Hebrews 13:8-25 NLT
8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 9 So do not be attracted by strange, new ideas. Your strength comes from God’s grace, not from rules about food, which don’t help those who follow them.
10 We have an altar from which the priests in the Tabernacle have no right to eat. 11 Under the old system, the high priest brought the blood of animals into the Holy Place as a sacrifice for sin, and the bodies of the animals were burned outside the camp. 12 So also Jesus suffered and died outside the city gates to make his people holy by means of his own blood. 13 So let us go out to him, outside the camp, and bear the disgrace he bore. 14 For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.15 Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name.16 And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.
17 Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit.
18 Pray for us, for our conscience is clear and we want to live honorably in everything we do. 19 And especially pray that I will be able to come back to you soon.
20 Now may the God of peace—who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus,
the great Shepherd of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood—
21 may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen. 22 I urge you, dear brothers and sisters, to pay attention to what I have written in this brief exhortation. 23 I want you to know that our brother Timothy has been released from jail. If he comes here soon, I will bring him with me to see you. 24 Greet all your leaders and all the believers there. The believers from Italy send you their greetings.
25 May God’s grace be with you all.
I love that we have the assurance that Jesus is always the same. He will not suddenly change his mind and withdraw his grace from us. This directly ties into the next statement: do not get carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. Our job is to make sure that whatever is said or taught by the authorities and people of influence in our life is aligned with scripture. The author is saying to not take everything people say as truth, but always take it back to scripture if we have questions. All of this is because Jesus and the truth of scripture is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
What about your faith do you have questions about? Search the unchanging word of God for the truth.
Near the end of the chapter, the author concludes with a call to praise. He calls believers to live lives of worship and praise.
What does worship look like on a daily basis?
Obedience is praising God. How are you being obedient to scripture? How are you not?
Spend some time in prayer. Ask the Lord to reveal to you how you can more fully live a life of worship in the grace of God. Ask Him to build your faith.
Hebrews 13:1-7 NLT
“Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. 2 Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! 3 Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.
4 Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery.
5 Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said,
“I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”*
6 So we can say with confidence, “The LORD is my helper, so I will have no fear.
What can mere people do to me?”
7 Remember your leaders who taught you the word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and follow the example of their faith.”
So what now? We are almost through the entire book of Hebrews, and the writer is giving final instructions to the church as well as telling great truths about who God is.
What are three things the writer of Hebrews instructs the church to do in this passage? (There are more than three answers).
What are two truths about God that are spoken in this passage?
What is one things God wants you to know from this passage?
Hebrews 12:14-28 NLT
14 Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.15 Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. 16 Make sure that no one is immoral or godless like Esau, who traded his birthright as the firstborn son for a single meal. 17 You know that afterward, when he wanted his father’s blessing, he was rejected. It was too late for repentance, even though he begged with bitter tears.
18 You have not come to a physical mountain, to a place of flaming fire, darkness, gloom, and whirlwind, as the Israelites did at Mount Sinai. 19 For they heard an awesome trumpet blast and a voice so terrible that they begged God to stop speaking. 20 They staggered back under God’s command: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.” 21 Moses himself was so frightened at the sight that he said, “I am terrified and trembling.”
22 No, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to countless thousands of angels in a joyful gathering. 23 You have come to the assembly of God’s firstborn children, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God himself, who is the judge over all things. You have come to the spirits of the righteous ones in heaven who have now been made perfect. 24 You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of forgiveness instead of crying out for vengeance like the blood of Abel.
25 Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One who is speaking. For if the people of Israel did not escape when they refused to listen to Moses, the earthly messenger, we will certainly not escape if we reject the One who speaks to us from heaven! 26 When God spoke from Mount Sinai his voice shook the earth, but now he makes another promise: “Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.” 27 This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain.
28 Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. 29 For our God is a devouring fire.
This passage of Scripture begins with a command and then moves to joyful worship. It says we are to strive for holiness in all areas of our lives. How can we do this?
God has set a glorious standard because of his perfect nature. None of us can measure up to it, but none-the-less, it exists! The author of Hebrews included sexual purity as part of this standard. Sex is like fire. In the right context, fire can be a wonderful gift, but outside of that context, it is dangerous and destructive. The writer does not say, “Keep this command, and if you mess up once, you’re smoked!” Even though our sin might not be sexual purity, we all mess up and fall short of His standard. Yet we are not coming to the mountain of fear, where God spoke commands to the Israelites and they trembled with terror. We can never come to the place where we earn our way to God. In no way can we please God by ourselves.
Instead, we come to the joyful celebration of God’s grace, where Jesus’ blood is sufficient for our sin and weakness. In our pursuit of holiness, we do not arrive at the mountain of fear, but the mountain of joy. It is our privilege and joy to be able to listen fearlessly to the God who loves us and provides for us. How do we strive for holiness when we always fall short? By leaning into the grace of God instead of our own strength!
In what ways are you sitting at the base of the mountain of fear and trying to earn your salvation?
How are you personally pursuing holiness in your life?
How can you worship God with more thankfulness, reverence and awe?
Hebrews 12:1-13 NLT
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. 3 Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.4 After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.
5 And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said,
“My child, don’t make light of the LORD’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you.
6 For the LORD disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”
7 As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? 8 If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. 9 Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever?
10 For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. 11 No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. 12 So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. 13 Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.
In Hebrews 12:1-13 we are told to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Just like a runner we are to run our spiritual race. Runners are always looking at how to get faster and faster. When training for a race usually marathoners drop 10 to 15 pounds. This weight drop is primarily on the upper body which allows for the runner to run even faster than before. In the same way, we as Christians are called to shed unneeded poundage that slows us down from running the race.
As well as shedding unneeded hindrances, we also are called to live a life of discipline. There are two types of discipline spoken of in Hebrews 12. The first is God disciplining us by means of the ‘school of hardknocks.’ In other words, sometimes God wants to teach us and grow us in responsibility and shape us into his image through disciplining us. This discipline is usually accomplished through hard times. Vs. 7 reads, “Endure hardship as disciples.” But why would God want to take us through hard times? The next part of the verse answers the question; “God is treating you as sons.” In other words, God would rather take you through hard times in order to grow you closer to his image, than allow you to stay in your current state of misery without him. God does this because he loves us and wants us to grow closer to him. The closer we are to God, the happier we are and the more we love Him and others.
The second kind of discipline is self-discipline, such as working out. We make a choice every time we go into the gym to try to get faster, feel better, lift heavier, etc. This way of thinking is the same that Hebrews 12 uses in verse 12. “Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.” Build your spiritual body! This can be done through a variety of ways such as; having quiet times every day, loving on others, loving God, and impacting your world. When we do these acts, we are exercising our spiritual muscles! Each one these acts are impossible without living a life of spiritual discipline.
Life is too short to waist. Throw off those things that slow you down as a Christian. Live fully, love hard, fight hard, and run hard! One of my favorite quotes is from the movie Braveheart,— “all men die, but not every man or woman fully lives.” Be the type of Christian that fully lives for God and others!
Hebrews 11 NLT
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.2 Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation.
3 By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen. 4 It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. Abel’s offering gave evidence that he was a righteous man, and God showed his approval of his gifts. Although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us by his example of faith. 5 It was by faith that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying—“he disappeared, because God took him.” For before he was taken up, he was known as a person who pleased God. 6 And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.
7 It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before. By his faith Noah condemned the rest of the world, and he received the righteousness that comes by faith.
8 It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. 9 And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. And so did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise. 10 Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God. 11 It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, though she was barren and was too old. She believed that God would keep his promise. 12 And so a whole nation came from this one man who was as good as dead—a nation with so many people that, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore, there is no way to count them.
13 All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth.14 Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. 15 If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. 16 But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
17 It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, 18 even though God had told him, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted. 19 Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead.
20 It was by faith that Isaac promised blessings for the future to his sons, Jacob and Esau.
21 It was by faith that Jacob, when he was old and dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons and bowed in worship as he leaned on his staff. 22 It was by faith that Joseph, when he was about to die, said confidently that the people of Israel would leave Egypt. He even commanded them to take his bones with them when they left. 23 It was by faith that Moses’ parents hid him for three months when he was born. They saw that God had given them an unusual child, and they were not afraid to disobey the king’s command. 24 It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He thought it was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward. 27 It was by faith that Moses left the land of Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger. He kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible. 28 It was by faith that Moses commanded the people of Israel to keep the Passover and to sprinkle blood on the doorposts so that the angel of death would not kill their firstborn sons. 29 It was by faith that the people of Israel went right through the Red Sea as though they were on dry ground. But when the Egyptians tried to follow, they were all drowned. 30 It was by faith that the people of Israel marched around Jericho for seven days, and the walls came crashing down. 31 It was by faith that Rahab the prostitute was not destroyed with the people in her city who refused to obey God. For she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.
32 How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets. 33 By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. 35 Women received their loved ones back again from death.
But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. 36 Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons.37 Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. 38 They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground. 39 All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised.40 For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.
How great is your faith? Is it great enough to move mountains? As you read this chapter, think about the great heroes of faith and what traits they shared that allowed them to live so radically. Oftentimes when our faith is not as great as we would hope, it is because we do not give God enough opportunities to come through in our lives. What if you put yourself in a situation where the only way you could succeed is if God came through? How would your trust or faith in Him increase?
How does the author define faith?
Reread Hebrews 11:6. What is one thing that stuck out to you about this verse?
What are you doing in your life that requires true faith? If you were to take God out of the picture, how would things be different?
List three practical ways you can rely more fully on God:
Hebrews 10:1-18 NLT
“The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship. 2 If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared.3 But instead, those sacrifices actually reminded them of their sins year after year. 4 For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. 5 That is why, when Christ came into the world, he said to God,
“You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings. But you have given me a body to offer.
6 You were not pleased with burnt offerings or other offerings for sin.
7 Then I said, ‘Look, I have come to do your will, O God—as is written about me in the Scriptures.’”
8 First, Christ said, “You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings or burnt offerings or other offerings for sin, nor were you pleased with them” (though they are required by the law of Moses). 9 Then he said, “Look, I have come to do your will.” He cancels the first covenant in order to put the second into effect. 10 For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.11 Under the old covenant, the priest stands and ministers before the altar day after day, offering the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins. 12 But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 13 There he waits until his enemies are humbled and made a footstool under his feet. 14 For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy.15 And the Holy Spirit also testifies that this is so. For he says, 16 “This is the new covenant I will make with my people on that day, says the Lord:
I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” 17 Then he says,“I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds.” 18 And when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices.
What is one thing that stuck out to you about this passage?
Can you imagine how many sacrifices it would take to cover just one day’s worth of your sins? The priest’s many sacrifices could never take away sins, and neither can any of our good works. But Jesus gave himself up as the ultimate, final, and complete sacrifice for our sins, and is now our High Priest forever. If you have trusted in Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you can rest assured that the price for your sin has been paid in full through his precious blood.
Reread Hebrews 10:14-18
Does not our conscience prove that God has put his law in our hearts?
How can you better listen to the Holy Spirit’s leading through your conscience?
Pray that God would help you to better obey his law written on your heart, and as you become more aware of how much you break that law, pray He would help you to realize how amazing His grace is that paid for your sins through the blood of His only Son.
Hebrews 9:1-10 NLT
That first covenant between God and Israel had regulations for worship and a place of worship here on earth. 2 There were two rooms in that Tabernacle. In the first room were a lampstand, a table, and sacred loaves of bread on the table. This room was called the Holy Place. 3 Then there was a curtain, and behind the curtain was the second room called the Most Holy Place. 4 In that room were a gold incense altar and a wooden chest called the Ark of the Covenant, which was covered with gold on all sides. Inside the Ark were a gold jar containing manna, Aaron’s staff that sprouted leaves, and the stone tablets of the covenant. 5 Above the Ark were the cherubim of divine glory, whose wings stretched out over the Ark’s cover, the place of atonement. But we cannot explain these things in detail now.
6 When these things were all in place, the priests regularly entered the first room as they performed their religious duties. 7 But only the high priest ever entered the Most Holy Place, and only once a year. And he always offered blood for his own sins and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. 8 By these regulations the Holy Spirit revealed that the entrance to the Most Holy Place was not freely open as long as the Tabernacle and the system it represented were still in use.
9 This is an illustration pointing to the present time. For the gifts and sacrifices that the priests offer are not able to cleanse the consciences of the people who bring them. 10 For that old system deals only with food and drink and various cleansing ceremonies—physical regulations that were in effect only until a better system could be established.
We worship all the time whether we realize it or not. Worship does not just happen in a big sanctuary with a band and cool lights. We worship through our daily actions and are continually pouring out all of our souls to someone or something. The object of our worship is either God, who shines so bright, or the world, which is so dark. How much do we direct our worship to God?
This passage highlighted the Old Testament ways of repentance and worship. It involved the tabernacle, high priests, and offerings. However, through the new covenant of Jesus we are able to freely enter into the throne room of the king of kings!
Think about worship in your own life. What does that look like?
Our daily actions are outpourings of ourselves onto other people. Are your outpourings Christ-like?
Why do you worship God?
Do you think that your actions can change the lives of those around you? Explain how.