Paul offered a word of exhortation at the synagogue at Antioch
after the readings of the law and the prophets. As I imagine what
the setting might have been like, it seems to me that Paul was probably
the guest preacher who gave a short sermon. He was asked to present
it in the form of an exhortation, a style of speaking that must
have been a tradition for the church at Antioch. An exhortation
is an urgent appeal in language that is intended to incite or encourage.
It can also give warning or advice. I tend to like sermons of this
type that strongly urge me to listen to some important advice. But
not all pastors or priests use this sermon style. Some, however,
like Paul, are gifted at exhortation. In fact, many of the rest
of us also have the spiritual gift of exhortation. If we have worked
with children or youth, we have probably used it, but we don’t
often use it with our peers. But we should. The gift of exhortation
allows God to speak through us to call others to important action.
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