

Pastor Stephen Hayes

Sunday February 12, 2017


Theme – Each of us, in our area of gifting, should be a leader in ministry work.  Being a Kingdom worker requires humility because we do not experience the full fruit of our labors.  It is God’s plan each of us should reap what others have sown and plant what others will reap.

Every believer involved

  • Every Christian is called to some part of ministry work.  God’s plan for your life includes doing Church ministry work.

  • Jesus said “follow me” to those He selected to be His followers.  

  • Jesus was called rabbi over 30 times in the New Testament.  Obviously, he was regarded as a spiritual leader; one to be followed and imitated.

  • Young Hebrew men who were to become rabbis were required to continually closely follow behind a rabbi in order to observe and eventually become just like him.

  • As Christians, we are to follow behind Jesus – seeking to eventually become like him.

The first will be last, and the last will be first

  • Matthew 19: 30 – 20:16 tells the story of the different vineyard workers being paid the same regardless of when they began their labors.

  • This story reveals part of the nature of ministry work.  We do not do ministry work to receive some type of compensation.  We will be compensated in whatever way is just by God.

Leadership in the Kingdom requires: hunger

  • Being a follower of Jesus expands one’s perceptions of what is possible.

  • Luke 9: 51- 56 tells the account of Jesus’ disciples believing they had the power to call down fire from Heaven.  Verse 54 reads, “And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”

  • This confidence came from having spent time with Jesus.  They had been following Jesus and believed they were capable of the same things.

  • James and John had the hunger to be good leaders, but lacked humility to mediate that hunger.  They manifested their hunger in the wrong way.

Leadership in the Kingdom requires: humility

  • For our own good, God continually prunes His followers so they remain properly humble.  John 15: 1-2 reads, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.  Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away, and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”

  • If we are producing fruit, God will prune us.  This produces focus, direction, and humility.  Pruning is the proof you are a son and daughter of God.

  • The blessings we receive as Christians are given purely by God’s grace.  God is so much better to us than we could ever be to Him by our works.

Planting and sowing

  • Jealousy is the number one inhibitor to promotion in the Kingdom.

  • Thankfulness should be our focus and motivator each day.

  • John 4: 30-38 includes Jesus’ teaching that different groups of people in the Kingdom do the sowing and reaping.  In other words, many believers will not see the benefits of their work.  And, many believers will experience the benefits of others’ work that came before.

  • This arrangement is designed by God so that everyone can celebrate together.  John 4: 36 – “And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.”

  • God’s perfect plan for leadership is that we are planting seeds we will not harvest.  This keeps us in a position of humility.  Our work is not for our own benefit or credit.

Focus on God

  • James 4:6 is, “But He gives more grace.  Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”

  • We did not get to where we are by ourselves.

  • Each generation does its work, is appreciative of the previous generation’s work, and lays the groundwork for the following generations.

  • This process is established by God’s grace because it enables us to rely and focus on God, instead of our own prideful ideas.  Our ultimate reaction is to give thankfulness and praise to God.

Reflective Questions for God’s Plan for Leaders: First Shall Be Last

  1. Pastor Stephen said all believers are meant to be part of the Kingdom’s ministry work.  How good are you at including ministry work in the activities of your life?  

  2. Pastor Stephen said ministry work requires both hunger and humility.  Why is it important both of those attributes be present in our work?

  3. Do you have an example of how you reaped the benefits of someone else’s work?  Do you have an example of how your work benefited someone who came behind you?

  4. In the natural world, one might think such an arrangement (planting so others will reap) is foolishness.  Why is it actually the perfect way to think about Kingdom work?