Practical Living with Eternal Perspective – Part 2
Read: Hebrews 13:17-25
Do you long to please Christ at His Judgment Seat? Do you wish to affect other believers in a positive way, even if you’re not in direct contact with them? Do you want to please God and know what is pleasing to Him in your life? If so, the last few verses of Hebrews are for you.
V17-19 – Christian Living for the Sake of Others
My manner of living affects the leaders in my local church. In verse 7, the readers were commanded to remember leaders of the past, and now in verse 17 they are ordered to both obey and submit to present local church leadership. Why? They watch over your soul (The “soul” here is to do with every facet of life, as “soul” is used in Peter’s epistles). As the shepherd watches day and night over the flock, the leaders of the local church are to have a genuine care for your life. Since they are to be spiritually mature, we should obey and submit to their guidance.
There is a solemnity to verse 17 for not only the flock, but for the leaders also: “they must give account.” A local church overseer is responsible to the Great Shepherd of the sheep. Advice, teaching and encouragement that they pass on to you is for your spiritual well-being. They aren’t trying to cut you down to size. They desire to give a joyful report about you at the Judgment seat of Christ, as well as about their own service. You may think they are making mountains out of mole hills, but we are to obey and submit to their counsel. There will be reward in eternity for this.
V18-19 – Praying for the Writer
Some Christians almost seem (emphasis on seem) so spiritual that we think they don’t need prayer. But all Christians need prayer. Paul asked for prayer in his letters, as does this writer. This Christian desires to be able to serve these Hebrew Christians again, and to do so while keeping a good conscience. Remember to pray for those who you think need it, as well as those that you think don’t.
V20-21 – Christian Working and God’s Working through Jesus Christ
Obedience to the word won’t be easy for these believers, since it always costs something. Yet obedience is a must when we are living with an eternal perspective. A comfort to the Hebrew’s heart, and to yours and mine, is the power of the God of peace. Through the difficulties of life, the God of peace makes believers “perfect in every good work to do His will.”
It’s going to take a lot of power to make us perfect in every good work to do His will. Is God able? He is the God who raised our Lord Jesus from the dead. That’s power! He is the God of the everlasting covenant – eternal and unchangeable. That’s power! His power is working to make you perfect. Your quest toward perfection is pleasing in His sight. All this work has been made possible through Jesus Christ, and God desires your eternal best interest.
V22-25 – Closing Remarks
The writer desires the reader to hear this short final exhortation. The exhortation and “letter… in few words” refers to ch13 itself. The writer passes along good news about Timothy. He’s been released and is coming to see the Hebrew Christians. The writer has confidence he will be able to come in view of the prayers of v18-19.
The leaders of the believers, and the rest of the believers in the area where this letter is addressed are to be greeted from the writer. Greetings are sent from Italy where the writer is.
Finally, grace will be needed to be able to live out the exhortations and the teaching that the writer has given. Let us live with an eternal and spiritual perspective on life as the readers are encouraged to do.
Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach.
Compare the “grief” of v17 with the “groaning” (same Greek word) in Romans 8:23. How does this add to the idea of the possible anguish of the overseers account about you?
Notice the God of peace in its various contexts. (Rom 15:33, Rom 16:20, Phil 4:9, 1 Thes 5:23, Heb 13:20)
Verse 20 also refers to the Lord Jesus as ‘the Great Shepherd of the sheep.” What is the relationship between Psalm 23 – my Shepherd, John 10 – the Good Shepherd, and Hebrews 13 – the Great Shepherd? How might the Good Shepherd link with Psalm 22 and Great Shepherd link with Psalm 24?