< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Hebrews 13: 7-16

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Hebrews 13: 7-16

Hebrews 13:7-8 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.

Who does it say the leaders of the church are?

Those who spoke the word of God.

The leader draws attention to Christ, not himself. A saint has been defined before as a “man in whom Christ lives again.” The duty of a church leader or a pastor is not so much to talk to men about Christ as to show men Christ in his own life and actions.

“Consider the outcome of their life.”

They remain faithful to the end. So a church leader should be both an example and an inspiration. There have been thousands of church leaders in the past 2000 years; in all sizes, shapes and colors. They have been led by the same unchanging Jesus Christ.

And Jesus, who first chose 12 disciples to be with Him and do His work, is still seeking those who will bring men to Him and Him to men.

Hebrews 13:9-16 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.

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 confess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

There were false teachings going on then. There are false teachings going on now. We need to stick to scripture. To know for ourselves what is true.

Back then the Christians were mainly Jews who had grown up with strict food laws. Leviticus 12 has most of these in it. For example, Jews don’t eat pork. But, the author is saying that it’s not what you eat or don’t eat that pleases God. Grace is what’s important. A lot of those food laws were given to keep the Israelites healthy in desert conditions.

Where the author says, Christ suffered outside the gates: criminals were crucified outside Jerusalem’s city walls. They were considered unclean. Jesus was considered a criminal, or as the Bible says, “He was numbered with the transgressors.” The author is telling Christians we need to expect and accept that too. We must be ready for separation, isolation and humiliation, just like Christ was.

Where it says, acts of praise and worship are considered sacrifices to God, we’ve heard the term of “sacrifice of praise” before. And in the next line, one commentator wrote “compassion shown to men by men is a bloodless sacrifice and holy unto God.” Jesus Himself said in Mathew 25:40 “In as much as ye have done unto one of the least of theses my brethren, ye have done unto me.”

Acts of kindness and sharing are especially pleasing to God even when they go unnoticed by others.

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