Make Your Elders Happy!

tree7How do you make your elders in the church happy? Bring them cookies every Sunday morning? Hebrews 13:17-19 points out a better way.

Obey your elders. Your leaders are accountable. Leaders, be watchful. Although the passage is addressed to those who were following the leaders, there are implications her for the leaders also. The description of their work identifies these leaders as elders. Bishops (overseers) are elders, Titus 1:5,7. The office has its origin in those appointed to assist Moses in providing oversight for God’s people, Deuteronomy 1:9-18. Elders have a heavy responsibility. Here they are pictured as alertly staying awake (even losing sleep) over the flock. Leaders, you must give account, not to mere men, but to God, see Acts. 20:26-28. Make their job happy! A joyful part of a presbytery meeting is often the reports from the churches. How much more rejoicing over a good report made to the King of the church! This report should be one of progress, of growth in grace. A happy report is profitable for you. Continue reading “Make Your Elders Happy!”

Sharper than Any Sword!

heb412cChristians have been known as people of the book. Hebrews 4:12-13 explains why.

God’s Word is a living sword. It accomplishes its purpose. It is living because it is the Word of the living God. Though Christians are sometimes accused of having a static or dead Bible, it does not return to him empty or void. It has an impact, either converting and building up or increasing condemnation, Jeremiah 23:29. As you seek to live your life to the glory of God, his Word is alive and active (the term from which we get energy). It changes hearts. It shapes your life.

God’s Word pierces your own heart. It is sharper than any double-edged sword. It does not simply cut into two, but divides again and again. Nothing is beyond its reach. It slices open the whole person. Even the thoughts and attitudes of the heart are revealed. Continue reading “Sharper than Any Sword!”

The Sabbath and Your Future

beach_11246cYou cannot foresee the future. But keeping the Sabbath as a day of rest makes an important statement about your future, according to Hebrews 4:9.

Make every effort to enter God’s rest today. Listen to the exhortation of the book of Hebrews. The whole book, including this passage, is an exhortation. As this passage comments on Psalm 95 and Genesis 2:2, it not only shows you something about the Fourth Commandment—it also points you to the future.

Today is your day of repentance. For Psalm 95, today was used to call God’s people to repent. Behind the Psalm lies the rebellion of Israel in the wilderness. There the people displayed lack of faith and, related to that, lack of obedience. Those dangers continue to threaten you—that’s why Hebrews is an exhortation. Today is the time for the preaching of the gospel. It is the time of promise. It is, above all, the time to come to Christ. Today is your time of suffering in the wilderness, the time of walking in obedience to God. That helps counter any notion of triumphalism. Continue reading “The Sabbath and Your Future”

“And Behold I Am Alive Forever and Ever!”

risen_8008cYou have heard of the attacks in Kenya, where Christian students were specifically targeted and shot. The seven churches in the province of Asia would have understood. But even if we don’t face martyrdom, we do stand beside freshly dug graves. We do contemplate our own deaths. Jesus, addressing his faithful apostle in Revelation 1:17-18, comforts him—and you—with the knowledge that he is alive!

Do not be afraid! That is the reassurance Jesus gives, event thought his overwhelming holiness and majesty give reason to fear. We too casually enter the presence of God—because we fail to grasp both his holiness and our sinfulness. John’s reaction was anticipated by Isaiah when he saw the glory of the Lord filling the temple. Continue reading ““And Behold I Am Alive Forever and Ever!””