“Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” – Hebrews 13:7-8
Why is the author of Hebrews encouraging us to remember our leaders, to consider their conduct and to imitate their faith?
They spoke truth from the Word of God
Spurgeon once said on preaching the Word of God that it is, “To know truth as it should be known, to love it as it should be loved, and then to proclaim it in the right spirit, and in its proper proportions.” Great gospel influencers like Spurgeon that have gone through history affecting subsequent generations with the ripples of their gospel stone have always loved and proclaimed the word, upheld doctrine and lovingly made this truth and doctrine applicable to the heart of the church whatever the cost. May their example be ours.
Charles ‘Charlie’ Spurgeon is my hero, a man who I have much to be thankful for. Why? He upheld truth passionately, even when his friends in the Baptist union left him in the ‘Down Grade’ controversy, when he battled depression and sickness, when the press slandered him, and wicked men’s actions lead to the death of seven people at one of his services! When I read his sermons, his books, hear the boom and passion of his voice coming off the pages, and see the effect his life has had on evangelicalism and the furthering of the gospel it is an inspiration and example to me. His love for the Master was infectious and his faith like granite.
On one side of the tomb in which he was buried is the verse of a hymn,
E’er since by faith I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.
Studying the legacy and faith of past standard bearers of the gospel like Spurgeon, should be a keen area of remembrance, consideration and imitation for us as we seek to make Christ’s redeeming love for sinners our theme until we die.
Conduct is important, but without faith it is just works based religion, not something the author is encouraging us in. Trying to imitate and copy conduct is a fake it until you make it spirituality that is a rank stench that needs to be cut out of our lives. What he is encouraging us in is to imitate their faith, the result of their admirable and inspiring conduct was down to their faith. Genuine faith has power and the author is encouraging us to get the same spark.
Mathew Henry says, “Remember them, follow their faith; labour after the grace of faith by which they lived and died so well.”
The immutability and eternity of Christ
The end of this verse lands correctly on Jesus, the focus and foundation of our faith, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” What made Spurgeon a great man of faith who left a lasting gospel legacy was that he trusted the unchanging, eternal Christ, in his time and generation. He hid behind the cross and faithfully gave people Jesus. To trust in Jesus the forever living and forever the same, the head of the church, is to be immovable, steadfast and resolved in our imitation of him.
Spurgeon wasn’t remembered for how great Spurgeon was, but for how great his God was.
May we His glorious bride seek to imitate the faith of these faithful leaders, and most of all look to Christ as our glorious example.