Better Advice Part 2
Last week we looked at and talked about our Domestic duties which was how we pursue Christ socially—how to treat our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ whether we are living with them or taking care of them through hospitality or if they are in prison. Then we talked about how to love through remaining faithful to our spouses and that we are internally to be content with what we have.
Just a great set of advice from the writer and its just a rapid fire bucketload of advice to give to this church.
So those were the domestic duties of the Christian. This week we want to look at the divine duties of the Christ follower.
7 Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 9 Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them. 10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat. 11 For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. 12 So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. 13 Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. 14 For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. 15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
We say it all the time, Being a Christian looks like something. There shouldn’t really be a question about a person who says that they have surrendered their lives to Christ. There should be tell tale signs.
And don’t worry if you are shy, it isn’t always the personality that leads
Remember your leaders. Those who lead in the church will hopefully have an influence on the people of the church. Paul says in 1 Thessalonians to imitate him.
When a person surrenders to Jesus will usually look to that person who led them to Christ as sort of a spiritual father or mother. And sometimes that relationship will continue and they will be mentored or discipled by that man or woman who led them to Jesus. And that is a beautiful picture of discipleship.
Leaders don’t have to just be people with a title. The leaders emerge as you live your lives for Jesus and everybody knows it. They have a great reputation, they know Scripture, they put their trust first in the Lord.
The word says Imitate those people. Do the stuff they do. That is what disciple-ers do, that is what mentors do if you like a more modern word. Imitate them, consider the outcome of their life. Look what their lives produced.
And at the end of the day we are impressed with how people lived, with how they were faithful. We don’t usually look at a casket and think man, they made so much money. Or, man, they were so important at their job.
No, the focus is on relationships and how they lived their lives. That they were faithful. That other stuff is forgotten so quickly and what is truly important survives.
But the fact remains that leaders die. This is the context with which the writer is speaking. Imitate them even though they may not be around anymore. Take their example and live it out.
And then one of the most famous verses in the bible shows up. Those other leaders, imitate them, but remember that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever!
Isn’t that an awesome verse! Dwell on that for a smidge. Read that with new eyes this morning. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.
That should be encouraging to you! He is unmoveable, He is unshakeable, we know what we get with Jesus because He never changes! Thats really what you are looking for in a God. A God that you know. Now He may surprise you, that’s okay, but He never changes.
Thank God for that! Thanks be to God that he remains consistent! My feelings, my commitments come and go, aren’t you glad you aren’t God? God never changes.
This is why we put our trust in Him, this is why we worship Him. He is unchanging and that is loving. That is loving. And it is hard to understand.
So Jesus doesn’t change and that means that our faith remains strong in him. We are steadfast!
We are called to be steadfast in Christ.
. And that they, and we are called to be steadfast.
Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them.
We live in an age of strange teachings. Let me define that; anything that isn’t biblical is a strange teaching. Now that seems like quite the sweeping statement but it isn’t as fanatical as it may sound.
When you hear an idea or an opinion about God or about truth or even just the way things are, if you aren’t looking to the word of God to agree with that, it is a False Doctrines.
This is where we really want to dig in a little bit.
The bible is the source for what we know about God. And we cannot receive any information as truth about God or Jesus unless it is affirmed in the Bible.
There are lots of myths or I will call strange doctrines that people believe that just aren’t true based on what the bible says.
When someone dies they become an angel. That is not true. It sounds nice to say that God needed another angel in heaven and that is why someone died, but that is completely wrong. God doesn’t need any more angels, if He did, He could create them.
Humans are distinct from angels, we are created in God’s image. As a matter of fact, angels look to us
It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.
The angels look to the relationship we have with God and wonder. They belong to the Lord but the are not like us. We actually have the Holy Spirit dwell within us. Angels don’t have the same relationship with God that we do.
So that wold be a strange teaching. We do not become angels.
Another example is the statement that many of us have said, I believe quite innocently: “God won’t give me more than I can handle”. Scripture does not say that. It does say in reference to sin, that God will provide a way out of sin, so that we don’t have to sin,but nowhere does the bible say that God won’t give you more than you can handle.
On the contrary, the nature of our relationship with God seems to be quite the opposite. We are called to be broken vessels. Broken. We are told that we are being refined. That involves a total breakdown and dependance on God. No, God refines us to get us to a place where we will finally rely on His strength instead of our own. God will regularly give us more than we can handle so that we can learn to trust in Him and in Him only.
And so we don’t need to eat special foods, or stay away from other particular foods to worship God. Our dependance on God relies on grace and not foods.
Remember what Paul says when he says when I am weak, then I am strong.
So these are examples of the strange teachings that we deal with even today.
Let me reiterate, if there is a teaching that is contrary to what the Bible says, stay away from it. Even though you may like it, even though you may want that thing to be true, don’t follow any teaching that is not in the bible.
Self Righteous Doctrine
So we remain steadfast in the true word of God. We also understand that even though we don’t need an altar our worship is
We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat.
We do have an altar (in case they were worried). Remember that their whole relationship with God was centered on the altar.
This altar probably refers to the fact that Jesus was the sacrifice for us. We don’t need the old ways. Again, for us today, we rely on the grace of God which hinges on the truth that Jesus died for us. His blood was shed for us, we are made holy because of that fact.
We are made holy forever because of the sacrifice of Jesus. And his sacrifice follows with symbols that looked very much like the law.
For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood.
We won’t go into all of the nuances of how the sacrificial system worked. But after the blood of the animal was poured out or sprinkled, the body was taken outside to be burned.
When Jesus was crucified, this was done outside of the city gates which follow along with the symbols of the old law.
But the difference comes in our sharing with Christ’s suffering.
Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured.
The NIV says “bearing the disgrace He bore”
There is a cost to our Christianity. Please don’t think that your walk with Christ is a steady even keeled vacation of blessings.
No, when you surrender to Jesus there is a death. Your life is done as you know it. Yeah, it is wonderful in that you have an assurance of Heaven and of new life. But we cannot expect to not suffer because of the greatness that suffering produces.
Now I know that no one really wants to suffer. But we must, as christians understand that when we suffer that this isn’t something strange or wrong in the life of the Christian.
It may, it may if there is sin. But the Christian is to expect some suffering along the way. We need a clean break from our old life whatever that is.
And the writer says, let us go outside the camp. You can look at the outside of the camp as a way to describe the reality that you are in or you are out. Are you with Jesus or are you not with Jesus.
Because, listen, you can’t have both.
Some people interpret these verses to mean that there were Jewish Christians who were trying to be both Jewish and Christian in their faith. They wanted to keep the status quo and not ruffle any feathers along the way.
This happens to us doesn’t it? Especially if there are folks that we want to please and we keep one foot in the world and another foot in the Jesus camp.
You sit in church and not and agree, you go to a bible study and learn all good stuff but then you go back to your regular 9-5 life and no one would even know about your faith.
I am not trying to be hard on you but I want you to know the truth that you can’t have both!
You can’t have both. I wish that I could inject that into your brains this morning. You cannot have Jesus when you need Jesus and something else when you want something else. It doesn’t work that way.
Belonging to Jesus means that you cut your ties to your old self. You belong to Jesus now.
That is one of the great symbols of baptism.
We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
We died when we surrendered to Jesus. That may help you when it comes to your relationship with God and the temptations that you face. You don’t belong to you. You belong to Jesus! And because we belong to Jesus we are and we remain...
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
How many times have we not done something we knew we should have done? Maybe the Holy Spirit nudged you to bless someone else and you missed out on an opportunity to serve the Lord.
Because that is what this is. Our relationship with God is really looking for opportunities to serve others. How often are you serving someone other than yourself? How often are you thinking of someone other than yourself? How often is your burden for someone other than yourself?
And that is difficult. But we have to be steady in that we are always doing for others, that we sacrifice for God.
And for our final word for this morning.
Now there are two aspects that we will talk about here this morning. Two different types of sacrifice.
Sometimes, when we look at verse 15-16 it says:
15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. 17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.
16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. 17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.
15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.
One of them comes in verse 15 that talks about sacrifice of praise that is for God.
Sometimes, when we look at verse 15-16 it says:
We can offer a sacrifice of praise. Guess what? We don’t always WANT to praise God, or to praise His name. I don’t always want to Praise Him, but that is no excuse not to.
Sometimes our worship is a sacrifice. And remember that a sacrifice costs something. It costs. Sometimes we have a bad attitude but we can chose to worship none-the-less.
A sacrifice of praise. This is something that you can practice in your car, you can practice it in your home. You can practice it in the shower.
Praise you Lord! Hallelujah Jesus! I praise you God! You are worthy to be praised! Praise you God almighty!
A sacrifice of praise. There were praise sacrifices in the Old Testament.
Our whole lives are meant to be worship pointed to God. Every area of our life can be directed to the Lord.
1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
A living sacrifice in that our worship is alive. It lives! Everything that we do can be worship to God. Not just with our mouths but with our every day lives. This is the sacrifice of praise. And the next verse 16
16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
When you do something for someone else out of love, that can be worshiping God by doing good for someone. That is a sacrifice to God.
When you wonderful people serve here you are helping the church out, and thank you, we couldn’t do what we do without you.
And I am trying to make eye contact with all of you who serve but that is pretty much everybody here.
But when you serve you are worshiping God through your service. Your bodies are living sacrifices holy and pleasing to God. That is amazing.
Keep that up, because the Lord is pleased with you when you serve Him. And remember that you are serving Him and that makes all the difference in the world
Don’t serve me, don’t serve the church. When you serve you are serving the Lord with the sacrifices of good deeds, and the word says that this is pleasing to God. How cool is that?
Which of these “Divine Duties” speak to you this morning? Are you Steadfast in your beliefs? Do you understand that anything that goes against the word of God is something that needs to be turned from?
17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.
Do you understand that we worship a sacred God? That there is an altar we go to remembering what Jesus did for us on the cross?
Do you get that Jesus Christ was the fulfilment of those symbols of sacrifice for the Jewish nation before Jesus.
Are you able to share in Christ’s suffering? Realizing that when we surrender everything to Jesus that we are sharing not only in His example through His life but also in His death? IS that tough for you?
Are you steady in how you listen and obey when God calls you? What do you do when the Holy Spirit speaks to you? Do you make that call to someone who is hurting? Do you pick up that Bible and read it because something inside you prompts you to do that? Do you obey even when it is difficult?
Will you sacrifice for the Lord? Will you give even when it hurts? Give of your time? Give of your talents and giftedness? Do you sacrifice maybe personal security or personal enjoyment?
The life with Christ is filled with Sacrifices and with sharing and with steadiness.
Where do you lack in some of these words? In some of these qualities? Is your worship less than what it could or what it should be? How does this change?
It changes by walking outside the camp and making sure that we have chosen the one who can save us forever.
Jesus said in
28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
Matthew 10 28
You see, we belong to Jesus. We don’t belong to self anymore. And some of us might look at that and be a little angry at that. But what you need to realize is that Jesus is all loving and knows exactly what is best for you and for me.
He loves you so much, so much that He died for you. It is only right and good that we give our lives back to Him so that we can serve our King.
Where are you this morning? Do you feel like you are lacking in your relationship to Him?
Have you stepped outside of the city in to his camp? With both feet? Today is the day that you can release your life to Him.