Better Morals

Hebrews 13:1-8
Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. 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 mere mortals do to me?” 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.

This passage includes several moral instructions.

1. Love Each Other. v. 1

1 John 4:7-8
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

2. Take care of strangers. v. 2 (cf. Luke 10.25-37, The Good Samaritan)

3. Care for prisoners and the mistreated. v. 3 (Matthew 25.37-40)

4. Be sexually pure. v. 4

5. Don't be greedy. v. 5

There is a promise that makes this all possible:

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 mere mortals do to me?”

And we know this promise is true because...

Hebrews 13:8
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

A Better Discipleship

Punishment - a penalty inflicted for an offense.

Discipline - activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training.
"Discipline is the training necessary to lead a child to maturity."

Disciple - activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training.

What is the 'therefore' there for?

The great, faithful and faith-filled leaders of Hebrews 11 are an inspiration.

The Christian life is a race- not a sprint, but a marathon.

Part I: Set aside anything that causes you to lose focus.

Throw off distractions, sins, obstacles, relationships that keep you from Jesus.

Part II: Focus on Jesus.

Philippians 3:13-14 NIV
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

2 Timothy 4:6-8 NIV
For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

1. The discipline of God comes from a place of love. v. 6

Romans 8:28 NIV
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

2. The discipline of God is spiritual in nature. v.  9

3. The discipline of God leads to holiness and peace. v. 11

v. 14 "Make every effort..."
Discipleship can be tiring and takes a long time.

v. 15 "See to it..."
Keep going. Don't give up.

Discipleship is a two-way proposition.
God does things for us, but we also do things to support our faith.

(Some) Spiritual Disciplines:
Bible reading
Bible study
Prayer
Journaling
Hymn singing
Meditation
Fasting
Silence
Fellowship
Contemplation
Worship
Stewardship

 

A Better Sacrifice

The key to this passage (and to all of the Scripture) can be found in the last phrase of Hebrews 9.28: "to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him."

Philippians 2:6-11 NIV
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Downgraded six times.

1. He gave up his divinity. v. 6

2. He became a human. v. 7

3. He took a "lower" form of humanity. v. 7 He became a servant.

4. He submitted to death. v. 8

5. He was executed as a criminal. v. 8

6. He was executed in worst possible way. v. 8

Galatians 3:13 NIV
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”

And all of this sacrifice so that we can be saved.

God does not want more sacrifices or more religious observances from us.

Hebrews 10:8 NIV
First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them”—though they were offered in accordance with the law.

1 Samuel 15:22 NIV
But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

Romans 10:9 NIV
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

A Better Covenant

The tent (Tabernacle) in the wilderness was sacred.
The building (Temple) in Jerusalem was sacred.
But only the sanctuary (holy place) in heaven is made by God.

Hebrews 8:1-2

Covenant vs. Testament
Covenant= an agreement between two parties
Testament= will; the desires of a single party

The word used in this passage is the same as "last will and testament."
It is put into effect by the sacrificial death of Jesus.

The covenant of Moses was replaced because it was "inadequate" and "incomplete."

It revealed sin, but could not remove it.
It demanded obedience, but didn't provide power to be obedient.

The promises of the new covenant:
1. "I will put my laws in their hearts..." v. 10

Jeremiah 31:33

2. "I will be their God..." v. 10

3. "...they will know me..." v. 11

Jeremiah 31:34

4. "I will forgive their wickedness..." v. 12