Hebrews: What a Living Sacrifice Looks Like
Adult Bible Class, June 26 & 29 - Hebrews 12:14-13:25
As we come to the end of our study on Hebrews this quarter, I am struck by these two themes: superiority and endurance.
Certainly these ideas are not reserved for the final chapter of this book: the superiority of the New Covenant between God and His people through Christ has been the resounding refrain of the entire letter, and the apostle of old has frequently called his readers to action by way of endurance in multiple admonitions and warnings. But the beauty of this last chapter, I think, is the connection that's made between the two. God has given us His best, and so we must press on to do the same.
But what does it look like, this endurance in Christ? What does it look like to have Christ living in me (Galatians 2:20; Romans 12:1-2)? What does it look like to worship God acceptably with reverence and awe (Hebrews 12:28)?
It looks like serving others. Whether it's a complete stranger (Hebrews 13:2) or our closest friend (Hebrews 13:4), the Christian seeks to serve others and build others up in selflessness (Philippians 2:3-4). We must keep them in our thoughts (Hebrews 13:3) and in our prayers (Hebrews 13:18-19). It can be easy to lose sight of this servant mindset and forget the needs of others (Hebrews 13:2, 16), which is why the author encourages his readers--and us--to love others and so fulfill the law of Christ (Hebrews 13:1; 1 John 4:20-21; Galatians 6:2).
It looks like submission to leaders. This certainly applies to the elders among us who seek to shepherd the flock faithfully (Hebrews 13:7, 17, 24). But we do this because we know they, too, are serving and following "the great shepherd of the sheep," Jesus (Hebrews 13:20). Leaders in the church may come and go, but Christ is our constant source of authority, inspiration and endurance (Hebrews 13:8). This ultimate authority is also how we'll know what teachings to avoid (Hebrews 13:9).
It looks like peace and contentment. When we live our lives completely and wholly for God, we have unimaginable peace. We won't worry about the pleasures (Hebrews 13:5) or the pains (Hebrews 13:13-14) of this life, but look rather to glorifying God in any and all circumstances and the reward of eternity in His presence. When we have set our minds to do His will and follow His word, we have a clear conscience and will act honorably as workers in His kingdom (Hebrews 13:18, 21).
As God's people, we are living sacrifices. Let us burn brightly and shine our respective lights in this dark world. And let this be our end goal: to live like Jesus, and by doing so bring a smile to our Father's face (Hebrews 13:16, 21).
We hope you'll join us for our final classes on the book of Hebrews this coming Sunday at 10 a.m. and Wednesday at 7 p.m.