Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.
Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
So we say with confidence,
“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”
Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by eating ceremonial foods, which is of no benefit to those who do so. We have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle have no right to eat.
The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.
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.
All the practical commands in the book of Hebrews could be boiled down into one: “Hang on to Christ!” Now in the final chapter of this great letter, the writer expands his list of exhortations to include many areas of practical responsibility. Chapter thirteen shows us how we can employ our faith in practical ways. It tells us how true faith works. When a person exercises true faith, his/her life will begin to evidence the change.
In the first four verses of this chapter, the writer begins with the instruction to “love each other” as children of God. This is one of the surest signs of new life. This is the “new commandment” that Jesus gave on the eve of his death (John 13:34-35). It is the visible testimony to the world that we are His disciples. He follows up this instruction with three more important signs: hospitality, sympathy and respect for the sanctity of marriage.
In verses 5-6, the writer reminds his readers that the love of money is a dangerous tendency. Money is a false, uncertain hope. It can desert us in an instant. God is faithful. He will not fail us. If we are pursuing peace and holiness, we will have a proper perspective on money.
In verses 7-8, we are called to remember the spiritual leaders who have properly influenced us. We are instructed to “imitate their faith”. Basically, we are to follow in their footsteps. Just as the first century believers were encouraged to follow in the footsteps of the Old Testament saints, we are encouraged to imitate the faith of those who have persevered in their spiritual journey.
In verse nine, the writer warns concerning false teachers and teachings. The new covenant emphasizes grace rather than regulations concerning external behavior. These Hebrew believers were on the verge of being “carried away” by their old Jewish teachings.
In verses 10-17, a distinction is being made between Judaism, (the old system), and Christianity, (the new system). Those who are still wrapped up in the old system have no right to participate in the new system. You can’t be involved in both the old and new systems. You must make a clean break from the old as you join the new.
In verses 18-19, prayer is requested for the writer and his company. They are apparently in prison for the sake of the gospel. The request is for justice and release. What a testimony of enduring faith, that one who was in prison for the sake of Christ could write such a strong letter of encouragement, exhorting those on the outside to remain steadfast to the faith.
Questions to Ponder
What are some practical ways we can “love one another”? How can the “love of money” lead us into problems? Can you think of a spiritual leader whose faith you tend to imitate? What is the best antidote for false teachers and teachings? How might you pray for a Christian brother or sister who is in prison for their faith? How has the book of Hebrews encouraged you to persevere in your faith?
- Praise our Faithful Father Who is in heaven and Who is our very present help in a time of need.
- Thank the Lord for life with Him. Thank Him for our Oak Pointe Church family, our pastors, staff and elders.
- Ask the Lord to expand your heart to receive and give His love, ask Him to mark your heart with His Agape.
- Repent of not loving others (be specific if the Holy Spirit reveals to you people). Confess any sin.
- Rest in His forgiveness, mercy, compassion and generous heart of grace.
- Pray for those you will invite to Easter Church service and for all those who will attend. Pray for open ears and hearts ready to receive Him as Lord and Savior.
You are good, loving and kind. The same yesterday, today and forevermore. Great is thy faithfulness. I praise You for upholding all things, sustaining all things and causing all things to work together for good for those who love You. Oh Father, I continue to pray for Your agape love to pentatrate all of our hearts at Oak Pointe Church and Your Greater One Church. Lead us all today in practical ways so that we can demonstrate Your love to those around us. Give us words of wisdom, words of knowledge, words that build up, encourage and edify.
Thank You Lord for Pastor Bob and all our pastors. Help us to imitate their faith and put into practice what they teach us. Keep us close to You Lord and lead us out as ambassadors. Our faith is anchored in You, our Savior. In the Name of Jesus Christ I ask amen.