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The Foundation is Christ!

Jan 18, 2007 at 00:00
Category: Leadership Files

By: Steve Hill

Friends, we had a discussion of this theme with our team in Central Asia in December. Listen in!

I Corinthians 3 is a powerful affirmation of the activity of God in the lives of His people! Paul had total faith in God's ability to act! Listen to these phrases! God is at work!

"the Lord gave to each one"
"but God gave the increase"
"for we are God's fellow workers"
"you are God's field"
"you are God's building"
"all things are yours"
"you are Christ's and Christ is God's"

"According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it! For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Christ Jesus."

Where ever he went Paul laid such a foundation and knew that his job was done. He could leave the church after three or four months and trust that God would continue to build it. What was that foundation? Christ!

Jesus died so that you could be in Him!
Jesus died so that you could hear His voice!
Jesus died so that you could be filled with His Spirit!
Jesus died so that He could show you His Father!
Jesus died so that He could be your head!
Jesus died so that His glory could be your covering!
Jesus died to be the one mediator between you and God!
Jesus died so that He could give you the authority of His name!

And then Paul let each man build upon that foundation. He did not try to protect them from mistakes. He was not mothering them. He was fathering them! The fire would reveal what they built! And if they destroyed what God was building, God would destroy them! He took no responsibility for what another man built. He had placed them in God's hands!

How did this work out in practice? The big issues of the time were what day of the week to worship and whether or not to eat meat offered to idols. You would think that Paul, the apostle, the one with the revelation, the one who founded the churches, the spiritual father would simply settle the issues with a decree! He did not do that!

In Romans 14 & 15 he sets out the issues and the principles but makes no rules except that of love.

In II Corinthians 1:24 he declares "Not that we have dominion over your faith, but are fellow workers for your joy: for by faith you stand." And that to the most immature church in his care! In matters of discipline he did not command but appealed. If he had taken dominion over their faith, he would have caused them to fall!

Why? He had laid a foundation of Christ. And he was honoring that foundation. He was letting Jesus build His church!

Why? He was practicing what Rolland Alan calls, "The art of withdrawal". If the father keeps making the decisions, the sons never grow up!

Why? There is no such thing as delegated authority in the body of Christ. There is only the authority of Christ.

No delegated authority? That is what I said! The kingdoms of the world and of darkness must work through delegated authority. Their kings are mere creatures. However, Jesus can speak to each member of His body. He does not need to use delegated authority. He is jealous over each member of His body. He is the glory of every man!

All authority exercised by men in the Kingdom of God is foundational authority. Apostles and prophets are foundational. Foundations are hidden and buried. They hold up the building to the sky. The five fold ministry is to be a foundation holding up each man to Christ. The head of every man is Christ!

Thus there are two responsibilities that people must embrace. The first is the responsibility for their own relationship with Jesus. The second is the responsibility to multiply that relationship through serving others. If you lay a foundation of Christ, you must then withdraw and let people assume their responsibilities. If you do not, they will become dependent upon you. That destroys you and it destroys them.

Leadership stops being an exercise of influence and becomes an exercise of power.

Yes, some people want a king and yes some leaders want to be king. And yes, that can look successful and powerful over the short term. But Solomon's kingdom did not last!

Some are already saying, "But this will encourage rebellion and individualism!" That was the risk Paul took. Better to have the hearts revealed than to have outward submission hiding secret ambition and desire for position! Better to trust Jesus to speak and to lead than to trust your skills and your systems.

Others are saying that if they set their people free to the voice of God, many would leave them. And so? If that is true, you are building through various forms of law and manipulation. Better to have that revealed now than later!

If you lay a foundation of Christ, you had better be the first one to demonstrate that you trust that foundation or your disciples never will! Your job is to push your disciples to hear the voice of the Master and to withdraw from that space around every man that God has reserved for Himself.

What foundation are you laying in the lives of people?

How are you building?

Steve & Marilyn
PS: Want to think through these issues? "Missionary Methods- Paul's or Ours" by Roland Allen is excellent!
PPSS: Does foundational, bottoms up, influential leadership work in the real world? Check out "The Seven Day Weekend" by Ricardo Semler a secular prophet from Brazil.
PPPSSS: Want to comment on this or other articles? Go to our website and place your comments below the article. Thanks to all of you who write me but if you would place your comments on the website, then others could read them and respond as well!

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