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Hebrews Chapter Thirteen


Hebrews 13

In this next chapter there is more than one truth important to notice. The exhortations are as simple as they are weighty, and require but few remarks. They rest in the sphere in which the whole of the epistle does: what relates to the Christian's path as walking here, not what flows from union with Christ in heavenly places. Brotherly love, hospitality, care for those in bonds, the strict maintenance of the marriage tie and persona! purity, the avoiding of covetousness: such are the subjects of exhortation, all important and connected with the gracious walk of a Christian, but not drawn from the higher and more heavenly sources and principles of the christian life as we see in Ephesians and Colossians. Nor, even though there be more analogy-for the Epistle to the Romans rests in general in life in Christ in this world, presenting Christ's resurrection, without [1] --are the exhortations such as in this latter epistle. Those which follow connect themselves with the circumstances in which the Hebrews found themselves, and rest on the approaching abolition and judgment of Judaism, from which they had now definitely to separate themselves.

In exhorting them (ver. 7) to remember those who have guided the flock, he speaks of those already departed in contrast with those still living. (Ver. 17.) The issue of their faith might well encourage others to follow their steps, to walk by those principles of faith which had led them to so noble a result.

Moreover Christ never changed; He was the same yesterday, today, and for ever. Let them abide in the simplicity and integrity of faith. Nothing is a plainer proof that the heart is not practically in possession of that which gives rest in Christ, that it does not realise what Christ is, than the restless search after something new--"divers and strange doctrines." To grow in the knowledge of Christ is our life and our privilege. The search after novelties which are foreign to Him, is a proof of not being satisfied with Him. But he who is not satisfied with Jesus does not know Him, or, at least, has forgotten Him. It is impossible to enjoy Him, and not to feel that He is everything, that is to say, that He satisfies us, and that by the nature of what He is, He shuts out everything else.

Now with regard to Judaism, in which the Hebrews were naturally inclined to seek satisfaction for the flesh, the apostle goes farther. They were no longer Jews in the possession of the true worship of God, a privileged worship in which others had no right to participate. The altar of God belonged now to the Christians. Christians only had a right to it. An earthly worship, in which there was no entering within the veil, into God's own presence in the sanctuary, could no longer subsist-a worship that had its worldly glory, that belonged to the elements of this world and had its place there. Now, it is either heaven or the cross and shame. The great sacrifice for sin has been offered; but by its efficacy, it brings us into the sanctuary, into heaven itself, where the blood has been carried in; and on the other hand it takes us outside the camp, a religious people connected with the world down here, into shame and rejection on earth. This is the portion of Christ. In heaven He is accepted, He has gone in with His own blood--on earth cast out and despised.

A worldly religion, which forms a system in which the world can walk, and in which the religious element is adapted to man on the earth, is the denial of Christianity.

Here we have no continuing city, we seek the one which is to come. By Christ we offer our sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving. By sharing also our goods with others, by doing good in every way we offer sacrifices with which God is well pleased. (Ver 16)

He then exhorts them to obey those who, as responsible to God, watch over souls, and who go before the saints in order to lead them on. It is a proof of that humble spirit of grace which seeks only to please the Lord.

The sense of this responsibility makes Paul ask the saints to pray for him, but with the declaration that he had assuredly a good conscience. We serve God, we act for Him, when He is not obliged to be acting on us. That is to say, the Spirit of God acts by our means when He has not to occupy us with ourselves. When the latter is the case, one could not ask for the prayers of saints as a labourer. While the Spirit is exercising us in our conscience, we cannot call our selves lahourers of God. When the conscience is good we can ask unreservedly for the prayers of the saints. The apostle so much the more asked for them because he hoped thus the sooner to see them again.

Finally, he invokes blessing upon them, giving God the title he so often ascribes to Him-" the God of peace." In the midst of exercise of heart with regard to the Hebrews, of arguments to preserve their love from growing cold, in the midst of the moral unsteadiness that enfeebled the walk of these Christians, and their trials in the breaking down of what they considered stable and holy, this title has a peculiarly precious character.

The Spirit sets them also in the presence of a risen Christ, of a God who had founded and secured peace by the death of Christ, and had given a proof of it in His resurrection. He had brought Christ again from the dead according to the power of the blood of the everlasting [2] covenant. On this blood the believing people might build a hope that nothing could shake. For it was not, as at Sinai, promises founded on the condition of the people's obedience, but on the ransom which had been paid, and the perfect expiation of their disobedience. The blessing was therefore unchangeable, the covenant (as the inheritance and the redemption) was everlasting. He prays that the God who had wrought it, would work in them to grant them full power and energy for the accomplishment of His will, working Himself in them that which was well pleasing in His sight.

He urges them to give heed to exhortation; he had only sent them a few words.

He who wrote the letter desires they should know that Timothy had been set at liberty; he himself was so already; he was in Italy; circumstances which tend to confirm the idea that it was Paul who wrote this letter-a very interesting point, although in nowise affecting its authority.

It is the Spirit of God who everywhere gives His own authority to the word.


[1] It is only spoken of in chapter 8:34, and an allusion in chapter 10:6.

[2] The word "everlasting" is specific, in the Epistle to the Hebrews, in contrast with a system which was passing away. It speaks of eternal redemption, eternal inheritance, the eternal Spirit even.

── John DarbySynopsis of Hebrews


Hebrews 13

Chapter Contents

Exhortations to various duties, and to be content with what Providence allots. (1-6) To respect the instructions of faithful pastors, with cautions against being carried away by strange doctrines. (7-15) Further exhortations to duties, that relate to God, to our neighbour, and to those set over us in the Lord. (16-21) This epistle to be seriously considered. (22-25)

Commentary on Hebrews 13:1-6

(Read Hebrews 13:1-6)

The design of Christ in giving himself for us, is, that he may purchase to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works; and true religion is the strongest bond of friendship. Here are earnest exhortations to several Christian duties, especially contentment. The sin opposed to this grace and duty is covetousness, an over-eager desire for the wealth of this world, with envy of those who have more than ourselves. Having treasures in heaven, we may be content with mean things here. Those who cannot be so, would not be content though God raised their condition. Adam was in paradise, yet not contented; some angels in heaven were not contented; but the apostle Paul, though abased and empty, had learned in every state, in any state, to be content. Christians have reason to be contented with their present lot. This promise contains the sum and substance of all the promises; "I will never, no, never leave thee, no, never forsake thee." In the original there are no less than five negatives put together, to confirm the promise: the true believer shall have the gracious presence of God with him, in life, at death, and for ever. Men can do nothing against God, and God can make all that men do against his people, to turn to their good.

Commentary on Hebrews 13:7-15

(Read Hebrews 13:7-15)

The instructions and examples of ministers, who honourably and comfortably closed their testimony, should be particularly remembered by survivors. And though their ministers were some dead, others dying, yet the great Head and High Priest of the church, the Bishop of their souls, ever lives, and is ever the same. Christ is the same in the Old Testament day. as in the gospel day, and will be so to his people for ever, equally merciful, powerful, and all-sufficient. Still he fills the hungry, encourages the trembling, and welcomes repenting sinners: still he rejects the proud and self-righteous, abhors mere profession, and teaches all whom he saves, to love righteousness, and to hate iniquity. Believers should seek to have their hearts established in simple dependence on free grace, by the Holy Spirit, which would comfort their hearts, and render them proof against delusion. Christ is both our Altar and our Sacrifice; he sanctifies the gift. The Lord's supper is the feast of the gospel passover. Having showed that keeping to the Levitical law would, according to its own rules, keep men from the Christian altar, the apostle adds, Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp; go forth from the ceremonial law, from sin, from the world, and from ourselves. Living by faith in Christ, set apart to God through his blood, let us willingly separate from this evil world. Sin, sinners, nor death, will not suffer us to continue long here; therefore let us go forth now by faith and seek in Christ the rest and peace which this world cannot afford us. Let us bring our sacrifices to this altar, and to this our High Priest, and offer them up by him. The sacrifice of praise to God, we should offer always. In this are worship and prayer, as well as thanksgiving.

Commentary on Hebrews 13:16-21

(Read Hebrews 13:16-21)

We must, according to our power, give to the necessities of the souls and bodies of men: God will accept these offerings with pleasure, and will accept and bless the offerers through Christ. The apostle then states what is their duty to living ministers; to obey and submit to them, so far as is agreeable to the mind and will of God, made known in his word. Christians must not think themselves too wise, too good, or too great, to learn. The people must search the Scriptures, and so far as the ministers teach according to that rule, they ought to receive their instructions as the word of God, which works in those that believe. It is the interest of hearers, that the account their ministers give of them may be with joy, and not with grief. Faithful ministers deliver their own souls, but the ruin of a fruitless and faithless people will be upon their own heads. The more earnestly the people pray for their ministers, the more benefit they may expect from their ministry. A good conscience has respect to all God's commands, and all our duty. Those who have this good conscience, yet need the prayers of others. When ministers come to a people who pray for them, they come with greater satisfaction to themselves, and success to the people. We should seek all our mercies by prayer. God is the God of peace, fully reconciled to believers; who has made a way for peace and reconciliation between himself and sinners, and who loves peace on earth, especially in his churches. He is the Author of spiritual peace in the hearts and consciences of his people. How firm a covenant is that which has its foundation in the blood of the Son of God! The perfecting of the saints in every good work, is the great thing desired by them, and for them; and that they may at length be fitted for the employment and happiness of heaven. There is no good thing wrought in us, but it is the work of God. And no good thing is wrought in us by God, but through Christ, for his sake and by his Spirit.

Commentary on Hebrews 13:22-25

(Read Hebrews 13:22-25)

So bad are men, and even believers, through the remainders of their corruption, that when the most important, comfortable doctrine is delivered to them for their own good, and that with the most convincing evidence, there is need of earnest entreaty and exhortation that they would bear it, and not fall out with it, neglect it, or reject it. It is good to have the law of holy love and kindness written in the hearts of Christians, one towards another. Religion teaches men true civility and good breeding. It is not ill-tempered or uncourteous. Let the favour of God be toward you, and his grace continually working in you, and with you, bringing forth the fruits of holiness, as the first-fruits of glory.

── Matthew HenryConcise Commentary on Hebrews


Hebrews 13

Verse 1

[1] Let brotherly love continue.

Brotherly love is explained in the following verses.

Verse 2

[2] Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

Some — Abraham and Lot.

Have entertained angels unawares — So may an unknown guest, even now, be of more worth than he appears, and may have angels attending him, though unseen. Genesis 18:2; Genesis 19:1.

Verse 3

[3] Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.

Remember — In your prayers, and by your help.

Them that are in bonds, as being bound with them — Seeing ye are members one of another.

And them that suffer, as being yourselves in the body — And consequently liable to the same.

Verse 4

[4] Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

Marriage is honourable in, or for all sorts of men, clergy as well as laity: though the Romanists teach otherwise.

And the bed undefiled — Consistent with the highest purity; though many spiritual writers, so called, say it is only licensed whoredom.

But whoremongers and adulterers God will judge — Though they frequently escape the sentence of men.

Verse 5

[5] Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

He — God.

Hath said — To all believers, in saying it to Jacob, Joshua, and Solomon. Genesis 28:15; Joshua 1:5; 1 Chronicles 28:20.

Verse 6

[6] So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

Psalms 118:6.

Verse 7

[7] Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

Remember them — Who are now with God, considering the happy end of their conversation on earth.

Verse 8

[8] Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

Men may die; but Jesus Christ, yea, and his gospel, is the same from everlasting to everlasting.

Verse 9

[9] Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.

Be not carried about with various doctrines — Which differ from that one faith in our one unchangeable Lord.

Strange — To the ears and hearts of all that abide in him.

For it is good — It is both honourable before God and pleasant and profitable That the heart be stablished with grace - Springing from faith in Christ.

Not with meats — Jewish ceremonies, which indeed can never stablish the heart.

Verse 10

[10] We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.

On the former part of this verse, the fifteenth and sixteenth depend; on the latter, the intermediate verses.

We have an altar — The cross of Christ.

Whereof they have no right to eat — To partake of the benefits which we receive therefrom.

Who serve the tabernacle — Who adhere to the Mosaic law.

Verse 11

[11] For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.

For — According to their own law, the sin-offerings were wholly consumed, and no Jew ever ate thereof. But Christ was a sin-offering. Therefore they cannot feed upon him, as we do, who are freed from the Mosaic law.

Verse 12

[12] Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.

Wherefore Jesus also — Exactly answering those typical sin - offerings.

Suffered without the gate — Of Jerusalem, which answered to the old camp of Israel.

That he might sanctify — Reconcile and consecrate to God.

The people — Who believe in him.

By his own blood — Not those shadowy sacrifices, which are now of no farther use.

Verse 13

[13] Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.

Let us then go forth without the camp — Out of the Jewish dispensation.

Bearing his reproach — All manner of shame, obloquy, and contempt for his sake.

Verse 14

[14] For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.

For we have here — On earth No continuing city - All things here are but for a moment; and Jerusalem itself was just then on the point of being destroyed.

Verse 15

[15] By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

The sacrifice — The altar is mentioned, Hebrews 13:10; now the sacrifices: 1. Praise; 2. Beneficence; with both of which God is well pleased.

Verse 17

[17] Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

Obey them that have the rule over you — The word implies also, that lead or guide you; namely, in truth and holiness.

And submit yourselves — Give up (not your conscience or judgment, but) your own will, in all things purely indifferent.

For they watch over your souls — With all zeal and diligence, they guard and caution you against all danger.

As they that must give account — To the great Shepherd, for every part of their behaviour toward you. How vigilant then ought every pastor to be! How careful of every soul committed to his charge! That they may do this - Watch over you.

With joy and not with groans — He is not a good shepherd, who does not either rejoice over them, or groan for them. The groans of other creatures are heard: how much more shall these come up in the ears of God ! Whoever answers this character of a Christian pastor may undoubtedly demand this obedience.

Verse 20

[20] Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,

The everlasting covenant — The Christian covenant, which is not temporary, like the Jewish, but designed to remain for ever. By the application of that blood, by which this covenant was established, may he make you, in every respect, inwardly and outwardly holy!

Verse 22

[22] And I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation: for I have written a letter unto you in few words.

Suffer the word of exhortation — Addressed to you in this letter, which, though longer than my usual letters, is yet contained in few words, considering the copiousness of the subject.

Verse 23

[23] Know ye that our brother Timothy is set at liberty; with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you.

If he come — To me.

Verse 25

[25] Grace be with you all. Amen.

- Grace be with you all — St. Paul's usual benediction. God apply it to our hearts!

── John WesleyExplanatory Notes on Hebrews


Chapter 13. Share in Love

A Sacrifice of Praise
The Fruit of Lips

I. Share the Love of Brothers

  1. Entertain Strangers
  2. Sympathize Those Who Are Suffering
  3. Be Content in Everything

II. Share the Lord of Ministers

  1. About Former Leaders
  2. About Present Leaders
  3. Give Account with Joy

III. Share Love of Intercession

  1. Intercession of Believers
  2. Intercession of Ministers
  3. Connected in Prayers

── Chih-Hsin ChangAn Outline of The New Testament

Exhortations To Manifest Love (13:1-3)
1. When we began our study, we noted that "The Epistle To The 
   a  Began like an "essay" - cf. He 1:1-2
   b. Progressed like a "sermon" - cf. He 2:1-4
   c. Ended like a "letter"
   -- With the final chapter, we see the tone of the epistle taking on
      the characteristics of a personal correspondence
2. As with many epistles in the New Testament, this letter ends with
   various exhortations...
   a. The first regarding the objects of their love - He 13:1-3
   b. Here we find the author practicing what he preaches; seeking to 
      stimulate love and good works - cf. He 10:24
[As Christians, toward whom should we manifest our love?  Certainly 
toward all men, even our enemies (Lk 6:32,35); but in the text our
attention is focused upon manifesting love first...]
      1. It is a mark of true discipleship - Jn 13:35
      2. It is an indication of true spiritual life - 1 Jn 3:14
      1. Note the text says their love was to "continue"
      2. They had demonstrated brotherly love in the past...
         a. In their ministry to God and His saints - He 6:10
         b. Even in their service to the author - He 10:32-34
      1. Just as Paul wrote...
         a. For the Thessalonians to excel in their love - 1 Th 4:9-10
         b. For the Philippians to abound in their love - Ph 1:9
      2. Just as Peter wrote that our love should abound - 2 Pe 1:7
      -- Even now, the author of Hebrews says "Let brotherly love
[No matter how much we may have manifested love towards one another as
brethren in the past, it is imperative that such love continues!
Equally imperative is the manifestation of love...]
      1. The Greek word is philoxenia {fil-ox-en-ee'-ah}
         a. Lit., a love of strangers
         b. It involved receiving a stranger (sojourner) into one's
            home as an honored guest and to provide the guest with
            food, shelter, and protection (Holman BD)
      2. In many ancient cultures, hospitality was a solemn duty
         a. It was regarded as a sacred obligation by the ancient 
            Greeks and Romans, one that was approved by Zeus, the god 
            and protector of strangers
         b. The Egyptians claimed it as a meritorious deed in life
         c. For the Bedouins, it was an expression of righteousness 
            (Holman BD)
         d. "Hospitality is one form of worship" (Jewish Proverb)
      3. In the early church, it was an important ministry...
         a. Christians were often displaced by persecution; public inns
            were scarce, costly, and sometimes dangerous
         b. Traveling evangelists were to be supported through 
            hospitality - 3 Jn 5-8
      4. Thus hospitality was to manifested by...
         a. Those men who would serve as elders (bishops) - 1 Ti 3:2;
            Ti 1:8
         b. Those widows who would be "taken into the number" - 1 Ti 5:
         c. All Christians - Ro 12:13; 1 Pe 4:9
      1. "for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels."
         a. The example of Abraham - Gen 18:1-8
         b. The example of Lot - Gen 19:1-3
      2. The point is not that we should expect angels to literally 
         come our way
         a. Though some we entertain may serve as His "messengers" 
            ("angel" means "messenger") in a providential sense
         b. The key idea is that "You never know what hospitality might
            bring" (Lightfoot)
            1) One often receives unexpected benefits from his or her 
            2) There is always the "blessedness" of giving - Ac 20:35
[The physical need for hospitality today may not be as great as it was
in ancient times, but the spiritual need (e.g., the strengthening of 
spiritual ties) is just as important.  Therefore we need to "be 
hospitable to one another without grumbling" (1 Pe 4:9).
The manifestation of our love should also extend...]
      1. Christians were often persecuted and imprisoned for their 
         a. Prior to his conversion, Paul often led the assault - Ac
            8:3; 26:9-11
         b. Later, he himself was a prisoner - Ph 1:12-18; Co 4:18
      2. The Hebrews had already shown their love toward such prisoners
         - He 10:32-34
      3. To remember and visit Christians in prison was an act of 
         devotion to Christ Himself - Mt 25:35-40
      4. Their provisions for the prisoners would be a "sweet-smelling
         sacrifice", well-pleasing to God - cf. Ph 4:18
      5. They could also remember them in their prayers - Ac 12:5;
         Ep 6:18-20
      1. By their sense of fellowship in their brethren's suffering
         a. "as if chained with them;"
         b. The Lord intended such connection between the members of 
            His Body ("if one member suffers, all the members suffer 
            with it") - 1 Co 12:26
      2. By their awareness of their own vulnerability
         a. "since you yourselves are in the body also"
         b. They would not be immune to persecution themselves, 
            therefore they should be sensitive to the sufferings of 
1. In providing a "new and living way", it is true that Jesus made 
   possible a close relationship between man and God - cf. He 10:19-22
2. But the purity we experience through obeying the truth...
   a. Is not just that we may have fellowship with God
   b. But also that we may have fellowship with each other in sincerity
      and love! - cf. 1 Pe 1:22-23
3. Thus it naturally follows that as we draw near to God, we should
   also draw near to one another; this we do when we manifest love...
   a. Toward brethren (1)
   b. Toward strangers (2)
   c. Toward prisoners and the persecuted (3)
May we all be diligent to heed the exhortation to...
                    "Let brotherly love continue"!


Fornicators And Adulterers God Will Judge (13:4)
1. In today's society, the honor and sanctity of marriage is under 
   constant attack...
   a. Divorce is acceptable, made easy through "no-fault" laws
   b. Adultery is considered normal, faithfulness to one's spouse as 
   c. Among religious and political leaders, many say that standards 
      against sexual immorality are antiquated
2. Even in the church, sexual immorality is a major problem evidenced 
   a. The high number of divorces among Christians
   b. The frequent reports sexual failings among preachers, elders, and
      other Christians
3. This is not to say there are not those who still hold marriage in 
   high esteem...
   a. Many people still believe sex is for marriage, and marriage is 
      for life
   b. I've been blessed to have:
      1) The example of my wife's grandparents, married 77 years
      2) The example of my grandmother, widowed with six children when
         only 30 years old, remaining single for over fifty years
      3) Parents and in-laws who both were married over 50 years each
      4) Three brothers, who along with myself are still married to our
         first wives
4. In truth, our culture today is not that much different from the 
   society of the first century...
   a. Where divorce and remarriage was rampant (women were known to 
      date events by their husbands;  e.g., "Yes, that happened during 
      husband #5.")
   b. Fornication was acceptable, adultery barely frowned upon
5. But Christianity offers a true contrast of standards regarding 
   a. Through clear and unequivocal teaching - 1 Co 6:9-10; Ga 5:19-21;
      Ep 5:3-5
   b. The same sort of teaching is needed today, which is why we need 
      to carefully heed the text of today's lesson:
      "Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but
      fornicators and adulterers God will judge." (He 13:4)
6. The verb "is" is not in the Greek, leading some to translate the 
   first phrase as:
   a. "Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage 
      bed be undefiled;" (NASV)
   b. "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept 
      pure" (NIV),
[Why should we honor marriage, and keep the "marriage bed" (a euphemism
for marital relations) pure?  Because God will judge those who violate 
To see how, let's first define the terms used in the last half of this
      1. The Greek word is pornos {por'-nos}, from which we get 
      2. It is a general word for unlawful and immoral sexual 
         relationships (Barclay)
      3. It includes any kind sex outside of marriage:  pre-marital,
         extra-marital (adultery), homosexual, etc.
      1. The Greek word is moichos {moy-khos'}
      2. It means to have unlawful intercourse with another's wife or 
         husband (Thayer)
         a. This may be while they are still married...
         b. Or even AFTER they are divorced if not for the right reason
            - cf. Mt 5:32; 19:9
      3  So a person can be guilty of adultery either:
         a. By having relations with another's spouse
         b. By marrying someone who either:
            1) Did not put their first spouse away for fornication
            2) Or was put away by their spouse for ANY reason
   C. "GOD"...
      1. The Supreme Being, eternal and holy - Re 4:8
      2. Omniscient and Omnipresent - Ps 139:1-12
      3. Loving, yet just - cf. Jn 3:16; He 10:30-31; 12:29
   D. "WILL JUDGE"...
      1. The Greek word is krino {kree'-no}
      2. "the act of condemning and decreeing (or inflicting) penalty 
         on one" (Thayer)
[Marriage should be held in honor, because the Bible makes it clear 
that God will condemn and somehow inflict penalty on those who are 
fornicators and adulterers who do not repent!
But why will God judge fornicators and adulterers?]
      1. They destroy marriages
         a. Either their own, by their infidelity (trust is often 
         b. Or others, by committing adultery with another's spouse
         c. Sexual immorality is a major cause of divorce, which God 
            hates - Mal 2:16
      2. They destroy families
         a. Where divorce occurs, families are shattered
         b. The children usually suffer the most, often with severe 
            emotional problems throughout their lives
         c. Jesus warned about despising the needs of children - Mt 18:
      3. They destroy friendships
         a. Read carefully Pro 6:30-35
         b. It is difficult, if not impossible, to restore good 
            friendships after one has violated another's spouse
      1. Read carefully Pro 5:1-14
         a. You lose your honor (your reputation is destroyed)
         b. You lose your wealth (ever hear of alimony?)
         c. You lose your health (via STDs, perhaps even AIDS)
      2. Adultery and fornication is indeed a sin against your own body
         - cf. 1 Co 6:18
         a. There is emotional damage (wracking guilt)
         b. There is social damage (ostracized by others)
         c. There is physical damage (venereal disease)
      1. They have taken members of the body of Christ and made them 
         members of a harlot - 1 Co 6:15-16
      2. They have taken their body, a temple of the Holy Spirit, and 
         given it to a child of the devil - 1 Co 6:19-20
      3. As Christians, who have been...
         a. Made in the image of God
         b. Redeemed by the blood of Jesus
         c. Made a temple of the Holy Spirit
         ...they have allowed their lusts to bring them as low as 
[When God's HIGHEST CREATION, because of purely selfish reasons, 
destroys marriages, families, friendship, even their own selves, we can
understand why God WILL JUDGE such, and why Paul wrote what he did to
the Corinthians:
   "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom
   of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters,
   nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor
   covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will
   inherit the kingdom of God." (1 Co 6:9-10)
But HOW will God judge fornicators and adulterers?]
      1. They will not inherit the kingdom of God - 1 Co 6:9-10; Ep 5:
      2. They will suffer eternal torment - Re 21:8
      1. They become God's enemies - cf. Ja 4:4
         a. While this passage likely speaks of spiritual adultery, it 
            would apply to literal adultery as well
         b. Adulterers are estranged of God's fellowship, care and love
         c. True peace and joy cannot be theirs
      2. They receive in their own bodies what they rightfully deserve 
         - cf. Ro 1:24-27
         a. Those who engage in such immorality do indeed "receive in 
            themselves the penalty of their error" (e.g., syphilis, 
            gonorrhea, herpes, AIDS)
         b. But such is only a FORETASTE of the torment fornicators and
            adulterers will receive, if they do not repent!
1. There are many good reasons to honor marriage and keep the "marriage
   bed" undefiled...
   a. The bond between a man and a woman whose relationship is built 
      upon trust and love
   b. The joy, peace, and love that children in a strong family enjoy,
      and deserve
   c. The value of strong families in shaping our communities in which
      we live
2. But we have focused on God's judgment on those who destroy this 
   important fabric of our society, and how it gives new meaning to the
   phrase "be sure your sin will find you out" (Num 32:23)
   a. It is almost impossible to keep immorality secret
      1) Physical infirmities will more than likely bring it to the 
         surface eventually
      2) Or loose lips will!
   b. Even if one succeeds in hiding their immorality in this life, not
      so in the life to come!
3. To close on a more positive note, let's offer some hope for those 
   who have been guilty of adultery and fornication...
   a. You may not be able to escape the physical consequences of your
   b. But you can be forgiven, and escape the eternal consequences!
As we consider once again what Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, a
city known for it loose morals...
   "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom
   of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters,
   nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor
   covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will
   inherit the kingdom of God." (1 Co 6:9-10)
We now notice the next verse...
   "And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were
   sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus
   and by the Spirit of our God." (1 Co 6:11)
The gospel of Christ promises wonderful blessings to all sinners who
will come to Jesus in faith and obedience!
Have you been "washed", "sanctified", and "justified" in the name of
the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God? (Ac 2:38; 22:16; Ti 3:5)


A Call To Be Content (13:5-6)
1. In this final chapter of "The Epistle To The Hebrews", we have 
   noticed exhortations...
   a. To let brotherly love continue - He 13:1
   b. To show love toward strangers - He 13:2
   c. To remember those in prison and others who are mistreated 
      - He 13:3
   d. To hold marriage in honor, abstaining from fornication and 
      adultery - He 13:4
2. We now find a warning against covetousness - He 13:5a
   a. The previous verse was a warning against "the lust of the flesh"
   b. Here we have a warning against "the lust of the eyes"
   -- Both of which are contrary to the love of the Father - 1 Jn 2:
3. Covetousness, a strong desire for material things, is strongly 
   condemned in the Bible...
   a. Jesus said it defiles a man, and that we should beware of it 
      - Mk 7:21-23; Lk 12:15
   b. Paul taught that covetousness...
      1) Will keep one out of the kingdom of God - 1 Co 6:9-10
      2) Like fornication, should not even be named among us - Ep 5:3
      3) Is nothing less than idolatry - Ep 5:5; Co 3:5
4. The antidote to covetousness is contentment - He 13:5b-6
   a. If we are content, then we won't be covetous
   b. Contentment is therefore an important virtue for Christians to
      1) But what is "contentment"?
      2) What is the key to being content?
[In this lesson, "A Call To Be Content", we shall seek to answer these
questions, using the text of our lesson (He 13:5-6) and other 
scriptures that deal with the subject of contentment...]
      1. The English word "content" means "desiring no more than what 
         one has"
      2. The Greek word is arkeo {ar-keh'-o}, which means "to be 
      -- When one is content, they are satisfied with what they have; 
         with no desire for more, covetousness no longer becomes a 
      1. From the pen of uninspired men...
         a. "He is richest who is content with the least." (Socrates)
         b. "He is well paid that is well satisfied." (William 
         c. "He who is content can never be ruined." (Chinese Proverb)
         d. "He who wants little always have enough." (Johann Georg 
         e. "If you are not satisfied with a little, you will not be 
            satisfied with much." (Unknown)
         f. "The contented man is never poor, the discontented never 
            rich." (George Eliot)
      2. Paul wrote that "...godliness with contentment is great gain."
         - 1 Ti 6:6
         a. Godliness, which is godly living expressed in devotion to 
            God, is of great value only when accompanied with 
         b. For as we have seen, covetousness (a lack of contentment)
            would render any service to God of no value
      1. In Fanny Crosby (1820-1925), a blind songwriter who wrote:
            O What a happy soul am I!
            Although I cannot see,
            I am resolved that in this world
            Contented I will be;
            How many blessings I enjoy
            That other people don't!
            To weep and sigh because I'm blind,
            I cannot, and I won't.
      2. In Helen Keller (1880-1968); blind, deaf, and mute, yet she 
            They took away what should have been my eyes,
            (But I remembered Milton's Paradise)
            They took away what should have been my ears,
            (Beethoven came and wiped away my tears)
            They took away what should have been my tongue,
            (But I talked with God when I was young)
            He would not let them take away my soul,
            Possessing that, I still possess the whole.
      3. In the aged prisoner, Paul the apostle...
         a. Who saw how his imprisonment accomplished much good - Ph 1:
         b. Who had learned contentment - Ph 4:10-12
[The virtue of contentment richly blessed the lives of these and 
countless others.  But as Paul indicated, contentment is something 
"learned".  How then does one develop contentment?]
      1. This is the reason given in our text for us to be content 
         - He 13:5-6
         a. God has promised never to leave nor forsake us
         b. With the Lord as our helper, what can man do? - 1 Jn 4:4
      2. This is the reason Jesus gave for us not to worry - Mt 6:25-32
         a. We are of greater value to God than the birds or flowers
         b. He providentially cares for them, will He not do the same
            for us?
         -- The key to receiving this care is to put God's will first 
            in our lives - Mt 6:33
      3. Contentment comes, then, when we trust God will provide what
         we need!
      1. As Paul discussed contentment, he pointed out certain truths 
         - 1 Ti 6:7
         a. We brought nothing into this world
         b. It is certain we can carry nothing out! (have you ever seen
            a hearse pulling a U-Haul trailer?)
      2. Why then become anxious or worked up over things...
         a. That at best are only temporary
         b. That will wear out, be stolen, or left behind (or burned up
            at the coming of the Lord - 2 Pe 3:10)
      3. Contentment comes, then, from knowing that material things are
         only temporary
      1. Paul also revealed what are the only true "essentials" to 
         sustain life - 1 Ti 6:8
         a. They are "food and clothing"
         b. Anything beyond this is a "luxury", for which we ought to 
            be thankful
            1) That includes "shelter", which many believe is a 
            2) But millions live without shelter, and such is possible
               with the proper clothing
      2. Since God has promised to provide food and clothing (Mt 6:25-
         33), we can rest knowing that our "essentials" will be 
      3. Contentment comes, then, by realizing what is truly
         "essential" for life, for then we will realize how richly 
         blessed we really are!
      1. Solomon observed this inadequacy of material things - Ecc 5:10
         a. Those who love silver (money) will never be satisfied
         b. The same is true with those who love abundance (what money
            can buy)
      2. Material things do not meet the true needs of the soul - Ecc
         6:7; cf. Isa 55:1-3
         a. C. S. Lewis suggested that God placed a longing in man, 
            that man might seek for God - cf. Ac 17:26-27
         b. Sadly, many people try to fulfill that longing with 
            material things
         c. They never succeed, for only one thing can fulfill it:  God
      3. Contentment comes, then, from understanding that material 
         things will never provide lasting satisfaction
      1. Here is another observation Solomon made in his search for 
         life's meaning:
         a. The ability to enjoy the fruits of one's labor is a gift 
            from God - Ecc 2:24-26; 3:12-13; 5:18-20
         b. On the other hand, many are allowed to "gather" and 
            "collect", but will not enjoy the fruits of their labor 
            - cf. Ecc 2:26b; 6:1-2
      2. God has the ability to provide lasting satisfaction - Psa
         a. He promises to give that which truly satisfies (makes one 
            content) - Isa 55:1-3
         b. And in Christ, He enables one to be content - Ph 4:11-13
      -- Contentment comes, then, when God sees fit to bless us with 
         that which truly satisfies: "the sure mercies of David" (i.e.,
         the blessings promised through the coming Messiah)
1. The virtue of contentment is a wonderful blessing, one that comes 
   from God Himself...
   a. Whose Word reveals to us:
      1) The temporary nature of material things
      2) The inadequacy of material things to satisfy man
      3) The things that are truly essential in life
   b. Who has promised to us:
      1) To never leave us nor forsake us
      2) To provide the true essentials in life
      3) To fill our soul with that which truly satisfies
      4) To enable us to enjoy the material blessings we do acquire in
2. But what God has promised is contingent upon what Jesus said...
   "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all
   these things will be added to you" - Mt 6:33
If you desire to be truly content, you must set as your priority the
Will of God.  Have you made His Will the primary focus of your life?


Stability In Our Service To God (13:7-17)
1. Throughout his epistle, the author has exhorted his readers to 
   a. With a warning not to drift away - He 2:1
   b. With a promise of becoming partakers of Christ - He 3:14
   c. With exhortations to be diligent - He 4:11; 6:11-12
   d. With a reminder of God's faithfulness - He 10:23
   e. With a promise of great reward - He 10:35-36
2. As the epistle nears its end, we find some final exhortations that 
   appear to encourage such steadfastness...
   a. They are sprinkled throughout He 13:7-17
   b. They are given in view of the danger of "various and strange
      doctrines" - He 13:9
3. The need for such exhortations is no less today as it was then...
   a. There are many various and strange doctrines today
   b. It is easy for us to forget the simplicity that is in Christ
[If we are not to be carried about with various and strange doctrines,
then "Stability In Our Service To God" is what we need.  What can we
glean from our text that will aid us in our steadfastness?  First,
there are...]
      1. In the original context of the epistle...
         a. The author here may have in reference those leaders who 
            originally spoke the word of God to them
         b. That may have included the apostles themselves - cf. He 2:3
         c. "...considering the outcome of their conduct" may imply
            that they were dead, and that their faith served them well
      2. But it would also be appropriate to remember the faithfulness
         of our "leaders" today
         a. Those elders who have spoken God's word to us
         b. Those elders whose faith enabled them to magnify Christ in
            both life and death
      3. Not only remember them, but "whose faith follow"
         a. We should seek to emulate all those whose faith have set a
            good example - Ph 3:17
         b. Especially those whose faith sustained them to the end!
      1. In what way is "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and 
         a. Certainly not in every respect, for He was once "in the 
            flesh", but not today
         b. The context must determine, and the context pertains to:
            1) The word of God which has been spoken - v.7
            2) Various and strange doctrines - v.9
         c. It is therefore the doctrine of Jesus, which is
      2. One may therefore rightly ask whenever they hear of some 
         strange or new doctrine:  "Did Jesus or His apostles teach 
         this?" - cf. Ga 1:8-9
      1. It is apparent the author has in mind the temptation to return
         to the Law
         a. To the dietary restrictions found in the Law
         b. To the altar and tabernacle of the Old Covenant
      2. But what we have in Christ include:
         a. Hearts that are strengthened by grace, not food - He 13:9
            1) An allusion to the dietary restrictions of Judaism
            2) While they served their purpose, they did not provide 
               what one really needs - cf. Co 3:20-23
         b. An altar from which those who serve in the physical 
            tabernacle have no right to eat - He 13:10-13
            1) The "altar" is likely a metonymy for the sacrifice
               offered on it
            2) If so, then our "altar" is the sacrifice of Christ,
               which is of no benefit to those who hold to the Old Law
               - cf. Ga 5:4
            3) As our sacrifice (Christ), had to suffer "outside the 
               gate" to provide our sanctification, so we should be 
               willing to serve Him "outside the camp" (i.e., outside
               the physical religious community of Israel)
         c. A "city" which is yet to come - He 13:14
            1) Like our father Abraham, we wait for the city "whose
               builder and maker is God" - He 11:9-10
            2) We are but strangers and pilgrims on the earth, desiring
               that city which God has prepared - He 11:13-16
            3) Therefore, it is not physical Jerusalem we long for, but
               "the holy city, New Jerusalem" - cf. He 12:22; Re 3:12;
[Dare we jeopardize these wonderful blessings in Christ?  Then remember
the word and faith of those who are worthy of emulation, and that the
doctrine of Jesus Christ will not change!
As we seek "Stability In Our Service To God", there are also...]
II. THINGS TO DO (15-17)
      1. We may not "serve the tabernacle" of the Old Covenant (v.10),
         but we do have "sacrifices" to offer - cf. 1 Pe 2:5
      2. One is the sacrifice of praise - He 13:15
         a. That includes singing and prayer, which are the fruit of
            our lips
         b. In which we praise God as we give thanks to His name
         -- This we are to do "continually" (i.e., with stability in
            our service to God)
      2. Another is the sacrifice of doing good and sharing - He 13:16
         a. With such sacrifices God is pleased
         b. They are like the "sweet-smelling aroma" of incense - Ph 
      1. Earlier he wrote of their previous leadership (v.7); now he
         writes of their present leadership
      2. These are most likely their "elders" (also known as "bishops",
         a. They were given the oversight of the local congregation 
            - Ac 20:17,28; 1 Pe 5:1-2
         b. The souls of the congregation were "entrusted" to them 
            - 1 Pe 5:3
      3. They watch over us, as those who must one day give an account 
         - He 13:17
      4. Therefore we should "obey" and "submit"
         a. That their work will be one of joy, not grief
         b. If we grieve them in their work, it will not be profitable
            for us!
         -- Of course, this assumes they are leading the flock in the
            right direction (some elders do not, and may need rebuke 
            - cf. Ac 20:28-30; 1 Ti 5:19-20)
1. Do you wish to remain steadfast in your faith, with stability in
   your service to God?
2. Then remember such things as:
   a. Those worthy of emulation, and consider the outcome of their
   b. Jesus Christ, whose doctrine is the same yesterday, today, and
   c. The blessings we have in Christ:
      1) Hearts established by grace
      2) An altar (the sacrifice of Jesus) to which some have no right
      3) A heavenly city whose builder and maker is God
3. And be careful to do such things as:
   a. Offer the spiritual sacrifices of praise and doing good to others
   b. Obey those who have been entrusted to watch for our souls
With such "Stability In Our Service To God", then by God's grace we too
will be "the same yesterday, today, and forever"!


Closing Words Befitting A Grand Epistle (13:18-25)
1. We now come to the closing words of what is truly "a grand 
   a. One that has been described as:
      1) Beginning like an essay
      2) Progressing like a sermon
      3) Ending like a letter
   b. In which we noted systematic arguments upholding:
      1) The superiority of Jesus Christ
      2) The superiority of the New Covenant dedicated by His blood
   c. Where we have been exhorted to:
      1) Draw near to God with a true heart in full assurance of faith
      2) Hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering
      3) Consider one another in order to stir up love and good works
      4) Run with endurance the race set before us, looking to Jesus as
         we do so
      5) Purse peace with all men and holiness
      6) Heed the voice of Him who speaks from heaven
      7) Serve God with reverence and godly fear
      8) Love the brethren, display hospitality to strangers, and 
         remember the prisoners
      9) Uphold the sanctity of marriage and avoid covetousness
     10) Avoid various and strange doctrines, obeying those who rule 
         over us in the Lord
2. With the last eight verses, we find:
   a. A request for prayer in behalf of the author - He 13:18-19
   b. A benediction offered in behalf of the readers - He 13:20-21
   c. A final exhortation, comment and farewell - He 13:22-25
3. I am suggesting that these verses serve as "Closing Words Befitting
   A Grand Epistle"...
   a. For they touch upon themes developed earlier in the epistle
   b. Therefore serving as a close worthy of such an epistle as we have
[As we take this opportunity to reflect upon these closing words, we 
first observe the author's...]
      1. He is confident of "a good conscience", desiring to live 
         a. The mention of a good conscience brings to mind several 
            verses - He 9:9,14; 10:22
         b. Through the blood of Christ, his conscience has made clean
            to serve God
      2. Certainly their prayers in his behalf would be for a good 
         a. To bless a man whose has been cleansed by the blood of 
         b. To bless a man who desires to live honorably!
      1. To be restored to them sooner
      2. Thus he expresses his intention to come them
[Having requested their prayers, the author reciprocates with a prayer
of his own...]
   A. MAY GOD...
      1. Described as "the God of peace"
         a. A description found often in Paul's letters - Ro 15:33; 
            16:20; 1 Th 5:23; Ph 4:9
         b. He is the source of peace (note the salutations in most 
      2. "who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead"
         a. This is the only explicit reference to Jesus' resurrection
            in the epistle
         b. Though it is assumed in passages which speak of Christ at
            the right hand of God - cf. He 1:3; 4:14; 9:24 10:12; 12:2
      3. Jesus is described as "that great Shepherd of the sheep"
         - cf. Jn 10:11,14
      1. "in every good work to do His will"
         a. The author wants them to be complete in doing God's will
         b. Yet he recognizes that they cannot do it on their own, they
            will need God's help!
      2. How will God make them complete in every good work to do His
         a. "through the blood of the everlasting covenant"
            1) This refers, of course, to the blood of Jesus
               a) Which is able to purge our conscience from dead works
                  - He 9:14
               b) By which Jesus has become the Mediator of the New 
                  Covenant - He 9:15
            2) By this blood Jesus has "perfected forever those who are
               being sanctified" - He 10:10,14
            -- Through the blood of Jesus, then, God is able to make us
               complete in every good work to do His will
         b. "working in you what is pleasing in His sight, through 
            Jesus Christ"
            1) Not only are we cleansed by the blood of Jesus, but God
               works in us to do what pleases Him!
               a) This is reminiscent of Paul's comments in Ph 2:12-13
               b) That as we "work out" our salvation, God "works in" 
            2) Instrumental in God working in us is the role of His 
               a) We are strengthened by God's Spirit in the inner man 
                  - Ep 3:16
               b) It is by the Spirit we can put to death the deeds of
                  the body - Ro 8:13
            -- It is by both the blood of Jesus and the work of the 
               Spirit that we are truly "washed", "justified" and 
               "sanctified" - 1 Co 6:11; Ti 3:5-7
[While we are admonished throughout this epistle to be steadfast, this
closing prayer reminds that we are not alone.  In His grace and mercy,
God aids in our desires and efforts to do His will!
And now at last, we notice...]
      1. To "bear with the word of exhortation"
         a. This epistle has truly been one of exhorting them; we have
            exhortations against...
            1) Drifting from what they have heard - He 2:1-4
            2) Departing from the living God - He 3:12-15
            3) Disobedience to His Word - He 4:11-13
            4) Dullness of hearing - He 5:11-6:6
            5) Despising God's grace - He 10:26-39
            6) Defying Him who now speaks from heaven - He 12:14-29
         b. While at times he has written rather strongly, he
            encourages them to bear with it
      2. While one of the longer epistles in the New Testament, it was
         still "written to you in few words" (compare it with some of
         the writings of the "church fathers"!)
      1. "Our brother Timothy" - most likely he who was Paul's constant
      2. Evidently just released from prison, and likely to join the 
         author in coming to them
      1. Greetings from the author...
         a. To "all those who rule over you", i.e., their elders (cf.
            He 13:7,17)
         b. To "all the saints", i.e., the rest of the Christian
      2. Greetings from "those from Italy"; this suggests two 
         a. The author was writing from Italy, passing along greetings
            from those present
         b. The author was writing to Italy, sending greetings from 
            those with him who were from there
      3. A simple farewell:  "Grace be with you all. Amen"
1. So ends "the word of exhortation", that grand epistle known simply 
   as "The Epistle To The Hebrews" (or "To The Hebrews")
2. Though written to Jewish Christians, with their particular need in 
   a. It is of great value to all Christians
   b. It tells us more about the intercessory work of our Lord as High
      Priest than any other book of the New Testament
   c. Its warnings and exhortations are needed just as much today by
      Christians who are being tempted to leave Christ and go back into
      the world
Especially these words found in Hebrews 10:19-25...
   "Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the
   blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for 
   us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest
   over the house of God,"
   "let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith,
   having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies
   washed with pure water.  Let us hold fast the confession of our
   hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.  And let
   us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,
   not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the
   manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more
   as you see the Day approaching."
I pray that our study has served the same purpose, to encourage us all
to "draw near" to God, to "hold fast" the hope we confess, and to stir
up "love and good works".


--《Executable Outlines


Share in love

A sacrifice of praise

The fruit of lips


I.  Share the love of brothers

1.    Entertain strangers

2.    Sympathize those who are suffering

3.    Be content in everything

II.Share the love of ministers

1.    About former leaders

2.    About present leaders

3.    Give account with joy

III.       Share love of intercession

1.    Intercession of believers

2.    Intercession of ministers

3.    Connected in prayers

-- Chih-Hsin ChangAn Outline of The New Testament