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Paying Attention to the Example of Leaders Whose Faith is in Christ January 20, 2008

Posted by roberttalley in Hebrews, Religion, Spiritual Leadership.
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PAYING ATTENTION TO LEADERS

Hebrews 13:1-17

 

We are continuing our series out of Hebrews on “Paying Attention”. We do not want to forget that what we are looking at today and in the future in the book of Hebrews is directly tied in to the fact that we are to pay attention to Jesus, that is, according to Hebrews 12:18-29 we are to receive Him and not refuse Him if we are to keep from drawing back from God (Hebrews 10:38-39). There are a number of things that we should pay attention to that are mentioned in this book but the author of this letter makes it clear throughout the whole that we should first and foremost pay attention to Jesus Christ.

WE ARE FAMILY. 

As I pointed out last time, what we believe determines how we behave and how we behave indicates what we truly believe. Hebrews 13 like the rest of the book points this out clearly. It begins in verses 1-3 by indicating that our relationship to each other as believers is a family relationship since we as believers are members of the body and that we should act as family. Let me clarify something which is important and foundational for the verses that we are going to look at later. Here and in other places, the New Testament teaches that we are a family, not that we are like a family. If we are like a family, then there are some areas where the two are comparable. That is not what the New Testament teaches. We are the family of God.

Obviously, there are some things that are true of our physical family that are not true of our spiritual family. Verse 4 points that out very clearly. Sex belongs to marriage between a man and woman and there is no other realm in which it is honorable. That does not, however, lower the importance or significance of our spiritual family which is termed in 12:23 as the church of the firstborn ones.

Now in verses 5-6, the writer deals with another area of importance, the love of money. Certainly our relationship to the things of this world tells a lot about our relationship to Christ as verse 6 clearly points out.

TODAY’S FOCUS 

What we want to focus on today is how our relationship to Christ affects the relationship in the church between its leaders and the congregation. Today, we have our annual business meeting and it seems appropriate to lift what might appear to be a mundane business to a higher plain and show how that our faith in Christ should affect our leaders as well as the church as a whole.

The leaders of the church are to be men whose faith in Christ is exemplary just as a father is to be an example to his children (13:7-8). The responsibility of a church elder is the same responsibility as that of an earthly father (Compare Titus 1:9 with 1 Timothy 3:4-5). That is what this passage is about. Church leadership is primarily a parental-type responsibility. This responsibility is carried out effectively when the leaders have certain qualities in their lives.

MEN WITH A PASSION FOR THE GOSPEL, BOTH IN WORD AND DEED 

They are men who actively spread the faith (verse 7a; compare with 1 Thessalonians 2:7-12). These men were passionate about speaking the Word of God to others. In Acts 7 when the apostles were looking for leaders for a benevolence project, we find that they chose men who were passionate about spreading the faith. Stephen died for preaching the faith to those who did not want to hear it. Philip was among the first who took the faith to those were not Jews. Silas, Paul’s companion, first appears as a man given the important job of delivering a message from the church of Jerusalem to the church at Antioch. The rest of the Bible reveals him as a man, along with Paul who was passionate about spreading the faith. Your pastor and your church leaders should be passionate to learn the Word of God, to live the Word of God, to develop themselves spiritually but they must also be men who are passionate about bringing faith in Christ alone to the world.

These are men who actively live the faith (verse 7b). Examples of this conduct or behavior are given in verses 13-16 as well as earlier in chapter 13 and in chapter 12.

  1. A man who actively lives his faith identifies himself closely to Jesus Christ (verse 13).
  2. A man who actively lives his faith has loose ties to this world (verse 14).
  3. A man who actively lives his faith is continually thankful to God (verse 15).
  4. A man who actively lives his faith is good to and shares with others (verse 16).

THEIR FAITH IS IN CHRIST ALONE. 

These are men whose faith is in Jesus Christ alone (verses 8-12). They are men who are convinced that Christ is God (verse 8). These men are opposed to anything and everything that takes away from who Christ is and what He did on the cross of Calvary (verses 9-10). They realize that apart from the death of Christ, all religion is profitless and that all who would worship God are excluded. Those who refuse Christ or receive Christ plus law or works or religion or church or spirituality do not have any right to or part in the forgiveness that Christ provided on the cross.

I feel it is necessary to give an example of what I mean. The example I am choosing I do so because it has come up two or three times during the past year and not everyone understands why I am so adamant against certain false doctrines. There is a group that list four fundamentals that they consider the core of their church’s message. Two of the four I would agree with. Let me read for you what they have to say about the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

“All believers are entitled to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and therefore should expect and earnestly seek the promise of the Father, according to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ. This was the normal experience of all believers in the early Christian church. With the experience comes the provision of power for victorious Christian living and productive service. It also provides believers with specific spiritual gifts for more effective ministry. The baptism of Christians in the Holy Spirit is accompanied by the initial physical sign of speaking in other tongues (unlearned languages) as the Spirit of God gives them audible expression.”

Do you understand what that means? That means that if I have never spoken in tongues then I am powerless against sin. It means that I cannot productively serve Jesus Christ. It means that God does gift me for His service unless I speak in tongues. Now that may not seem like a big deal to you but if you look at Hebrews 12:28 then what that means is that if I have not spoken in tongues I have not truly received Jesus Christ. There is no room for compromise. Either Christ saves us by faith or he saves us by faith plus an experience. Either the verses we learned in Romans 6 last summer and the continuation of those thoughts in chapters 7-8 teach us that it is faith in Christ that frees us from sin’s penalty and gives us the possibility of living victoriously against sin or it is an experience evidenced by speaking in tongues. In other words it is Christ or an experience. It cannot be both.

These men understand that it is Christ who sanctifies us by separating us from our sin and making us God’s special people (verses 11-12).

SO PAY ATTENTION TO THEM 

The congregation is to pay attention to them as they would to the husband and the father of a family (13:7 and 17).

  1. By remembering how the leaders have lived and then imitating them (verse 7).
  2. By obeying, that is, having confidence in them (verse 17a).
  3. By submitting to their joyful watch (verse 17b with verse 9).

I have primarily spoken to those who are leaders but I want to ask you a question. Will you follow our example? If you feel we are not good examples, then you need to come to us. If you do not know if we are good examples or not, then you need to come in closer contact with us. If you know that we are men whose faith in Christ makes a difference in how we live, then follow us.

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Comments»

1. Christian » Paying Attention to the Example of Leaders Whose Faith is in Christ - January 20, 2008

[…] Matthew D. Montonini wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptHere and in other places, the New Testament teaches that we are a family, not that we are like a family. If we are like a family, then there are some areas where the two are comparable. That is not what the New Testament teaches. … […]

2. Paying Attention to the Example of Leaders Whose Faith is in Christ - January 20, 2008

[…] Paying Attention to the Example of Leaders Whose Faith is in Christ There is no room for compromise. Either Christ saves us by faith or he saves us by faith plus an experience. Either the verses we learned in Romans 6 last summer and the continuation of those thoughts in chapters 7-8 teach us that it is … […]

3. poetryman69 - January 20, 2008

rejoice in all things

in all things: praise

4. Christian - January 22, 2008

I think those who read this article will definitely get to know how important the leadership qualities in a Church to maintain it and to progress it, thank you for sharing this article Roberttalley.


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