Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | October 30, 2019

“Brethren, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say it.”

Today’s devotion comes from Acts 13:13-15.

“Now Paul and his companions put out to sea from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia;  but John left them and returned to Jerusalem.  But going on from Perga, they arrived at Pisidian Antioch, and on the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down.  After the reading of the Law and the Prophets the synagogue officials sent to them, saying, “Brethren, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say it.”  Acts 13:13-15.

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We have different spiritual gifts.  Exhortation is one of the spiritual gifts.  

“Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly:  if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith;  if service, in his serving;  or he who teaches, in his teaching;  or he who exhorts, in his exhortation;  he who gives, with liberality;  he who leads, with diligence;  he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.”  Romans 12:6-8.

This foregoing Scripture is an encouragement not an excuse.  For those who have the spiritual gift of exhortation, they should be encouraged and exercise it accordingly to this gift of grace given to them.  For those who do not have the spiritual gift of exhortation, they should not use their lack of that spiritual gift as an excuse to never exhort, but rather, they should understand that they will still be prompted by the Holy Spirit to exhort on occasions, even if it appears to be to a lesser extent and appears less successful, than the exhortations of others who do have that gift.  As the following Scripture states, we seek to please God, not man.

Exhortation should come from pure motive to serve God.  Exhortation should not be deceitful manipulation to get others to do what we want to serve our self.   

“For our exhortation does not come from error or impurity or by way of deceit;  but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts.”  1 Thessalonians 2:3-4.

We see an example of an exhortation by John the Baptist in the following Scripture.  

“John answered and said to them all, “As for me, I baptize you with water;  but One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals;  He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.  His winnowing fork is in His hand to thoroughly clear His threshing floor, and to gather the wheat into His barn;  but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

So with many other exhortations he preached the gospel to the people.”  Luke 3:16-18.

In John the Baptist’s exhortation, notice the following three elements.  First, he describes Jesus.  Second, he describes the work of Jesus.  Third, he motivates his audience to action by his use of the sharp contrast between heaven and hell.

We exhort through Scripture, and the goal of exhortation is the salvation of our self and others.

“Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching.  Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery.  Take pains with these things;  be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all.  Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching;  persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.”  1 Timothy 4:13-16.


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