Jump Start # 2041
Hebrews 13:7 “Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.”
My preacher preached on this text last Sunday. Great lesson. It got me thinking about some conclusions this passage implies.
First, it is implied that those being imitated have passed on. There is a footnote in the New American Standard for the expression, “considering the result of their conduct.” The footnote states, “end of their life.” It’s hard to follow someone, or imitate them, unless they have completed their journey. If they are still on the journey of life, what if they make a moral mistake? What if they quit the journey? What if they get tangled up in falsehoods? We need to see the outcome before we follow them.
Second, it is assumed that they went to Heaven. Their faith is what you imitate. They led. They taught. They lived. Now, this doesn’t set well with some folks. We don’t know every detail of their lives. We don’t know what they thought. We don’t know what they said behind closed doors. Can anyone really know the eternal outcome of anyone’s life? This is where some are. They want to hope that they made it, but no one knows for sure.
The heroes in Hebrews 11 all gained approval. The text states that. Paul confirmed that there was a crown of righteousness awaiting him. He also said it was awaiting all those who loved Jesus’ appearing. There doesn’t seem to be a giant question mark about these folks.
Faith and the grace of God make it possible for a person to not just have hope, but assurance of God’s promises. The outcome of their faith, the end of the journey for them, was a home with God. We do not follow question marks. We do not walk in a fog. There are sure footprints that lead to Heaven.
Third, the lives of those remembered were devoted to helping others spiritually. They gave of themselves to help others. They showed others the way to walk. They taught others the word of God. They invested their time and lives so that after they were gone, there would remain faithful brethren in that place. They believed in a legacy. They believed in passing the torch on to others.
The implication of this text is not just a stroll down memory lane. But rather, look what they did for you, now, you need to do the same for those coming after you. Keep passing that torch on. One generation to the next, to the next.
So many of us stand upon the shoulders of others who have followed this very example. They showed us. They taught us. They made it possible for us to have a congregation to be a part of. They sacrificed. They gave up evenings to teach. They cleaned church buildings on Saturdays. They made sure the Lord’s Supper was ready for Sunday. They stocked classrooms with supplies. They poured hours and hours into keeping things going and making them better. We remember. We remember our parents and our grandparents just doing what to them seemed to be the right thing to do. They didn’t complain. They were happy to do what they could. They wanted things to be right and nice. They loved the Lord.
We probably wouldn’t be here had it not been for them. Their devotion and energy paved a smooth path for us to follow. But, now it’s our turn. And, for many of us, we have forgotten. We don’t remember. We are so into our own lives that we don’t have time for anyone else. This generation loves self. No time for others, unless there is a benefit for self. Those that walk with Jesus must rise above the current thought and the current direction of our times.
We need to be leading. We need to be pointing the way. We need to show others how to have a strong faith. We need to demonstrate powerful marriages. We need to illustrate sacrifice and the heart of a servant. We need to be living examples so when we leave this place, others will remember and imitate our faith.
That is a real concern. Do we want others to imitate us? Aside from showing up on Sunday for worship, is there anything to imitate? Lives consumed with worry and materialism. Hours spent doing things that have no eternal value. Little joy. Little effort. Little involvement. Little serving. Little sacrifice. That is a concern. What will others remember about us? What are we showing the next generation?
In the sermon on the mount, Jesus said, “If you greet only your brothers, what more are you dong than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?” What more are you doing that others? That verse ought to rattle us on the inside. What are we doing more than others? Does our faith drive us? Does our faith change us? Does our faith move us to doing more? Jesus gave it all. Have I?
We need to lead. First, in our homes. Lead our family to the Lord. Lead our children, just as shepherds lead the church. Every father has his own little flock. It’s his family. He needs to nurture them, care for them and lead them. Every person in the family is at a different place spiritually. They need individual care. Next, lead those around you to Jesus. Lead your co-workers into thinking spiritually. Lead your neighbors into thinking beyond themselves. Lead people to the Bible. Lead your brethren to follow the Lord. Think like Jesus would think.
Next, we need to teach others the word of God. Show them the Word of God. Use the Word of God. Cover your answers with the Word of God. To do this, you first, must know the Word of God. Know it, then use it.
Finally, walk by faith. If others are to imitate our faith, then they must be able to see our faith. Pray deep prayers. Talk spiritually. Bring the Lord into your conversations. Leave footprints that show you are a person of faith.
Who is going to do this if we don’t? The world won’t. The schools can’t. The government never will. It’s up to us. Lead. Teach. Show. Could it be that some congregations are dying these days because there is no one to imitate. There is no one to show. Instead of passing the baton on, it has been dropped. This not only hurts the present situation, but it cripples the future. Why should I lead, when no one else has? Why should I teach, when no one else has? Hard to answer those questions.
Remember. Consider. Imitate. Before those words, comes one other word: live. Live for Jesus. Do what you are supposed to do. Be busy in the kingdom. Give. Sacrifice. Help others. In so doing, you leave examples. You will be remembered for the good you did. You make it possible for others to have a tomorrow.