Grace For Your Day July 18

In one of his books, John Stott writes that:

The very first thing which needs to be said about Christian ministers of all kinds is that they are "under" people as their servants rather than "over" them as their lords. Jesus made it absolutely plain that the chief characteristic of Christian leaders is humility not authority, and gentleness not power.

This does not mean that Christian leaders do not lead the congregation because they do. It does not imply that they do not have any authority because they possess one. However, it means that they are not to exercise their authority in a proud way. They should never use the office that God has given them in order to bully or browbeat or abuse their people. Instead, they must always conduct themselves with a measure of grace in order to set an example for others to follow. As Hebrews 13:7 says:

Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you . . .  considering the outcome of their conduct.

The word “conduct” is an important part of this passage because the author tells his audience to remember their leaders’ conduct. In other words, he is not encouraging them to remember their leaders’ sermons or remember their leaders’ books or remember their leaders’ podcasts as important as that may be. He is telling them to focus on their character because that is where the greatest impact was made in their lives. It happened as these Jewish Christians watched the Godly actions of their pastors and copied them which is important to mention because, unfortunately, that is not the way most people look at this issue.

Instead of looking at their pastor’s actions, most people merely focus on his sermons. They want to know how effective he is in the pulpit which is important because First Timothy 3:20 says that a man must be “able to teach” in order to be an elder. He needs to be able to bring the Word of God to bear in the life of the congregation. However, the Bible also says that that is not the only thing that we should be looking for in a minister because you also need to know whether this individual is Godly or not so you can imitate him. You want to pick a leader who is meek humble and lowly like Jesus so you can follow in his footsteps which is what we are going to talk about this week at Grace Fellowship Church.

This Sunday, in order to continue our study of the Book of Hebrews, we are going to look at Hebrews 13:7, 17 which says:

Remember those who rule over you who have spoken the word of God to you . . .  considering the outcome of their conduct ….
Obey[them] and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls…

The reason the author gives us these verses at this point in the letter is because he has now entered into the final chapter where he gives us some closing instructions to the church and one of them is to make sure that you follow the right sort of men. Be careful to put yourself under the right type of leader because there will be trouble if you do not. Every pastor is not a good pastor. Every leader is not a Godly one. Some are in it to mislead you but the best way to spot them is to look at their character.

When Jesus was warning the disciples about false prophets, He said that “You will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16). If the fruit is good, the root is good. If a man is honoring God on the outside, it is a good indication that he is doing it on the inside too and that is what you need to be looking for in your leaders.

If you would like to learn more about that, our service begins at 9:30 at 46024 Riverside Drive in Chilliwack. I look forward to seeing you there!

– Jeremy Cagle