Author: Ron Graham
Giving Thanks to Jesus
We now come to our final topical study in Hebrews, and to its last chapter. The Hebrew writer makes his final appeal.
At the end of Hebrews, we are reminded of some of the Christian duties that those who respond to God’s grace will not forget to do.
In keeping such commandments as these, we show gratitude toward God, and will realise the benediction, "Grace be with you all, Amen"
The theme of the first seven verses of chapter 13, is "Remember." The Hebrew writer reminds us of seven simple things that are easily forgotton in our busy daily lives, and easily neglected.
1 Let love continue (Hebrews 13:1)
Love among the brothers and sisters of Christ is like love in any family. It must be encouraged and nurtured. It must be valued and appreciated. A lot of other things must take second place to it. Love can so easily be lost. We must ensure that it continues.
2 Do not neglect hospitality (Hebrews 13:2)
Hospitality, sharing our homes and food with others, especially those in need, is part of the Christian way. This hospitality should include not only our friends, but strangers who have a genuine need of our hospitality.
The Hebrew writer reminds us of cases in the Old Testament where, in offering hospitality to strangers, people unknowingly showed kindness to angels of God (Genesis 18, Judges 13)
3 Remember the prisoners (Hebrews 13:3)
Not everyone in prison is a bad person, and prisoners should not be out of sight and out of mind. I think we can safely extend this concept to people who are imprisoned not by the judicial system, but by illness, disability, loneliness, old age, poverty, discrimination, oppression, mistreatment, addictions, and so forth. Visitation is a Christian duty easily neglected.
4 Let marriage be held in honour (Hebrews 13:4)
Although marriage is common in Australia, it is also just as commonly neglected. Many who entered into marriage have forgotten their vows. Many who live as though married have never made vows. It is up to Christians to honour marriage.
No matter how popular and white-washed the world has made fornication and adultery, we must remember that these sins are still, as always, condemned by God.
5 Be free from the love of money (Hebrews 13:5)
Money of itself is neither good nor evil, for it is only a token to enable the practical exchange of goods and services. Money can be a token of good things or bad, depending upon how we choose to earn and spend it.
However, many people see money not as a token of other things, but as an object in itself, and they come to love it. This is a root of all kinds of evil in our society (1Timothy 6:10).
Contentment and gratitude for what we have will keep us free from the love of money. Many of the best blessings cannot be exchanged for money anyway. We do not pay money for sunshine, for love and friends, for our special individual talents, for a physical body to dwell in, and for many more things.
Above all, we do not pay money for the promise and assurance of eternal life in heaven. Whilst we need some money of course, it is not nearly so important as most of us have been led to think.
6 Say, 'The Lord is my helper' (Hebrews 13:6)
We express our contentment and gratitude to the Lord, because we believe that our blessings come through his good providence.
He is our helper through good times and bad. Reliance upon him, continual thanksgiving, and dedicating our lives to him in response to his kindness —this is an enlightened way to live.
7 Remember those who led you (Hebrews 13:7)
Most of us became Christians because somebody led us to Christ. We were then led upward in spiritual growth by kindly Christians who cared to help us on the Christian way.
We should always remember these, and what they taught and showed us. We should imitate their example just as they imitate Christ. Especially we should remember and respect the shepherds of the churches.