March 15, 2015
Beginning there in verse number 11 where the Bible reads, "These things command and teach, let no man despise thy youth, but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity." What I want to preach about this morning is the subject of teaching by example. Teaching by example. He said in verse 11, "These things command and teach." That would be verbally instructing others in what they should be doing, but then he follows that up with a statement of, "Let no man despise thy youth, but be thou an example of the believers." Many things in life are even taught better by example than just by giving instructions. Some people have said, "Do as I say, not as I do." That's not really how things work. In fact, people learn more from your example than your words, in many cases.
If you would, flip over to Titus, just a few pages to the right in your Bible, Titus, chapter number 2. While you're turning there, let me just show you ... I'll just quote for you a couple of scriptures about Jesus being our example. John 13:15 says, "For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you." Jesus also is mentioned in 1 Peter 2:21 when it says, "For even hereunto were ye called, because Christ also had suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps."
Look at Titus 2, verse 6. It says, "Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded, in all things shewing thyself a pattern." He is saying be an example. Be a pattern that other people can follow. "Shewing thyself a pattern of good works, in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity. Now, what does the word doctrine mean, it means teaching. We see these things are hand-in-hand. He says, "Teach the Word of God, use doctrine, but also be a pattern. Also be an example."
In Acts, chapter 1, if you want to flip over there, it speaks of Christ again in this way when it says in verse 1, "The former treatise have I made, oh Theophilus." Look at the end of verse 1 there of Acts, chapter 1, "Of all that Jesus began both to do and teach." He's not just talking about it, but he's doing it. He's doing it and teaching it. You don't have to turn there, but also in Matthew, chapter 10, Jesus gives this big long teaching to His disciples about going out and preaching the gospel in the villages, and He sends them out with a message to preach. Then it says in verse 1 of chapter 11, "And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding His twelve disciples, He departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities."
Notice, He finishes instructing them on going out and teaching and preaching in all these villages and then He turns around and goes and does what He just told them to do, so He's showing them an example. First He tells them how to do it and then he says, "Let me show you how to do it," and He sets the example. We teach things best when we set the example and when we do what we're telling other people to do, and when we are the first in line to do those things ourself.
I'll just read for you these verses. You don't have to turn there. If you would flip over to 1 Samuel, chapter 2, but while you're turning there I'll read you some scriptures. Philippians 3:17, Paul said, "Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample." Paul told the church at Thessalonica, "You were examples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia." Paul said, "Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us." 1 Peter 5, speaking to the pastor says, "Neither is being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. Over and over again, God is telling people to lead by example.
This isn't just about pastors. This is about parents, this is about on the job, if you're the manager at your job. Any position of leadership, no matter what it is, you should lead by example and you'll have better results and more people will follow you when you set the example, and when you're not a hypocrite who tells other people to do something and, like the Pharisees who said ... They bound heavy burdens that were grievous to be born and it says, "They wouldn't even touch them with one of their little fingers." Jesus accused the Pharisees of teaching all these really strict rules and then just living however they want, not even trying to follow the rules that they were imposing upon other people. That's why they were a failure of leadership, okay.
How are we going to be a great father, mother, manager, pastor, parent, whatever the case may be, we're going to do it by being an example. I was just thinking of so many examples of this that I've seen in my own life, just with my children. We're constantly telling our children to do things or to not do things. I've noticed that the children follow examples much more than any command that you'll ever give them. It shouldn't surprise us, because all the way from Genesis 1 the Bible is teaching us that things bring forth after their own kind.
Your children are going to grow up and be like you, whether you like it or not, that's what's probably going to happen, that they're going to grow up and act like you. You can tell them, you know, "Don't smoke kids." hack, hack "You don't want to end up like me. Don't smoke." You know what they're going to do, they're going to grow up and smoke because you smoke, because they're going to follow the example more than they follow your words. We could use all kinds of examples of things like that with children.
I was just thinking of the example of my son, Solomon, who plays the organ. He practices all the time, but for a long time we had trouble getting him to practice. "Solomon, practice your piano. Solomon, practice your piano." Keep telling him to practice. He's not practicing. Then I went through a phase where I decided, "You know what, I want to get better at playing piano, and I want to brush up my piano skills." I went through a phase where I started just playing about two hours a day and just really doing a lot of practice. All of a sudden, my son, Solomon, wanted to practice piano, and we didn't even have to tell him to do it. He was just, "Dad, when are you gonna be done. I need to play now." It becomes fighting over the piano. Why? Because that's what children respond to more than just being told, "Hey, do this." When you do it and they see dad doing it, they say, "Well, I'm gonna do the same thing." If dad's gonna practice, I'm gonna practice." He started playing for hours a day, because he saw dad doing it.
Another example is with running. The thing about it is I grew up and I always hated running my whole life, until I was almost 30. I just remember that everybody in school all hated running. When you're in PE class, what's the punishment? "Take a lap." "Oh, man," you know. It wasn't something that's like, "Yes, we get to do another lap." Everybody hated it. I cannot remember a single kid - I'm sure there were kids that did - but I'm just saying I cannot remember a single kid in Christian school that liked to run and that enjoyed the running part of PE, or the running part of basketball practice, and things like that. They're being told, "Run, run, run," every day, every day. Don't want to run.
You know it's funny. I run all the time now because I like it, and my children beg me to go running every day. Every single day my kids beg, "Dad, take us running. Dad, we want to go running." I'm like, "No, I'm not running right now. I'm busy. I'm working." "Dad, we want to run. We want to run." They're like, "No, we don't want to go one mile, we want to go two miles, we want to go three miles, let's go four miles." I'm not kidding, my kids beg me to go running. You could ask them after the service. They love to run. Why? Is it because I force them to run? No. Is it because I give them chocolate peanut butter cups when they run? Maybe. That might be part of it. No, honestly, they love running, and it is simply because they just see me running all the time and it's just natural for them to want to be like dad. They see dad running, "Hey, let's go running. Let's do it." Why? Because they're learning from example.
You can tell them to do this and do that till you're blue in the face, but you know what's a lot more powerful? When they see you doing it. You say, "Well, piano, running. Okay, how about reading your Bible?" What's more powerful, just telling the kids to read their Bible every day or when they see you pull out the Bible and start reading it? I heard my whole life, "Read your Bible. Read the Bible. You got to read the Bible every day." I heard that in Christian school. I heard that in church. That doesn't mean that I always did it when I was growing up. I remember when I would stay up at my grandparents' house, my grandmother would get up every morning and have her cup of coffee and have her Bible and did that ritual every morning. I remember when I was up there, I always wanted to wake up early and go there and sit next to her and read the Bible next to her, because that example is more powerful sometimes than just words.
I'm not saying that we shouldn't command and teach. The Bible says we should command and teach. The Bible says that Jesus both did and taught. That's what we need, both. We need clear commands to our followers, to our children, to our employees, whatever, but we need to set the example and show them how it's done. That is effective leadership. Let me show you a negative example of this in 1 Samuel, where we see the children following the example of the parent, not listening to the parents' words but rather following the example.
Look what the Bible says in 1 Samuel, chapter 2:12. It says, "Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial." Belial is another name for the devil, Satan, Baal, Belial, Beelzebub, these are all the same person. It says, "Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial, they knew not the Lord." And the priest's custom with the people was, that, when any man offered sacrifice, the priest's servant came, while the flesh was in seething" - seething means boiling - "with a flesh hook of three teeth in his hand. And he struck it into the pan, or kettle, or cauldron, or pot. All that the flesh hook brought up the priest took for himself.
So they did in Shiloh unto all the Israelites that came thither. Also before they burnt the fat, the priest's servant came and said to the man that sacrificed, Give flesh to roast for the priest; for he will not have sodden flesh of thee, but raw. And if any man said unto him, 'Let them not fail to burn the fat presently, and then take as much as thy soul desireth,' then he would answer him, 'Nay, but thou shalt give it me now, and if not I will take it by force.' Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord, for men abhorred the offering of the Lord."
Let me just break this down to you what's going on in this story. They're supposed to bring an animal sacrifice under the tabernacle, and Eli is the high priest and his sons are also the priests, and they're supposed to burn the fat unto the Lord. God gave these really clear instructions in the book of Leviticus about which parts of the animal they were supposed to eat and which part were supposed to be burned unto the Lord on the altar, and the sweet smelling savor. There is chapter after chapter in Leviticus making this very clear. What's the priest's job back in the days of the judges, in the days of Eli? He's supposed to be following the Word of God, and he's supposed to be honoring that law.
What these men are doing is, they wanted to take more than what God had provided for them, and they wanted to take all the certain parts of the fat that God had said to burn off. They wanted to just eat that, okay, because these men were glutinous men. People noticed what was going on, and a lot of people are thinking, "You know what, this isn't consistent with what the Word of God teaches," and they would just shut these guys down by saying, "You know what, if you won't give it to me," and remember this is something that belongs to the Lord. "If you won't give it to me, I'll take it by force." Then it says, "Men abhorred the offering."
People started having a bad attitude about bringing that animal sacrifice down there, because they're thinking to themself, "You know what, I'm supposedly bringing this to the Lord but it's just going into these guy's bellies who are glutinous men, and they're stealing and so forth." That's what was going on, and it was a great sin because of the fact that it caused people to have a bad attitude about the House of God when they saw this blatant disregard for God's Word and this lust of the flesh being indulged.
Now look what it says in verse 22. Jump down to verse 22. "Now Eli was very old and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel, and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation." Not only are these men taking parts of the offerings that were not allotted unto them, but they're also lying with the women that assemble at the door of the tabernacle, so they're committing fornication. They're basically sleeping around. They're whoremongers, as the Bible would call them. "And he said unto them, 'Why do ye such things?'" Why are you doing this? "For I hear of your evil dealings by all this people. Nay, my sons, for it is no good report that I hear. Ye make the Lord's people to transgress."
This weak man who cannot control his household, who will not stop this sin from going on. He verbally corrects it, weakly, but why is it that his sons don't listen to him, and why are his sons involved in these sins in the first place? Well, let's keep reading. "If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him, but if a man sin against the Lord, who shall entreat for him? Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the Lord would slay them."
Let me just point that out real quick. When the Bible says the Lord would slay them, which means the Lord wanted to kill them, the Lord wanted to slay them. I don't want you to misunderstand that, because a lot of people will derive false doctrine from something like this and just say, "Oh, well it's just God's will for some people to be bad and for God to punish them," like a Calvinistic, you know, God chooses some to be good, some to be bad, some to be saved, some to be unsaved. What's really going on here is that people get to a point where they've pushed God so far that He's through with them. That's what's really going on. The Sons of Belial, sons of the devil, reprobates, or whatever you want to call them in the Bible, are people who've crossed that line with God.
That's what's going on here. It's sort of like where Pharaoh hardened his heart. Moses stood before Pharaoh and said, "Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, let my people go." What did Pharaoh say, "Well, who is the Lord? I'm not going to let the people go." It says that, "Pharaoh hardened his heart," but then later in the story what does it say, "God hardened Pharaoh's heart," because it gets to a point where God will harden somebody's heart, but it's only after they've already turned away from the Lord and rejected the truth. It's not that God just damns people without even giving them a chance. The Bible says that, "The Lord is not slack concerning His promises, as some men count slackness, but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
A lot of people would look at this and say, "Well, if the Lord's not willing that any should perish, and if the Lord wants everybody to repent, why doesn't he want these guys to repent? Because, these guys had crossed the line. They pushed it too far and now it's to the point where God just wants to kill them. He's just done with these guys. That should be a chilling warning to us. There are lots of stories like this in the Bible. This is not an isolated scripture. It should be a warning to us not to push God too far.
First of all, if you're not saved, that's where you're in danger of becoming a son of Belial. Now, obviously once we're saved we can never lose our salvation, and we have eternal life and we shall never perish, but even as God's children, though, we can incur great punishments and great chastisements from the Lord. The Bible says that the Lord will judge his people. We need to be aware of God's wrath even on us as His children in the form of chastisement, punishment, discipline. Just as our children sometimes incur our wrath and receive great discipline. We need to realize that God is not just up in Heaven with an anything goes type of an attitude. He'll get sick of people and he'll deal with them. That's what we see throughout the Bible.
It says that they wouldn't hearken because the Lord would slay them. God has clearly hardened their hearts, which is consistent with the fact that the Bible told us that they were sons of Belial. It says in verse 26, "And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favor both with the Lord, and with all men. And there came a man of God unto Eli, and said unto him, 'Thus saith the Lord, did I plainly appear unto the house of thy father when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh's house? And did I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to offer upon mine altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before me? And did I give unto the house of thy father all the offerings made by fire of the children of Israel?' Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded in my habitation,' Watch this. 'and honorest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of the offerings of Israel, my people?'"
Now, right there notice that Eli is lumped in with this group. He doesn't just say, "Well, you're allowing your sons to do this." He says, "No, you've put your sons above me. You've honored your sons above me," and, by the way, Jesus said, "He that love a son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me." He says to Eli, "You've put your sons above me. You've honored your sons above me," and He said, "You," all of you, including Eli, "have made yourselves fat with the cheapest of all the offerings of Israel, my people." Okay.
Now, what I see there is that Eli is rebuking his sons about the sin that they're committing by stealing from the offering and committing fornication. Notice, he doesn't mind sitting at the table and chowing down on what they've stolen. You know, he's receiving stolen property, as it were. He says, "Oh, guys, don't do that, guys. Don't steal that stuff." Man, that smells good. Let's load it up. Pass the gravy. He is literally participating in the sin himself. What we see in this story is that Eli is telling them, "Kids, don't do that," but what are they looking at Eli actually doing? Participating in it himself. The proof of this is that a little bit later when Eli dies it tells us Eli was a very heavy man, which makes sense in light of the story. How'd he get that way? Well, by stealing this stuff that was supposed to be for the Lord. It was the fat above the liver and all the different things that God had said were off limits unto them.
We see here a guy who is failing as a parent, not because he's not preaching the Word of God to his kids, but because of the fact that he's setting a bad example. He is failing in his own personal life and they're looking at dad and they're following the example, not following the words that are coming out of his mouth. Eli, we don't have any record of him committing fornication or of committing any sins in that regard, but we see that the children have taken it to a whole new level. Eli is committing one sin. They're taking it to the next level. That's often what will happen with our children. We have a certain sin in our life and I've often said that what the parents do in moderation the children will do in excess. We need to be careful not to set a sinful example for our children, because a lot of people in the Bible committed sin and then their children took it to a whole new level.
Eli is gratifying the lust of the flesh through gluttony, and then his kids just expand the gluttony and add to it the sin of fornication, gratifying another lust of the flesh. You think about David having multiple wives, but at least you could count them on a couple hands, but then his son, Solomon, what's he do? Hundreds of wives, because of the fact that he sees dad do it. Why not? They take it even further. You need to be careful what kind of example you're setting for your children. As the saying goes, "Your walk talks, and your talk talks, but your walk talks louder than your talk talks." Right? Say that five times fast.
Also, turn to Esther, chapter number 1. Esther, chapter number 1. This is a sermon that can be put into practice in pretty much every single person's life. Virtually everyone is a leader. You might think that you're not a leader whatsoever, but I guarantee you somebody is probably following you or at least some day will follow you. You say, "But, I'm just a child," but your younger siblings look to you as a leader. When you're an older brother or an older sister, you are setting a pattern. You're setting an example, and no matter what you tell your younger siblings, they're more likely to follow your actions and your deeds than to follow your words, okay.
If you're a parent, obviously you're a leader. Even if you're just a person in the church and you don't even have any family in the church or anybody that's younger than you that's looking to you, other church members may be looking to you. You think, "Oh, nobody would ever look to me," but you'd be surprised who kids choose. Kids will just choose a certain person in the church and say, "Wow, that guy's really cool," or "That woman is a wonderful lady," and they'll just look to that person and want to be like that person. It's inexplicable to us sometimes as parents, "Why do you want to be like them?" No, I'm just kidding.
Anyway, they look to certain people and just that's their hero, for whatever reason. You need to be an example of good works. Yes, command and teach but be an example. You know, when you go to work and you just set all these grievous burdens upon your employees and then you just kind of sit back and just let everything get done, that's not great leadership. What's better is when you get down in the trenches and you work with people and you show people how to do it, and you set the example. You want people to be on time, so you show up and be on time.
You want people to go to church, then you be faithful to church. You want people to tuck in their shirt on the job or whatever the rules, then you do that. You're going to be more likely to have people follow you and obey the commands when they see the example, because the example's more powerful than the command. That's one of the reasons why I have rarely in the last nine years that I've been pastoring, why I virtually never am gone on a Sunday morning, Sunday night, or Wednesday night. It happens, obviously, but it's been extremely rare.
I've been gone for a couple of childbirths. Some of them I didn't even miss church because it was just, you know, my wife was able to schedule it for me between services. You know there were a couple of births that conflicted with services and so I missed a service for one of my children being born. I went to Europe a couple of times where it's just impossible to go to Europe and back, you know, and make it back for church. Doesn't really work. I've done that twice in the whole last nine years. I never missed it for work and I have only missed it for sickness a few times, because, obviously that's an act of God. I can't really control that. I've missed it very rarely.
I've had people invite me to preach, not very often, admittedly. The invitations are not pouring in, okay. I've had people invite me to preach on a Sunday somewhere, or on a Wednesday somewhere. I always tell people when they invite me to preach, I say, "Listen, I'd love to come preach for you, but it must be on a weeknight. It cannot be on a Wednesday night and it cannot be on a Sunday morning or Sunday night, because I don't want to miss my church to go preach at your church. I'd rather preach in my own pulpit. I will preach other places, rarely, occasionally, when somebody actually is crazy enough to invite me as a guest speaker, then I'll do that on like a Thursday night, or a Friday night, but I'm not going to do that on a Wednesday or Sunday, just because of the fact that it's been very important to me over the last nine years to set an example of making church important, and taking it seriously, and being here all the time.
I think that that speaks louder than if I just got up here and just said, "Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, you need to be here. The doors are open, be there." Now look, I've said that sometimes, but, you know, I've said that very rarely, very rarely. In fact, I've even often said, "You know what, there's no place in the Bible that commands you to be at all three services, but you know what, I'm gonna be at all three services, because I want to get as much church as I can. The Bible says that we should not forsake the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is but exhorting one another and so much more as we see the day approaching."
Congregation: Right. Amen.
We don't need less church. We need more church.
I want my family to be in church three times a week hearing the word of God three times a week, singing the hymns three times a week, and I've even gotten up many times and said, "You know what, if you ... You know, "Do I have to go to church on Sunday night or Wednesday night?" I even tell people, "You don't even have to come on Sunday morning. Come three times a month for all I care, but you know what, I'm coming three times a week.
I made that decision a long time ago, and I made that decision before I even started pastoring, and I was coming three to thrive, Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday. Here's what they say, "Three to thrive, two to survive, one to backslide." That's what I've heard. So, you know, I'd three to thrive. I want to be here at all three. I've not emphasized that or gotten up and said, "If you don't come to all three you're not right with God. I'm not gonna teach for doctrines the commandments of men."
What does the Bible teach. Well, the Bible teaches that we should not forsake the assembly. The Bible teaches that we should go to church. The Bible doesn't specify, "Hey, you must go three times a week," or "Hey, you must go two times a week." It'd be pretty hard to justify, I think, coming less than once a week, but, you know what, I want to come three times. I'm not trying to see how little I can come and God won't just get angry at me. I like church. Who likes church? Yeah, I like church. I enjoy the preaching. I like the singing. I like to see God's people in fellowship.
You know what, I notice a spiritual deterioration when I'm not in church because of sickness or whatever the reason, or just throughout my life. The longest I've ever gone without church in my entire life was 20 days. One time I got very sick as a teenager and I was out of church for it was 20 days between church services, and I hated it. I just felt like, "Man, I need to go to church. Something's wrong here. I need to be in church. Church is encouraging. Church is helpful. Church is profitable. You learn things at church."
Now with all that being said, even though I haven't made a big deal about that, why is it that our church has a way higher percentage of people who come back Sunday night and Wednesday night than most Baptist churches? If we went to the typical Baptist church, we have 80%, 80% of our people will be back tonight, 80% of our people will be back on Wednesday night. If we run 140 on Sunday morning, we run 110 at night, 110 on Wednesday night. That's about what we've been having lately. Okay, why is that? Why do 80% of people come back? Here's why, because of the example. Because of the fact that they see other people doing it.
It's not just me setting the example, but they see all the people around them coming to church Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. They see a culture in our church that says, "We like church. We look forward to church. We enjoy church. We go three times." They see the pastor is going three times, and then they see me sometimes even move mountains, so-to-speak, to make sure I'm here on a Wednesday night and not miss it, just be there on a Wednesday night. Then they see other people making it a priority. You know what it does, it sets the example and that's why there's so many people. Why are there so many people who go soul-winning at our church? Because of the fact that they see other people go soul-winning. Then it becomes exponential, it compounds. They want to get in on the action.
It's funny, because you talk to other pastors and sometimes they won't have a lot of people going soul-winning. I always tell them this, I say, "Look," I say, "You'll go from having barely anybody soul-winning to a ton of people soul-winning." There's like nothing in between, because what happens is, at first it's just the pastor going and maybe one or two people, three or four people, and then what happens is, all of a sudden a few other people start going and then it's like a snowball effect.
I've told other pastors, too ... Sometimes they said, "Wow, I just have so many silent partners," and very few talkers when we go out soul-winning. I'll always say to them, "Watch, you'll go from like no talkers to just everybody's talking." Why? Because, here's the thing, a lot of people, if it's just the pastor talking then they think like, "Oh, well, that's the pastor. He can do it because he's the pastor." When you get a whole bunch of people that are talkers, here's what people will think, "Well, if he can do it, I can do it. If she can do it, I can do it," because they feel like, "Okay, these are just people in the pew. These are lay people like myself and look how they're doing the soul-winning. I can do this, too. I'm gonna give it a shot." Look, you're leading people by example, even if you're not the pastor, even just by being a church member ...
... who shows up all the time, who shows up to church on time, who shows up to church all the time, who goes soul-winning, who's happy and excited about the things of God and reading their Bible and talking about the Bible and talking about things of God. That sets an example and it is more powerful than any command that could ever be given.
Pastor Anderson: That example.
You know, God has a lot of commandments in the Bible, doesn't he? He also showed up in human flesh and took upon Him the form of a servant and followed all the laws that He expects us to obey. Isn't that interesting? I mean, God expects us to obey all these laws, so what did He do just sit back and say, "Well, do as I say, not as I do. I'm God I can do whatever I want." No, He came down here and took on the form of a man and He showed us how to do it. He left us a pattern and an example that we could follow in His steps, and He was tempted in all points like as we are yet without sin.
He's a pattern for us. He's an example for us. We see over and over again in the Bible, and in our own lives, how powerful examples are versus just telling people what to do. There is a time and a place to tell people what to do, but you also need to set that example. In Esther we see another story about basically a wife rebelling against her husband. This is the story of Queen Vashti and King Ahasuerus. It says in verse 9, " Also Vashti the queen made a feast for the women in the royal house which belonged to King Ahasuerus." Let me just bring you up to speed in the story. King Ahasuerus is the most powerful man in the world. He is the leader of a gigantic kingdom that spans 127 provinces from Ethiopia to India. All right, this is just a huge realm of the civilized world at that time.
King Ahasuerus is throwing a great banquet, a great celebration. Well, his wife decides to kind of do her own thing. She's going to make her own feast, kind of a competing activity on the same day, at the same time. She's going to have her own feast for the women. It's funny because it just kind of brings up the fact, she's doing it in the house that belonged to King Ahasuerus, you know her own little program that's going on. Well, so what happens? The king wants her to be a part of his feast and he wants her to come over. She's very beautiful. He wants her to put on the royal apparel and have the crown and everything, and he wants to show off his queen at this event. He doesn't want to be going solo to this giant feast that he's put on. He wants his wife at his side, which is pretty normal and pretty reasonable. She just refuses to come. "No," I've got my own little tea party going on," or my own little brunch, coffee klatch, or whatever she had going on. "I'm busy."
He doesn't know what to do. It says here that they were commanded, verse 11, "to bring Vashti, the Queen, before the king, with the crown royal to show the people and the princes her beauty, for she was fair to look on. The Queen, Vashti," verse 12, "refused to come at the king's commandment by his chamberlains. Therefore, was the king very raw and his anger burned in him." I mean, this guy's mad. Now look, I'm not saying this guy was a great husband. I'm not saying he was a great leader. I did a whole sermon on this when I was preaching through Esther where I went into a lot more detail.
You know what, he is the boss, and, obviously, the Bible does command wives to submit and obey to their husbands. It doesn't say that if they're a great husband, if you like what they're doing and what they're saying. No, it just says that wives are supposed to submit under their own husbands as under the Lord, and wives to be obedient under their own husband. This woman is rebelling against her husband. The King's angry. He's infuriated. His wrath is kindled. Here I am the most powerful man in the world. He snaps his fingers and all kinds of people are snapping to attention, generals, and governors, and princes, and kings that are under his power, and then his wife won't obey him. It's embarrassment. It's humiliating. It's infuriating. This woman is defy ...
He's defied and conquered the armies of the world, but his wife is one that he cannot conquer, okay. This guy's enraged. He's angry. He's very wroth. His anger burned in him. Verse 13, "Then the king said to the wise men, which knew the times, for so was the king's manner toward all that knew law and judgment. And the next unto him was Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan, the seven princes of Persia and Media, which saw the king's face and which sat first in the kingdom." He says, "Okay, I need to bring seven of my most trusted advisors to bring this rebellious Provence into subjection, my wife." He brings these seven counselors in. "What do I do? How do I handle this?"
It says in verse number 15. "What shall we do unto the Queen Vashti according to the law, because she hath not performed the commandment of the king Ahasuerus by the chamberlains? And Memucan answered before the king and the princes, Vashti the Queen hath not done wrong to the king only, but also to the princes and to all the people that are in the provinces of the King Ahasuerus. For this deed of the queen shall come abroad unto all women, so that they shall despise their husbands in their eyes when it shall be reported, the King Ahasuerus commanded Vashti, the Queen, to be brought in before him, but she came not. Likewise, shall the ladies of Persia and Media say this day unto all the king's princes, which have heard of the deed of the queen. Thus shall there arise too much contempt and wrath."
What are they saying, "Look, King Ahasuerus, it's not just an issue about you and your wife. It's not just about you having strife with your wife. What it has to do with is that you are the leader of the world here, in a sense, and everybody's looking to you. If they see your wife rebel against you and get away with it, basically all the wives in your whole kingdom, from Ethiopia to India, are gonna be rebelling against their husbands, and disdaining their husbands and have no respect for their husbands." It's going to be a women's lib movement throughout the whole world, and it's going to be like thousands of years early. It's going to be like 2500 years early. That's not supposed to happen until the idiots of the 20th century allow it to happen. We're not that stupid.
We've not Billy Sunday. We actually are smart enough to nip this thing in the bud. Anyway, what am I saying here, is that people that are leaders, people are following their example. They are looking to them. Look how throughout history, let's say the president's, well not this president's wife. I don't think anybody wants to dress and look like her, but other people, we look to the president's wife throughout history, the first lady, right? You look through history where first ladies have set trends, where they wore a certain hat or wore a certain dress. Jackie O, or whoever, you know, Jackie Kennedy. Even if you go back further. When you read the history of presidents in the 1800s, their wives would wear a certain dress, or wear a certain hat, or a certain style and that just became the style. They followed that example. Why? Because they're celebrities. They're important people. What they do other people follow their lead.
You have to ask yourself, "What kind of example are you setting for your children?" Because, you're the king to them. You're the one that they look to. What kind of example are you setting to other people in this church? What kind of example do you set on the job? As a pastor, what kind of example am I setting? What kind of example are you setting as a father, or a mother? Because, it speaks much louder than your words. Actions speak louder than words.
Now, on this particular subject of the wife obeying the husband, think about this now. What do you think's more powerful for a woman to do, to say to her children, "Children, obey your parents and the Lord for this is right." Now that needs to be said. Amen. That needs to be taught. But, how about this, "A wife that obeys her husband, what's she doing? Setting an example of obedience. I submit to you that the wife who obeys her husband, I'll bet you her children will be more obedient to her, because they see her obeying her authority. They see her being respectful to her husband. What are they going to do? They're going to then be respectful to their mother, because they're following the example. Much more powerful than just, "You need to obey. You need to obey your parents. God said to fear your father and mother." No, set the example.
By being in obedience. You know what, when they see both of their parents in obedience to God, then that also helps them to see the need to obey their father and mother. These are powerful examples that are set. How about the opposite? The wife who argues with everything that comes out of her husband's mouth, and then she's just shocked, "I don't understand why the kids argue with everything that comes out of my mouth." Where are they getting it? From you. What we see is that the example is more powerful than just the instruction. In order to be a great leader, you do both. Jesus began both to do and teach. Preachers need to preach the Word of God.
There are some preachers who get this backwards and they have the opposite problem. They do great works and are great, but they never preach what needs to be done, and then they also fail as a leader. You must have both. You can't just, "Well, I'm just setting the example. I'm just waiting for people to get on board." You do have to speak the truth. You do have to quote the verse to your kids, "Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right. Honor they father and mother," but you also need to show them an example of following authority in your own life and respecting your own parents and respecting your own Heavenly Father, and respecting your own boss at work, etc. etc.
Also, if you're on the job, how you treat your higher ups is going to affect how the people below you treat you, if you're at that mid management level in the company. You are going to receive what you put out. What's the Bible say, "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." Setting that example is a powerful, powerful thing. We should, in all things, in all areas, show ourselves a pattern of good works. God said, "Let no man despise thy youth." This is even speaking to the young, "But, be thou an example," and He said, "In word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity." The things that come out of your mouth, word, but also our deeds should be an example that other people can follow. Just as Christ left us an example that we should follow in his steps.
Let's bow our heads and have a word of prayer. Father, we thank you so much for your word, Lord, and for the example that you gave. Thank you for being the ultimate leader and, Lord, as we read the pages of scriptures, you many times assert your authority and you many times states, "I am the Lord. I am God." You states that many times, Lord, but thank you for also humbling yourself and taking on flesh and showing us how to do it, and showing an example of good works and of submitting to heavenly Father while you were on this Earth. Lord, we just pray that you would help us to be leaders. Every single person in this room, even children, that they would lead the children around them by setting a godly, right example. Help us, especially, as parents not to be an Eli. Help wives not to be a Vashti. Help us all to set a godly example in Jesus name we pray. Amen.