Three Vital Duties
9 February 2020 AM – Hebrews 13:17 – Heb19 – Scott Childs
Introduction: A lifeguard had vital duties to perform to save a drowning person’s life. Their life depends on his performance. As Christians, God gives us some vital duties to perform in order to please Him.
Transition: The verse before us this morning identifies three vital duties that we must perform.
The first vital duty that we must perform is …
1. Your pastor must watch for your souls
a. God ordained pastors to be spiritual leaders
1) The word “rule” in our verse, refers primarily to one who leads. Here it speaks of the spiritual leadership of your pastor.
2) A pastor is a shepherd and his flock is his congregation. To pastoral shepherds the Apostle Peter wrote, (1 Peter 5:2-3) “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.”
3) Leading others spiritually is a fearful task. As leader, I must feed my flock spiritually. I would be shirking my duties if I opened a “canned” sermon and fed it to you. Preparing nourishing food takes time and effort.
4) ILLUS: Growing up on a farm, I soon learned that preparing food for the animals was a big job. We tilled the ground and fertilised it. We planted. We cultivated. We harvested. We stored the food. We then daily delivered the stored food to the animals in a ration that was healthy for them.
5) Preparing spiritual food for a congregation requires many similar duties. While feeding the flock is a large part of the shepherd’s job, he must also direct, guide and protect his flock. He must challenge them to apply the spiritual food he delivers and to do what is right.
b. God ordained that pastors watch for your souls
1) The word “watch” covers a lot of territory.
a) It means to keep awake, watch. In other words, he must always be watching for wolves or thieves that may attack his flock. The Apostle Paul warned the Ephesian pastors. (Acts 20:29) “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.”
b) The word “watch” also means to be circumspect, attentive, ready. The pastor must be careful where he leads his people. He must warn them of dangers. He must seek to keep them from stumbling. He must be ready to help them spiritually.
c) How many of you received this material (SDA booklet) in your post box? Beware! It is attractive but produced by a cult.
2) Watching for your souls is no small task. It is often a task that is confronting and unpleasant. However, God ordained this job for the pastor.
The second vital duty that we must perform is …
2. You must obey and submit yourselves
a. Let’s examine the word “obey”
1) The word translated “obey” is not the usual word for obey. Of the 55 times it is found in the Bible, only 7 times is it translated “obey”. This word primarily means to persuade to believe.
2) God is not saying that you must obey your pastor as a child must obey his parents. God is saying that it is your duty to believe what I teach you from the Bible.
3) This does not mean that you can turn your brain off and just believe anything you hear your preacher say. No pastor is perfect.
4) However, if your pastor is faithfully preaching the Bible in a doctrinally sound manner and he says something that you think might be wrong, check it out. Go talk to him, if you think he might have erred. Otherwise, be persuaded and believe what he preached.
b. Let’s now examine the word “submit”
1) Once again, Paul used a word here that we only find once in the Bible. This word translated “submit” simply means to resist no longer, but to give way, yield.
2) Those who had been resisting the preaching of the pastor, refusing to be persuaded to believe, are now commanded to yield their will.
3) We remember that the original readers of this book were being carried about with various and foreign doctrines (v.9). They were struggling to believe that Christ was the Messiah and that His sacrifice on the cross was the final sacrifice for sin. They struggled to believe the preacher when he said that Jesus paid it all!
4) Your struggle may not be about salvation. It may be about separation, standards, doctrine, modest dress, godly living, or some other issue. If you are struggling to believe some of what I preach, do you homework. Do not seek men’s opinions. You can always find someone who will agree with you. Instead, examine what the Bible says. If your pastor is teaching Bible truth, then believe and yield.
The third vital duty that we must perform is …
3. Know that I will give account for your response
a. I will give account for what I preach
1) While this is implied in the text, it is not the primary application.
2) Without question, I will give account to God for the things I preach to you. For that reason, I pray for wisdom, study intently, prepare carefully, and try to deliver challenging Bible-centred sermons. I strive to preach biblically but also practically. I want you to grow spiritually.
3) I want to be true to God’s word and I long to challenge you to do the same.
b. I will give account for how you respond to my preaching
1) Our verse literally states, “a word they must give back.” I must give a word or an answer to God regarding how you respond to the Word that I preach.
2) Here are three things you can do that may help. When I know something has been a help to you, I know sermon menu is practical. Knowing how you respond is often difficult. If something said is a blessing to you, it is okay to say “Amen” (meaning, “I agree”). If a particular sermon was a help to you, let me know. Most importantly, let what was said change your life. If sometime you would like me to preach on a passage or a topic, let me know and I will pray about it.
3) Obviously, I cannot see your heart so I cannot know exactly how you respond do any given sermon, but your expression, actions, attendance, and attitude says a lot about your reaction to my preaching.
a) Some disliked what they heard and never came back (particularly visitors).
b) Over the years, a few people have argued with me about something I said that they did not like.
c) Some have calmly talked with me about their disagreements and said they would be moving on. I appreciated their gentle spirit.
d) Many of you attend faithfully and appear to be growing spiritually. My heart beats with the Apostle John’s when he said in 3 John 1:4, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”
4) The apostle tells us of the two ways that accounting will affect each person.
a) The accounting should be a joyful time. It will be a joy to stand before the Lord and report the blessing it was to have this person or that person in our church.
b) The accounting may be an unprofitable time, a time of loss of reward.
5) I will one day give an account to God for each person who has attended our church. Let’s strive to make that a joyful day! Amen!
Conclusion: We have vital duties. I must watch for your souls. You must persuade yourself to believe and yield to God’s Word. You must know that I must give account to God one day for myself and for your response.
Song: His Way with Thee – 367