Today, we are going to be looking at something that I believe is thought-provoking, and it is a question again that the Holy Spirit has for us as leaders towards our effectiveness in the work of leadership. And I believe that as we study the word of God, we will all be challenged and stretched for greater effectiveness in the work that the Lord has committed into our hands in Jesus' name.
Listen To MP3 Podcast: Church Blind Leadership: Are You A Blind Leader of The Blind?
Today, we will be looking at or probing the question: Are You A Blind Leader of The Blind? Many of us who have read the Scripture in Matthew are very much aware of this title and where it comes from. But it is going to be beyond what we have read, it is going to be a challenge to us. Are you a blind leader of the blind? That’s the question. And I want us to go quickly to the book of Matthew 15:1-20. It says:
"Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, "Why do your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread."
Now, if we even pause from here, there is a question sent to Jesus: why do your own disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? So it means the tradition of the elders was a big matter to them. The tradition of the elders was a matter of concern. When you comply with the tradition of the elders the Pharisees and the Scribes will consider you to be a righteous person. So their own judgment of rightness or wrongness was alignment with the tradition of elders. That you are a right man to them, it means you follow the tradition of the elders. So, when they notice that the disciples of Jesus were not following what they called right, they judge them as being wrong.
So we must note how we determine right and wrong. So it means at a moment in time, the elders in Israel created what they called a tradition which they expected every Jew to follow and if you follow it, then you are seen to be right. If you move away from it, then you are wrong. But you must not forget, they hold it dearly to their heart. It becomes their own basis for telling you that a man is righteous or a man is unrighteous.
"He answered and said to them, "Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?" Now Jesus is judging what they call right or righteous. The basis for their righteousness, the basis for their own judgment was being judged by God.
"For God commanded, saying, "Honor your father and your mother'; and, "He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.' But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God”— then he need not honor his father or mother.' Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition."
You created a system of governance, a way of life which also contradicts the commandments of God. You expect men to live in a certain manner, which you call righteous manner, when they are doing it, they are right, when they are following your own precept, they are right, however by your own system of rightness, you have prevented men and women from pleasing their God. All the while when they do these things they please you, but each time when they do it they displease the Lord. That’s what Jesus emphasized there. So let’s go to verse 7
"Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: "These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men."
If we pause here, then it means that you mustn’t forget what the says in Acts of the apostles chapter one verse one. It says "of all that Jesus began both to do and to teach." So a man who teach is a man who has done and so what makes you a teacher, what qualifies you for that position of a teacher, is your knowledge, your experience on a matter. It is because you have done it so repeatedly and you have mastered it that you are able to teach others.
So, by virtue of that position of teacher or teaching, you are called a leader. So a teacher is a leader. That’s the first thing we mustn’t forget. However, these men were teaching as doctrine the commandments of men. The curriculum that was the basis of their own teaching, they begin with their followers, from a point, they take them to another point, then to other point. Jesus said those point were not the things delivered to them by God but the things created by men. No wonder apostle Paul said in Galatians 1 verse 11 downwards. the says;
"But I make known to you, brethren that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man." Now this is Apostle Paul talking about the things he preached. And Jesus in Matthew 15:9 says "And in vain they worship me teaching as doctrine the commandments of men." Now let us do a kind of comparison between what Jesus accused those peoples teaching and what Apostle Paul was teaching.
He said: "But I make known to you, brethren that the gospel which we could call the doctrine which was preached by me which we could also say taught by me is not according to man. So it is not a tradition of elders, for neither I received it from man, not from an elder nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ." Do we see the difference now? What the Pharisees and the Scribes were teaching, were not the things that God revealed to them through Christ, they were not the things the Holy Spirit taught them. They were the things that the elders, certain group of men gathered together, who called themselves elders, what they have created, what they have imagined, what they have established. And then they made it the basis for judging anyone right or anyone wrong. And so by virtue of their creation anyone, who follow such becomes their follower. Don’t forget, they created a system, they created a culture, and they created a way of life. They created what they call right, and what they call wrong. And so for anyone who chooses to follow that, such a person is called righteous by them and is their follower.
So, when Jesus called certain people blind leaders, He is acknowledging the fact that they are actually leaders. We are in a leadership fellowship and it has been said over and over that we are leaders. So the question is not: are you a leader, or you are not a leader. You are a leader. But are you a blind leader, leading the blind people? This is a question that is posed to us. Apostle Paul has clearly stated to us that it is possible for a man to teach things that were not taught by elders. It is possible for a man to carry as doctrine, as gospel, the message that he has not received from man or men. And the fact that you received it from the elders, does not mean that you are correct. Do we understand what we are emphasizing on? Are You A Blind Leader of The Blind?
"When He had called the multitude to Himself, He said to them, "Hear and understand: Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man."
That statement by Jesus, do you think it is in agreement with the tradition of elders? When you think about what Jesus has said, do you think that what Jesus said is not correct? You don’t think so. Now, it shows that what the general or the norm, what the general impression is, what makes general believes, is not always correct. And so, a man who is also a blind leader, he may not also know that he is a blind leader. But he believes he is a leader. Now Jesus is helping us to see what makes that leader blind. And how he is leading other people who are blind. That’s what Jesus is showing us here. They have said that the disciples of Jesus were wrong simply because they did not wash their hands before they began to eat bread. Now that statement, as important as it was to them, was not created by God, it was instituted by the elders. So let’s continue
"Then His disciples came and said to Him, "Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?" But He answered and said, "Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted."
And I want you to note the word "will be" and not "might be." Will is a matter of the future. Already they are planted, but God didn’t plant them. Already they have become establishment, they have become authorities but God did not authorize them. They don’t have God as their backing. They cannot say God before whom we stand. I am sure we know that Elijah in the Old Testament, talking about the Lord before whom I stand. In the Old Testament. So the Pharisees could have said before whom they stand, the Lord God. If a man in the Old Testament could say he was standing before God, so, the New Testament men and women could actually claim they were standing before God. However, they couldn’t say that. Because they were not actually standing before God. They were simply following traditions of the elders. They were continuing what their fathers started. There was a time when Jesus said to them, He said "they should complete the cup of their fathers." Their fathers have started this evil, they should complete it, they should make it full let the cup of this evil be full by you. Your fathers have been corrupt, continue the corruption of your fathers.
So, it is possible for a generation to succeed another generation only perpetuating the corruption, the errors of the preceding generation, not necessarily having a new thing, not necessarily creating a new thing, not necessarily correcting but simply continuing from where the previous generation has stopped. And Jesus said every plant, every leader; every organization, every ideology, that the heavenly Father has not instituted, has not commanded; has not established, will be uprooted. So even though they remain now, it does not mean they are correct. Even though they are thriving now, it doesn’t mean that they are correct. And I want us to note this word “every plant.”
Now, whether a plant is planted by God, or planted by something else or someone else; as long as they are both in the soil, they will both draw the nutrient of the soil. They will both grow together, you remember the parable that Jesus said that they should leave them until the time of the end. When they will be sorted out, when the harvest will be done separately. You shouldn’t forget that those plants are rooted in the soil. And the soil is created by God. So they are drawing nutrients from the body of Christ. They are drawing supply from the body of Christ. They are making demands on the resources of Jesus Christ, yet they were not planted by God. It is possible. People see them as leaders but yet God has not ordained them so.
That’s why God said I have not sent these ones yet they have gone. When they are going they go in the name of the Lord. When people see them they see them as the people of Lord, but God said "I have not sent them." So it is possible for an organization, a leader to flourish yet in error. It is possible for a leader who has a different motive, a pastor who has a different motive, a bishop who has a different motive to have a large church and to grow. Don’t forget that that church is like a soil that he is drawing nutrients from. He was not planted by a father, he was not planted by the Lord God Almighty but he is in the church. He could have 10 thousand members, he could be riding big cars, and he could be doing everything. But his primary interest is not the life of the people under him but their resources.
Don’t forget they serve as the soil for him to grow. And Jesus said every plant that God has not planted will be uprooted. It may be next five, ten, fifty years, hundred years, it will be uprooted. When we were going through the prayer this morning, one of the words that was said was the word the spirit of rebellion. Which my spirit connected with. There should be a teaching on the spirit of rebellion because that is the spirit of the world, that’s the spirit of Satan. Rebellion began in the garden, and it was Satan that instituted it. Those who are rebelling in the church are they not leaders in the church? Those who have the spirit of rebellion, Judas had the spirit of rebellion he was an apostle. So it is possible for somebody to be made an apostle, a prophet, a pastor, and a teacher, and yet have a different spirit in him.
And let’s continue verse 14. "Let them alone." He had already said the father will uproot them, He now said therefore leave them alone. That’s where we are now. We are at a stage where men are left alone, churches are left alone, and ministries are left alone, why? They have been tagged by Jesus as churches, ministries, leaders who are blind and who have a group of blind people following them. Following what? Are they following the traditions of God or the words of God or the traditions of those leaders? When you go to many churches today, what they teach are the things that have delivered from the headquarters.
Don’t you think it will be a woeful situation for such a church if what is coming from the headquarters is not coming from the Holy Spirit? And so they teach as doctrine in those local parishes what has been delivered by the council of elders. It will be good if what has been delivered by the council of elders to be taught are the things that Christ himself has taught the elders. It will be good if men were not following those things but following Christ. If we do a stage arrangement now if I can see and I have somebody who cannot see following me holding my cloth if he has like five people holding his cloth who cannot see. Do you call such a person a blind leader of the blind who will fall into the ditch? And I want you to note very well. I can see, somebody who cannot see is holding my cloth ten people or five people are holding his cloth is it the blind leaders leading the blind? The case is getting different.
If the senior pastor, is led by the Holy Spirit so what the people in the parishes would be led by, even though it could be taught by a brother or a sister in their parish is ultimately what the Holy Spirit has taught them. So it is the same teaching from the Holy Spirit. But there will arise a problem if a director of the school of discipleship, director of the school of study Sunday school who has issues with his maturity, with his development comes up with a curriculum, and then becomes a standard for everybody across the world to follow. So those people will be taught the things that the director believes is right.
So when you follow all those things he tags you as a right person in his church. He tags you as a man who is growing. But even he himself has issues with growth. That is why Apostle Paul said the gospel that I preach were not taught by man because there could be a limitation in growth. There is a church that I know right now in Nigeria, that has training facility like a school anybody can attain any height in that church except a woman becoming a PhD holder. And the simple reason is that the general overseer's wife does not have it. So they have trainings for diploma, for all the grades BSc. Masters even PhD but the PhD is for men, why? The founder has a PhD as a man you can also get there, but the wife of the founder stopped at Masters. So any woman in that ministry must stop at masters because you cannot know more than the general overseer’s wife.
So imagine a woman who is committed to following God so to say in that ministry, whatever she can know is limited by men. Why? She must not know more than the one who is leading her. That’s why if the blind is leading the blind they will definitely fall into the ditch. The blind will not know what is the right thing, then the people following the blind will also not know that they are being led into error. So that is why a man who is defined for greatness, who has been designed for higher height must learn to set the Lord always above himself. That’s the best thing. You must grow to the height of Christ.
In Ephesians 4:11-13, that’s the essence of the fivefold ministry. The says: "And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith (I want you to note that word Till, this will continue till we all, excluding nobody, excluding no gender, excluding no culture, no race,) and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
So that sets Christ as the standard for our curriculum the things we teach must be Christ not the pastor because when the pastor stops growing, the members would be made to stop growing. Because if the curriculum is built after the pastor, any time the church member try to get to the neck of the pastor, the pastor will take them to his leg again, let them start again. In January the members start learning the legs of the pastor, in December they get to his neck he says that’s okay let’s start again in January next year he have not mastered this thing let’s master it again, let’s tart from my leg again.
And they come to the neck of the pastor, he says can you see this is December 31st again we need to start again. And they keep starting again. Nobody rising to even the nose of the pastor and yet the pastor has not even risen to any point in Christ. And some people will never learn anything outside that pastor they will never know anything, you can never give them a book and they will read. No my pastor has not told us to read it. The book for the month is not that one. And yet what you are even learning is not the fullness of Christ. So we begin to have half-baked Christians, half-baked Disciples of Christ, men who are not growing in Christ who are simply growing in their pastors.
Apostle Paul was very categorical, he says "imitate me as I imitate Christ." The moment you see me deviating from Christ stop imitating me. Follow me to the degree of my following Christ. That’s what he said. My authority in leading you is tied to my following Christ as it turns that am no more following Christ stop following me that’s the word. It is not a sheepish follower ship let me just follow. You must follow like the Berean Christians, comparing things, what you see, compare it. Is it real, is it true? If it is not you don’t follow it. Because in the long run as your pastor will appear before the father at the throne of judgment, you will appear, your pastor will not appear for all of you. That is why it is dangerous for the blind to lead the blind. Because the says as we will note in Matthew 15, as we were reading downwards from verse 14
"They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch." My emphasis is on two words; will and ditch. Will is in the future, this is the experience of anybody in the church who sheepishly follow blind leaders. So that this is not a matter that is a matter to me, outside Christ, outside God.
Let’s go to the book of Isaiah 56 so that we see what God has ordained. And we will start our reading from verse 9-12.
"All you beasts of the field, come to devour, All you beasts in the forest. His watchmen are blind, they are all ignorant; (that’s to emphasis the implication of being a blind leader. An ignorant person, leading an ignorant person, both don’t know what to do. Sir please what do you think we should do? I don’t know, you what do you think we should do? And each time Jesus ask the disciples that what do they think can be done? It says, for he himself knew what to do. He was not a leader who was blind. He knew what to do. Each time he will decree, in fact when we talk about the prophetic grace on the life of Christ Jesus, it was evident in Him declaring aforetime the things that will happen in days and time to come.
When He met Nathaniel and He gave him a word of knowledge concerning Nathaniel, he was carried away; and then He gave a word of wisdom again. In case word of knowledge is exciting you, there is another word of wisdom. He said a time is coming when you will see the son of man going up and down and the angels taking him up and down. Time is coming! He could explain your past to you, He can describe your future very vividly. Why He was not ignorant of His own future. He was not ignorant of His own past. He knew where He was coming from, He knew where He will be going to. And so He was able to take men from where they are to where they must be, that is leadership.
Myself and my wife were listening to a message by Dr. Mensah Otabil talking about a situation where you have to lead men. Like leading them to the future. And he said one of the challenges that leaders face is that leading people into the future, leading them into their own growth requesting change from the life of the people is not actually comfortable. He said you are leading the people out of their comfort and everyone will resist it so If the leader is trying to please the people as it were in that context, then the leader will never be able to take them out of where they are to where they must be because the leader does not want to discomfort them.
So when I heard that I was excited, whether bro Francis likes it or not I will make him uncomfortable. It is part of my work. The moment you are comfortable around somebody you call a leader, you should get out of that leadership. You must not be comfortable! It doesn’t mean the person should maltreat you but the person shouldn’t see you as having arrived. Having arrived Connotes that you have known what you should know, you have gotten to where you must get to then it means the man does not see a future in you.
If you see a future, you know where ever the person is, is not where you have seen. There is a difference, there is a growth that is needed. That makes you a leader who has seen the future, a leader who is not blind. Because not been blind means you are able to see. You are able to higher ahead you are able to see ahead of time. When Jesus was to be crucified He saw ahead to time, He declared it. When peter was to deny Jesus, Jesus saw it ahead of time and declared it. Declaring it is a prophetic unction but that was leadership.
Let’s continue it says; its watchmen are blind, they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; Sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber."
We are talking about set men now, men that have been set in high places, a watchman is not staying with the people, what makes you a watchman takes you out of the people to a height higher than the people, you must see what they cannot see, you must be able to warn them ahead of time, you must see ahead, you cannot be as a set man or a watch man and be given to frivolities to partying and to fun.
Yesterday, I was somewhere in Dutse so the security guy was doing a side business, he was the one selling, so I realized that as I was pricing the thing he wanted to sell some times he will release the rope so that cars parked will go then he will close it again then he will still sell it to me later the owner of the business came out angry, and told him what happens to the people that are climbing up? What are they looking for how did they pass? The man eventually warned him and so the guy was caught in between what to do and what not to do, his attention was divided. Before we knew it the boss gave a command that all the things he is trying to sell should be carried away, because his job was to do a security work.
Now he is trying to sell so he is failing as a watch man because he is busy elsewhere. So watchmen must be focused people who are able to see what others cannot see. Now the boss is somewhere at the office and he is there with the people like far away, at the border of the facility. He is supposed to warn them that there would be danger. And the person who is to warn is already distracted. The Bible says;
"Yes, they are greedy dogs (we are talking about set men here, leaders) they are greedy dogs which never have enough. And they are shepherds who cannot understand; (can someone who cannot understand make me understand? You are worried why certain members of certain churches keep complaining, they go to church nothing they got, if a confused pastor is teaching the word of God you will be confused too. He will only tell you what he has been told. He has been told nothing. He will only show you what he has been shown, he has seen nothing; he will only tell you what he has heard, he has heard nothing.
That’s why Apostle Peter said we cannot but speak of the things which we have both seen and handled of the word of life. Our experience is what we share. And it is so vivid that we cannot deny it. Our leadership is a product of what we have seen have handled, what we have experienced. We are not blind leaders, we are not dumb dogs we can bark we are not sleeping lying down, and we are not slumbering. We are awake to our responsibilities. It says they all (and I want us to note that word) look to their own way, every one for his own gain, from his own territory."
Can we see that? The priority of everyone is territory. Everyone is concerned about his denomination, everyone is concerned about his parish, local assembly, and ministry and the man that has been called into the ministry to be a watchman over the church is only watching for his own local assembly. He sees no danger in other churches in other places he sees only danger in his own place. And why is he seeing danger? It is because of what he wants to gain from his own local place. He his watching over his own people simply because he wants to gain something from them. He never has enough. And the Bible says they all look to their own way, their own tradition, and their own pattern.
I think we should just mingle and mix with people a bit in the churches before we quickly see what people call church today. Pastors don’t allow their members to learn elsewhere simply because the money they should give is being given elsewhere. They don’t want your loyalty to be distributed, everywhere, why? They want to earn their own living from your life. And instead of even fulfilling the purpose for their establishment, their Calling, they are not. I pray that God will help us in Jesus name.
The question: Are You A Blind Leader of The Blind? Is thrown at us today. The people you are leading, are ignorant; granted! Are you also ignorant? They don’t know the will of God for their lives, do you know the will of God for your life? They cannot categorically tell you that the wives they have married and husbands they have married, God connected them together. What about you and your own wife, your own husband. As a leader do you dwell where the people dwell? Or you dwell on a different level. Are you encumbered with their vision or you see a different vision?
Your people are lukewarm you are lukewarm, there is nobody to challenge anybody out of lukewarmness. They are greedy you are greedy, greed continues. They are hopeless you are hopeless, there is nowhere change is coming from. God is challenging everyone who is called into leadership to know that you are among them but you are set above them. You are set above them not for you to Lord it over them. For you to see before they see, for you to hear before they hear, so that you can lead them into that vision, lead them into that revelation.
If there is nothing revealed to you, then your people will be lying hopeless without revelation. And the Bible says without revelation the people cast of restraints. They live anyhow hopelessly, expecting nothing from God, nothing from life.
I pray that God will help us in Jesus' name.
Source: Centre for New Dimension Leadership