Sermon: A True Worshiper (Hebrews 13:1-17)

A True Worshipper

Hebrews 13:1-17 (ESV)

Let brotherly love continue.  [2] Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.  [3] Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.  [4] Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.  [5] Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  [6] So we can confidently say,

“The Lord is my helper;

I will not fear;

what can man do to me?”

[7] Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.  [8] Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.  [9] Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them.  [10] We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat.  [11] For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp.  [12] So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood.  [13] Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured.  [14] For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.  [15] Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.  [16] Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

[17] Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.

As the writer finishes the Book of Hebrews, he wants us to see the importance of a faith that functions for the good of others.  We must realize that walking by sight is sinful and it means living for yourself.  Walking by faith is glorious and serves others well.

How is it that you can best glorify Christ and serve your church well?

Truth Taught- A true worshiper serves his/her church well by actively loving Christ and loving others.

Our constitution is at its final draft stage and in a matter of a few weeks, looks to be adopted.  This process has been long but good at the same time.  The leadership wishes to thank you for your patience and support as we’ve spent well over a year working through this process.  As we finish, we will begin having a membership.  I want to encourage you in this because with it comes privileges.  It’s our desire that membership means something.  I’ve been a part of church whose membership is well up over a thousand people but whose weekly attendance is under two hundred.  Membership in many churches is meaningless.

As leaders, we wish to serve you well and at the same time our desire is that you serve your church well.

The writer of Hebrews begins today by showing us how a church is to be functioning well.  What is our responsibility as members of Christ’s church?  What is our responsibility to others and to Christ?

This list is important because if we understand the writer’s intention, this list not only helps us glorify Christ but it helps your fellow church member glorify Christ as well.  Did you know that your obedience serves to cause others to be obedient?  In the same way, a word of caution, your disobedience serves to cause others to be disobedient.

We have the need to see that our behavior affects others as well as ourselves.

The key to this text is found in the fact that worshipping Christ must happen 24/7.  It is a life style worship we’re speaking of not just something that happens Sunday mornings from 11-12:15.

If we are to live out the Book of Hebrews, the writer wants us to see how all the truths found in the book manifest themselves in our lives.

Hebrews 12:28-29 (ESV)

Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,  [29] for our God is a consuming fire.

Did you know that when you love others in the name of Christ, you’re worshipping Christ?  That’s the real point here.  We worship Christ by loving those made in His image.

The first exhortation given by the apostle is to…

1. Love and Serve Others (Hebrews 13:1-4)

Let brotherly love continue.  [2] Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.  [3] Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.  [4] Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.

We are to love and serve our fellow church members.  We are to love and serve strangers.  We are to love and serve our wives/husbands.  Step one in presenting Christ acceptable worship is to serve others.  If the Lord is to be glorified in our lives, He will be glorified as we love and serve others.

I’ve also be associated with churches who seem very friendly when you arrive but whose friendliness is really only on the surface.  Once the congregation is dismissed the friendliness is over.

I am to love and serve my fellow church members.  I am to love and serve strangers.  I am to love and serve my wife or husband.  When we do these things well Jesus is made more and more famous.

The best way to show love to a stranger is to be hospitable.  The best way to show love to those in prison is to visit them.  The best way to show love to your wife or husband is to be faithful to them.

A church that is in unity and mutual love will be striving to accomplish these most basic important acts of service.

This type of love also has another dimension to it.  It shows that salvation is real.

1 John 3:14 (ESV)

We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.

1 John 4:12 (ESV)

No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

It’s one thing to say I love you.  For John, it was more than words.  He saw love the same way God does.  God wants our love for each other to be tangible.  Acts of service show love is real.

Ask yourself this…Do I just come to church on Sundays and then never serve my church family through the week?

According to God, love must be practiced to be real.

1 John 3:16-18 (ESV)

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.  [17] But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?  [18] Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

Christ loved us by actively taking action and going to the cross because our greatest need was redemption.  A stranger’s greatest need is hospitality.  A prisoner’s greatest need is a visitor.  A spouse’s greatest need is dependability.

2. Be Content (Hebrews 13:5-6)

[5] Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  [6] So we can confidently say,

“The Lord is my helper;

I will not fear;

what can man do to me?”

If you’re going to serve the Lord and others well, another issue is that we’re not consumed with a love of money.  Money is addictive and can quickly rule over our affections.  Care must be taken to not get from money what we should be getting from the Lord.

Some find security in money.  They think that if their bank account is a certain size then everything will be alright.  However, the events of the last couple of years should go to prove that money can be taken away very quickly.

Some think that money can buy happiness.  They spend and spend in order to be happy.  They believe the latest greatest whatever will bring to their souls happiness and fulfillment.  However, speaking from experience, it never does.  There still remains that empty longing for something else.

The sad part of all this is that by the time everything is bought whether by cash or credit, there remains none left for the church.  The means by which you can actively and tangibly love others evaporates because you’ve spent all you have and then some trying to make yourself happy.

The biblical answer to all this…

be content with what you have.

If God has given you a home, be content with the one He’s given.  If you have a car to drive, clothes to wear, and food to eat, be content.  This text also has another part to it as well.  When we’re not content with what God’s given what we really are saying is that we’re not content with God Himself.

Psalm 37:16 (ESV)

Better is the little that the righteous has

than the abundance of many wicked.

1 Tim. 6:6-10 (ESV)

Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment,  [7] for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.  [8] But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.  [9] But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.  [10] For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

Eccles. 5:10 (ESV)

He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.

Do you see the trap that is set before us as believers in regard to money?  One who loves money will never be happy even if money increases.  If you make 10,000 a year or 100,000 a year you can easily spend it all on yourself and not have any left to love others with.  In the end, you’ve brought your salvation into question.

There’s nothing wrong with money or wealth as long as it’s used in a balanced way.

I knew a man who ran a pharmacy in Kentucky who was very well off financially.  He was also extremely generous.  He gave much of it away.  God will give us what we can handle.  He could handle wealth.  I probably couldn’t.

Be content with God.

“The Lord is my helper;

I will not fear;

what can man do to me?”

3. Love the Truth (Hebrews 13:7-9)

[7] Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.  [8] Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.  [9] Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them.

Another way you love others and serve them well is to also love the truth.  Why do you attend worship?  I pray one of the reasons is that the truth is presented and you find yourselves attracted to truth.

If we could simplify these verses it might go like this…

Truth leads to grace and grace leads to strength.

False teaching leads to false devotion and false devotion leads to emptiness.

As church members of Grace Community Church, love the truth and love Grace and be strengthened.

We must guard against new theology.  New ideas about Christ are not good.  [8] Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Why do we read doctrinal statements each week?  Because part of our purpose is to show that what the early church taught about Christ is the same as what the reformers taught and is the same as what we teach.

If you run into some new novel theology, be very cautious because it’s most likely wrong.  However, don’t confuse interpretation with application.  Remember, 1 interpretation many applications.

Love your fellow church member by loving the truth.  Excitement about truth spreads to others and encourages their love for the same age old truth.

4. Love Christ (Hebrews 13:10-16)

[10] We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat.  [11] For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp.  [12] So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood.  [13] Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured.  [14] For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.  [15] Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.

Jesus has shown us the greatest example of unselfish extravagant love possible.  When He went outside that camp and endured the cross and suffered for His people, He was loving us with every fiber of His being.  Loving others, for Jesus, meant pain and suffering.  Our greatest need was to be met by Christ.  It required suffering.

Sometimes if we are to love others it will require suffering and broken hearts and being taken advantage of and being abused and used.  But you know what, that’s ok.  Loving others costs something.

We’re commanded in this text to go outside the camp like Jesus did and bear, at times, similar reproach.

The camp was a place of safety and security.  It could be for us our comfort zone.  Go outside and take a chance.  Live by faith and not by safety.  What is it Christ has for you?  What would going outside the camp look like for you?

5. Submit to Your Leaders (Hebrews 13:17)

[17] Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.

Finally, you can love others as you submit to your leaders.

Our passage today begins with… Let brotherly love continue.

I have to say to let your submission continue.  You are a pleasure to pastor.  There is no sides being taken and no axes grinding.  That is the Lord working.

As we move into constituting as a church, I want to reassure you that there is going to be basically no changes take place.  What you’re used to will continue.  All this constitution is doing is writing down what we already practice.

I would ask that you serve and love others by submitting to the leadership of our church.  Unless we ask you to sin in some way, continue to give us the benefit of the doubt and allow us the privilege of leading you.  Nothing we do here is done by flying by the seat of our pants so to speak.  Everything is slow and deliberate.  We are the ones who will someday give an account to God for your soul’s condition.  God has place me as the steward of your soul and so with fear and trembling I am leading you the best I can closer to Christ.  If you’re lost I pray that the Lord would same you and bring you closer to Himself.  If you’re already a believer, I pray that the Lord would draw you even closer to Himself.

In our constitution, we have things that if you submit to will help in bringing you closer to Jesus.  I pray you will continue to submit.

Your submission is loving Christ and loving others, because your submission will encourage others to submit as well.

Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.

You will have the great advantage of a joyous pastor and leaders.  This will be a great benefit to you.

Truth Taught- In serving my church well, I must be diligent in actively loving Christ and loving others.

I love others by:

Being hospitable to strangers

Visiting those in prison

Being faithful to my spouse

Being content with what I have and not loving money

Loving the truth

Loving Christ

Submitting to the church leaders

May the Lord be gracious to us as we grow as a church not only numerically but in love for our Lord.

One Comment on “Sermon: A True Worshiper (Hebrews 13:1-17)

  1. This really blessed me! Awesome and through presentation!

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