Jesus Christ is the Same Yesterday, Today, and Forever
Comments for Study 13
Memory Verse 13:8
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I. Love Each Other (1-6)
>1. How did the previous chapter end? What exhortation does this chapter begin with? How are we to love one another?
Hebrews 13:1 "Keep on loving each other as brothers."
* This chapter continues the exhortations (22) started in 12:14 and ends with brief greetings.
* "loving each other as brothers" -Not everyone has had good brothers. Yet we all understand the point being made. Continually the Bible calls believers members of God's family.
* When one looks at the apostles we see different characters. In spite of different characters we are to love each other. Not everyone will be the same as you, but treat everyone the same, in love.
>2. What is the first example given on how to love? (2) What may be the possibility? How did Abraham experience this? How is waiting for someone to come to our houses countered? (3)
Hebrews 13:2 "Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it."
* Genesis 18 gives the account of Abraham entertaining strangers. Two turned out to be angles and the third was the LORD.
* "Angles" -Genesis to Revelation speaks of angels. However, they are not the main subject. Instead they are mentioned in passing as they go about the work of God. "ANGEL is a heavenly messenger who either delivers a message to humans, carries out God's will, praises God, or guards God's throne. The term “angel” is derived from the Greek word "angelos" meaning "messenger".” "Angelos" and the Hebrew equivalent, "malak" (which also means messenger), are the two most common terms used to describe this class of beings in the Bible. In general, in texts where an angel appears, his task is to convey the message or do the will of the God who sent him. Since the focus of the text is on the message, the messenger is rarely described in detail." (Holman Bible Dictionary)
* The letter of Hebrew starts out mentioning angles.
* "entertain strangers" -The point here is that believers in Jesus should open the doors of their house and hospitality.
Hebrews 13:3 "Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering."
* "remember those in prison" -Everyone, but especially the believers who were jailed because of their faith in Jesus.
* "mistreated" -Everyone, but especially the believers of Jesus.
>3. What does verse 4 mean? What is the source of contentment? Can money and possessions provide contentment? Who should we trust in?
Hebrews 13:4 "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral."
* "Marriage" -Marriage is between one woman and one man before God and men.
* "honored by all" -Everyone needs to respect the wife of a man and the husband of a woman. No one should do anything to come between them in anyway. Those who do so is in danger of punishment. I do not mean this from a sexual point of view.
* "and the marriage bed kept pure" -A warning to the husband and wife.
* "God will judge" -The shame of this generation is that many pastors and elders have violated their marriage vows and many more have divorced. Have they ever been of the faith? Why don't they have the fear of God? Don't they realize that we are Jesus' bride and he is testing us in this age to see if we will keep hour the marriage with him in the Millennium?
Hebrews 13:5-6 "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 man do to me?"
* "Keep your lives free from the love of money" -Many false quote the Bible saying, "Money is the root of evil." The real quote is, "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." (1 Tim. 6:10)
* "and be content with what you have" -David Jeremiah in his recent DVD series says we should declare today as a day of contentment. We should declare that we are content with what God has given us. We should run away from greed.
* "Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you" -Worry is a lack of faith. When I have a well paying job, do I worry if the bills will be paid, my family will be eating well, and we will still live in the house we are now in? No, not really. I do not worry and feel somewhat content and I believe I have faith; of course, in humility I believe I have faith. I am tempted to believe in times of plenty with a well paying job that God is pleased with me because I have a well paying job and all my family's needs are met.
And if I do not have a job do I worry about those things? Well, I'm not supposed to. (Matt. 6:25, Mark 13:11, Luke 12:29) I resist worry, don't I? I will not know what faith is if I always have a well paying job. And if I lose my job I will ask, “What is worry?” Then I begin to know what worry is for I can sense it in my soul; I can sense worry in my bones. The Holy Spirit tells me what worry is and leads me to examine my faith. What do my bones tell me now?
When jobless I consider my faith when I lived in times of plenty. Am I right to not worry when I have a job and then worry when I don't have a job? Is not Almighty Elohim God my loving Lord and bridegroom with me during both? Does he not take care of me in all circumstances? Am I so vain to think I am the source of stability and income just because I have a job? Why do I consider myself blessed when I have a job? If I won't worry about my needs in the next life, why do I worry in this life? Isn't God's love and care for me in the next life the same as in this life? Why then should I wait for death and resurrection to stop worrying? Oh, what a slippery slope; a slope slimmed with pride of self sufficiency.
The Holy Spirit reminds me of Jesus' words concerning his love for me that is greater that the lilies of the valley and the birds of the air. (Matt. 6:25-34) The Holy Spirit reminds me of the apostles' lives after following Jesus, especially after he ascended. The apostles gleaned wheat from the fields for their meals and had no place to lay their heads. (Matt. 12:1, 8:20) The Holy Spirit helps me think what it was like when many had no chances of jobs like during the first great depression from 1930 to World War II.
Why do we in modern day western world believe we have great faith when jobs are abundant, things are cheap and we have plenty to eat? I am led to believe that those who have plenty have not learned deep faith and those who do not know where their next meal is coming from day after day after day have been given a great opportunity to deepen their faith. The latter, if led and trusting in the Holy Spirit, can learn how to have peace in all and any circumstances. They have been given the chance to build up rewards in heaven. The latter have been given a time to learn to trust in God alone. The latter have been given a chance to have peace in God and see what he will do next. If we are to walk with God and let him lead the way doesn't it mean we need to surrender trusting in ourselves for provisions? Why is it hard for the rich to enter the kingdom of God? (Matt. 10:23, Luke 18:24) Because they are often deluded in believing they have great faith and are blessed. (Prov. 30:8-9)
At times of joblessness I am tempted to worry about the immediate future. Is it possible to be tempted to worry? Worry is a lack of faith. A lack of faith is a lack of contentment and peace that comes from God. When jobless I should rejoice because I have been given an opportunity to grow in Christ.
* "I will not be afraid"-Fear and worry are very similar. Both are the opposite of faith. The author points this out by the lives of faith listed in chapter 11.
* "What can man do to me?" -Not saying that we can't be persecuted, jailed, and even killed. Rather, eternally they can do nothing. Jesus taught, "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." (Matt. 10:28-31)
II. Jesus Christ is the Same Yesterday, Today, and Forever (7-25)
>4. How are spiritual leaders to be examples? Do you know of an eider's faith in Jesus that you can use as an example and encouragement? How can Bible study add to the list of examples to follow?
Hebrews 13:7 "Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith."
* "remember your leaders" -God always puts spiritual leaders over his people. There is a man who is on the radio who claims that since 1988 God is not working through the church. Such a man says these things because he would not follow the leading of his spiritual leaders. He has become his own leader. He says this and yet insists that people follow his teachings and he sets himself up as a spiritual authority. He is deceived as Solomon and Samson were.
* "consider the outcome of their way of life" -We should never blindly follow all who are spiritual leaders over us. We should consider their way. And yet even Samuel, when he was young followed Eli's words even though Eli was lazy and his sons were corrupt. (1 Sam. 2:12-3:21) I have had good and bad spiritual leaders over me since I accepted Jesus as my personal Savior and God of my life in 1982. Only one was I compelled to leave. I did not leave because of his selfish mistreatment of me and others and continual lies, but of his mistreatment of my wife and his threat to her. Jesus said we are to judge a tree by its fruit is the same as considering the leaders over us. Jesus taught, "No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thorn bushes, or grapes from briers. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks." (Luke 6:43-45)
>5. What does it mean to our lives of faith that Jesus does not change? How does the study of the gospels help us understand who Jesus is? How should he affect the way we study the Old Testament?
Hebrews 13:8 "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."
* Consider all of this letter. Much is written about Jesus.
* Consider all the lives of faith listed in chapter 11 and Jesus interaction with them.
* Consider all of Jesus' teaching in the gospels.
* Consider all of the acts of the apostles and their letters.
* Consider all the Jesus dealing with Israel and Judah as their only and only LORD as recorded in the Old Testament.
>6. What would "ceremonial foods" mean to a Hebrew? What strange teachings do you think the author was referring too? What is the true source of grace? (10) How does Jesus unchangeability reflect this?
Hebrews 13:9-10 "Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by ceremonial foods, which are of no value to those who eat them. We have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle have no right to eat."
* "all kinds of strange teachings" -There are many of them. In fact, today their is two opinions and teaches for every person on this earth. We should consider all in light of the word of God. For this reason good, deep, personal and small group Bible study is very important. Listening to a Sunday message or radio message has some help. Yet, if we do not study the Bible on our own, how can we tell is the teacher is giving a strange teaching? What could we compare it to? A person can say, "I have the Holy Spirit." Yes, all believers do. Yet he reminds us; and if we do not study the Bible ourselves, what can he remind us of?
* "good for our hearts" -Our spiritual being. The Greek is "kardia" meaning "the center of thought and feelings".
* "by grace" -Grace is unmerited divine assistance.
* "not ceremonial foods" -This letter is the Hebrews who were instructed by Moses about certain foods. Jesus often pointed out the error that developed concerning ceremonial foods and their purposes.
* "We have an altar... right to eat" -The believer in Jesus has spiritual food to eat. Jesus said, "Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word of the Father." John recorded in his gospel a great discourse of Jesus where he teaches that he is the "manna of heaven."
>7. Considering the whole letter, what city are we looking forward to?
Hebrews 13:11-14 "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."
* "the bodies are burned outside the camp" -The first part of verse 11 is a repeat of what the author already wrote. Now he adds about the burning.
* "go outside the camp" -The author was speaking that the Hebrew believer in Jesus needed to depart mentally and physically from the high priest's teachings and way of life in Jerusalem. The author may or may not have known that Jerusalem and the temple were about to be destroyed.
* "bearing the disgrace he bore" -The disgrace they were receiving was the same as Jesus'. Ours is too.
* "city" -The author's intent for them to physically and mentally leave the city of Jerusalem peacefully is clear.
>8. What should our lips be always ready to do?
Hebrews 13:15 "Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise--the fruit of lips that confess his name."
* "through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God" -The temple offering in Jerusalem means nothing since Jesus offered himself. This is one of the main points of this letter.
* "sacrifice of praise" -Where else does these words go together? Who would put sacrifice and praise together but believers in Jesus.
* "the fruit of lips that confess his name" -Jesus' disciples would be disgraced for confessing Jesus throughout this age to this very day. We confess to those of and not of the body of Christ. Jesus said, "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last..." (John 15:16)
Hebrews 13:16 "And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased."
* "do good" -whenever and to whomever.
* "share with others" -the opposite of greed.
* "with such sacrifices" -These two things are never easy. They are a personal sacrifice.
* "God is pleased" -The main joy and goal of a believer.
>9. What does verse 17 say about spiritual order? What kind of life should leaders live? (17)
Hebrews 13:17 "Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you."
* "Obey your leaders and submit to their authority" -Not always easy as stated above.
* "men who must give an account" -Jesus warns leaders with a parable. "That servant who knows his master's will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." (Luke 12:47-48)
Hebrews 13:18-19 "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."
* "clear conscience" -a leader should have
* "live honorably in every way" -a leader should do
* "pray" -If a spiritual leader does not do these things and is not this ways it is the congregations responsibility to pray.
Hebrews 13:20-25 "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. 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."
* "the great Shepherd of the sheep" -Often used in the Old and New Testament.
* "equip you with everything good for doing his will" -not for self
* "what is pleasing to him" -not for self
* "Timothy" -a companion with Paul for many years including in Rome and one of the people who wrote letters as Paul dictated them. Timothy may have delivered this letter from Italy to Jerusalem, at least in part.
* "from Italy" -Paul was a prisoner in Italy for two years (61-62 A.D.) as the book of Acts states. (Acts 28:30-31) It is for that reason that most believe Apostle Paul wrote this letter. Paul died in 67 or 68 A.D.
* Peter was also in Rome in his later life. However, Peter is not known for writing skills and train of thought as this letter has.