Exhortation for the Church
September 15, 2022
Exhortations in the Bible are written to encourage us, to incite us to act, or earnestly advise us as followers of our Lord Jesus.
Exhortations by a church leader exhorts us when we know they are speaking God’s word from Scripture as disciples of Jesus. In Hebrews 13, we find words of exhortation.
Hebrews 13: 7 and 17 exhorts church members how they need to remember and treat leaders who oversee their church.
Hebrews 13: 7 Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.
Overseers of church must be remembered by the way they have lived their lives as faithful followers of Jesus. Paul teaches Timothy the qualities an overseer must have in 1 Timothy 3.
Overseers must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil's trap.
This description of church leaders is what church members must look for in their overseers and not by their credentials of college or seminary degrees and recognized as your relationship with them grow over time. Those who are mature in Christ must help leaders when they are struggling to meet these qualities and overseer must humbly receive. These qualities every leader must embrace and hold themselves accountable to, to lead a church.
When a pastor has these qualities the church in turn should follow what Hebrews exhorts in:
Hebrews 13: 17 Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.
Church members are to obey and submit to leader’s authority with the Holy Spirit’s teaching, counsel, and guidance when leader’s instructions and teaching, are true to Jesus’ teachings and that of his apostles and not of their own instincts.
Members who follow their own instincts and disobey leadership will be held accountable to Jesus for not knowing and obeying his teachings and commandments.
Hebrews 13: 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
This exhortation is for our reassurance that from creation, to the present and for all eternity that the Word of God is true and never changes. We can trust that everything in the Bible past, present and future has been and will be forever true.
Hebrews 13: 9 Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by ceremonial foods, which are of no value to those who eat them. 10 We have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle have no right to eat.
We are exhorted to discern carefully what is true to Jesus and to distinguish when teachings are strange to God’s truth so that we are not carried away by them.
There were sacrificial, special festivals and days that was God’s laws in the OT, but today we no longer are required to follow these laws because we have been freed from them by the grace of God through the sacrifice of his Son. We no longer are required to partake the flesh of animal sacrificed at the temple for our forgiveness but now partake the spiritual flesh and blood of Jesus to remember the eternal forgiveness we have received by it.
Hebrews 13: 11 The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. 12 And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. 13 Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore.
The sacrificial animal blood was waved before the Most Holy of Holies by the high priest but because of Jesus’ blood that was shed outside of the temple before the presence of his Father and his beaten body that bears the disgrace of our sins, we no longer seek God’s forgiveness with the blood of animal sacrifices at a temple but receive God’s grace of forgiveness by the blood of his Son for all eternity at any time and at any place.
Hebrews 13: 14 For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.
We are exhorted not to seek a kingdom of God on earth but look forward to God’s kingdom in heaven when Jesus takes us home to his Father.
Hebrews 13: 15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise--the fruit of lips that confess his name. 16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
We are exhorted to continually make sacrifices of praise by thankfully confessing the name of Jesus for his sacrifice and to do good to all and share with those in need.
Hebrews 13: 18 Pray for us. We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way. 19 I particularly urge you to pray so that I may be restored to you soon.
We are encouraged to pray for church leaders that they lead with a clear conscience before Jesus by living a life that is honorable to God and glorifies his name.
Hebrews 13: 20 May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
We are exhorted to faithfully stand firm in the peace we have with God by his covenant made possible through Jesus’ resurrection and that Jesus our great Shepherd continue to equip us through the Holy Spirit to do what is good and pleasing to God’s will that glorifies our Lord Jesus forever.
Be safe in Jesus,