Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.
We find our passage today in the midst of the final chapter of the book of Hebrews, where the apostolic author (whomever it may be!) is guiding the Hebrew believers in the exercising of their faith. Granted, in this passage I will not go so far as to state the intent of the author is to communicate a conditional security message, yet I will request your consideration of the passage in light of our topic.
For the readers information, I have provided my understanding of this passage in a series of five posts under the title Christian Accountability A review may help in understanding my general perspective on this passage.
Some of the questions that arise in my mind are as follows.
Why remember our leaders?
Is not our faith a “personal faith in our personal Savior”? What bearing or influence should those who have went before us have on our lives?
Why imitate the leader?
It is often stated amongst the enlightened believers of the 21st century, that we have a “personal” faith with the Messiah, and that He leads us in our own “personal” path. This has an element of truth to it, yet I fear this thinking allows for too much personal interpretation.
As a believer, I may be able to justify many types of behavior, feeling it is a leading of the Spirit of God. As an example, I may feel I need to lie about this one itty bitty thing in order to relieve a temptation. Surely God loves me, and this is His leading. This may reside under the “personal” leading of God justification for some believers, yet when compared with Scripture and the working out of our salvation, allows too much freedom, leading to slavery.
We need to personally witness a faithful example of walking with the Lord. A leader who speaks the Word of God is the choice of the apostle for the believer to come alongside. Time with this type of believer allowing for the witness of the working out of the glory of God in a sinful earthling, is of great benefit.
Now I would caution you, that when I speak of a leader who speaks the Word of God, this does not, in my mind at least, require a paid professional church employee. If you have a close relationship with a pastor, reverend, deacon or such, good on you. But this may be a condition many of us may not have available.
Why does the author remind us of the type of leader to imitate?
He speaks of the leader who spoke the Word of God. As mentioned above, the leader needs to be one who relies on the Word of God for direction in his own life and speaks of the Word of God to others.
A teacher who speaks of his opinion as if from God, but without the foundation of the written Word of God, is to be avoided. Run away from this one.
Why is the believer exhorted to consider the outcome of this leader?
This is where the rubber meets the road, my friends.
The leaders who spoke the Word of God, revealing the Lord Jesus to an apostate nation, came under persecution from their own countrymen. The Hebrew believers were being tempted to fall back into a dead religion, destined for extinction, and to abandon the Lord Jesus for a sacrificial religion that became blasphemous before God.
This departure from the true God has been addressed throughout the book. Even within this passage, although not directly, the author continues to seek every opportunity to guide the believer into experiencing true faith. A faith that is not simply internal, but also an objective experience that may be measured by others witness, and therefore gauge his own growth and maturity.
Fellow believers provide this challenge! Don’t refuse it, but take advantage of this opportunity to learn of real life faith from those who are a bit further down the road than yourself.
As a caution, do not hear me in saying that we are in competition with one another in our experience with the Master, as we do have various callings, yet the moral temperature of our walk requires challenging, especially when pressure bears upon us to “look the other way”.
Look unto Jesus for leading, and as His apostle has exhorted us in this passage, to those who have went before us. He is good, in giving us so many opportunities to experience His life with others.
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