Seeking Jesus First - Feb. 1, 2023

Seeking Jesus First - Feb. 1, 2023
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez / Unsplash

Have you ever thought about how we should treat those who preach and teach the word of God to us? There are many preachers and teachers of the word of God. Do we have any responsibility to any of them? Hebrews 13 tells us to imitate their faith and consider the results of their conduct…

Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them.” (Hebrews 13:7–9, NKJV)

Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you. Pray for us; for we are confident that we have a good conscience, in all things desiring to live honorably. But I especially urge you to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner.” (Hebrews 13:17–19, NKJV)

There seems to be a difference between what we call Bible teachers and preachers in our time and the way the writer of Hebrews spoke about them. The writer says that those who “spoke the word of God to you” are leaders in our life. We are to listen them and obey them. That just doesn’t sit right with people in these times. We are each supposed to have our own relationship with God through Jesus Christ and be filled with Holy Spirit.

What do we do when the word of God offends our minds? We ask Holy Spirit to help our hearts believe and understand.

When we come to The LORD, we come as babes. We are born again. We have faith but we do not know how to use it in our daily walk. The word tells us to live by faith and we barely even know what or how to accomplish this.

So God appoints apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers in our lives to equip us and to help us to grow up in faith. These people will speak the word of God to us. This is how we know that they are saying what God says. If they are giving their opinions or speaking from the wrong book (as a manner of speaking), then they will be accountable to God for that. But we are not to obey them because they are not speaking the word of God. They are disqualified from being apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors or teachers when they part from God’s word.

When we have a leader in our life who speaks the word of God to us:

  • We are to remember them. How do you remember leaders? Honor, prayer, giving and such like, for sure. But clearly, the writer is pointing to something deeper.
  • We are to imitate their faith in God and in the word. Follow them as they follow Christ.
  • We are to pay attention to the outcomes of their conduct. What are they producing in their family, in their home, in the church, in the community?
  • Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever. Are your leaders leading a consistent and faithful life in Christ? Do they practice what they preach? If they are preaching the word of God in faith because they believe and live it, it will produce fruit. What is the fruit of their faith?
  • The Holy Spirit tells us to pay attention to this, and it tells us to imitate their faith. Whether their life is in a place of fruitfulness or not, we are to follow their faith in Christ Jesus and the word. If they fail, it is not because of faith. Don’t follow their failure. Follow their faithfulness.
  • If they start preaching something strange - not approved by God through His word and His Spirit together - do not follow that teaching. If they start preaching that besides grace other things are necessary in order to be approved by God, don’t follow that teaching. Remember that we have received the grace of God and what ever we do should be birthed out of grace and faith “from victory” not “for victory”. We can live by faith, obey God and walk in victory because grace empowers us to do it. We do not do those things to “get” grace. We do them because we have received grace.
  • Submit to these leaders who exemplify faith in Christ Jesus and His word and are called to lead in the body of Christ. It is okay to submit to them as they submit to God. They must give account to God for what they teach and preach and how they live.
  • Pray for them that they keep their consciences clean and good toward others and toward God. Pray that they are confident and faithful and that they continue to live honorably with all integrity.

Who do you have in your life right now who is a responsible leader in the body of Christ? Who is there who prays for you and teaches the word of God to you? Who is showing out of a good conduct their faith to you  and speaking the word of God to you? If there is no-one that you are watching, hearing and submitting to like this and “remembering”, it is time to get reconnected in a church family that has people of God in leadership who are placed by God in leadership so you can follow their faith and keep growing up in Christ.