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Posts Tagged ‘exhortation’

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. – Colossians 3:16 (NKJV)

The Word needs to take root in our hearts and souls in order to be applied by us.  We have to take in the Word so that we can operate by the Word.  If we do not have the Word in our hearts, then the service of our hands is futile and is of no effect because it solely relies upon what we bring forth by our own doing.  We need to take in the Word to become, as James wrote, “doers of the Word.”

Here is a simple way to take in the Word:

  • Look in the Word: Read your Bible daily.  Study the Gospels.  Understand the Pauline Epistles.  Familiarize yourself with the books of Moses.  Start with a One-Year Bible that offers a daily reading plan of the Bible.
  • Listen to the Word: Hear the Word aloud.  Listen to the Bible on your iPod or MP3 player, even your laptop or desktop.  Numerous sites like YouVersion offer the Bible in audio format online.  Also, get the Bible on CD for your daily drive or in eBook format.
  • Learn from the Word: Join a small group or a Bible study group. Attend Bible study at your local church.  Check out short-term Bible courses offered within your community.  Learning from the Word can be a group effort.

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. – 2 Timothy 2:15 (NKJV)

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2 Hear me, you heavens! Listen, earth!
   For the LORD has spoken:
“I reared children and brought them up,
   but they have rebelled against me.
3 The ox knows its master,
   the donkey its owner’s manger,
but Israel does not know,
   my people do not understand.”
– Isaiah 1:1-3 (NIV)

 

The prophet is a messenger from God.  He shares the Lord’s message for the Lord’s people.  He echoes the words of God for His people.  He embodies the message.  He spreads the message.  He pleads with the people to turn back to God and make things right with God.

The prophet’s assignment may be for a season or a lifetime.  The prophet may see the people undergo countless tests and trials that can bring him to tears.  Or, he can pronounce the coming of judgment on the horizon.  The prophet might remind or rebuke.  He might offer hope or damnation.  It’s not up to the prophet.  It’s all in the hands of God.

The prophet stands before the people, but He is God’s man.  He calls upon the people to live holy lives dedicated and devoted to God.  He is heard by some, but he surely is hated and despised by many.

Ask Jeremiah.  Check with Isaiah.  See what Ezekiel or Joel would say.  Go to Haggai or Zephaniah.  Each one of these and others will share the challenge of being the prophet of God.  Obviously, there is nothing minor about being a prophet in biblical times or nowadays.

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To the only wise God our Saviour, [be] glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen. – Jude 1:25

Jude, the brother of James and the Lord Jesus Christ, wrote these final words in his stirring epistle about contending for the faithJude wraps things up by giving glory to God.  He talked about the evil of mankind in the past, even the angels who did not keep their station and did evil, and of the evil that men would still do on earth.  He points them out, so that other believers will recognize them for exactly what they are.  Yet, after all that he says about evil, he takes the two final verses of the epistle to give God glory.

Starting at verse 24, Jude writes an inspiring conclusion to the entire epistle.  It must be inspiring.  We use it as a benediction, closing our worship hour as we echo his words with eloquence.  It stirs our spirits.  We recite the words of Jude that we have committed to memory and we share them with our congregations.  In the words of Matthew Henry, “The apostle concludes this epistle with a solemn ascription of glory to the great God.”

It fits.  The verses seem to have been laid in just the right place.  They seem fitted precisely in the perfect position.  They appear nestled in the best place possible, especially after reading of all of the horrific things done throughout the ages.

We should glorify God if we contend for the faith.  God will get more glory from our adherence to the tenets of our faith rather than the words of our mouths.  We can give God glory through what we do more than what we say.  We can profess Him by what we produce rather than what we proclaim.

Jude shared what he had to say so that others would uphold the faith.  He did not hold back one bit.  He let it fly with both barrels blazing.  When the smoke finally cleared, he gave glory to God.

Put your faith into action.  Give God the glory.

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Then Jesus said unto them,
Take heed and beware of the leaven
of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

– Matt. 16:6 (KJV)

Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered,
so that they were trampling on one another,
Jesus began to speak first to his disciples,
saying: “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees,
which is hypocrisy.

– Luke 12:1 (NIV)

Your glorying is not good.
Know ye not that a little leaven
leaveneth the whole lump?

– 1 Corinthians 5:6 (KJV)

The church has to watch out for a lot of confusion.  Confusion can creep into the church and consume it.  Confusion can come in all sorts of ways.  It can take over.  It can take some folks out.  It can turn off and turn away other folks.

Here are some samples of the types of church folks who breed confusion:

These few examples just touch the surface.  They certainly do not represent all of the confusion creators in church, but they surely are present in some churches.  We have to guard ourselves, as the Lord said, against such hypocrisy.

As the church of Jesus Christ, we have to wage war with confusion in our midst.  We must battle confusion with clarity.  We must teach Christ with clarity.  Our clear teachings on Christ, His life, ministry, death, burial, and resurrection should help others to understand the example that Jesus provide for every believer.  We need to teach the Gospels, Acts and the New Testament Epistles clearly and continually.  We cannot forget our calling for perfecting the saints.

Be sure to visit these blogs for more on the body of Christ and sound doctrine:

http://northmtzion.wordpress.com/2011/11/11/winds-of-change/
http://thatchristmaydwell.wordpress.com/2011/11/10/what-part-of-the-body-of-are-you/
http://marcussteadministry.wordpress.com/2011/11/09/unity-in-the-body-of-christ/
http://lyleandpaige.wordpress.com/2011/11/05/acts-432-35/

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All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness– 2 Timothy 3:16 (KJV)

We are called to inspire the others around us, especially those within the church.  We do so when we teach, preach and train those within the church to live by the Word of God and do God’s will through good works.  We are endowed with such gifts to inspire others to do what God calls them to do.

We give inspiration in some major ways:

  • Education
  • Edification
  • Exhortation

The people under your spiritual leadership should learn the way of the Lord through the Word of the Lord.  You are called to teach them, to equip them for the work, and to strengthen them in their faith as they learn to do good works.  That comes with the calling.  It is the responsibility of the leader to ensure that those within their own flock are equipped for the work of the ministry

That is exactly what Paul was sharing with both Timothy and Titus.  We call them the pastoral epistles today.  They reveal how Paul was trying to teach these two newly appointed pastors on their jobs.  He wanted them to be certain to teach the people as they should be taught.

As spiritual leaders, we need to be sure to ensure that people are: educated, equipped and empowered by the Word of God.

Have you made sure that your people have been educated?

Have you take even precaution to ensure that your people have been equipped properly with the right training?

Have you exhausted your resources of time and energy to make certain that every member under your leadership has been empowered to do what needs to be done within your ministry?

These are the types of questions that we need to ask of ourselves in order to strengthen the body of Christ in the Word of the Lord.  Use some of Life Path’s training materials to help with equipping your ministry.  Also, check out some of the inspirational poetry offered on our storefront as a means of kicking off your ministry meeting or a focal point for a Bible lesson in Sunday school.  Use all of what is available to you to inspire those who serve under your leadership.

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Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach.
Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!
– 1 Corinthians 9:16 (NIV)

 

The shame is on us as believers.

Yeah, I know.  You might disagree with me.  You may say that I am on one.  You can even say that I am headed down the wrong road.

You can argue against what I have to say all that you want to, folks.

You cannot argue against God or His Word.

For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.- Acts 4:20 (NIV)

And the gospel must first be published among all nations. – Mark 13:10 (NIV)

And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where. – Luke 9:6 (NIV)

And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.- Acts 8:25 (NIV)

And there they preached the gospel. – Acts 14:7 (NIV)

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.- Romans 1:16 (NIV)

For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. 1 Corinthians 1:17 (NIV)

But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. – 1 Peter 1:25 (NIV)

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You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine.- Titus 2:1 (NIV)

Paul tasks his “true son” in the ministry to teach “sound doctrine.” he doesn’t fumble around with eloquent words and metaphors.  He says that Titus needs to teach it and teach it straight, just as the Lord laid it out. 

What if every pastor did like Paul and shared that with a younger pastor? What if that was the gut-check before every Sunday sermon and every Wednesday night Bible study? Is this sound doctrine? Just imagine that.

What we need to do as ministers is truly pray for ourselves and our fellow bearers of the Word.  We have to be on guard and prepared for the attack.  We have to watch ourselves so that our feet do not slip upon the slippery slope of compromise and conservatism.

Keep the doctrine sound.  Watch what you teach.  Keep an eye on what others are teaching the Good Shepherd’s sheep.  Some folks just want to stir up the flock and create an uproar.  Cut them off and clear things up.  Keep it sound.  Do not let anything corrupt or contaminate the doctrine as it has been given by God as His Word.

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