“Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the [W]ord of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.” (Hebrews 13:7)
The quoted text above can be worded this way, “Look to those that have spiritual maturity over you, who have taught the Word of God, follow their example, and then consider how they ended their race at death.”
In Scripture and in life we have seen many men and women fall from grace or in other words, many spiritual persons have fallen from their exalted positions as a servant of God. We could list Adam, Eve, Noah, Job’s Wife, Abraham, Sarah, Moses, Aaron, Miriam, Lot, Lot’s Wife, Saul, David, Bathsheba, Solomon, Peter and many Christ-ian leaders of our time have fallen to scandal. However, we are given insight into the hearts…the contrite hearts of many of the individuals in Scripture and we see that they rise up by God’s grace to their exalted and honoured position as God’s servants.
As a Pastor, Teacher, Preacher, (N.T.) Prophet, Evangelist, Minister, etc. I am a reader of many men and many books. The Bible being the most read and used, of course. The Bible should be and must be the most used of all our tools. It is the lazy minister that uses other men’s works, outlines, sermons etc. It is a personal conviction with me that we never preach the same message twice. We use very few notes and do not keep written sermons. This is not bragging this is showing that the Scriptures are inexhaustive. While I may preach/teach Biblical principles over and over but I do not rely upon past sermons or notes. The Manna must be fresh. For Pastors and preachers to say, “Yeah but, I’m so busy with the ministry I need to lean upon other men’s work.” Our job is to read, study, and pray and yes minister to others but the Word is our priority. The Word that is well and rightly preached will minister to the needs of the people.
As a minister of the Word I do look to those who have gone before me. It is useful and helpful to know what other wo/men of God have done, have learned and said. We should read of their exploits, their actions, their motives and their intentions. We should also learn and study their enemies and their actions, motives, and intentions.
It has been said, “Those that ignore and fail to learn from history are bound to repeat it.” This is one reason I believe the President should have a secretary of history as part of his cabinet. Reading the men from the past can help us in the present. It is inevitable that there will be contraversy in the church and the pastor will no doubt have to deal with it and someone will end up being unhappy. One could gain so much help from the books written by men of the past that have experienced this already. Much can be learned from their journals, auto biographies, books of instruction as well as by books written about them. It is arrogance itself to believe it is a waste of time to look to others for assistance. Of course the Scriptures hold answers to our dilemmas. I have learned however that other men may read a passage and glean one thing as I might glean another. It is wise to look to see what others have gleaned from the Word because their gleaning might be different from yours.
In child rearing the Christ-ian parent is well aware of the passage that directs us to “Train up a child in the way they should go…” Most read that and think, “I should train my child in the ways of God.” This is true. I heard a man once say, “Every Child has a natural leaning in one direction or another. The Parent should train their child in that direction or that way which their child leans.” In other words, If your child is not athletic do not pressure him or her into sports. If they are not gifted intellectually or hate the sight of blood do not direct them to the medical field. If they love police shows and are excited to see police cars, maybe they will lean toward a career in justice…if so, train them in that direction.
I heard a pastor speak on the passage, “….Rightly dividing the Word of truth.” Most read that and think, “I must rightly divide this truth into it’s varying sections.” This pastor, however, believes that to rightly divide the truth, one should know his flock and know how to divide up the truth for their individual needs. I never though of it that way, but what sage counsel. Neither of the men of God from the above (2) two paragraphs are dead, by the way but they make my point, other men and their thoughts should be respected.
As there is nothing new under the sun, there is no problem that you have that is not common to others. Being a saint, a pastor, and a sinner I know that there are things that are difficult to share with others or to express to others or to even seek help or counsel from others. This is where “dead” men or the sleeping saints can help. There are many books published that contain written correspondenses between men of God and men seeking their help on personal matters. I have looked to the sleeping saints on many a matter. If I wasn’t certain on how to counsel someone or wanted to double check my counsel these saints have been of great value.
Did not the Apostles and Christ, Himself look to the Old Testament to make their points? Did not Paul read poets in order to make his point?
Are we better than they?