Hope from Hebrews #26 - Concluding Religious Directions
Text: Hebrews 13:7-19
Thesis: To note some of the concluding exhortations that will help us as the church.
(1) After giving several directions for daily living, the author focuses upon some instructions for “church life.”
(2) Let us note these directions:
I. Things to Remember (vv. 7-14):
A. Those whose faith is worthy of emulation (v. 7)
1. ‘Leaders’ may refer to anyone who had been instrumental in leading them to the faith, but, in view of verse 17, elders seem to be the chief focus.
2. The author is telling his readers to “consider closely the fruit of their leaders’ manner of living and imitate their faith” (G. Guthrie 438-39).
3. Cf. 1 Cor. 11:1
B. The immutability of Christ (v. 8)
1. “Heb. 13:8, at first notice, appears to stand quite alone between the exhortation to ‘remember your leaders’ (Heb. 13:7) and the warning against strange teachers (Heb. 13:9). A more careful observation reveals that ‘Jesus Christ’ is the supreme example to imitate (Heb. 13:7) and that attention to him (Heb. 13:8) should be a defense against strange teachings. Perhaps the statement of Heb. 13:8 is a summary of what the leaders had earlier taught; as such, it would serve as the defense against heresy” (LWC).
2. “Although their circumstances and perspectives change, Jesus Christ and his gospel do not” (G. Guthrie 439).
3. “The Jesus whom they preached is still the same Jesus; the gospel from heaven that announced Him is the same gospel” (Lightfoot 249).
C. What we have in Christ (vv. 9-14)
1. It is apparent that the author has in mind the temptation to return to the Old Law (i.e., the dietary regulations, the altar and tabernacle).
2. In order to combat this temptation, the author stresses the fact that what we have in Jesus is far superior to what was in the Old Law.
a. The internal (i.e., the heart) is more important than the external (i.e., the dietary regulations).
b. “We have an altar”
(1) “According to Levitical procedures, those who served at the altar shared in the sacrificial offerings. Thus to eat of the altar was to eat of the sacrifices on the altar … Christians have an altar because they have a sacrifice – the grand, once for all, self-offering of Christ” (Lightfoot 250).
(2) “Those who serve the tent” – Those under the Old Law
(3) In verse 11, the author refers to Lev. 16:27 (i.e., the Day of Atonement) in order to demonstrate how Jesus was the antitype of that sacrifice (v. 12; cf. John 19:20) and to encourage all to go outside of the camp (i.e., break all ties with Judaism) and embrace Jesus, the true sacrifice, regardless of the cost (v. 13) because of the greater reward that awaits them (v. 14).
II. Things to Do (vv. 15-19):
A. Offer sacrifices to God (vv. 15-16)
1. Sacrifice of Praise (v. 15)
a. “In the new covenant the sacrifice is not made in association with animal sacrifices, but ‘through Jesus.’ The expression, ‘the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name’, is derived from Hos. 14:2. The author has in mind the public worship in which the church states its confession that Jesus is high priest and Son of God (Heb. 3:1; 4:14; 10:23). This worship is the counterpart in the new covenant to the sacrifices of the old covenant” (LWC).
b. “Every hour of every day the child of God should seek occasions to speak humbly and lovingly of the wonderful blessings in Christian service, of the love and mercy of God, of God's goodness, and of the peace and joy in believing” (Coffman).
2. Sacrifice of Personal Service (v. 16)
B. Obey our leaders (v. 17)
1. We must learn to be submissive for the greater good.
2. Our leaders must not abuse their position (cf. 1 Pet. 5:3).
C. Pray for others (vv. 18-19)
- Let us heed this instruction and be the church God wants us to be.