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Hebrews 13_18-25

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(A Series on Hebrews)

Westgate Chapel 6/3/90 a.m.                   Hebrews 13:18-25

PROPOSITION:  The genuineness of the love of Christ that exists between believers is demonstrated in prayer, endeavor, exhortation, encouragement, and fellowship that flows from the grace of God within.

i. introduction

-     WE have reached the end of the book of Hebrews. This is the final message from that book.

-     IT has been a great study  that has taken us about 18 months.

-     IT has been a challenging book. The writer of the Hebrews has had some tough topics to tackle with a congregation that he obviously loved and was deeply concerned about.

*     First he had to get their eyes focused back on to Jesus.

*     They had gotten off into angels......and he had to correct that problem (Hebrews1)

*     Then they had obviously started to waiver in their faith as discouragements had set in, and in chapter 2:1-3 he has to say to them,

      "We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment,how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him."

*     Then they got off into following human leadership. And in chapter 3:3 he is saying to them,

      "Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself."

*     Some were allowing the cares of the world to harden their hearts. And in 4:7 he writes,

      "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts."

*     Then, there were others who were depending on a priest to mediate for them before God, to receive from God and just pass it on to them. And in 4:14 he writes,

      "Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess."

*     There were some amongst the Hebrew Christians who were not growing.....just hanging around the same elementary teachings over and over again. So in 6:1-3 he writes,

      "Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so."

*     In 10:19-23 he encourages them with,

      "Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful."

*     But then, within two verses of this encouragement, he comes straight at them with,

      "If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God."

*     In chapter 11&12 he stimulates them to faith, saying,

      "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

-     HE has tackled some tough topics head on.

-     BUT one thing remains unchanged, and that is his tremendous love for them, and they for him.

-     THERE is a bond of love that holds the Body of Christ together.....without which life in Christ becomes miserable.

-     AND when all the tough topics are covered, this love comes through loud and clear.

-     AS we close our study of this book together this morning, I would like to hold this kind of love up to you.......especially as we approach the communion service together.

-     LISTEN for this theme of love in Hebrews 13:18-25.

ii. pray for us

-     VERSES 18&19 read,

      "Pray for us. We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way. I particularly urge you to pray so that I may be restored to you soon.

-     THE love between then is demonstrated in several ways in these two verses.

-     FIRST it is demonstrated in prayer. Pray for us....he asks.

*     In spite of the tough topics he has handled with them.

*     In spite of the challenge he has given them.

*     In spite of the problems he has had to correct, he is confident enough in their love that he asks them to pray.

-     THEN, the love between them is demonstrated in the kind of conduct between them. He says,

*     My conscience is clear. I have been completely honest with you. There is integrity between us.

*     And, my commitment is to live honorably before you in every way.

*     This is how love looks.

-     LASTLY, he asks them to pray again because he wants to be back with them. He doesn't like the seperation.

*     Love doesn't like seperation. It likes unity.

iii. i'll pray for you

-     BUT love is tough when it is a one way proposition.

-     SO, in verses 20&21, he prays for them.

                           "May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."

-     PRAYER is an investment in the highest good of the person for whom we pray.

*     He wants them equipped for doing the will of God.

*     He wants them to be pleasing to God.

-     SO he lifts them up in prayer....a demonstration of his love for them.

iv. grace be with you

-     LISTEN for love in these last four verses.

      "Brothers, I urge you to bear with my word of exhortation, for I have written you only a short letter. I want you to know that our brother Timothy has been released. If he arrives soon, I will come with him to see you. Greet all your leaders and all God's people. Those from Italy send you their greetings. Grace be with you all."

-     FIRST he wants them to know that even though his words have been tough, he has intended them for exhortation.

-     THEN he wants them to know the good news about Timothy's release from prison, so they can rejoice together.

-     THEN he looks forward to coming with Timothy to see them.

-     THEN he sends greetings from the believers he is with at the time.

v. conclusion

-     THESE people to whom Hebrews was written are going through some tough times.

-     THEY have been uprooted from family, home, country.

-     THEY are in a hostile environment.

-     THEY have been shaken in their faith by the opposition they face.

-     SOME have fallen away, others are staggering under the pressure.

-     AND the answer is love.

-     LOVE that prays, love that lives in honesty, love that restores, love that intercedes, love that exhorts.

-     GRACE be with you all.





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