God's Provision to Come into His Presence

Jesus – The One Who Will Never Forsake You 

– Hebrews 13

 

In chapter eleven we saw the walk of faith. In chapter twelve we saw the path of hope. In chapter thirteen we will see the perfect way of love. What better way for Paul to conclude this awesome letter on God's provision for coming into His presence than for a practical section about faith, hope and love. Love and loving is the perfect way to live in the presence of God. In that presence it is Jesus who , in love, says, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."

Jesus said all the Law and the Prophets are built on two primary foundational principles:  supreme love for God and sacrificial love for others (Matthew 22:37-40). His disciples were to be known by the love they show toward one another (John 13:34-35). Love is the distinguishing mark of a disciple of Jesus. Love is the evidence that we have born again and regenerated by the Holy Spirit. God pours out His love into our heart by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). If there is no love in a Christian we need to ask if they are genuinely spiritually Christian (e.g. 1 John 3:16-19, 23; 4:7-21). A loveless Christian is an oxymoron.

Jesus said the greatest love is a love that "lay down one's life for his friends" (John 15:13). Truly if we were to sum up Jesus commandments it would be "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you" (John 15:1). Love is the "royal law" of Jesus (James 2:8). To enter and live in the presence of God is to dive into the ocean of God's love. It shouldn't surprise then that the final chapter of this letter about God's presence is all about love.

To the church in Colosse Paul wrote, "But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection" (Colossians 3:14). "Love" (Greek agape) refers to a Christ-like sacrificial love. Such love is a product of the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). Such love is a fruit of the Spirit in us (Galatians 5:22-24). Such love is  the attitude and motivation that is most like Christ's attitude and motivation (2 Corinthians 5:14-21). Such love is the way things are done that gives them eternal worth (1 Corinthians 13). Such love is seen in the sacrifice of the only Son Jesus by the Father of heaven (Romans 5:8). Such love and living in it is what perfects us. "Perfection" (Greek teleiotes) speaks of completeness, a state of spiritual understanding and insight, spiritual maturity. "Bond"  (Greek syndesmos) speaks of an attachment ligament, a uniting principle, that which binds together, a bond, a bundle.  Such Christlike love is what wraps up in a nice complete perfect bundle all that God reveals to us in scripture.

In Hebrews Paul speaks of perfection too (Hebrews 2:10; 5:9; 6:1; 7:11,19,28; 9:9,11; 10:1, 14; 11:40; and 12:23). And it is fitting that he concludes the letter with the exhortation "Let brotherly love continue" (Hebrews 13:1). Examples of how such love might practically work itself out in and through our lives is what continues in the rest of that final chapter. Let's dig in.

Hebrews 13 (NKJV)

13 Let brotherly love continue.

Love your brothers and sisters in Christ. "Brotherly love" (Greek philadelphia) is love toward brothers, love of the brethren, love, friendship, affection, devotion. Philadelphian love has often been compared with agape love as being the lesser of the two. This may be the case based on certain contexts. But really, philadelphia love is an outgrowth and living out of agape love toward those in the family of God. When we accept Jesus as Savior and are born again we are adopted by God into His eternal heavenly family (Romans 8:14-15; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 1:5). Philadelphian love is particularly the love we show for others in the body of Christ.

Love is a must. Such love is to "continue" (Greek meneto - Present/Active/Imperative of meno) or abide continually, remain, stay, stand fast, dwell, continue, wait, endure, be permanent. Love for our fellow brothers and sister sin Christ is to continue no matter what. The form of this word used by Paul as he is inspired by the scripture is imperative. An imperative means this is a must, an essential, an absolute. Loving one another is a necessary and indispensible part of the genuine Christian's life.

A man gave the following account.…

I was walking across the Golden Gate Bridge when I saw a man about to jump off. I tried to dissuade him from committing suicide and told him simply that God loved him. I noticed a tear came to his eye. “Are you a Christian?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said.

“Me too! What a small world. Protestant or Catholic?”

“Protestant.”

“Me too! What denomination?”

“Baptist.”

“Me too!” I said. “Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?”

“Northern Baptist.”

“Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?”

“Northern Conservative Baptist.”

“Amazing!” I said, “Call Ripley. This is incredible! Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist or Northern Conservative Reformed Baptist?”

“Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist.”

“Remarkable! Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Great Lakes Region or Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Eastern Region?”

“Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Great Lakes Region.”

“This is a miracle!” I said. “Are you Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879 or are you Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?”

“Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.”

“Die, you heretic,” I said—and pushed him over the rail.[1]

Paul may have been speaking to a separation and lack of love on the part of some of these Hebrew believers in Jesus. Some may have acted in unloving ways allowing themselves to be drawn away by the traditions and attractions of the Temple and sacrificial system. They may have acted in a prejudicial way like Peter is known to have done. Paul rebuked him for this (e.g. Galatians 2:11-21). Perhaps those who were contemplating forsaking their relationship with Jesus in the church were doing so because they had allowed their love to turn cold (e.g. Matthew 24:1). When there is an exhortation to something in the epistles is may be an indication of a particular deficit that needs to be corrected. Nevertheless, Christians need to continue in and continue sharing God's love.

What does this love look like? What follows gives us practical examples of living in the love of Christ.

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.

Love strangers. While our love for brethren in the church is to be our priority, that doesn't mean we should neglect loving those who aren't a part of our church or the unchurched/unsaved. We are to be good Samaritans (Luke 10:25-37).

"Entertain strangers" (Greek philoxenia) means hospitableness. This speaks of opening our homes to other Christians as well as to those outside the church. Paul shares the incentive that "for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels." Abraham welcomed three strangers into his tent and found himself in the presence of a Christophany of Jesus and two angels (Genesis 18). This doesn't necessarily mean we are obliged to pick up every hitchhiker or invite every person into our home. Abraham was aware of a supernatural presence of these strangers that came to his door (Genesis 18:12). There should be a certain amount of discretion used with strangers. But having said that, we should be open to the possibility of divine appointments God may steer our way. Loving hospitality puts us in a position to be greatly used by God.  

Remember the prisoners as if chained with them—those who are mistreated—since you yourselves are in the body also.

Love empathetically for those who suffer. If we love correctly we are empathetic. Love is not negligent to put ourselves in the shoes of those who are suffering. We should especially pray for those in prison and in particular those imprisoned for their faith in Christ. We should also remain loyal and faithful to those persecuted for the faith. We shouldn't turn away from our brethren for fear we too might be pronounced guilty by association. We are to stand together or we will fall individually.

Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.

 

Love your spouse. Marriage is "honorable" (Greek timios) or highly honored, valuable, costly, dear, esteemed. Marriage is a precious thing to God and it should be to us as well. One commentator states:

 

            The word timios, "honorable," could be translated as "costly." The Christian is to value   his relationship with his spouse so highly that he will avoid defiling the koitē or marriage         "bed" by keeping himself from any kind of sexual relationship outside of the marriage         union and from adulterous relationships while married. Premarital sex, sodomy,          prostitution, and homosexual acts are all included in the term pornous, and, like adultery, they will fall under the judgment of our holy God.[2]

Love expressed in sexual intimacy is to be in the marriage bed. This is the only "undefiled" (Greek  amiantos) or unsoiled, pure, not deformed, not debased, not defiled by sin place for love, sexual love, to be expressed. "Fornicators" (Greek pornos) would include whoremongers, a libertine, a debauchee, prostitute, those who have sexual relations outside of marriage. "Adulterers" (Greek moichos) refers to  a paramour, an apostate, one who is faithless toward God, ungodly, one who breaks a covenant vow especially that of marriage. Fornicators and adulterers "God will judge." God has blessed the human race with sexuality and its pleasures. But for that interaction to be used as God intended and in a way that glorifies God it needs to be experienced between a man and a woman, a husband and a wife in a marriage. There is a consequence from God for those who indulge their sexual passions outside of marriage. "Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; he who does so destroys his own soul" (Proverbs 6:32; cf. also Proverbs 6:20-35; 7:1-27).

 

This is a verse whose meaning has been trampled on by many in our day. And it is sad that even those in the church have not valued the marriage relationship the way they should have. Marriage and its lifelong commitment of two people in the sight of God is the place for experiencing God's blessing of sexual contact. Anything sexually oriented outside of that place is defiling and does not have God's approval. No rationalization can diminish the truth of this verse. The world has degenerated from the joys of God's objective absolute truth. The world tries to say there really is no right or wrong in life; everything is relative; everything is according to what a person feels at the moment. The world's mantra is one of subjective sinful godless relative feeling as the basis of what is right and wrong. The world is trying to remove any accountability to God and "marriage" is a perfect example of this. The world says, "What's wrong with two men or two women marrying each other?" Soon they will be saying, "What's wrong with a man having multiple wives or a woman having multiple husbands?" Right now the world is trying to say, "What's wrong with a transgender man who feels like a woman using a women's public bathroom? Or what's wrong with a transgender woman who feels like a man using a men's room?" If feelings are going to be the basis of "truth" and "law" then civility and societal order is headed toward anarchy. One might ask, "If I feel like a surgeon does that make me one?" Based on feelings you would have to say "yes." But the true test will be whether or not you will submit to surgery from such a surgeon.  And what about liability in such cases. One might say, "If I feel like an animal does that make me one?" No, it only makes you look stupid which you meow, or cluck, or roar like a lion. Feelings are fickle and unreliable. Faith in God and His word is the only way for this world to be sensible.  

 

Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say:

“The Lord is my helper;

I will not fear.

What can man do to me?”

Love Jesus and be content. In love it is God who says, "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (quote of Deuteronomy 31:6). These words are an expression of God's love toward us. He is committed to be faithful to us because He loves us so. Our attitude in love therefore should be, "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?" (Quote from Psalm 118:6; cf. also Joshua 1:5). When you are in love with Jesus, this is the attitude of your heart. With Jesus affirmed to always be with us and to never forsake us we don't have to covet or not be content. The implication is that with Jesus we have all we need.

 

"Covetousness" (Greek aphilargyros) means without covetousness, not greedy, not desirous of filthy lucre, not avaricious. Covetousness is wanting more of what you already have enough of. To covet is to have a mindset and spirit of always wanting more.

 

"Content" (Greek arkeo) means be enough, be satisfied, sufficient, to ward off a desire or lust for more. True and lasting contentment can only come through a saving relationship with Jesus. This doesn't mean we don't pursue or purchase things. It means that what we do pursue and purchase are the things God desires for us and has confirmed is His will for us to have.

 

      Love brings satisfaction.

 

      We can practice the admonition of verse 5 to be content because of the promise in verse 6            that Jesus will never leave us. You see, the degree to which I realize the Lord is with me,      the degree to which I enjoy His fellowship intimately is the degree to which I will be             content continually.

 

      When you’re newly married—living on beans and decorating with bookshelves made of           bricks and boards—you have very little materially. But you don’t even notice it because         you’re in love, and love brings true contentment and satisfaction. So, too, if I’m in love       with the Lord, I will not covet. I will be content with whatever I have simply because He     is with me.[3]

 

It's believed that one of the reasons some Hebrews were apparently considering a return to their old religious ways was that they were under pressure to do so. They were being persecuted. But when persecuted the presence of the Lord steadies us. That is why Psalm 118:6 is quoted here - "The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?" One commentary states:

 

            The result of the Lord's abiding presence in the midst of His people is courage. Knowing         that He is with them, they are filled with confidence and boldness. They echo the words        of Psalm 118:6 which is quoted here. In the middle of distress and suffering, their    confidence rests with the Lord. They do not have to be afraid of the pain, injury, or death   which men may inflict. This was a strong encouragement and exhortation to any of the       Hebrew Christians who may have been disposed to abandon their faith in the face of             adversity.[4]

 

Christians in America are being further and further marginalized and painted as second class citizens worthy of societal rebuke. The world is tolerant of every group except Christians; who they accuse of being "intolerant bigots." This is their response to those who stand firm on the truth of the word. They don't care how much love is shown in the truth stand of Christians. They see themselves as having won the culture war and now want to exert their dominance of Christians. They have long left any belief in absolutes and now are hell bent on anarchy, or at least freedom to do whatever they want to do no matter how immoral and perverse it may seem to someone with a Biblical worldview.

 

Worldly liberal propaganda is being spouted and portrayed on TV, in music and every media in favorable if not preferable ways. Those who resist this sinful onslaught will be persecuted. This verse is certainly being proven true: "Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution" (2 Timothy 3:12). This verse is delivered in the context of what we can expect in the "last days" (2 Timothy 3:1-17). But we need to remember when the enemy comes in like a flood the Spirit of God will raise up a banner against it (Isaiah 59:19). And those who God calls and empowers to hold the banner of the Spirit need to remember, "The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?" Remember that and stand strong.

Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct.

Love remembers to follow biblical examples of the faith. In chapter eleven we were given biblical examples of those who lived by faith. All of these had a love for God that drove them to persevere and sacrifice as well as to be victors  over and in trials. These are examples we should follow. But we should also follow the examples of the pastors and godly leaders that presently oversee us. Love moves us to always be "considering" (Greek anatheoreo) or looking closely at and attentively at, observing accurately to learn and follow the godly conduct of those in leadership.

 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Love focuses on Jesus for our past, present and future. Jesus doesn't change. His redemptive work is superabundantly sufficient for all our past, present and future needs. To love Jesus is to accept such truth by faith. Jesus isn't capricious. You can count on Jesus. Jesus isn't transient. He is always there for you. If you want a love that will always get you through, then love Jesus.

Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them.

Love isn't carried away by strange teachings. Love trusts in God's truth. It has been said, "On the Cross, Jesus didn’t say, “To be continued.” He said, “It is finished.” Sacrifices, self-effort, works of the flesh, or anything else that diminishes this is a strange doctrine." [5] If it isn't in God's word then don't be drawn to it. Let your desires be the holy desires found in God's word. Let your objectives be God's objectives found in His word. Let your purposes and meaning in life be those based on God's word. Don't eat the cotton candy religion of the world. It will only lead to clogged spiritual arteries and the loss of your spiritual teeth. Feed on God's meat and potatoes of His word. You'll be healthier and blessed in holiness.

 

As you rely on God's word rely on it in context. Cults and aberrant doctrine is the product of taking scripture out of context. Always look at the immediate context of the portion of scripture you are basing your belief on (e.g. sentence, paragraph, chapter, segment). Also see if what you are interpreting jives with the book under study as a whole, Testament as a whole and then Bible as a whole. Let the plain sense be accepted as common sense. Be inductive; ask observational questions and keep asking them as you study through. Don't be merely deductive which is to establish your beliefs and doctrine before you come to Bible study, then only seek out passages of scripture favorable to your leanings. That can lead to "various and strange doctrines," "various" (Greek poikilos) meaning motley, multicolored, and "strange" (Greek xenos ) meaning foreign, alien, entertaining, without the knowledge of, unheard of, "doctrines" (Greek didache) or teachings that are out of line with the truth of God's word.  If the Bible isn't definitive on something don't go out on a limb to be dogmatic on your preference. There are things we won't understand or have a clear teaching on this side of heaven. That's because we are human and limited. That's because God is God and well, God (cf. Deuteronomy 29:29).

 

It is love and relationship that separates the Old from the New Covenant. Grace flows from the loving heart of God. Because God loves us He sent His only Son Jesus to die for us (John 3:16; Romans 5:8). There were some Hebrews who had lost sight of how much God loves them. Their attention had been diverted from God by the size of the Temple and the ceremony of its rituals. The same can happen to us if we allow size, spectacles, and shows to divert our attention from the love and grace of God. Love God. Trust His truth. Don't stray to the things of this world or those who hang a banner of God's name over their doorway but when you enter in it's just more of the world's ways.

 

10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat.

 

Love is decisive. Notice Paul speaks of an either/or decision needed to be made here. "We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat." This is not religion by piecemeal. This is not picking and choosing what you want to believe and making up your own religious cocktail. You either believe in the sufficiency of the gospel of Jesus Christ as laid out in this letter or you do not. Those who choose to rely on the religion and traditions of the Old Covenant ways "have no right" to eat at the altar of Jesus or His communion table.

 

11 For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp.

 

Love burns the flesh. The power and efficacy is in the blood not the flesh. It is the blood of the sacrifices that was used not the flesh (unless in a peace or fellowship offering). The blood was used to sprinkle the altar. The animals carcasses were then burned outside the camp (13:11; Exodus 29:14; Leviticus 4:21). In the first Passover the Angel of the Lord passed over the homes of those whose doorways were marked with the blood of the sacrificial lamb (Exodus 12-13). Now in Christ all the sins previously passed over, all present sin and all future sin is sufficiently atoned for with the blood of Jesus (cf. Romans 3:21-26). Our fleshly self-reliant ways count for nothing. It is the blood of Jesus that cleanses us from all our sin (1 Peter 1:18-19; 1 John 1:7).

 

12 Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate.

 

Love realizes the power of the blood of Jesus. The blood of Jesus is an essential of the church of Christ. Jesus blood, relying on it and proclaiming it, is not optional but is essential. You will never be all you can be in Christ separate from the blood of Jesus. If you are in a church that disregards or diminishes the blood of Jesus in any way, leave it. A church is not a church apart from the blood of Jesus.

 

13 Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach.

 

Love follows Jesus away from religion. The reason for the writing of this epistle was that certain Hebrews who had trusted in Jesus as Savior were being tempted by the magnificence of the Temple and the culture of their Jewish traditions. They were being tempted to leave their relationship with Jesus and go back to their old religious ways.

 

One commentator states the bottom line of these words are:

 

            “Get out of the camp,” admonishes the author. “Leave the city. Leave religion. Leave traditionalism. Leave rules, rituals, incense, and candles. Leave it all.” Contrary to the       present fascination with icons and old pictures of Jesus and the disciples, the call of the       entire New Testament is to walk by faith and not by sight.[6]

 

Another states:

 

            There is a symbolism in the location of the sacrifice of Jesus and that of the animals.          Those who go to Calvary, to the altar of Jesus, can no longer serve and worship at the             altar of the temple or tabernacle. They must leave Israel, that is, go outside of the camp    and away from the Jewish system. Therefore, professing Jewish Christians had to leave           the Jewish altar and rites and identify themselves clearly with Jesus. In doing this they         accepted the "reproach" (oneidismon, see also 11:26) which comes upon those who           identify themselves with Christ.

            The situation faced by the Hebrew Christians was not new. Moses and all true believers         who have come after him suffered because of their allegiance to the Messiah (John 15:19;    16:33; 2 Timothy 3:12). There is a stigma associated with true faith; believers must be       prepared to bear it: they cannot be friends with Jesus and partners with the world at the same time.[7]

Are you willing to go outside the camp with Jesus? To go outside the camp means you are willing to leave the crowd and follow Jesus. To go outside the camp means to put Him first above all others. It means to present yourself as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2). It means to turn away from what the majority camp is saying and follow Jesus on the narrow way (e.g. Matthew 7:13-14).

14 For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. 15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. 16 But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

 

Love lives a life of worship. What does this mean? What does living a life of worship really mean?

 

Worship living has eternal priorities. It means we discard or hold loosely (for God to use or remove at His will) the things of this world. We live out the attitude of - "For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come." In other words we aren't living to build our own kingdom. We live to build His kingdom.

 

Worship living voices praise and thanks to God. Paul says, "Therefore let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name." When we join together in worship and sing it is a love offering to God (or should be). Praise and worship from our lips should be a normal outgrowth of a God transformed love infused holy heart. When was the last time you said out loud "Praise God!" or "Thank You Lord"? When was the last time you sang in worship loud enough that someone could hear you? We can bless God with our voices. Sing to the Lord my brothers and sisters in Christ!

 

Worship is doing good and sharing. Paul says, "But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased." That he is inspired to say "don't forget" means it's possible and likely we will forget. This is something that we should pay attention to. We should be agents of doing good things for others. We should be encouragers. We should be comforters. We should live with open hands willing to share with others in need. We worship when we sacrifice for others. With this kind of practical worship "God is well pleased."

 

17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you. 18 Pray for us; for we are confident that we have a good conscience, in all things desiring to live honorably. 19 But I especially urge you to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner.

 

Love cooperates with and encourages leaders. The word "obey" (Greek peitho) means to assent, to agree, to have confidence in , to be friendly toward, to trust, to yield, to obey, "Those who rule over you" (Greek hegeomai) refers to those who lead, those who govern, those who rule over. This would include the pastor and leaders of the local church. "Submissive" (Greek hypeiko) means to surrender to, submit to, to resist no longer, to give way to, to yield to, to yield to their admonition and authority. To obey and submit to local leadership should be the rule. But it is not a rule that is unquestioned. All Christians, including leaders, are to submit to the word of God. When the relationship between those leading and those being led is right then leaders and the flock of God will fulfill their parts "with joy and not with grief."

 

Being a pastor or church leader is a huge responsibility. The pastor and church leader "Watch for your souls, as those who must give account." There will be an accounting to God for all those who minister in the church. The pastor will give an account to God concerning his faithfulness to His word and in service to the flock entrusted to him by God. The same is true for any assistant or associate staff ministers as well, I believe, as Sunday School teachers and all servants in the church. And those who have chosen to not serve will also be held accountable to God (cf. 1 Corinthians 3). If you love God and serve Him in the love of Christ with all your heart you have nothing to fear.  One commentator explains:

            The love for God and for one another which has been under consideration in this section            is to be directed also to local church leadership. Because of their position and the            relationship of trust which exists, Christians are to "obey" those who are leading            (hēgoumenois) them. They are to place themselves under ("submit" to) their leaders in a     spirit of yieldedness (hupeikete). These leaders are alertly watching over the "souls"            (psuchōn, "lives," "persons") under their care as those who are responsible and who will   have to give an account of their guardianship. The reference here is to the general            watchful care of local church leaders over the congregation of saints.

            The members of the congregation are admonished to follow their leaders in a quiet and      gentle manner so the leaders will find the responsibility of oversight art enjoyable task.    The alternative is groaning (stenazontes)—laborious chafing and struggling under the       unpleasant task of shepherding a flock of wayward strays. It is far better for a             congregation to follow its leadership peaceably. When there is resistance and rebellion,        joy turns into alusiteles, something which is confining, inferior, unprofitable, and        disadvantageous.[8]

One of the most important things a congregant to do for their pastor and church leaders is to pray for them. Paul says, "Pray for us." If you have a problem with your pastor or church leaders we might be partly to blame. A pastor or church leader may be a reflection of the prayers or lack thereof of their people. If you love your pastor and church leaders, or if you don't, pray for them. Prayer has a way of moving God's hand to straighten things out.

20 Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Love relies on the blood of Jesus. The idea of "the blood of Jesus" is not popular in our contemporary scene. People shy away from what they perceive to be distasteful, gruesome, or too vivid images of any bleeding including the bleeding or blood of Jesus. But by shying away from the blood of Jesus the church has lost its power. It is "Through the blood of the everlasting covenant [Christ's blood] . . ." that we are made "complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen." Christian, we need the blood of Jesus. The world needs the blood of Jesus.

 

The phrase "make you complete" is from a single Greek term - katartidzo. Katartidzo means restore, fix, mend. It is a word used to describe the setting of a broken bone, or the mending of a fishing net, or readying a ship for a journey, or equipping an army for battle. It is through the blood of Jesus everlasting covenant that broken relationships can be set and healed. It is through the blood of Jesus that our broken nets of finances and resources can be patched. It is through the blood of Jesus that we are readied for our journey in this life as well as for our journey from this life to eternal life with God. And it is through the blood of Jesus that we are equipped for the spiritual battles we face. I like what Bible Teacher and Pastor Jon Courson says about these verses:

 

      Thus, it is through the blood that the broken bones of our bodies, our relationships, and      our fellowship are set right. It is through the blood that the holes are mended in the nets     of our vocation and finances. It is through the blood that we journey on toward heaven. It        is through the blood that we battle against the Enemy. Physically, relationally,    vocationally, spiritually, and eternally we are made perfect not by studying, counseling,     or seminars. We’re made perfect by one thing only: the blood of the everlasting covenant.

 

      The blood has been supplied. The question is, is it being applied?' [9]

 

How might we apply the blood of Jesus to our lives? In the end times saints overcome the advances of the enemy by the blood of the Lamb Jesus (Revelation 12:10-11). This is because by the shed blood of Jesus on the cross, Jesus has earned the right to take back the title deed of the earth forfeited to Satan the serpent by Adam (Genesis 3 and Revelation 5). Imagine this scenario laid out as illustration by Jon Courson:

 

      Suppose while I’m at church, someone moves into my house. Finding this guy sitting        in my living room, I dejectedly head to the market, get a shopping cart, and start    walking the streets.

 

“What are you doing, Jon?” you would ask me.

 

“I’m homeless,” I would say. “I went to church, and somebody moved into my house.        I’m defeated. I’m discouraged.”

 

“Let me get this straight,” you’d say. “Someone moved into the house you bought—   and you just let him have it?”

 

“Yeah,” I would answer. “I don’t know what else to do.”

 

“Do you have a title deed to the house?” you’d ask.

 

“Yes.”

 

“Well, go get the authorities. Show them the title deed, and move back into your       house. It’s yours.”

      The same thing happens spiritually. Satan has no authority, no right, no hold on you. All       he can do is claim squatter’s rights and say, “This depression will never lift. This             addiction will never leave. Your daughter’s going to blow it. Your son’s going to rebel.   Divorce is inevitable.” And what do we do? We get our shopping carts and wander the       streets in despair.

 

      Satan the squatter takes up residence by falsely accusing us in three areas. Of our past sin,           he accuses us day and night, saying, “You’ve fallen in this area so many times. You’ll never make it.” But the way we overcome past sin is by the blood.

 

      “Wait a minute, Satan,” we must say, “I may have failed a billion times, but the blood of          the Lamb is absolutely inexhaustible. You might accuse me night and day, but the blood   of Jesus Christ covers me completely, for where sin abounds grace abounds even more       (Romans 5:20).

      Concerning our present struggles, Satan cannot grasp, grip, or dominate any area to             which the blood has been applied. I can choose to give in if I wish; I can succumb if I           want. But in reality, the Enemy has no authority whatsoever because of the cleansing         power of the blood.

 

      Regarding future salvation, I think of Noah, who, in construction of the ark, provided a       place of salvation for his sons and their wives twenty years before his sons were even        born. “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved—and thy house,”            declared Paul (Acts 16:31). Am I suggesting salvation is inherited? No, everyone must            make his own decision. But, like Noah, I can provide a place in which Satan will not be         able to seduce my son or my daughter into walking away from the Lord if I apply the      blood to my house.[10]

 

The blood has been supplied by Jesus. The question is, will we apply it.

 

We need to apply the blood to our homes and families. We need to apply the blood of Jesus by faith to the doors of our homes like the Israelites did symbolically in the first Passover (Exodus 12-13). Everyone who enters our home should find a redemptive, gracious, loving, Christlike environment. And that should be reflected in what we allow in our homes, e.g. what we watch on TV, listen to on the radio or Internet, what we read, everything in our homes should be cleansed by the blood of Jesus. Does your home reflect Jesus? Have you sprinkled the blood of Jesus on your home?

 

We need to apply the blood of Jesus to ourselves. In Leviticus 14:10-18 the blood of sacrifice was applied to the right ear, right thumb, and right big toe. This symbolizes applying the blood of Jesus to what we hear or listen to, to what we set our hands to do, and to where we walk. Have you applied the blood of Jesus to yourself? Have you asked the Lord to apply His blood standard to your life?

 

One way provided by Jesus to apply His blood is at the Communion Table. We need to apply the blood regularly through communion at the Lord's table. By faith when we come to the Lord's Table and commune with Him we need to renew and refresh our consideration of the power of His blood. It isn't that the blood has not been fully supplied by Jesus. The problem is that we frequently faith to apply the blood He has supplied to our lives. We enter the presence of God by the blood of Jesus. We are by the blood of Jesus victorious over sin and everything that would hinder our experiencing fully the presence of God. The blood has been supplied. Will it be applied? That's the question.

 

22 And I appeal to you, brethren, bear with the word of exhortation, for I have written to you in few words.

 

As a pastor I can relate to Paul's idea that thirteen chapters (13) of a letter to him is considered "in a few words." Ha!

 

23 Know that our brother Timothy has been set free, with whom I shall see you if he comes shortly. 24 Greet all those who rule over you, and all the saints. Those from Italy greet you. 25 Grace be with you all. Amen.

 

With mention of the news that Timothy has been set free apparently from prison. Paul also expresses hope that he too would be set free and come with Timothy to see them. He send his greetings and ends with "Grace be with you all. Amen."

This has been an incredible study on God's provision for coming into His presence. It has been a letter focused on Jesus and our relationship with Him. It is by grace through faith and the working of the Holy Spirit in and through us that what we have studied can be applied in our lives. And similarly we should hope and pray that what we have learned we are empowered by God to pass  on to others.

In concluding this blessed epistle to the Hebrews we might be overwhelmed by our weaknesses and the easiness with which our attention is diverted from the Lord. We may look at the world see a hopeless mountain or immovable object. We may feel we are just a drop in the bucket. But never forget or minimize what God can do through a single person yielded to Him in faith. Never forget God's grace. Jesus Himself is a perfect example of this for us to follow.

One Solitary Life

He was born in an obscure village
The child of a peasant woman
He grew up in another obscure village
Where he worked in a carpenter shop
Until he was thirty when public opinion turned against him

He never wrote a book
He never held an office
He never went to college
He never visited a big city
He never travelled more than two hundred miles
From the place where he was born
He did none of the things
Usually associated with greatness
He had no credentials but himself

He was only thirty three

His friends ran away
One of them denied him
He was turned over to his enemies
And went through the mockery of a trial
He was nailed to a cross between two thieves
While dying, his executioners gambled for his clothing
The only property he had on earth

When he was dead
He was laid in a borrowed grave
Through the pity of a friend

Nineteen centuries have come and gone
And today Jesus is the central figure of the human race
And the leader of mankind's progress
All the armies that have ever marched
All the navies that have ever sailed
All the parliaments that have ever sat
All the kings that ever reigned put together
Have not affected the life of mankind on earth
As powerfully as that one solitary life

In the end it's all about Jesus. Without Jesus we can't. Without us He won't. But Jesus is our focus. When we fix our eyes on Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith God is able to take us ordinary people and do extraordinary things for His glory. Just remember:

Not I, But Christ

Not I, but Christ, be honored, loved, exalted;

Not I, but Christ, be seen, be known, be heard;

Not I, but Christ, in every look and action,

Not I, but Christ, in every thought and word.

 

Not I, but Christ, to gently soothe in sorrow

Not I, but Christ, to wipe the falling tear;

Not I, but Christ, to lift the weary burden!

Not I, but Christ, to hush away all fear.

 

Christ, only Christ, no idle word e’er falling;

Christ, only Christ, no needless bustling sound;

Christ, only Christ, no self-important bearing;

Christ, only Christ, no trace of “I” be found.

 

Not I, but Christ, my every need supplying,

Not I, but Christ, my strength and health to be;

Christ, only Christ, for body, soul, and spirit,

Christ, only Christ, live then Thy life in me.

 

Christ, only Christ, ere long will fill my vision;

Glory excelling soon, full soon I’ll see –

Christ, only Christ, my all in all to be.

 

-        Mrs. A.A. Worthington[11]

 

God bless you as you avail yourself of God's provision, Jesus Christ,  to enter and live in His presence.

 

 



[1] Courson, J. (2003). Jon Courson’s Application Commentary (p. 1508). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[2] Complete Biblical Library Commentary - The Complete Biblical Library – Hebrews-Jude.

 

 

[3] Courson, J. (2003). Jon Courson’s Application Commentary (p. 1509). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Complete Biblical Library Commentary - The Complete Biblical Library – Hebrews-Jude.

 

[5] Courson, J. (2003). Jon Courson’s Application Commentary (p. 1509). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[6] Courson, J. (2003). Jon Courson’s Application Commentary (p. 1510). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[7] Complete Biblical Library Commentary - The Complete Biblical Library – Hebrews-Jude.

 

[8] Complete Biblical Library Commentary - The Complete Biblical Library – Hebrews-Jude.

[9] Courson, J. (2003). Jon Courson’s Application Commentary (p. 1512). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[10] Courson, J. (2003). Jon Courson’s Application Commentary (pp. 1513–1514). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[11][11] Quoted from Leonard Ravenhill, Revival God’s Way (Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Pub., 2006) p. 44.