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Question and Answer

Charge to a Congregation

Question:

I am an elder at an OPC and we will be installing our new pastor soon. I am going to give the charge to the congregation and was interested in material or Biblical references. Any information would be most appreciated.

Answer:

In the past I have used Hebrews 13 to give congregational charges.

    7Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. 8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
    9Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by ceremonial foods, which are of no value to those who eat them. 10We have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle have no right to eat.
    11The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. 12And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. 13Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. 14For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.
    15Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise-the fruit of lips that confess his name. 16And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. 17Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.
    18Pray for us. We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way. 19I particularly urge you to pray so that I may be restored to you soon.
    20May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (Heb. 13:7-21, NIV)

My notes on the text are attached below. I hope you find them helpful. Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance (especially since my notes are so sketchy!).

CHARGE TO THE CONGREGATION

I. Read Hebrews 13:17-18

A. A call to submit to elders and pray for them

B. A clear command, which all will no doubt heed

C. But look at context

II. Read Hebrews 13:7-21

A. Task of elders is to shepherd you after Jesus Christ (13:7-17)

1. Easy to fall prey to strange doctrines, teachings which have appearance of wisdom

2. But Jesus does not change

a) His sacrifice is complete & therefore permanent (13:10)

b) Always follow him (13:13-14), not new and exciting teachings

3. Elders watch out for your souls by bringing you back to Christ by their words & example (13:7, 15-17)

B. Task of sheep is to pray for your elders that they will imitate Jesus Christ (13:18-21)

1. We all want to have a good conscience before God, assured we have obeyed him rightly/thoroughly

2. Pray your elders might have this good conscience because, by power of Spirit, they have faithfully imitated the Great Shepherd (hence benediction)

C. Rejoice to know faithfulness to tasks of elders and sheep comes not from own strength, but by perfect and complete work and presence of Christ in you all

III. Praise God he has made you all well-pleasing in his sight through Christ Jesus

I rejoice with you in this new stage in your life as a congregation and pray you all may be richly blessed in it by our Lord.


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