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
- Relationships matter to God: love, hospitality, caring, honoring.
- If trust is in God, then contentment is the outcome
- If trust is not in God, then never content (always coveting)
- Jesus is eternal and eternally the same
- Don’t get sidetracked – Hold grace over acts/food/works/anything else
- Don’t wait for the church/synagogue/religious – just go to Jesus!
- When doing praise/good deeds/sharing: do it FOR GOD
- Follow leaders / they will have to give an account to God
- Pray for each other
- 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.
- 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?
- Do I recognize Jesus as eternal, unchanging, the constant when everything else seems to change?
- Am I pursuing strange teachings or do I hold fast to the grace of God?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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
- Equipping is from God and is a blessing through which He works through me
- Bear with the word
- Carry hope in fellowship
- Greet each other
- Seek and accept God’s grace
- 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”?
- How am I bearing in the word?
- 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)
- 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.
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?