Religious leaders often claim they are following God’s leading. How can we know? How does God lead people today? How can we know it isn’t just the manipulation of some leaders, or the misguided sense of some group that we may follow? As we begin a series on the Book of Acts, we will uncover the questions we can pose as we consider who should lead us spiritually:
Questions to Pose Before you commit to follow a leader:
Jesus intended to begin a work that continued in other’s hands when He left (Acts 1:1). Question: Is the nature of the ministry objectives of any leader that is claiming to be of God in harmony with the kinds of ministry Jesus BEGAN?
Jesus’ plan was exposed in His Spirit-empowered teaching to leaders that He chose to be His messengers (Acts 1:2). Question: Do people that claim to be leading us by God’s direction have a track record of both knowing the teachings of God’s Word and leading others to understand that Word?
Jesus spent time carefully instructing the Apostles, convincing them of His Resurrection with specific evidences for a period of time (Acts 1:3). Question: Do the people that would lead you spiritually have real and measurable time invested considering the claims of Messiah and are they convinced of the truth of the message?
Jesus instructed the men to remain at Jerusalem and wait for the coming of the Spirit of God to empower them as the Spirit had empowered Jesus for ministry Acts 1:4-5). Question: Is the leader walking in obedience to the specific teachings of Jesus found in His Word?
The disciples, even after 40 days of intense training, were still not fully comprehending the program of God (Acts 1:6). Question: Does the leader have to be perfect in his understanding of the Word of God? No, but they do have to be humble enough to be open to the fact they do not know it all.
Jesus told the disciples not to put their emphasis on trying to decipher how God works, but to put their energy into reaching out with the Good News, and ministering both near and far simultaneously (Acts 1:7-8). Question: Is the leader consumed with a theoretical faith and a theological definition, while they seem reticent to minister the Gospel to people?
Jesus was lifted off the Mount of Olives, and the apostles stood in wonder gazing upward until some angelic messengers prompted them to go (Acts 1:9-11). Question: Does the leader have his head “in the clouds” with no sense of what God wants done in the here and now?
The Apostles returned to Jerusalem and met together in a room for constant prayer and unity together (Acts 1:12-14). Question: Is the leader divisive and self-willed, or does he show a willingness to work with others prayerfully?
The Apostles realized the need to replace among their ranks the leaders when they lost them (as the position of Judas was now vacant), and they sought the Lord about the hearts of each men, trusting God to lead them (Acts 1:15-26). Question: Do the leaders see themselves as accountable to one another, or does anyone feel “above the law”?