Chapter 13: 7-17
7 “Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 9 Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them. 10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. 11 For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp.
12 “Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. 13 Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. 14 For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. 15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. 16 But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. 17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.”
This past week I had the opportunity to participate in a meeting in our regional church association that met in Indiana. We had more than 25 churches – missionaries and churches represented. We heard from missionaries who served in Thailand and Indonesia; we heard from a mission work that hands out Bibles all over the world at sporting events like the Superbowl and the Olympics, and they had reached the milestone of having given out the Bible to more than 1,000,000 people over the years. They were still planning projects and recruiting people to go do the work.
We were simply blessed to hear all that God is doing, both near and far away. God’s Gospel is being taken to the ends of the earth, but there is still a lot of work to do.
Today we will jump back into the Book of Hebrews and see what we can learn today.
The Sacrifice of Praise to God, verse 15
I am reminded daily of my sin, my failures and that the price to pay for me and redeem me was priceless. I could not have done it on my own. This fact should humble us every moment of every day, and we should live in a constant mode of praise to the Lord for all He is doing, did, and will do. If He never did anything good for us ever again, He would have already done too much. There is never a time when we should not be praising God. We should be constantly in awe of His love, grace, mercy, kindness, provision, and on and on we can go.
I continue to be astonished by the number of thankless people I meet who claim to be saved. Now, all of us are human and frail; there are times when we lose sight of all we have, and we can become mired in pity. But pity should not be a lifestyle in the Christian’s life. We are blessed beyond all measure, and as such, we should be in a constant time of praise.
Do you have food to eat? Praise God! Do you have the security of knowing you have eternal life in Jesus? Praise God. Do you have friends and family who love you? Praise God. By the way, as a child of God, you can never be alone, so if you think you are, you are wrong. Praise God for that too. Do you have access to the Bible? Praise God. Do you have a roof over your head? Praise God. Can you see God moving in your life and the life of your family? Praise God. Do you attend a Bible-teaching local church that takes the Great Commission seriously and challenges you to serve the Lord? Praise God. Do you have a home prepared by Jesus awaiting you? Praise God.
I can go on, and so can you. Praising God should be as natural and as often as the sacrifices at the Temple, all day from sun up to sun down. Praise God in the small things like getting home in your car, waking up, and just about anything that you can think of.
Psalm 150:6 “Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD!”
Sharing and Doing Good, verse 16
When we live our lives praising God, He will provide opportunities for us to live out that praise and that thankfulness by helping others. As children of God, we should always be ready and willing to help our brothers and sisters in the Lord. We should not count anything we have as our own, especially in reference to material things. All that God has given us is for His glory and use.
Acts 4: 32-35 “Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.”
Sometimes we are called upon to give sacrificially; maybe something we have cherished God has asked us to give away or use for Him. We are not to begrudge God or the person we are helping. Thankful people are always looking to help others and, in so doing, point them to Jesus. Notice that this kind of generosity pleases God. It makes Him happy, and this is how we should live, always looking to please God.
In verse 16, we are reminded to ‘do good’ to others. This is more than giving your stuff; this is also giving yourself. Loving them, going out of your way to serve, to help, to listen, to forgive and be forgiven. This means treating God’s people with dignity and honor, esteeming each other ahead of ourselves, and living to serve each other solely for the purpose of pleasing God our Father, for no other reason.
What if our churches were filled with people who praised God a lot, praised Him often, open and unashamedly? What if our churches were filled with people who sought to do good to each other and to share what we are blessed with sacrificially? What if our homes were lived out the same way? How would we change the world close to us? How would God’s name and fame be shown to the people watching us, and how clear the character and ways of God would be to others? How would you and I be different if we lived like Hebrews 13: 15-16? Maybe some of you already are; that is awesome. I pray the rest of us will catch on and live praising, giving, and sacrificing for the sole purpose of pleasing God.
God bless you,
Dr. Sean Gooding
Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church
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