Hebrews Lesson 53: Conduct as God’s Children :: By Sean Gooding

Chapter 13: 7-17

7 “Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 9 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. 10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. 11 For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp.

12 Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. 13 Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. 14 For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. 15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. 16 But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. 17 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.”

Over the past few weeks, we have talked about brotherly love and how important it is to live a moral life before the Lord. We have also looked at the wonder of a godly marriage; God designed marriage to be the backbone, the very foundation of a society. Without strong, godly marriage, a society will fall apart, and we see that today. The attacks on marriage, from the welfare system to the homosexual movement and other movements, have chipped away for 50+ years on marriage.

Over the past few weeks, we have looked at the moral conduct that a child of God should show as we live daily before the Lord’s churches and the world around us. These codes of conduct help us to live lives pleasing to the Lord and open the door for others to see how we live and want to know about the God we serve. But there is another side to how we live n Jesus; it is the side in the Lord’s churches. All too often, we make out the spiritual life to be all fluffy and, frankly, almost impossible to live. On the other hand, some of our churches are filled with division and competition. Some people make it sound like they own the local church and they are there to make sure it runs the way they want it to; this should not be the case.

  • Good Pastors offer good Leadership, verses 7, 17

If you are in a church with a good pastor — one who loves the Lord, puts in the work of studying and researching, one who teaches well, one who serves the people and is in love with them, you are blessed. There are many churches in the world without pastors and many more with lazy, undisciplined men who are in it for the money, the fame, and the prestige. Most of them are not truly called by God. They gave themselves the position or got it from dad.

If the Lord has blessed you with a good pastor, follow him as he follows Jesus. Pastors have a hard enough life living in a fish bowl, along with their kids and wives. They do not need to be in a combative situation every time they come to church. This is not to say that he, the pastor, is the head of a local church; Jesus is. This is not to say that he is always right; and when he is wrong, a good pastor will admit it and try to be better. This is not to say that his opinion is all that counts; rather, he should be given the benefit of the doubt. Your pastor spends more time thinking about and planning the things that he feels God is leading him into, along with the church he serves. Give him some leeway; trust him even if it is not something you’ve done before.

  • Good Pastors Watch out for you Souls, verse 17

A good pastor can see that you are heading into danger, and he prays for you, seeks the Lord for you, and under much duress, approaches you to tell you that you are doing something wrong. This is all having the pressure of worrying about if you leave because he has done what he was supposed to. Have you ever been in church and the pastor preaches about something you are doing, but you have never told anyone? God knows, but you get mad at the pastor and quit going to church. I have had this happen to me; the person asked me how I knew about something, and I did not even know as they were speaking to me, but God did, and He sent the message.

Good pastors get to know you. They have to let their guards down and let you in, making themselves vulnerable to attacks and opening their families to a lot of hurt. But if one wants to pastor like Jesus, people must be close — and close can be dangerous. If you have a pastor that preaches the truth, speaks lovingly about right and wrong, one who seeks your best even when it might cost him, thank God for him. Thank God for his wife and kids; they are under pressure as well.

  • Good Pastors are Judged Harshly, verse 7

Consider the outcome of their conduct; it is often a no-win situation. If you say nothing, you are wrong before God, and if you do speak out, people may hate you. A good pastor needs a thick skin, as do his kids and wife. In James 3:1, we are reminded of this,

“My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.”

Those of us who are pastors understand that we will be held to a much more harsh and stricter judgment than the people we pastor. We have to be more disciplined and careful than they are. Once we have spent time with and seen the hand of God as we do, it is imperative that we also be more obedient. In Luke 12:48, this is a dire warning to us who have received much from the Lord,

“But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”

Thank God for a good pastor. Pray for him, love him, take good care of him, and protect him and his family. Help him, serve with him, be his friend and trustworthy co-worker. Always give him the benefit of the doubt; do not entertain gossip about him or his family. And when he fails – and he will – forgive, restore and be kind. His kids and wife are watching how you deal with their husband and dad. God is watching how you deal with one of his called leaders.

God bless you,

Dr. Sean Gooding

Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church

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