Title:  Concerning Leaders


Summary:  We will be strengthened, motivated, and instructed if we have regard for the godly leaders in our lives from the past and the present, remembering their lives and character and imitating their faith, and being persuaded by the current leaders in our lives.


Text:  Heb 13:7-17


Scripture Reading:  1 Thess 5:12-13



1.  Question:  When discouraged, confused, apathetic, what/who do you turn to?

            a.  Most know the right answer is Jesus, God, or the Bible

            b.  Most of us also know there are probably PEOPLE we turn to as well

                        - Pick up phone and call someone

                        - Go to someone talk personally

                        - May even ask, "What would so and so do?"

            c.  That is what this lesson is about this morning

2.  Text:  (Heb 13:7-17) Final exhortations before the benediction and closing

            a.  Remember this is dealing with people who are weak in their faith and

                 need to be strengthened

            b.  Three lessons:

                        - One about leadership

                        - Another about sticking with Jesus not varied teachings

                        - Another about true and acceptable sacrifice, service and worship

            c.  Each of these are a different lesson in itself

            d.  Will deal with leadership this morning

                        - Section begins and ends with leadership

                        - Leadership is indispensable for the Christian and for the church

3.  You need godly leadership in order to be strengthened and to mature

4.  How do we appropriate godly leadership?  Look at several ways -


I.  Remember you leaders (v.7a)

            A.  Take not of them and do not forget them

            B.  Who are these leaders?

                        1.  Notice the choice of words

                                    a.  Doesn't say

                                                - Remember your preachers

                                                - Remember your elders

                                                - Remember your deacons

                                    b.  Uses the word, hegeomai, noun form is hegemon

                                                - It is where we get the English word, hegemony from

                                                - In Greek, it was used of princes, governers, military

                                                  commanders, and religious leaders

                                                - Is a very general word that means simply, "leader"

                                    c.  In this case, it is obviously a spiritual leader

                                                - It is the leaders who spoke the word of God

                                    d.  This includes so many more kinds of spiritual leaders

                                                - Can include preachers, elders, deacons

                                                - Also include teachers, missionaries, mentors

                                                - Includes anyone that has helped you to grow

                        2.  But this verse is referring even to more than this

                                    a.  Text says - Consider the result of their conduct

                                                - Footnote - Consider the end of their life

                                                - In other words - Consider the totality of their life

                                    b.  Seems to suggest those who have already passed on

                                    c.  Includes those people in the faith chapter, chapter eleven

                                                - Includes Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Joseph,

                                                - Moses, Joshua, Rahab, Daniel, Jeremiah, etc.

                                    d.  Also includes others who died specifically for Christ

                                                - John the Baptist, Stephen, James

                                                - Many have died for Christ

                        3.  This includes those who have died through the ages since then

                                    a.  Early church created genre - Martyrdom stories

                                                - Preserved the stories of Christian martyrs

                                                - Purpose was to hold them up as models and

                                                  encourage those being persecuted

                                                - Includes Ignatius, Polycarp, Justin Martyr,

                                                  Perpetua and Felicity

                                                - Foxe's book of martyrs give brief overview of many

                                                  of these stories

                                    b.  Richard Wurmbrand, imprisoned in Romania for years

                                         due to his faith, started Voice of the Martyrs

                                                - Tells the stories of those persecuted for faith

                                                - Provides opportunity to pray for them

                                                - Also provides model and example for us

                                    c.  Also accounts of so many other people courageous

                                                -Reformers:John Wycliffe, William Tyndale, John Hus,

                                                   George Whitfeild, Jonathan Edwards

                                                  Barton Stone, The Campbells, David Lipscomb

                                                -Missionaries: William Carey, Hudson Taylor, David

                                                   Livingston, George Benson, Sarah Andrews

                                                -More recent martyrs: Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Rachel


                                    d.  There are likely people in the recent past here locally

                                                - Minister, elder, leader, a parent, teacher

                                                - We looked up to them, quote them, they impact us

                        4.  Can we call them heroes?

                                    a.  If by hero, you mean superhuman, perfect, then no

                                    b.  But if you mean a person who is not perfect, but is

                                         exemplary in their undying devotion to God, then yes

            C.  ILL:  Craig Nessan, in Beyond Maintenance to Mission writes: 

                        1.  "Over the generations, Christians have engaged in heated controversy over the place afforded to its 'heroes' ... Some argue, with good reason, that the only figure deserving of our undivided attention is the person of Jesus along.  Jesus Christ is the exclusive object of our devotion.  And in terms of our worship, clearly this position is correct.  Yet, while it is proper and true that Jesus be and remain the central Christian icon, is there not also room for amazement and inspiration from example of those who in every generation demonstrated what it means to live a Christian life?  There is a deep and profound longing for such models.  If they are not forthcoming from the church, then heroes will be sought elsewhere and emulated according to values that contradict the faith. -p.51

                        2.  That is why this passage says to remember those "heroes"

                                    a.  Everyone is going to look up to somebody

                                    b.  It needs to be someone that is godly

                        3.  Nessan goes on to say that the testimony of these heroes offers

                             a tremendous resource for spiritual education and training

                                    a.  Doctrinal studies and theological concepts are needed

                                    b.  But real life stories puts meat on the bones

                                    c.  The testimony of the heroes of the past motivate and

                                          inspire us, making a huge impression

                                    d.  The stories of their struggles and victories can strengthen

                                          us in the here and now

            D.  Text says to remember them, consider the outcome of their life

                        1.  So many people that have left behind a legacy

                        2.  Remember them, pass on their stories

                        3.  These are heroes - Not because of their perfection, but because

                              of their undying devotion to God


II.  Imitate your leaders (v.7b)

            A.  Not only remember their life, but emulate what is good

            B.  The leaders example helps to put flesh on the bones

                        1.  God himself has put flesh on the bones, so-to-speak

                                    a.  Jn 1:14 - The word became flesh, and dwelt among us

                                                - The word is the skeleton

                                                - Jesus became flesh and blood

                                                - Text says we beheld glory of God in him

                                                - Text says we saw grace and truth of God in him

                                    b.  Jn 13:15 - Jesus said, "I gave you an example that you

                                         should do as I did to you."

                                    c.  Disciples followed Jesus example

                                                - Washing feet, serving others, teaching, loving

                                                - Undivided loyalty to God, even to the death

                        2.  We see the same example in Paul (1 Cor 4:15-16)

                                    a.  He became a father figure to Corinthians

                                    b.  As a child imitates his father, they imitate him

                                    c.  Paul didn't just teach, he provided an example

                                    d.  Says it again in 1 Cor 11:1 - Imitate me as I imitate Christ

                        3.  See the same example in Timothy

                                    a.  In 2 Tim 1:5, Paul affirms the sincere faith of Timothy

                                    b.  He attributed it to his mother, Eunice, and grandmother,


                                    c.  Here we are talking about family, parental leadership

                        4.  Heb 13:7 - Says imitate the faith of our leaders

                                    a.  Remember and pass on their stories

                                    b.  Consider the outcome of their faith

                                    c.  Then ask, "What can I learn from their faith?"

            C.  ILL:  I was inspired few years ago by story of teen girl - Rachel Scott

                        1.  Book - Rachel's Tears, tells the story

                                    a.  Many remember the shooting at Columbine

                                                - She was one of the first shot

                                                - The shooters shot her twice

                                                - Saw she was still alive, held gun to her head

                                                - Asked, "Do you still believe in God?"  She said yes

                                    b.  That wasn't what defined her life - It was daily

                                                - She took the lead many times in her youth group

                                                - She showed love and compassion to all people

                                                - Sat with outcasts in lunch room, prom date with the

                                                   guy in wheelchair, communicated love and worth

                                                - She spoke to people about Christ

                                    c.  Many of her journal pages provided to help people

                                                - She was not perfect & had typical teen struggles

                                                - She was sincere in her faith & devotion to God

                                                - She showed love and compassion to people

                                                - Her journals have helped strengthen many

                        2.  Listen to some of what she wrote in her journals

                                    a.  Apr 15, 1998 - Why do I feel dry in your Spirit?  Why do I feel that the fire died within me, yet so many claim they see the light of you burning brightly?  Why do I have to feel moments of doubt, distrust, disbelief, stages of anger and stages of loneliness when it comes to you,

                                    b.  Apr 20, 1998 (year before shooting) - I lost all of my friends at school.  Now that I have begun to walk my talk, they make fun of me.  I don't even know what I have done.  I don't really have to say anything, and they turn me away.  I have no more personal friends at school.  But you know what ... it's all worth it to me.  I am not going to apologize for speaking the name of Jesus, I am not going to justify my faith to them, and I am not going to hide the light that God has put into me.  If I have to sacrifice everything ... I will. 

                                    c.  March 25, 1999 (month before shooting) - I am tired of desiring things I can't have.  I shouldn't be so determined to find someone to love me.  I receive more than enough love from my family, and more importantly, I receive love from God.  Lord, I wish to be innocent in your eyes again.  I ask you to forgive me and make of me something that I cannot hold shame in.  Help me to get past my fear of the outside world.  Give me motivation, patience, and determination to succeed in my projects and goals.  Give me the desire to spend more time with my family, and to treat them better. 

                                    d.  One journal entry that stands out:  "God, help me to reach

                                         the unreached."

                        3.  Text says:  Consider the outcome of their conduct

                                    a.  Her faith has now touched people all of the world

                                    b.  Her story passed on in the book - Rachel's Tears

                                    c.  School program: Rachel's Challenge, transform schools

            D.  Look to those who have demonstrated strong faith, dedicated to God

                        1.  Remember their stories, consider the result of their faith

                        2.  Imitate them, let them be an example to you.

                        3.  Includes the people of chapter 11

                                    a. Abraham who listened to call of God & left home

                                    b.  Joseph, faithful, positive in all kinds of struggle

                                    c.  Moses who led people out of bondage

                        4.  Also includes others

                                    a.  People like Rachel Scott, devoted to God

                                    b.  Remember their faith, imitate it.

                                    c.  But there is also instruction about current leaders too


III.  Be persuaded by your leaders (v.17)

            A.  This verse is obviously talking just about the current leaders in your life

            B.  Take a close look, some translation issues here

                        1.  Once again, uses general word, leaders

                                    a.  Not limited to elders

                                    b.  Talking about leaders in general

                                    c.  Includes parents, mentors, teachers, etc.

                        2.  Text uses peitho - "To convince, persuade"

                                    a.  It is passive here, can mean "obey, be persuaded, be


                                    b.  Same word in Acts 26:28 - In a short time you will

                                         persuade me to become a Christian

                                    c.  Much stronger idea than obey

                                                - You can obey a command without being convinced

                                                  or persuaded inwardly

                                                - Doesn't mean to be coerced into obedience

                                                - Talking about listening to them, give deference to

                                    d.  "Submit" means recognition of their wisdom, example

                        3.  Last part of verse, NIV renders better than all the others

                                    a.  Trans:  "Be persuaded by those leading you, and submit,

                                          for they are keeping watch on behalf of your souls as

                                          one who render an account, in order that with joy this

                                          they do and not groaning."

                                    b.  Listen to them in order to make their ministry a joy, not a


                        4.  What this is saying:

                                    a.  Look to the godly leaders in your life

                                    b.  Listen to their guidance

                                    c.  Be in harmony with your leaders

                                    d.  Not profitable if you make their work/ministry burden

            C.  ILL:  I can remember an instance of this

                        1.  In Vermont, someone who made leader's job burden always

                                    a.  Did not show honor, but were always challenging them

                                                -  Complain about them to all who would listen

                                                -  Always stirring people up, or trying to

                                                -  Some of them had problem with authority in general

                                    b.  Didn't matter who leaders were, treated them all the same

                                    c.  Got to the point we dreaded leadership meetings

                                    d.  The result - It wound up being harmful to everyone

                                                - Weakened the faith of people, no one did anything

                                                -  Text says it is not profitable to be this way

                                                -  Person had to eventually be disfellowshipped

                                    d.  Bible says reject factious man after 1st and 2nd warning

                        2.  On the other hand, I remember another leader

                                    a.  Make Paden - Air Force officer, strong, active, involved

                                    b.  Help organize visitation night

                                                - Go out in pairs, I always out with Mike

                                                - Given index card with name address & background

                                                - Include visitors, sick, those fallen away, etc.

                                                - Many long conversations together about deep things

                                    c.  Did a lot of things together

                                                - Sometimes he chaperone trips

                                                - Organized singings at his place or at church

                                                - I really looked up to him

                                                -  Our family and his family dinner together

                                    d.  Made a big impact on me

                                                - One of the ones turn my heart toward ministry

                                                - Helped me grow in the love of church music

                                                - I observe how he was with people & imitate him

                                                - It was profitable to "be persuaded" by him

            D.  Many of you mention people you looked up

                        1.  Maybe a dad, a mentor, a friend, a minister, elder

                        2.  Maybe thinking of leaders in the past no longer with us

                        3.  Sometimes you quote them, tell their stories



1.  Book of Hebrews reminded us we strengthened several ways

            a.  By the word, specifically teaching about Christ and who he is

            b.  By encouraging another to faithfulness

            c.  And now, by looking to example leaders

                        - Includes the ones who have gone on before us

                        - Includes the ones in our lives now

2.  Who leads and impacts you in your life?

            a.  Ultimate leader is Christ who leads you (inv)

            b.  Consider who impacts, changes, leads you

            c.  Make conscious decision to look to godly leaders