Prayer Requested

“Your maturity level in life depends on your being tender with the young, patient with the old, sympathetic with the striving, tolerant with the weak and the strong, because someday in life you will have been all of these.” (Source: George Washington Carver). … More

Maturity

Acts of kindness and sharing are particularly pleasing to God, even when they go unnoticed by others (vv. 15-16). The task of church leaders is to help people to mature in Christ. Cooperative followers greatly ease the burden of leadership (v. 17). We find the writer emphasizing the importance of prayer (vv. 18-19). Apparently he was a leader in the church, or churches, to whom he was writing, and thus asks for the prayer support of those to whom he had ministered.

God’s leaders often face temptations that most other believers do not face to the same degree. Christian leaders are especially vulnerable to criticism from others (if they succeed) and depression (if they fail). Satan is constantly trying to destroy the work of God. Satan knows that if he can cause the leaders to fall, many others will go down with them.

After a brief benediction (vv. 20-21) and almost in an apologetic manner, the writer encourages his readers to receive with receptive minds and warm hearts what he has said. His words had been pointed and direct. His charge of spiritual impurity, his severe warning against sin, and his solemn exhortation concerning chastening were not pleasant or welcome truths. No doubt some members of the congregation responded negatively to this letter, while others received it and acted on it. It is much like strong preaching today which either makes people mad, sad or glad.

This seems like a long letter to us, but the writer regarded it as brief, inasmuch that he would like to have said more (v.22). He ends by expressing the hope that he and Timothy would soon see them. Hebrews was a call to Christian maturity (v, 23). To grow in maturity, we must center our lives on Him, not depending on religious ritual, and not letting anything come between us and Christ.It was addressed to first century Jewish Christians, but it applies to Christians of any age or background (v. 24). The writer ends by saying he will pray that God will be good to all of them (v. 25).

Application

I have been thinking about some of the most significant things I have learned from studying Hebrews. The most important thing is whether my life is maturing in Him or not.

Hebrews 13:15-25 (English Standard Version)

Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. 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. Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things. I urge you the more earnestly to do this in order that I may be restored to you the sooner. Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. I appeal to you, brothers, bear with my word of exhortation, for I have written to you briefly. You should know that our brother Timothy has been released, with whom I shall see you if he comes soon. Greet all your leaders and all the saints. Those who come from Italy send you greetings. Grace be with all of you.

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