Hebrews Homiletics

13 Hebrews Homiletics Chapter 13

AIM: Live each day as a follower of Jesus Christ

I. Exhortation and guidance to live as a Christ follower

1. Keep on loving as brothers and sisters
2. Remember to show hospitality to strangers, some are angels
3. Remember prisoners & mistreated as if yourself
4. Faithful and true in marriage – God will judge
5. Trust in God, be content, don’t covet
6. Do not fear; Lord is Helper – “what can mortals do?”
7. Remember leaders and see them as models
8. Jesus Christ: same yesterday, today, forever (always)
9-10. Do not pursue strange teaching: Grace over Food
11-12. Sacrifice outside of camp – blood @ altar, old and new
13. Go to Jesus outside the “religious”
14. Not a promise of a city, promise of eternity
15-16. Seek to praise and do good and share “For God”
17. Follow leaders – they will give an account
18-19. Pray for each other

Truths:

  1. Relationships matter to God: love, hospitality, caring, honoring.
  2. If trust is in God, then contentment is the outcome
  3. If trust is not in God, then never content (always coveting)
  4. Jesus is eternal and eternally the same
  5. Don’t get sidetracked – Hold grace over acts/food/works/anything else
  6. Don’t wait for the church/synagogue/religious – just go to Jesus!
  7. When doing praise/good deeds/sharing: do it FOR GOD
  8. Follow leaders / they will have to give an account to God
  9. Pray for each other

Applications:

  1. I will write these exhortations down and review them daily.  I will pick one each day and pray that God give me an opportunity to “live it out” that day in a meaningful way.
  2. When I see a stranger, someone asking for help along the side of the road, am I able to picture them as being an angel?
  3. Do I recognize Jesus as eternal, unchanging, the constant when everything else seems to change?
  4. Am I pursuing strange teachings or do I hold fast to the grace of God?
  5. What am I waiting for to run to Jesus?  Am I waiting on someone else to give their permission or to lead the way?  What is holding me back?
  6. Do I follow my God appointed leaders?  In the roles where I am a leader, do I lead as one being held accountable to God?
  7.  Who am I supposed to be praying for today?  Did I do it yet?

 

II. Blessings, heartfelt fellowship and greetings for each other all stem from and lead back to the grace of God

20-21. May God equip and work through you
22. Bear with this word
23. I hope to come with my brothers to you
24. Greet all the Lord’s people & Leaders, We greet you
25. Grace with all

Truths:

  1. Equipping is from God and is a blessing through which He works through me
  2. Bear with the word
  3. Carry hope in fellowship
  4. Greet each other
  5. Seek and accept God’s grace

Applications:

  1. How am I receiving my equipping from God?  Am I trusting in and waiting on the Lord, or trying to do it with my own strength?  Do I try to “do the work” or ask God to “work through me”?
  2. How am I bearing in the word?
  3. How am I carrying hope to others?  Who do I long to partner with to carry forth God’s work?  (throughout the bible, followers were partnered together)
  4. Did I seek and accept God’s grace yet today?

 

Summary: Live each day as a follower of Jesus Christ by accepting God’s grace and His equipping.

Additional comments:

Sometimes these bible studies have so many points in them that cross things happening in my life that I feel like God is stitching them together right before my eyes.  I’ll try to give a glimpse from Hebrews 13 into just a few.

1. verse 2.  We stopped for dinner after a road trip the other night at a burger place in a college town on our way back home.  Sitting on the bench outside of the restaurant was a disheveled young man on a bench.  He was dirty, ill dressed and holding a sign asking for money.  I looked at him and the thoughts that crossed my mind were all negative.  Why is this healthy young man not working?  With so many businesses and so many people in this city, how is there not something productive to do?  What self-focused addictions is he chasing instead of being a good citizen?  What I did not see was the fact that he was a stranger.  What I did not see was an opportunity to demonstrate God’s love and hospitality.  What I did not see was any glimmer that the “young man” my eyes saw may have been an “angel”.  As I read Hebrews 13:2 these thoughts weighed heavily on my heart.  How would my heart and actions been more like Christs if my eyes simply saw things differently?

2. I just finished reading an amazing book, Captive in Iran. This is a story of 2 Iranian Christian women who were held in the worst prisons in Iran in horrific conditions for 250 days simply for being followers of Jesus Christ.  If anything thinks there is no longer any christian persecution, they need to read this book.  The captors and interrogators of these young women would tell them, “your religion says you must submit to the authority of your leaders.”  As I read Hebrews 13:17 I marveled at the fact that to this day Satan and those who serve his ways misquote scripture.  How convenient that they left out the second half of that sentence: “because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account.”

3. Hebrews 13:13 never made sense to me until this week.  “Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore.”  What was “the camp”, wasn’t it the church?  Why was Jesus then outside of the camp?  Why did I have to go to him outside instead of him coming inside?  His disgrace was turned to triumph, why is he still bearing it?  But, this week I realized I had always looked at that verse out of context.  It isn’t Jesus that is in the wrong place, it is the camp that is in the wrong place.  It isn’t Jesus who is holding onto disgrace, it is the camp who continues to view him as an outsider.  This book, Hebrews, was written to the Hebrews.  At the time of its writing, their camp was completely in the wrong place.  But anytime the camp is not in the same place that Jesus is, it is in the wrong place.  When the camp/the church puts up stakes based around anything other than the grace of God, the Word, Jesus, it is in the wrong place.  When the camp/the church sets up camp to yield to progressive social norms, instead of the facts of the gospel, it is in the wrong place.  The question is, am I in the camp or am I running to Jesus?  Am I willing to run to Jesus even if there isn’t a camp there?

4. Grace is enough.  I’ve sung the words at church.  I’ve sought the gift, especially when I’ve been confronted by my sin and inadequacy.  But do I live each day with those 3 words being a reality.  Do I chase “strange teachings”?  Do I seek the promise of an enduring city?  Am I waiting for God’s equipping and asking Him to work or am I trying to “show off” to God for how much I can do myself?  If so, where is the grace in that?

 

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29 BSF Matthew Week 29

29.4 BSF Matthew Week 29, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

What is your line in the sand?

Let’s start by looking at Matthew 27:41-43, “41 In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. 42 “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”

The chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders are the ones speaking in these verses.  In their words they communicate their “burden of proof”, their line in the sand.  “let him come down from the cross and WE WILL BELIEVE IN HIM.”

So now, on Sunday morning, the sunrise after passover, these same chief priests, teachers and elders receive unbiased third party  testimony that Jesus has, in fact, just crossed their line in the sand.  He has met their request and come down from the cross.  So, they believe, right?

I think this is important for us, as we talk with others, to keep in mind.  Accepting Christ and believing in Him is not about “proof”, it is about accepting the gift.  The proof is there, but how often do people today continue to draw one line after another in their own hearts.  I would believe if..  But like the leaders of that time, those conditional statements, those promises of belief, are just lies.  They aren’t lines to be crossed, they are walls built up to keep the truth out.

If you want proof, it is amply abundant.  There is no other way of explaining why, 2000 years later, millions accept this as fact other than the truth that it is.  Jesus walked this earth, suffered, died, and rose again.  What more proof could there possibly be?

If you want joy and salvation and eternity and peace and love, it is even simpler than that.  Let the walls you’ve built up crumble down and accept the gift of the sacrifice that Jesus has made.  The price is paid in full because God so loved you.

My Answers:

9.
a.
M28:9 spoke, 9 they clasped His feet, presented himself, Acts 1:3 gave many convincing proofs, appeared over 40 days, A1:4 Ate with them , 1 C15:5 appeared to 12, 6 500 more most still alive

b.
It is the pivotal point of Christianity.  If Christ isn’t risen, then He did not fulfill scripture, He is not in Heaven, He is not coming

10.
John: lay down life of own accord, only to take it up.  “I have authority”
Acts2: Not abandoned to realm of death – body decay
Acts17:given proof of appointed judge by raising him from the dead
1Cor:the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, mortal with immortal, defeat death
Eph1:hope, riches of glory, power – to raise from the dead
1Ths: don’t grieve the dead – God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him
Heb: High priest in heaven – intercessor to God on our behalf, one time sacrifice
1Pete: new birth into living hope through resurrection – never perish, spoil or fade

 

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28 BSF Matthew Week 28

28.2 BSF Matthew Week 28, Day 2

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

From Cyrene to Jerusalem by land was 783 miles.  Walking ~4 miles per hour for 8 hours a day, it would have taken 32 days to make the journey to arrive in the holy city for passover.  On the day of passover a crowd lines the steets and Simon of Cyrene is in the crowd.  We don’t know if he is actively participating in the mocking words of the crowd to Jesus, but suddenly he is being pulled from the crowd and ordered by the Roman soldiers to help Jesus carry the cross.

The moment he comes in contact with the blood on the cross he would be deemed to be ceremonially unclean and no longer able to participate in passover.  There is no time to perform the ceremonies to become clean.

Being unable to participate in passover carried a huge burden.  In a culture and religion where adherence to the the law and participation in the feasts was paramount to salvation, his inability to participate would be carried with him through the entire following year and possibly forever.  There was no “make-up” date for passover.

Regardless of where his heart was at that moment, we catch insight into where his heart went.  We know from Mark 15 that his sons were active members in the the church of Christians following Christ’s resurrection.  We know from Romans 16 that his wife was like a mother to the apostle Paul.

Simon learned first hand that adherence to laws and feasts does not work.  Despite best intentions things go wrong.  We are not perfect.  But Jesus was perfect and His perfect sacrifice redeemed us fully now and forever.  We see later in our story that Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus and the jewish women who followed Jesus also gave up their ability to participate in passover.  But by willing letting go of their place in the crowd, they stepped into a personal relationship with Jesus, one that lasts into eternity.

Where are you standing in the crowd?  Where do you need to step out and be willing to let go of “looking proper” or “doing good things” to actually serve Jesus?

My Answers:

3.
a.
Lev 4: Our sin offeringLev 4: The offering which we lay hands on to transfer our guilt and sin
Deut: Someone who took on our capital offense, was put to death on a pole – God’s curse
2 Cor: One who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become righteous
Heb: Suffered outside the gate, like a burnt offering, sin offering, made holy through His blood
1 Peter: Redemption through precious blood of Christ, the lamb without blemish or defect
1 Peter: bore our sins so that we might die to sins and live to righteousness, healed by his wounds

b.
took on our capital offense, put to death on a pole and received God’s curse – taken down to not desecrate the land

4.
a.
Unclear in scripture.  He would have traveled for almost a month to Jerusalem for passover only to become unclean on that very day.  Anger, fear turning to compassion, wonder and appreciation.  2 sons became missionaries and wife was “like a mother” to Paul.

b.
More than just an angry, frustrated, Judean Jew.  He had been touched and moved to faith through the experience he had of being pulled out of the crowd.

c.
Christ’s passion for us did not just involve a quick death.  Death was preceded by pain and degradation that led to fully taking on the weight of our sin even unto death

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27 BSF Matthew Week 27

27.2 BSF Matthew Week 27, Day 2

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

A large crowd had made its way to Jerusalem for celebration of the passover.  They had begun arriving the week before.  5 days before Jesus had been all the buzz and a large crowd had gone out to find him at the dinner at Lazarus’ house.  This was when Mary had anointed Jesus with the perfume.  4 days before Jesus had ridden into Jerusalem to the cheers of the crowd.  Hosanna!  Blessed is the King of Israel.  Tonight they show up as an armed mob with torches and clubs and betrayal and hatred on their lips. Tomorrow they will be screaming for his execution in the most brutal and demeaning manner possible.

What did Jesus do in less than 4 days time that went from triumphant and joyful arrival to rejection and hatred of him?  It isn’t what He did that was the problem.  It is what He didn’t do.  He didn’t change who He was to become who they wanted him to be.

God is immutable.  Unlike the crowd and popular opinion, He doesn’t change; never has, never will, and we humans get frustrated by that.  Why doesn’t God…?  How can God….?  That… may have been true back then but we know….

Our challenge today is the same challenge of that day.  All too often the basis of our perception of God is in what we think or what we have been told rather than what the bible actually says.  According to a 2013 research study by the Barna Group, more Americans had read Twilight, the Hunger Games and 50 Shades of Grey than had read the bible cover to cover.  Of those who do read the bible only 26% read it regularly with 57% touching it less than 4 times per year.  Yet, we have no limit to our opinions about who God is and how He should behave and what He would or should say!

Beware of crowds.  Beware of the “wisdom of our age”.  Beware of popular opinion.  Beware of your own strength and your own opinion.  There is only one place in which to place your trust, one source that will last beyond both earth and heaven because it is true and unchanging: the word of our Lord.

We are quickly approaching the end of our study of Matthew – what will you do this summer to not fall into temptation?

My Answers:

3.
a.
Peter

b.
battle between the large crowd with sword and clubs and the handful of apostles

c.
Jesus had outlined what would happen – He was in control, but Peter was in denial of that control over the situation

d.
mostly in the form of worry and stress. They don’t yield results but submitting to God does

4.
a.
betrayed with a kiss, captured with swords and clubs, deserted by apostles

b.
attackers drew back and fell to the ground

c.
let these men go, I have not lost one of those you gave me, healed the man’s ear

d.
shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?

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26 BSF Matthew Week 26

26 BSF Matthew Week 26, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

I love Peter because I can see my own dimwitted self reflected in his approach to things.  I have no doubt of his immense love and admiration for Jesus.  I have no doubt that he recognized, through the power of the holy spirit, who Christ was, just as it is written in the scriptures.  But he gets in his own way.

Basically he says, I know you are the Christ, the Son of the Living God, Creator of all, All-Knowing, All-Powerful, Eternal, but, uh, you’re wrong.  I know better than you do.

Jesus didn’t ask them, he told them what would happen.  But instead of accepting this and using this knowledge as strength, Peter jumps into denial.  In his journal down the river of denial he and the other apostles miss the promise of a risen Lord to meet with them in Galilee.  They want to take up arms to prevent this from happening.  While they think they will raise up arms to be standing for Jesus, they in fact are standing in direct opposition to the words and promise he has just made.  This is not a surprise to Jesus.  He is not a victim.  He knows who, what, when, where, why and how.  There is no mystery.  There is simply a gift.

How often do I argue with God?  Every time I insist on doing things my way first, I tell Him I know better.  Every time I rely on myself more than on Him, I yield to temptation.

But, there is one other amazing part in these verses and that is Jesus prayer for Peter in Luke 22:32 – “But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”  Temptation and testing is not something to just be endured and survived, it is something that strengthens us so that we can strengthen others.  Like exercise, it may tear us down and wear us out temporarily, but when we heal, we heal stronger.

My Answers:

8.
a.
Contradicted Jesus – Convicting that I will never fall away while simultaneously doubting Jesus’ word

b.
33. Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will

c.
Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you (other disciples agreed)

9.
a.
i.
There are no surprises – Satan is only allowed to tempt/test God’s people as God allows

ii.
Self confidence will not prevail, only trust in the Lord

iii.
Prays for us and directs us to use strength given through trials

b.
Reluctance to be a cheerful giver has given me insight into understanding the traps of “wealth management”

10.
a.
you will all fall away on account of me

b.
After I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee

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26 BSF Matthew Week 26

26 BSF Matthew Week 26, Day 3

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

From the beginning of time God had designed the feast of passover to be a forebearing of the gift of salvation and life through His son.  The chief priests and elders were plotting to murder Jesus, “but not during the festival.”  However, there plans were no mystery to Christ and their timing was not how things were to be.

For them passover had become a meal and a time of reflection of looking back.  We do this today with our own feasts and celebrations.  We prepare for weeks for a big party or to host a big dinner and then we just want to crash, to take a nap.

But that wasn’t what passover was supposed to be about.  Yes, it was a time of remembrance, but they were to remember the entire thing.  Look at Exodus 12:11 – This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover.  The passover meal wasn’t the ending.  The day of passover wasn’t the goal.  It was the doorway that was to be passed through to enter freedom and salvation, to live as a people set apart for God.  It is a time of looking forward to the promise.

That is also the message of the cross.  Jesus’ death at passover wasn’t an ending, it was an opening of a doorway.  We can get so busy and focuses on the event and the meal that we, too, can forget, when the sun rises we are to be ready to go out into the world and proclaim the good news of freedom.

My Answers:

6.
a.
Passover

b.
Final Egypt plague, death of first born, the angel of death passed over the household’s marked with lamb’s blood

c.
perfect lamb, without blemish, family/community, killed at twilight (not sunset), hyssop branches used to paint blood over door (same branches used to give vinegar to Jesus), that night judgment brought upon all false gods, households saved by the blood of the lamb

7.
a.
Luke: He took, gave thanks, broke it, gave it, “body given for you, remember, cup new cov. blood, for U.
John: I am living bread, eat and live forever, unless you remember you have no life, but do and live
1Pete1: precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect
1Pete2: He himself bore our sins, might die to sin, live in righteousness, by his wounds have been healed
1John: walk in light, fellowship with one another, purified of sin by blood of Jesus

b.
It is a new covenant and when you eat and drink, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes again

c.
Focus is not just on my sin and forgiveness, but a joy of salvation, His return and eternity through this promise

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25 BSF Matthew Week 25

25 BSF Matthew Week 25, Day 3

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

What do your actions say about what you truly believe?  I found it interesting the steward who had been given one talent very interesting.  He said he believed one thing, but the returning master looked not only at his statement but at his actions.

This steward had a very negative view of the master.  He paid no attention to the master’s investment, his work, his land, his seed, his housing room and board, his servants, his provision.  He couldn’t see beyond the reach of his own hands.  ‘You are not out in the fields sowing or scattering the seed, yet you expect part of the harvest.’  To this steward, his self dialogue was that the master was a “hard man”, someone to fear.  But the master called him on that.  If that is what he truly believed, then he would have at least taken steps to put the money in the bank.  This steward’s statement of belief was a lie.  It had nothing to do with the master and everything to do with his self justification.  The man was simply wicked and lazy.  But it is easier and more satisfying to blame the master than to take ownership of his own character.

How many do the same today?  I can’t believe in a God who…  If that is what God is then…  But this truly has nothing to do with God, no more than the third steward’s statement had to do with the master.  It is simply a way of shifting responsibility, avoiding accountability.  It didn’t work then and I have a feeling it isn’t going to work any better when we face Jesus.

Turning to the other stewards (5 and 2), I found their lack of negotiation and commission very telling of their view of the master.  Both had earned a 100% ROI.  Although the master was away for a long time, that is still a huge profit margin.  But when the master returned, every penny was turned over to the master.  No negotiation, no reimbursement of fees and expenses.

This tells me of their complete faith and trust in the provision of the master.  The best thing they could do was hand it all back to the master.  They didn’t try for “what is fair”, they trusted that the joy and blessing of the master would far outweigh “fair”.  And, at the end of each tale, that is exactly what we see.  Both receive promotions.  Both are invited to share fully in the master’s happiness.  This happiness was far greater than the sums of money, it was in the value of finding a faithful servant.  Anyone who has worked in management knows the value of a faithful employee is far greater than the return on any one investment they may have managed.  I think the trust of these servants speaks volumes to the true nature and character of the master!

My Answers:

6.
a.
Prov 3: wisdom to gain understanding, nothing physical is more preciousMatt 13: teacher of law who is a disciple brings out treasure both new and old
Matt 28: go make disciples, baptizing, teaching
John 1: Himself, His son, His light, to receive Him and become children of God
John 13: an example – do as He has done for me
John 21: Love Him and work to do; care for and feed His sheep
2 Tim Scripture: teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness

b.
Gift of BSF, bible, church, story telling, children to lead and teach and a blog with a readership that compares to some of the largest churches

7.
5 Talent: According to his ability – went at once and put money to work, gained 5 more, brought all 10 to master, received praise and shared in joy

2 Talent: Same as 5 – faithful with few, put in charge of many, come and share in master’s happiness

1 Talent: Resentment of master, reap where don’t sow, “afraid”, the 1 take from him, sent out, gnashing of teeth

8.
a.
wicked heart – resentful

b.
repaid for times of hardship with plenty

c.
My past few years in BSF and church – the joy of seeing the bounty in our children

9.
Whoever has will be given more – whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken.  If you value you, you must invest it.

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