The Expository Files


Exhortation – What We Do With It!


One of the tasks of an evangelist is to exhort (2 Tim. 4:2). One of the tasks of listeners is to follow through from that exhortation to actual positive change.  

The Doctor may hand you a specific written diet for your condition, and urge you to follow the diet as written. He gives you the information, accompanied by exhortation. But the follow through is your job. The doctor cannot come home with you, stay with you, watch you and make sure you do as he exhorted. 

The Police Officer can cite the law and write you a traffic ticket and tell you how to make it right. But he cannot go home with you and make sure you keep the court date and pay the fine. Here is another case where information is combined with exhortation. But individual responsibility must occur in the mind and intention of the one exhorted. 

In biblical preaching, information is given from Scripture, and it must be accompanied by exhortation. 

You will hear preachers say: This is what we ought to do. "God said it … we are obligated to believe it and do it, and we need to take it seriously … this is important." All of this kind of language is EXHORTATION. 

What happens after the exhortation depends entirely on the listener. “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves,” (Jas. 1:22).

By Warren E. Berkley
The Front Page
From Expository Files 20.10; October 2013