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Hebrews 13 - How to lessons on life

This is a work in progress, but I wanted to get up what I have so far.

As our men's bible study has slogged through Hebrews, I feel that most have missed the point. I believe that had we done an in depth, serious study of Hebrews, we would have walked away from this book as changed men. That is not to say that men are not changing, for I have heard not only a change in me, but a few others have expressed that there is a need, in their own lives, to invest in God's word.

I understand my need to control my eating habits, (I did not say diet because we are all on a diet, it is just that most of our diets are not good.) but, having knowledge and doing something about it are two different things.
I have come to realize that serious study is not the purpose of our men's fellowship. None-the-less, I cannot give up, even though there is no way to keep up with the pace of the group and put the necessary time in on each verse.

One of the men made a statement that chapter 13 of Hebrews is the “how to do it” chapter. With that in mind, Hebrews 13 can be looked at as capsulizations of the outflow of God's life in us. Although I believe that the how to aspect is embedded in an understanding of our relationship with Christ and his death and resurrection, it is clear that there will be evidence of His life in you, and it should be demonstrated whenever possible.
When challenged, Jesus responded with what are the greatest commandments? To love the Lord your God, and to love your neighbor as yourself.

13:1 - Keep on loving each other as brothers
Seems simple enough. Why would you have to say "keep on" unless you had noticed that it had become a difficulty to love some people. We base our love upon performance; if you do not please me, or act in the proper manner. God loved us and we could meet none of those standards. So perhaps love is acting out of the greater good, regardless of the circumstance.

Our human brokenness can twist anything into something unhealthy, and no, while on this earth we will never be able to shake it off; so if you treat yourself with the honesty of an alcoholic you will fare better in this understanding. The writer of Hebrews has to frame the love word with "as brothers". Do not turn love into stalking or perversion, and do not try to control people, because that is not love (it is a whole other can of worms). If they will not let you near, then pray for their well being and soundness. Scripture gives us some excellent examples of that.

Ephesians 4:3; 1Peter 1:22; 1Peter 2:17; Romans 12:10; 1Peter 4:8 (Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.)

as brothers – I read this and saw it as loving on fellow Christians exclusively, and yet that is not what this says. We are to love on people, our neighbors, therefore nobody is excluded and we have the command if you want to call it that. Think about this. Some of the people who came to Jesus for healing, must have been particularly disgusting and yet he loved on them; unchanged by their smell or appearance. What if we could do that?

13:2 – Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.

The first example that popped into my mind was Lot. 

You might say that entertaining these two angels was easy because there must have been something significant about them, and therefore Lot just knew. A far reach, and presumptive. Daniel on the other hand could say that, for the presence of the angel put him on his face as though he was dead. Lot did not respond that way. 

The angels that appeared before Lot were strikingly handsome (probably looked like Tom Selleck), but step back a moment and ask yourself what you know about Lot. He was trying to be an upright, righteous man, and he was part of the city council. He was sitting in the place that the council was supposed to sit, and people could apparently find them, as ruling bodies, there. Read the story in Genesis 19, part of what you find in the story is that the men of city said, "this man judges us" Interesting heh!. 

Did you also notice that Lot sat alone. That may be nothing or God is pointing out something significant. Lot did the appropriate thing, he had the ability, but he is also thinking that he needs to protect these guys. 

The only thing, in my mind, that makes them stand out as being from God would be the message that they brought.

Another person that entertained an angel was Abraham. Genesis 18 says that the Lord appeared to Abraham, and that may put a different spin on it, but let's not assume that Abraham knew this. What might give away the identity of these angels was the manner in which they appeared. That would be significant in the desert where it is difficult to suddenly walk up on someone. What if they were all glowy like the angels portrayed on a television show, that would make it easier, wouldn't it.

The thing that made them significant was their message!

13:3 Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.

The word remember is mimnesko (mim-nace'-ko) v. 1. to remind 2. (middle voice) to recall to mind, remember

Jesus said something significant about this in Matthew 25:36 (NIV) I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
He is speaking about what appears to be the same thing that is described in Revelation 20. This is hugely significant because Jesus is placing his identity upon what we deem as broken and throw away people.
Unless you have spent some time in prison you will probably never be able to relate to this. From what I see on television there is a level of stress in prison that is unrelenting. Violence is constant and random, and the absolute worst behavior of humans is exhibited. Now you are being asked to remember prisoners as if you were in there too. The pain of another takes on a different meaning when it is happening to you too. 
POW's in Vietnam had to uphold and pray for each other; they did so by using and creating codes that the guards did not recognize. Just knowing that others shared in your pain, and hopes made a huge impact upon the morale of those held captive, helping them to maintain their sanity and make it through years of torture. 
Just recently I read that several hundred in Nigeria were slaughtered with machetes because they were Christians. No one but  Christian oriented sources reported on this. These people clearly suffered, but how do I put myself in their shoes. It is beyond the scope of my understanding when I have had no direct relationship with the one who suffered in a manner such as this. Seeing this kind of reality is disgusting at it's best, but I can walk away detached from the people that mean little to me. 

This passage is asking me to relate to them as if it were me.
Here is my reality of what this is saying. Do not just walk away, take ownership, pray for them like your life depended upon it, and if you have the ability to do something, do it. 

Jesus spoke about the things that these responders did; their response was, "when did we do that?" That tells me that even the insignificant things are significant.

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.
This is hard to hear when you are not married, but good advice for future marriages. It is also hard to talk about at all, because I feel like I am doing the judging and I fight to stay away from that arena. I was trained well to be judgmental, and I will spend my life refusing to drink from that cup. I am serious. This is like alcohol to an alcoholic, and you have to maintain your sobriety using every reasonable and Godly means.
Why should you even have to say marriage should be honored by all? 
I suppose the primary reason was that this was written at a time, and to a people who by tradition did not show respect to women. Jesus did! The secondary reason is that we are born into a broken world, and it still has an impact on us.

Who are the all? 
Those inside or outside the family? It would be understandable if the writer was directing his comments at the world, we (self-righteously) tend to think of them as living outside of the Father's influence, but in truth this is all of us. We give ourselves over to our selfish indulgences constantly.
The word honored means valuable. The word is timios (tim'-ee-os) in the Greek. So I could say marriage is to be considered valuable, as if you paid good money for it and now intend to take care of it. This reminds me of the neighbors. They know the Lord, and we are all thankful for that, but they fellowship at a church that worships material things far to much. Their cars are nice and the man of the house washes them both, several times a week. I wonder if he feels that way about his wife?
The marriage bed kept pure. The implications can go a couple of ways.

  1. Keep what you do with your wife to yourself and in your bedroom. Allowing your mind to go places in fantasy relationships is adultery. Did it ever occur to you that your pictures and videos cannot get mysteriously put on the internet if they do not exist.

  2. We all fantasize, but that certainly does not make it right. To pursue those fantasies through the internet, magazine, videos, or otherwise, bringing them into bedroom is an act of breaking trust, and destructive.
..for God will judge the adulterer and the sexually immoral.”
The word judge is krino (kree'-no) v. 1. (properly) to distinguish, i.e. decide (mentally or judicially)

It may be possible that what you do with your spouse, as long as you two are in agreement (and I do not think that means coerced agreement), in the bedroom is holy before God. I like this idea, but God will krino, distinguish if what you are doing is out of line. No, He probably will not strike you dead right there, but you, like a Pastor, will answer for the way you treated your sheep. Besides, if you are listening to Him, He is telling you when you are out line.

The KJV uses the term whore-mongers for sexually immoral. I can guarantee that everyone of us has been sexually immoral, even if only in thought; Therefore, if we are going to live under the law, then we are all going to get judged. I do not know what that judgment will look like for the Christian.

The Greek word for whore-mongers is pornos. Now doesn't that sound familiar? Originally used to mean a male prostitute for hire. Remember the position of women in this society, which I suppose makes this even more disgusting.
But this phrase whore-monger is being spoken of in terms of the marriage bedroom. What are these people bringing back into their homes, outside of the obvious diseases? It almost sounds like the married partners are performing these acts themselves.

The Greek word for adulterer is, moichos (moy-khos') n. 1. a (male) adulterer
Women on the whole do not tend to go in pursuit of sexual relationships, but men do. Dr. Dobson says it is our hormone levels that drive us. Considering what we have seen in scripture, this passage may well be referring to those who pursue sexuality outside of their marriage relationship, on any level, with anyone. My impression is that this is all extremely distasteful to God, and will be dealt with.
Here is the larger question to ask yourselves. Why would anyone have to make this point unless it was creating a great divide in man's ability to live a life in relationship with the loving God?

13:5 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.”
The quoted portion seems to have come from:
Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV) The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."
This is similar to the theme that Paul wrote to Timothy about. See 1Timothy 6:6-10

Do a comparison of translations and word study of the Hebrews 13:5 and you will find something interesting. The KJV used the word “conversation” in comparison to the NIV which says to “keep your lives free from”.

Okay then, I might not talk about my passion for money, but all you would have to do is look at how I live to know where my heart is. Everything about this world is in resistance to God, including money. To obsess over it, is to demonstrate one's selfish desires and lack of interest in God. You are putting you first. 

How does one love their neighbor as themselves, if you are filthy rich, while your neighbor is impoverished?

Young's literal translation says, “Without covetousness the behavior, being content with the things present”

It sounds like a script for Star Wars, where Yoda is instructing young Luke. Our behavior is to be without covetousness. Whether that is money or things, but get real; you cannot have things without money. They call people who have things and did not use money, thieves.

Being content with the things present. 
This does not give you the excuse to sit on your rear doing nothing. You are to take care of responsibilities as best you know how, but trusting in God that He will open the appropriate doors. 

If you are fortunate enough to have prosperity then pay attention to what the Father tells you to do with it.

If you have little to nothing, then you need to come to terms with it. This is your opportunity to learn to lean heavily upon God. 

Stepping aside and giving him first place in your life is all He has ever asked you to do. All that money can buy is just junk that will burn up. Why should we obsess over stuff. Are we hoping we gain some twisted security out of it.

I can tell you that going back home and living with mommy is not the ideal situation either, but if that is what life has dealt you then learn to play the cards you are dealt.
Deuteronomy 31:8 (NET) The LORD is indeed going before you – he will be with you; he will not fail you or abandon you. Do not be afraid or discouraged!”

Here is why you can be content with whatever state of being that you are in. Because God, himself, is going before you.

As I wrote I heard this in my spirit, and so I am giving it to you.
No, you may not see the path, or understand the reasons, but you are in the center of My love and I have a plan for you. I have already gone ahead and charted out the course, and I am ever willing to take you in hand, along that course, if you will let me. I know everyone has abandoned you in the past, but I never will. You are going to have to trust Me on this one, for that is what faith is all about. I desire for you to give up control, because you keeping stepping off of the path, and doing that has caused you great grief. Lean upon me, and put your trust in Me. I am asking you to not be afraid or discouraged, and I know that is difficult for you, but as you learn to lean upon me the fear will go away. I have been there continually as you have been walking, waiting for you to reach out and take my hand, and I have seen how difficult that has been for you. 
You are like the child that wants to grow, make your own decisions, and have an identity. I wish I could make it easier, but then that is why I sent my Son. Please allow My Son to be your identity. He has already been where you need to go and succeeded, making this so much easier for you. When you let go of your will and desire for control you will find an a place of contentment, joy, and love like you have never known. Come and walk in relationship with me.

Phase two added May 27, 2010

Hebrews 13:6 (YLT) so that we do boldly say, `The Lord [is] to me a helper, and I will not fear what man shall do to me.`

Having covered verse 5. A recap.
Verse 5 is part of a continuing thought initiated in verse 4. Oddly verse 4 starts off with honor within the marriage. That is hugely significant because that is our relationship with Jesus, a marriage. Even though in Jewish tradition the marriage begins in relationship well over a year before consummation, consummation of a deal, or in this case marriage, is the ultimate end or completion of the agreement. A Jewish girl over the age of 13 had the right to refuse the marriage. We too have the right to refuse the marriage, and we have the ability to dishonor the marriage contract.

Keeping yourselves free from the love of money, as verse 5 says ( I think we can easily tie money into selfish desires, and therefore unhealthy desires outside of the “relationship”), being content with what you have, because God has said, “I will never leave you; I will never forsake you.” Allows us to move toward a confidence, because we understand that the “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”
David wrote those words, “what can man do to me?” twice. Have you read the story of David. He ran from King Saul for a long time, and I think that demonstrates his understanding of how easily he could have died. Sure, he was like a mountain man, skillful enough to survive and take care of himself, but he ran for his life. That leads me to believe that David had a deeper understanding of what this meant. This is not just talking about the physical harm that people can bring. Just look at the world around you and you will know that people are horrible to each other, and if they do not kill the body they can leave it useless and a burden to others. There has to be an inner strength, one that only seems to come out of relationship. That bond is what we look for when we get married. 
Does the strength come when you say I do? Not hardly. It had better have been established as a strong foundation long before you said I do.
Now here is an interesting thought. What of the contractual marriage? If a bond forms between them, is it based upon love; for love comes out of mutual trust and respect. Except in the case of God who loved us regardless of our lack of mutual trust and respect.

Hebrews 13:6 (NIV) So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?"

The KJV states it this way: “So that we may boldly say, the Lord is helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”
The word boldly is the Greek word tharrheo, and means to exercise courage.
Say is the Greek word lego, and means to lay forth, generally as an expression of speech.

So, is our expression of courage directly related to what we say? Or, are we being told to speak as an expression of our convictions. Or, is this a command in a sense, directing us forward, as in a battle. The word may here, makes it somewhat optional. The implications being much like a doctor's prescription; apply when needed or multiple times a day.

Helper is the Greek word, boethos n.
1. a helper that gives aid or relief in time of distress
This is the description that David uses of God consistently while he is on the run. He must have needed that kind of help on numerous occasions

In verse 6 the Greek has the word for fear used twice. Almost as if they were trying to say fear not fear. It is one thing to fear a man with a weapon, but to fear fear itself is going far into the broken psyche. To fear fear is to fear nothing; for you are fearing that thing which may never happen, and you certainly cannot see.

Hebrews 13:7 (NET) Remember your leaders, who spoke God’s message to you; reflect on the outcome of their lives and imitate their faith.

Remember: mnemoneuo (mnay-mon-yoo'-o) v.
1. to exercise memory, i.e. recollect
2. (by implication) to punish
3. also to rehearse
[from a derivative of G3420]
KJV: make mention; be mindful, remember

Leaders: hegeomai (hayg-eh'-om-ai) v.
1. to lead, i.e. command (with official authority)
2. (figuratively) to deem, i.e. consider
[middle voice of a (presumed) strengthened form of G71]
KJV: account, (be) chief, count, esteem, governor, judge, have the rule over, suppose, think

Over you, or to you: humon (hoo-mone`) p/p.

  1. of (from or concerning) you
Whose faith: pistis (pis'-tis) n.
1. persuasion, i.e. credence
2. (morally) conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher)
3. (especially) reliance upon Christ for salvation

  1. (abstractly) constancy in such profession
Follow: mimeomai (mim-eh'-om-ai) v.

  1. to imitate

Considering: anatheoreo (an-ath-eh-o-reh'-o) v.

  1. to look again at (i.e. attentively)
The end, or outcome: ekbasis (ek'-bas-is) n.

  1. an exit
Their lives or conversation: anastrophe (an-as-trof-ay') n.
1. behavior

[from G390]
KJV: conversation
Here is my take on this. Even in men's bible study we have a hierarchy of leadership. They have yet to demand obeisance, but it is nice that someone is there to occasionally maintain decorum. The problem within the group is that there are several who invest time studying and there are those who fancy themselves learned, and feel the need to shove their ideas down the throats of others. (I suppose that is my interpretation based upon the manner in which the idea is conveyed.) Scripture is not of private interpretation.

Following the lives of those that demonstrate a solid, purposeful lifestyle, not one of greed and overbearing, but maturity and consistency in the Lord, is a great idea. I am all for it. I have even told people to follow my example, because I felt that no one around, at that time, was willing to demonstrate a life of faith. (I suspect that I was feeling a little self-righteous at the time.)

I have struggled with my own inner image and fears to a degree that I cannot imagine why anyone would consider it wise to follow after me. I have such issues with anger that on that basis alone I would not recommend me. Fortunately God may have other ideas. I feel a calling to be a pastor, but that will have to be God's work or it will not happen. Here is what, and all that I will do to promote that – Study to show yourself approved.
2 Timothy 2:15 (NIV) Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

I desperately wanted some serious bible study and could not find it. I have no venue, and though serious, I feel like I am lacking in some of the research training aspects. Besides that I am not sure how to make that happen, nor do I think I should try to force a door that may not be there in the first place. In my quest for a bible study I found a flier that seemed to convey my hearts desire and so I went to it. The pastor said we do serious bible study here. verse by verse, and chapter by chapter. What I got was his opinion, legalism, and a serious lack of understanding about the grace and mercy of God. What made that lack of grace part harder to handle was that God had shown him so much grace, and Jesus was the one who told us that those who have been forgiven much, love much. Well, I believed I could overlook the shortcomings of the legalism, and make a difference there. I believed that God had spoken to me and told me this was where I was supposed to be, and so I made a verbal commitment to him. 4 weeks later I could not stand another minute and vacated abruptly. (Not to panic, I have a fine group of men that I meet with regularly.)

In terms of submission, are we to just allow someone to damage us. I believe that if I did not have a strong identity in the Lord, this legalistic pastor could have caused some serious damage to any progress God was making in me. There are people going to churches like this all over this nation, and because they will not READ the bible for themselves they may never be free, outside of the grace of God.

Hebrews 13:8 (NIV) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
In light of someone to follow, consider Jesus. He never changes, never will. He is the definition of consistency. Follow him.

Hebrews 13:9 (NIV) 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.

Hebrews 13:9 (WBS) Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines: for it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied in them.

This one is used by the legalistic churches to put down those of us who exhibit some freedom in the spirit. (I suppose you figured out by now that I lean strongly that direction.)

This verse is used so frequently it is worthy of a look.
Greek is similar to Spanish in that so many things seem to be said backward, and yet if you think about it it makes sense.

G165. 9 Be G4064 not G3361 carried about G4064 with divers G4164 and G2532 strange G3581 doctrines G1322. For G1063 it is a good thing G2570 that the heart G2588 be established G950 with grace G5485; not G3756 with meats G1033, which have G5623 not G3756 profited G5623 them that have been occupied G4043 therein G1722 G3739. Jer 29:8; Matt 24:4; Rom 16:17; Eph 4:14; Eph 5:6; Col 2:16; 2Thess 2:2; 2Tim 4:3; 1John 4:1; John 6:27; Rom 14:17;

Carried about
periphero (per-ee-fer'-o) v.
1. to convey around, i.e. transport hither and thither
[from G4012 and G5342]
KJV: bear (carry) about
Root(s): G4012, G5342

Transported here and there. 
What is the motivation behind the movement? 

While I was a member at one church, I used to go to another, because there was something more there that I needed at the time. Add to that the fact that this gave me other places to go during the week, and this satisfied a spiritual feeding that I so desperately needed at the time. During this time I did not abandon my home church. Now I have seen several come to a church that I had attended, only to leave after a period of time. Mind you I went to that church for about 7 years, and became disgruntled, and found that I was no longer able to get fed there. (No need for your corrective comments, I have thought this through, and do not feel it's necessary to explain all the garbage involved in my leaving. So save it.)

What if people move merely because they are thrill seekers. In other words, they go where the big draw seems to be, primarily because they need to be entertained.

With divers
G4164 ποικίλος poikilos (poy-kee'-los) adj.
1. motley, i.e. various in character
[of uncertain derivation]
KJV: divers, manifold

Various in character? So this is the character of the meeting or the style of the pastor, we are talking about. Every place you go is different, and yet so many are the same. We have all these different flavors of church, and they find it necessary to carry the party line in attitude and message.
and strange
G3581 ξένος xenos (xen'-os) adj.
1. foreign
2. (literally) alien
3. (figuratively) novel
4. (by implication, actively) a host
5. (by implication, passively) a guest
[apparently a primary word]
KJV: host, strange(-r)

This would have to be foreign in comparison to what your original teacher would have taught. That is assuming that you grew up (symbolically) in a good church, under some good teaching. But why do we exclude the ability of the Holy Spirit to teach us. I suppose it would be beneficial if the new Christian were to dive into the Word and let it speak to them, teaching them.

G1322 διδαχή didache (did-akh-ay') n.
1. instruction (the act or the matter)
[from G1321]
KJV: doctrine, hath been taught
Root(s): G1321

Teachings. Ideally, correct teaching on who God is, and for the most part we have done a lousy job.

DOCTRINE, n. [L., to teach.]

  1. In a general sense, whatever is taught. Hence, a principle or position in any science; whatever is laid down as true by an instructor or master. The doctrines of the gospel are the principles or truths taught by Christ and his apostles. The doctrines of Plato are the principles which he taught. Hence a doctrine may be true or false; it may be a mere tenet or opinion.

.....For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.”

heart – thoughts and intents

be established – made firm and steadfast.

With grace – a manner of acting. This has to be the love that God has poured out upon, and continues to do so. As Pastor Greg Laurie, of Harvest Christian Fellowship says, “it is God's Riches At Christ's Expense.”

To say that is is a good thing that the heart be established only makes sense.

“… not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.”
The website Judaism 101 has a section called “Why do we observe the Laws of Kashrut?” Their short answer is that the Torah says so, and that may have been the case with these people, but I am not so sure.
We had Paul, in scripture, addressing ritualistic meats several times. The Jewish christian leadership simplified the instructions to new, non-Jewish believers by saying stay away from meats offered to idols. In this whacked out world of ours, how would you know what had been done to the meat prior to you buying it at the super-market?
What ever was going on here, was either ritualistic, or more obvious when they bought the meat. But it was not the buying of the meat, but importance of the ritual that the buyer placed upon it. Clearly the point is being made that all the hoopla surrounding the rituals was doing them no good, and it was occupying far to much space in their heads.
I do not think that it was intended to take up any space in our heads, but that may well be another matter altogether.

Hebrews 13:10 (NIV) We have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle have no right to eat.
Now you have some more clarity as to what the preceding verse was speaking of. The meats aspect had to do with temple practices. You might ask, I thought that the offering of sacrifices was a good thing? This is what the entire book of Hebrews has been talking about, our freedom from ritual; a ritual that originally was intended to point people to Jesus, but once Jesus came it obviously became a snare.

The priest's had an altar upon which the sacrifices had to be made. Jesus was offered upon an altar as well, but one not made with hands. We are invited to that altar, and as followers of Christ, have a right to eat from that altar. Those outside of the “family” have no right to that altar.
I doubt that most of us will ever be invited to the dinner table with the President, you have to be invited, and God invited everyone to come and join him. The only thing prevents anyone from sitting at dinner, or as this passage might put it “having the right to eat”, is their non-acceptance of the dinner invitation.

Hebrews 13:11 -13(NIV) 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. Hebrews 13:12 (NIV) And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. Hebrews 13:13 (NIV) Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore.

There is something very significant here, but it is eluding me. What is being said has a direct tie in with previous thoughts such as, “Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings.”, and the writer is tying them all together, and giving us explanations for things previously said.

Consider: The priest had to perform the sacrifices, and here we have Jesus sacrificed; the priest had to carry the blood into the Most Holy place, and we have Jesus carrying his own blood there; the body had to be burned outside the the camp, and Jesus carried his own cross outside the city, bearing the disgrace and sin of us all.

This is all so rich and deep, it is the core of who we are and why. His life and death, painted in a fractal of such magnificent beauty and complexity that it requires you to step back and take it in; the pieces of the painting slowly coming together as you grow in His grace and understanding.

Hebrews 13:14 (NIV) For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.
This seems straight forward, and easy enough to understand. While on this, looking forward to the promise that is in Christ, we are not in that city. There is a city that is ours, but we are not there yet. And yes, I have even had to endure the oddball teachings of several of my own family members that believe that we are there now. Wrong.
We anxiously await that day. Hang in there.

Hebrews 13:15 (NIV) Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise--the fruit of lips that confess his name.
For the variety of reasons that are common to us all, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise.

Praise: from the ISBE
The word comes from the Latin pretium, "price," or "value," and may be defined generally as an ascription of value or worth. Praise may be bestowed upon unworthy objects or from improper motives, but true praise consists in a sincere acknowledgment of a real conviction of worth.
So then we are to esteem value to the one who saved us, and do so when we do not feel like it.

Sacrifice – To devote with loss.
Originally this loss would have meant a life, and in a sense that life should have been ours, but God accepted the life of an animal. We do not have to take that route anymore, for Christ became the sacrifice for us. Now if we sacrifice something as part of our giving worth or value to the one that loved us, then what does that look like. It is not unreasonable to give up some small aspect of your precious time, now is it.

Because Jesus gave up his time, and became a sacrifice on our behalf, our efforts to give worth and value to a redeemer should only be to and through him.


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