Exhortation means leading a person to make decisions on his own heart based on the Truth of God.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends, how in the world are you? Doing all right? Bless your heart. May the presence of God be real in your life, not only today but all the days as you serve Him and strive to walk with Him. Wonderful to belong to Jesus and to belong, as well, to each other. I think one of the nicest things God has done for me is to give me the sense of belonging to you. Some of you, hundreds, thousands of you I’ve never met, nor shall I meet until we get together in the glory land in a radio rally over there. [chuckle] But, oh, we belong to each other, don’t we? Oh, yes. I know that, I feel it and I’m glad.
Well, let’s look at the Word of God. We’re in 1 Timothy 4:13, he said, “‘Til I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation,” that’s what we were on the last time we got together. Exhortation. “Paraklesis” is the Greek word that comes from the verb, “parakaleo” which means “to call alongside to help.” If you’re going to exhort anybody, you have to be with them alongside to help, not to blame.
So, the last time we got together, we ticked off a couple of things that will help in applying this scripture. One was accept people as they are, as valuable human beings in the sight of God. Don’t look down on them, love them instead. Pour out love, not blame. The object of any encounter with other humans is not to fix the blame but to fix the mistake, that’s a good management principle, isn’t it? Ladies and gentlemen in business, you learned that early on, or should learn it. Instead of coming to an employee and say, “Why did you do that?” You say, “Now, the next time, we wanna do it this way,” and you look ahead and not back and you fix the mistake, not fixing the blame. So, you come to a human life with love, not criticism, and then you find out where the need is and seek to meet it. I told you that the verb “parakaleo” is to call alongside to help, get alongside to help.
Many years ago, Paul Hartford and others of us, Bob Savage was the other, I remember now. The three of us were holding some meetings on the island of Jamaica and we had one evening at Montego Bay and so we had maybe an hour or so in between meetings and we said, “Let’s go swimming.” So we went out. And those beautiful, beautiful waters. Those of you who’ve been in the Caribbean and seen the clarity of the water and the beauty of the undersea life, you know what we’re talking about.
So I was swimming around. I had a snorkel, I was swimming around and paddling around and enjoying it, and then I became conscious of the fact that two things were happening. One, that I was pretty far from shore and two, that my snorkel mask was filling up with water and the third thing I was conscious of was I was getting tired. Well, I moved the mask so that I could get the water out but I was still tired. And I remember calling over to Bob Savage and saying, “Bob, come on over and give me a lift. I’m tired and I wanna get on back to where I can get my feet on the ground.” He says, “Brother, you’ve gotta be kidding. I was just floating to try to rest myself.” I said, “Come on, I mean it, I’m tired and I don’t think I’m gonna make it unless you help me.” So he paddled on over fast and grabbed ahold of me and he gave me a mighty shove toward shore to where I could put my feet down and walk on out of the water.
He came alongside to help. Do you ever do that? Have you ever done that with people? You don’t make a federal case of it and say, “Now, my brother, I’m here to bless you.” Oh, no! They’ll give you up for Lent if you do that. [chuckle] No, no, no, no, don’t make a big thing of it. Just be there, just show up and take in the situation and see what needs to be done and do it. Call alongside to help. If you’re going to change anybody’s mind, you have to help him change his circumstances and his feelings about them. Do you get that? If you’re going to help change anybody’s mind about God, and Jesus, and salvation, and Heaven, you have to help that individual change his feelings about himself and about the things around him and about his situation.
Yes, I know that my attitude toward my surroundings changes when I become a new creature in Christ. I understand that. Any man be in Christ, he’s a new creation- old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new. I know that. A new attitude is one of the byproducts of being saved. Yes, indeed, hallelujah. But we’re talking now about getting the attention of a person so that he’ll start thinking God-ward with you. If you wanna do that, you better come alongside to help. Help, that is, not lecture. You follow that? Now, if you take that in, put it to work today, will you?
There’s an old song, the last time I heard it sung was in the front seat of a hearse. I was riding with a man who’s now passed to his reward, a funeral director in Wheaton, Illinois. They used to call me sometimes to conduct a funeral if there was no other minister handy, and I had officiated at this service for some person who had passed on. A little handful of grieving relatives was all, not many people at the service. And now, we were riding on out to the cemetery, the Wheaton, Illinois cemetery where my own father lies buried. And I was sort of harking back to some of the things in my boyhood, for some reason or another, and I said, “You know, there’s a song that they used to sing that nobody sings anymore because I don’t think we believe it.” “Oh,” said Mr. Hannerhoff, “What is that?” “Why,” I said, “It’s helped somebody today, somebody along life’s way.” He brightened up, he said, “Listen, I know that song. I’ve often sung it. I’ll sing it for you now.”
And so he sang the entire song through all the verses and the choruses, “Help somebody today, somebody along life’s way. Let sorrow be ended, the friendless befriended. Oh, help somebody today.” We used to sing that almost every Sunday in a little evangelical church, Sunday school in Old Fort, Ohio where I attended as a little boy. A motherless boy living on a farm with aunt and uncle in Ohio, and they sang Help Somebody Today, but it’s gone out of style, hasn’t it?
And today we call the social worker, or we call the relief, or we call the police, or we call the Red Cross. And there are theme songs seems to be instead of help somebody today, we seem to be saying, “Let somebody else help somebody today and pay them if you can.” Oh, this matter of changing people’s attitudes oftentimes comes from the outpouring of love, and sympathy, and comfort, and consolation, and solace that pours forth from a Spirit-filled heart. “The love of Christ constraineth us,” says Paul. Do you follow that?
Now, this word also is translated “entreaty.” This word that you have, “exhortation” here in 1 Timothy 4:13, is translated in another place “entreaty,” to plead with people. There is a point at which you become so concerned about another person’s soul that you actually plead with him or her to receive Jesus Christ as Savior. You need to be led by the Holy Spirit of God in this and not do it in the energy of your own human flesh. But there’s a point when God burdens you so greatly that you do. I’ve had this happen to me different times in my life, I know that it’s true. The Spirit of God impels you because you’re so burdened for that soul to say, “Oh, please trust Christ now. Please do it now.” Entreaty.
That’s part of it. Exhortation is to give comfort. Exhortation is to provide consolation, which is something that lifts a burden and meets the need. Exhortation means entreaty. Exhortation means leading a person to make decisions on his own based on the truth of God.
It’s quite a mouthful, isn’t it? But the joy of it is that you and I can experience that very concept in our lives day after day. Start with accepting people lovingly as they are. Help to heal the hurt, and lift the burden, and lead them after that to make decisions God-ward based on His Truth. You will have been a successful exhorter, persuasion.
Now, he says, doctrine, “Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.” Doctrine, this word is “didascalias.” It comes from the same Greek verb from which we get our idea of didactic, teaching. And as a matter of fact, it’s translated once, “teaching” and it’s translated once, “learning.” But 19 different times, it’s translated “doctrine,” Didascalia, doctrine.
Now, teaching, you give attendance to teaching people. You give attendance to seeing to it that they learn. There is one thing to teach a lesson, it’s another thing to make sure your students learn. Grammar school, and middle school, and high school, and college professors, you know about that, don’t you? Students can sit there and look right at you and their minds can be blank, and you despair of ever getting anything through that thick Berlin wall that they have erected. Someone has said wistfully, “College students pay for an education and then defy you to give it to them.” [chuckle] Oh, yeah.
Well, that’s the nature of human nature, but that’s the challenge as well, of a person who is going to impart any of God’s wonderful Truths to other people, to teach. Also, to see that people learn and then, as I said, 19 different times this word is translated “doctrine,” so that the emphasis is not on the method, but on the content. The content, doctrine.
What is it you really believe? I used to say to my students at the college, “Make a list of the things for which you would be willing to be shot dead tomorrow morning at 5:00. That’ll be a very short list and it’ll get shorter, no doubt, as you think about it. But when you’ve narrowed it down to the things for which you’re willing to die, then you have, at the same time, something for which to live.” Doctrine is that for which you are willing to live and die. Doctrine is the essential truth of God as you have taken it in and know it and live by it. We’ll talk about that the next time we get together.
Dear Father today, make us good teachers of Thy wonderful Truth, in Jesus’ name I pray this, Amen.
‘Til I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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