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Beseech & Exhort

 

By Bart Nelson

 

 

 

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Beseech & Exhort

 

Pastor Bud (my pastor) quoted Rom. 15.30 in a sermon recently and got me thinking about the use of the word beseech (as well as exhort) in the New Testament (picture the light bulb above my head). Both words are full of pathos and not something one would use often.  As we’ll see as we look through the references, Paul, Peter, John and Jude all use them to drive home some key points.  I think these are worth pondering…

 

Then I thought about Jesus’ use of verily, verily. This is another key to emphasis.  An interesting side note was that John was the only one to record this phrase. Lastly, the phrase “him who has ears to hear, let him hear” has stuck out as well.

 

It seems to me that, as we’ve often heard, we should major on the majors.  Since Jesus and the apostles emphasized these topics, we would do well to do the same.

 

A couple of definitions for you: Beseech = ask, pray, desire, entreat, to question, to request, beg.

 

Exhort = beseech, comfort, desire, pray, entreat, to call to, summon, to address, speak to, instruction, etc., to admonish, to beg, to strive to appease by entreaty, to console, to encourage and strengthen by consolation, strengthen, to instruct, teach.

 

Verily = amen, firm, metaphor for faithful, surely, truly, of a truth, so it is, so be it, may it be fulfilled. It was a, custom, which passed over from the synagogues to the Christian
assemblies, that when he who had read or discoursed, had offered up solemn prayer to God, the others responded Amen, and thus made the substance of what was uttered their own. The word "amen" is a most remarkable word. It was transliterated directly from the Hebrew into the Greek of the New Testament, then into Latin and into English and many other languages, so that it is practically a universal word. It has been called the best known word in human speech. The word is directly related -- in fact, almost identical -- to the Hebrew word for "believe" (amam), or faithful. Thus, it came to mean "sure" or "truly", an expression of absolute trust and confidence.

 

Jesus is emphasizing our position in the Kingdom and how to access the things of the Kingdom. Matt. 11:11 "Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 "From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force. 13 "For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John. 14 "And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come. 15 "He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

Here, Jesus is accentuating that we will shine as the sun. Matt. 13:37 And He said, "The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, 38 and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels. 40 "So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. 41 "The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, 42 and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 "Then THE RIGHTEOUS WILL SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.

In this parable Jesus underlines the importance of preparing our hearts to best be able to receive the Word of God. Mark 4:3 "Listen to this! Behold, the sower went out to sow; 4 as he was sowing, some seed fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 "Other seed fell on the rocky ground where it did not have much soil; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of soil. 6 "And after the sun had risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. 7 "Other seed fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. 8 "Other seeds fell into the good soil, and as they grew up and increased, they yielded a crop and produced thirty, sixty, and a hundred-fold." 9 And He was saying, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

Jesus points out here the need to watch what we say, rather than outward religious acts. Mark 7:14 After He called the crowd to Him again, He began saying to them, "Listen to Me, all of you, and understand: 15 there is nothing outside the man which can defile him if it goes into him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man. 16 ["If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear."]

Jesus declares emphatically our need to put Him above all else in our life, including relationships, possessions and even ourselves (the real bottom line). Luke 14:26 "If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. 27 "Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 "For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? 29 "Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, 30 saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.' 31 "Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 "Or else , while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 "So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions. 34 "Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned? 35 "It is useless either for the soil or for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

Jesus & Paul emphasize the need to be born again in Jn. 3.3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 5. Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 2 Cor. 5.20. Now, then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray in Christ's stead, be reconciled to God.

 

Here, Jesus showed His dependence on guidance from God and Paul offered some guidance of his own. Jn. 5.19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father do: for whatsoever things he does, these also does the Son likewise. 1 Cor. 4.16 Wherefore, I beseech you, be followers of me.

 

Jesus and Jude stress how believing is the key to have God’s life both now and forever in Jn. 5.24. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that hears my word, and believes on him that sent me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. 25. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. 6.32. Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 47. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believes on me hath everlasting life. 53. Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 8.51. Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my sayings, he shall never see death. Jude 3. Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that you should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

 

Who are you going to serve? Jn. 8.24. Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whoever commits sin is the servant of sin.

 

The way to grow and be fruitful is to thoroughly die (i.e. decay). Jn. 12.24. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone: but if it die, it brings forth much fruit.

Our position in the Kingdom is a servant. Jn. 13.16. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.

 

Jesus emphasizes that we will do greater works. Jn. 14.12. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believes on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

Paul highlights presenting our bodies to God and transforming our minds. Rom. 12.1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2. And do not be conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

 

Jesus & Paul accentuate prayer in these verses. Jn. 16.23. And in that day you shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever you shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Rom. 15.30 Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in your prayers to God for me; 1 Tim. 2.1. I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men;

 

Unity and love are the emphasis in these verses: Rom. 16.7 Now, I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which you have learned; and avoid them. 1 Cor. 1.10. Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. Eph. 4.1. I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation wherewith you are called, 2. With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3. Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 2 Jn. 5. And now I beseech you, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto you, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.

 

Here, Jesus & Paul draw attention to submitting to and honoring those who lead us. Jn. 13.20.  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receives whomsoever I send receives me; and he that receives me receives him that sent me. 1 Cor. 16.15 I beseech you, brethren, (you know the house of Stephanas, that it is the first fruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,) 16 That you submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helps with us, and labors. 1 Thes. 5.12. And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; 13. And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves.

 

These verses point to how we are to walk. 2 Cor. 6.1. We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that you receive not the grace of God in vain. 1 Thes. 4.1. Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as you have received of us how you ought to walk and to please God, so you would abound more and more. 1 Thes. 5.14. Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. Titus 2.6 Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. 1 Pet. 2.11. Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 2 Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.