We are in our final week of our study in Hebrews! Chapter 13 continues from the last word given in 12:28 “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us give thanks, by which we offer to God an acceptable worship with reverence and awe.” This type of worship is expressed in the everyday, ordinary decisions of our lives. It extends beyond Sunday worship songs and is to be expressed through the deliberate act of loving God and our neighbors. The author names seven spiritual practices to consider, each drawing from the teachings of Jesus:
Love one another through mutual love (vs. 1). This invitation is a direct correlation with the commandment Jesus gave his disciples in John 13:34 “a new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
Hospitality towards strangers (vs. 2)
Remember those in prison and victims of torture (vs. 3) Matthew 25:36 “I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.”
Honor marriage (for those who are married) (vs. 4). Whether you are married or not, the spiritual practice involves maintaining the dignity of each person without succumbing to the temptation to cheapen them through exploitation, lust, or dominance.
Be content and trust that God provides (vs. 4) Jesus taught a radical detachment from money. Luke 12:15 “Then he said to them, watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
Honor and imitate your spiritual leaders (vs. 7, 17) The invitation here is not to do so blindly, but to consider the fruit of their lives and imitate their faith. Just as the author listed out the pillars of faith from Israel’s past, we draw from their strength and our current leaders.
Do not be carried away by strange teachings, but remain grounded in the grace of the gospel (vs. 9).
How do you view each of these practices? Is it a burden? A sacrifice? An act of love?
Consider how the author drew directly from Jesus’ teachings into the context of the congregation. How do you apply Jesus’ teachings into your current context?