Updated 28 Sep 2018
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The book of Hebrews has covered many complicated issues and, in many ways, it is like a commentary on the book of Leviticus. The concluding chapter is very practical, as the writer encourages believers to walk with God in this world.
1. Keep loving one another as brothers and sisters
There is always a temptation to be selfish but, as believers, we must keep reaching out to our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ.
Early Christians were very hospitable to strangers but, in times of persecution and pressure, it was understandable that they could grow cautious. However, to extend and open our homes to those who need care can even open a door to an angelic visitor!
Prisoners for Christ
Prison ministry is extremely important and those who are persecuted must not be forgotten.
Christian marriage has always been under threat but, whatever our culture and our social environment, the values of Christian marriage must be strongly upheld. There is never any excuse for adultery or immorality and the church should set an example of purity in marriage.
Attitude to Money
Christians are exhorted to avoid being dominated by money. The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil (1 Timothy 6:10). As Christians, we need to be content with what we have, being confident that God will never leave us or forsake us. The Lord is our helper and he will provide for us, whatever men may do to us.
A Word about Leaders
Leaders are to be honoured and respected. They are the ones who bring God’s word to us and good leaders live according to their message, as well as preaching it. To follow that example is very important.
The Lord Jesus Christ
The writer emphases again, the uniqueness of the sacrifice of Christ. He presents Christ as our rock, the one on whom we can build with total confidence. This is because Jesus does not change. The Jesus we read about in scripture, the Jesus we experience today and the Jesus we will know for eternity, are the same Jesus. Our confidence is based entirely upon what he did for us on the cross. We must not be distracted by rituals but, rather, focus upon Jesus, who was taken outside the city of Jerusalem and crucified for us. We are all called to come to Jesus and, as we trust him, our sins are forgiven and he will take us into eternity to enjoy him forever! We worship Jesus and we can demonstrate our love for him by the way that we care for other members of the body of Christ.
Another Word about Leaders
We need to trust those who have responsibility to care for us and we must recognise that our leaders will be answerable to God for their leadership and the way that they care for the body of Christ. They need our support and encouragement, because this will strengthen them to serve Christ and to serve us, with minimal stress and much joy!
Verses 20 and 21 are wonderful words of benediction, with an emphasis on the God of peace who through the blood of the risen Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, is the One who is also able to equip us to do the work of God. Scholars do not know who wrote this letter but this last chapter is very similar to the way in which Paul writes. The writer's desire to be with the believers, the reference to Timothy and the greetings, do seem to be like others from Paul. Without doubt, Paul always pointed people to Christ and this letter clearly ends by pointing people to Christ!
Points to consider
- Consider the exhortations. How can we apply them to our lives and our churches?
- There are several references to leaders. Do we treat those who lead us with proper respect and how could we respond better to those in authority over us in the church?
- How do we benefit practically from what Jesus has done for us on the cross?
- We need to pray the words of verses 20 and 21 for one another. Which of the phrases in these verses are particularly significant for you?
- Are we rejoicing in God's wonderful grace toward us?
God bless you!
Bible Study: Hebrews 13