The Herald Weekly Vol XVI : 4

Leading by Following

The inauthenticity of parents and church leaders at home is a great turn off for young people. In a sense, the youths are right to expect people whom they look up to; and of whom they respect to display a lifestyle and conduct that is consistent with their profession of faith.

Our Lord Jesus states, “every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit….Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:17–20).

Peter says, “For if these things [the fruit of true conversion] be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” If not, the inconsistencies will be evident, and the criticisms will be aplenty.

“Be real!”
“Say what you mean, and mean what you say.”
“If we talk the talk, we must walk the walk.”


There are plenty of temptations and allurements from the world to pull our children out of church, and parents should not give further excuse to push them out by a lack of exemplary faith. What are some of these excuses?

Imagine a young person saying this about his parents, “The Gospel makes no difference in the lives of my mom and dad.” If there are persons who know our flaws and shortcomings, it will be those closest to us, and that includes our children. This is not to say that parents are expected to be perfect. Our children know too well that we are not. But they expect us to be real.

Children who have the privilege to be brought up in Christian homes should never grow up doubting the effects of the Word of God in the lives of their parents. They should see the mark of Christ in everything that the parents do, in every decision that they make, in their dealings with each other.

A second young person says, “My parents live a double life, one in church, and the second out of the church.” This behavioural inconsistency on the part of the parents has a devastating effect on the children. Again, the demand on parents is not perfection but commitment to Christ – a commitment that takes into accounts our frailties and failures. We fail because we are weak, but our weakness should not be an excuse for our want of trying.

A third young person makes this remark to his friends, “Christianity to my parents is nothing more than a list of do’s and don’ts.” Our Lord Jesus expects us to obey Him. He says, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). However, there is a great difference between obedience that is motivated by love and obedience in order to earn acceptance. The former is real spiritual transformation as a result of grace; the latter is legalism that is devoid of grace.

Our children do not need parents to be perfect – they know we are not. But they do need to see that our faith is real, our commitment to Christ is genuine, and that by the grace, we are persevere in our Christian walk.


So do not just talk. Walk the talk.

Paul says to the believers in Corinth, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). Paul leads by following. He leads by showing himself to be a faithful follower of our Lord Jesus Christ. In other words, the starting point for a desire to serve and love our Lord Jesus with authenticity cannot start with our young people; it must start with the parents and leaders. And this is something that cannot be counterfeited.

The Bible teaches that we are “justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:24). That is the doctrine free grace. However, free grace is not devoid of good works; on the contrary, spiritual fruits will be evident in true saving grace.

James makes a compelling case for faith and good works in James 2:18-26 – “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?… Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”

Using the singular pronoun – thou, thy, thee – James is addressing the individual. He is making the point that parents and church leaders must be consistent in our profession of and practical obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ, and this consistency has nothing to do with our children and everything to do with our own hearts and souls.

The God who saves us by the blood of His Son calls us to total and complete obedience; to a complete transformation of our thoughts, word and deeds. Christ must be pre-eminent in the lives of the believer. There is no God-free zone in the life of a truly born again person.

It is this consistency in Christ that gives weight to our testimony for Christ. The Bible speaks of the power of an exemplary and consistent life in bearing witness to Christ and the Gospel. The Apostle Peter writes, “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:11–12)

In the context, Peter is addressing believers in the church, calling them to present a witness consistent with the Gospel truth to those who are outside the church. Peter is making the point that the “conduct” of the Christians will serve to silence those who would criticize their faith, and even the protagonists toward glorifying God when they see the good works of believers. The admonishment can be applied parents whose children are observing their commitment to Christ. By the grace of God, do not fail them.

Rev Issac Ong
Source : Calvary B-P Church’s Weekly 5 Nov ’17

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