Divisions (run-on sentence OK, direct verbiage from Scripture/Principles are Aims for each Division – a truth about God, a truth about man, a truth about God’s relationship to man; a sin to avoid, promise to trust, example to follow, command to ...
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"WORD up!" - 5 new articles

  1. Homiletics - Obadiah
  2. Hebrews 13 Devotional
  3. Hebrews 13 Homiletics
  4. Hebrews 12 Devotional
  5. Hebrews 12 Homiletics
  6. More Recent Articles

Homiletics - Obadiah

Divisions (run-on sentence OK, direct verbiage from Scripture/Principles are Aims for each Division – a truth about God, a truth about man, a truth about God’s relationship to man; a sin to avoid, promise to trust, example to follow, command to obey, truth to believe):

1.God is sovereign (1-4)

Principle:  No one escapes God’s sovereignty.

2.Deceit and violence destroy (5-14)

Principle:  Disaster awaits the ungodly.

3.The Day of the Lord is near for all nations (15-21)

Principle:  Judgment Day is coming.

 

Subject Sentence (10-word sentence with proper structure showing exactly where you are in Scripture):

Obadiah’s Vision: what the Sovereign Lord says about Edom.

 

Aim (“To Cause My Audience To…” Know, See, Learn, Understand, etc.):

TCMATK God rewards submission and will judge ungodliness.

 

Application (not yes or no question.  Meant to bring about heart change):

1.Where are you struggling to accept God’s sovereignty over your life, and what steps will you take to submit to His authority?

2.Where have you deceived yourself by walking with the world, and how will you get back in step with your Savior, Jesus?

3.How are you preparing yourself and others for God’s judgment?

 

The Big Idea (author’s main purpose in writing; the one thing all the other things in the passage is about; if you couldn’t talk about it, you would still understand the passage is trying to convey this):

Judgment

   

Hebrews 13 Devotional

Today, we are wrapping up our study of the book of Hebrews with chapter 13.  We are going to discuss how to effectively Praise Godby looking at Sacrifices that please God including submission to authority.

 

When we walk away from our time together today, I want you to know Christ and godly leaders are worthy of being imitated and this pleases God.

 

Holy Father, would you please show us today how to please You.  Would You teach us how to treat the leaders over us, and how to be good, godly leaders over others.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

We have two divisions:

1.Sacrifices that please God (Hebrews 13:1-16)

2.Submit to Authority (Hebrews 13:17-25)

 

Let’s dive right in to this amazing chapter of Scripture.

 

Read Hebrews 13:1-4.

 

In this first verse of the final chapter, we get a whopper of an instruction: Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters!  Wow!  I don’t know if this meant something different back in the day when this letter was written, but now…?  I’ve seen all sorts of relationships between siblings – good and not so good.  But the verses that follow spell out the details and offer some clarification.

 

First, be hospitable to strangers.  Wait, I thought we were talking about brothers and sisters.  That’s exactly what the author is talking about.  But maybe there were some contentious relationships between siblings back then, too.  So, if we look at this in reverse, we will see that we are supposed to offer hospitality to strangers because we may unknowingly be entertaining angels.  So, shouldn’t we be hospitable to our brothers and sisters too.  We should treat our siblings the way we would angels.  Ouch.

 

Second, remember those in prison as if we were in prison with them!  Ouch!  Those in prison?  Really?  But the idea of that scares me.  Is it even safe?  I know there are plenty of people in prison ministry.  I’ve never participated.  Maybe I should to gain a little perspective on this!

 

Third, remember those who are mistreated as if you were the one suffering.  Ouch!  I am willing to help out in some ways, but maintaining a certain amount of distance keeps me comfortable.  What about you?  How close do you get to those who are suffering?

 

Fourth, marriage should be honored, and God will judge the sexually immoral.  So honor your spouse.  Encourage your married friends to honor their spouses.  Don’t put yourself in the position to get into trouble in this area.

 

This is how we love our brothers and sisters!  Isn’t this what Jesus said the greatest commands were?  First, love God.  Second, love people.  Love.  It’s that simple.

 

Read Hebrews 13:5-7.

 

Now, the author moves from talking about what to love to what not to love: money!  Being content with what you have will offer some protection in this area.  Love God and be thankful for what He has given you.  Begin a thankfulness journal.  Write these things down so you can remember, when times are tough, what God has done in the past.  Sometimes, He may feel far away, but the author of Hebrews reminds you that He is right there with you.

 

Can you say with confidence that the Lord is your helper?  Are you trusting in God and His plan so well that you are not afraid?  Do you recognize God’s sovereignty to the extent that man has no power of his own over you?  I’m reminded of Jesus’s comments to Pontius Pilate during one of His trials before the crucifixion.  Jesus told Pilate that he had no authority over Jesus that God didn’t give him.  Something to think about.  But we need to keep moving.

 

Right after mentioning God’s sovereignty and mortal man’s incapability to do anything to another on his own, the author then remarks to remember your leaders.  Curious.  We should remember all leaders over us.  We should be actively praying for our leaders.  All of them.  Employers.  Government.  Business people.  Church leaders.  The author does continue by clarifying he is talking about those who spoke the word of God to you.  Consider how they walk with God and what the result of that is and imitate their faith.  We are supposed to look at the fruit of the leaders’ lives and imitate their walk.  So, I would choose leaders who are bearing the sort of fruit you need to bear, the fruit you struggle to bear perhaps, and I would imitate those leaders.  Who is a leader in your line of sight that is bearing the kind of fruit you need to bear?  Follow after them.  Now, the author seems to punctuate this statement by mentioning Jesus:

 

Read Hebrews 13:8.

 

Why might it be important at this point to mention that Jesus is never-changing, from eternity past to the present to eternity future?  I think this is a great punctuation mark to the first seven verses which are instructing the reader to love each other like brothers and sisters, showing hospitality, remembering those in prison and suffering as if you were with them, honoring marriage, not over-honoring resources that God gives you, remembering that God is closer than your next breath, that He is sovereign over your whole life and every authority He places in a position of power, and we should imitate the fruitful and godly leaders He places over us.

 

Jesus is the ultimate fruitful and godly leader!  We should absolutely be imitating Him!  But we should also see Jesus in each stage that this chapter has mentioned previously.  Love our brothers and sisters as if they were Jesus Himself.  Aren’t our brothers and sisters in Christ filled with Christ’s Holy Spirit?

 

Regarding hospitality, when we do something for another, isn’t is as if we are doing it for Christ?  When we do something to another, isn’t it as if we are doing it to Christ?

 

What about the prisoners?  Sure, some of them might be in prison for their faith, but others committed crimes.  Right?  Well, God wants NONE to perish.  Salvation is for EVERYONE.  Therefore, EVERYONE is potential brother or sister in Christ.  So…we’re back to loving our brother and sister!

 

OK.  Marriage is supposed to be a picture of the relationship between Christ (the Bridegroom) and the Church (the Bride of Christ).  Do we need to go into more detail on this one?  This is the love we’re supposed to have.  Not the love of money.  Money is a tool the God provides to meet our needs and the needs of others.  We are to be good stewards of those resources.  We are to be heavenly minded, which should make us less a collector of worldly “stuff.”  I’m just sharing how God is speaking to me on this.  I recently returned from a mission trip to Scotland and Ireland.  I “fell in love” with that part of the world.  When I returned home, I signed up for an Irish subscription box.  After receiving one box, the company went bankrupt.  I don’t think this happened to keep me from collecting more Irish trinkets, but I’m rethinking signing up for another subscription at the moment.  This plays right in to God being with us and being our helper.  Thank you, Jesus!

 

And that brings us back to our leaders.  Let’s continue.

 

Read Hebrews 13:9.

 

Focus on Christ.  Don’t be carried away by strange ideas or old traditions.  Practice grace.  Don’t worry about eating kosher.  Read on for a food transition.

 

Read Hebrews 13:10-14.

 

The Jewish priests living the old way didn’t eat the flesh of the sin offering sacrifice.  The high priest carried the blood into the Holy of Holies to sprinkle the mercy seat and the bodies of the animals were taken outside the camp.  Jesus was taken outside the city gate to pay for our sins.  But, what struck me when I read verse 10 was this: we observe communion in remembrance of Jesus’ suffering.  During the Last Supper, Jesus instituted this remembrance, indicating that the bread was His body and the wine was His blood.  We go to Him.  We go to the cross.  We suffer.  Outside the city.  Longing for the heavenly city to come.

 

Read Hebrews 13:15-16.

 

Now, the audience is told to continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God through Jesus Christ.  This praise is identified as the fruit of the lips that openly profess His name.  Are you boldly speaking the name of Jesus?  In addition to this, are you obediently doing the good that God’s Word is teaching you to do?  Are you generously sharing with others?  This is what God desires from His children.  This leads us to our first principle:

 

Christ-like character pleases God.

 

What aspect of Christ-like character would you like God to develop in you?  What thoughts are getting in the way of you carrying out God’s instruction to live like Jesus?  What one thing do you observe godly leaders doing that you could put into practice this week?

 

Now let’s continue with the last few verses where the author of Hebrews talks about authority and what our attitude toward that authority should be.

 

Read Hebrews 13:17-19.

 

We’ve already talked a little bit about leaders.  Now we get some insight into why we should submit to their authority.  First of all, God is sovereign over all authority.  There is not a single person in a position of power that God has not strategically positioned. I believe this, and yet I am preaching it to myself.  I really struggled with some decisions that were recently made in my workplace.  Anyway, these leaders will one day give an account for how they watched over us.  Yes, it’s their job to watch over us.  We need to submit so their work will be a joy, not a burden.  Isn’t a joyful leader is a good leader to submit to?  The Scripture even states that our submission to make their work a joy will benefit us.

 

We should also be praying for our leaders.  For their wisdom.  For their submission to God.  For their watching over us to be a joyful experience and not a burden.  For their health and prosperity.  For their salvation.  For the fruit of the Spirit to manifest in their lives.  In verse 18, the author mentions having a clear conscience and a desire to live honorably in every way.  Pray for those things too.  Verse 19 gets a bit more specific to the author and the recipients of the letter. He asks them to pray that he would be restored to them.  Is there anyone you might pray for in this way?

 

Read Hebrews 13:20-21.

 

Now the author begins to close the letter, talking about how the God of peace, through blood, brought Jesus back from the dead, and how that same God will equip them to do His will.  That same powerful God will equip you to do His will, too.  Are you walking through a painful season?  He is right there with you!  He will give you the courage, the energy, the strength to get through whatever is in your path.  Just cling to Him!  He’s been there for me through a cancer diagnosis, a 13-month stretch of unemployment, and raising two teenage girls!  Take whatever your struggle is to Him in prayer right now.

 

Read Hebrews 13:22-25.

 

OK.  Let’s wrap this up.  The author closes his letter urging the recipients, his brothers and sisters in Christ, to obey his instructions.  He indicates that Timothy has been released.  From where, he doesn’t say.  But if Timothy meets up with the author, they would both come to the recipients.  He sends greetings to the leaders and the people.  He also sends greetings from the people from Italy.  This leads many scholars to think the letter was being written to believers in Italy.  The final words are “Grace be with you.”  What a beautiful closing.  What a beautiful thing to want for someone.

 

And here is our final principle:

 

God establishes all authority, and when we submit to it, that pleases Him.

 

What attitude needs to change for you to honor the authority God placed over you?  How might you better obey God in your position of authority?  How are you praying for and supporting those in authority over you?

 

Thank you for joining me on this journey.  It’s been a blessing to dig into these passages more deeply and share what I’ve learned with you.  Until next time.  Grace be with you.

Holy Father, I ask that you would bless each person reading this devotional message.  I pray that You would draw them to study Your Word more deeply.  That You would speak truth to them and give them insight.  That You will teach them to obey Your Word and be a godly example to others.  In Jesus’ precious name.  Amen.

   

Hebrews 13 Homiletics

Divisions (run-on sentence OK, direct verbiage from Scripture/Principles are Aims for each Division – a truth about God, a truth about man, a truth about God’s relationship to man; a sin to avoid, promise to trust, example to follow, command to obey, truth to believe):

1.Sacrifices that please God (Hebrews 13:1-16)

Principle:  Christ-like character pleases God.

2.Submit to Authority (Hebrews 13:17-25)

Principle:  God establishes all authority, and submitting to it pleases Him.

 

Subject Sentence (10-word sentence with proper structure showing exactly where you are in Scripture):

Sacrifices that please God and submission to authority.

 

Aim (“To Cause My Audience To…” Know, See, Learn, Understand, etc.):

TCMATK Imitating Christ and godly leaders pleases God.

 

Application (not yes or no question.  Meant to bring about heart change):

1.What aspect of Christ-like character would you like God to develop in you?

2.What attitude needs to change for you to honor the authority God placed over you?

 

The Big Idea (author’s main purpose in writing; the one thing all the other things in the passage is about; if you couldn’t talk about it, you would still understand the passage is trying to convey this):

Pleasing God

   

Hebrews 12 Devotional

I love movies!  I can be a visual learner, so movies have a way of sending a message home for me.  A few years ago, I watched a film called “Overcomer.”  And I watch it once or twice a year, now.  It is about a high school cross-country runner with asthma, the basketball coach who reluctantly agrees to train her, their families and community.  It’s a good story with a solid Christian message from the Kendrick Brothers.  I highly recommend it.  Anyway, when I read this chapter of Hebrews, that movie popped into my mind.  Hebrews 12 starts off talking about running the race marked out for us with Perseverance.  I was a sprinter in elementary school, and never a cross-country runner, but from what I know of the sport, endurance is key to finishing.  The same is true in our Christian walk.  This is not a sprint.  It is a marathon.  So, we would do well to Run the race with endurance and obey Him Who has spoken.

 

When we finish our time together, I want you to know Believers’ challenges are discipline, not punishment, and we should persevere and be joyful for the future.

 

Holy Father, will You equip us with the energy and enthusiasm to finish this part of our race well.  Reveal to us in chapter 12 of Hebrews where we are lagging behind and how to keep pace with You.  In Christ’s majestic name. Amen.

 

We have two divisions:

1.Endure hardship as discipline (Hebrews 12:1-11)

2.Let us be thankful (Hebrews 12:12-29)

 

Ready.  Set.  Go.

 

Read Hebrews 12:1-4.

 

So we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses?  Yes!  Those who have gone before us into the presence of Jesus are cheering us on as we run this race!  Doesn’t that sound exciting?  I must admit, I don’t always realize I have a cheering section.  It’s kind of like cross-country running.  For much of the race, you are by yourself, with your pack or with your competition.  No cheering.  There might even be some smack talk.  Maybe there will be a water station or a coach at a certain point to give you a little encouragement.  But the race is often lonely.  This first verse of this chapter tells us that, when we clear the forest and can see the finish line, there will be balloons and people jumping up and down, shouting encouragement, giving us that little burst of energy we need to finish strong!  Close your eyes.  Take a deep breath.  Imagine that scene at the finish line.  Smile.  I am.

 

This Christian life requires perseverance.  We have plenty of opposition.  Plenty of discouragement.  Lots of obstacles.  Many shiny temptations to take your focus off of Jesus!  But we must fix our eye on the Savior!  Can you imagine what it was like to approach the cross?  Jesus was focused on the joy of resurrection.  He was focused on the joy of reconciling all people to God the Father.  He wasn’t focused on pain.  He wasn’t focused on the humiliation.  He was focused on obedience.  He was focused on love.

 

I remember the advice I got from a friend back when I was pregnant with my first child.  She told me that, when I was in labor and giving birth, to keep reminding myself that “this time tomorrow, it will all be over.”  Great advice!  Don’t dwell on your suffering.  Keep focused on the object of your faith: Christ!  Staying focused on Him will give you staying power!  Staying focused on Him and the future He promised you will energize you and empower you to finish well!  We will all struggle with sin this side of heave, but keep your focus on Jesus and you will be able to resist whatever sin is trying to trip you up!

 

Read Hebrews 12:5-11.

 

Let’s talk about discipline.  Not the kind of discipline that you need to run a race, but rather the kind of discipline a child receives from his parent.  When human parents discipline their children, they are usually after behavior modification.  When God disciplines His children, He is after character molding.  His discipline is actually discipling.  He is making us look like Jesus!

 

There are some great truths in these verses!  God’s discipline is an encouragement because it means He considers us to be His children!  God’s discipline is an indication of His love!  If you aren’t being disciplined, you are not a legitimate son or daughter of God!  Our heavenly Father is perfect, and His method is to make us more like His perfect Son, Jesus.  So we should joyfully submit to His discipline.  It’s for our good and His glory!  It will probably be painful.  It may cause anxiety as our rebellious spirit fights against it.  But I learned something incredible this week as I listened to a “Through the Word” podcast on anxiety.  Pray through Psalm 139 when you are anxious.  God has huge shoulders.  And He already knows we’re stressed.  Talking through what is making us angry or frustrated or upset is what He wants.  He wants us to be free of those things so He can heal those broken places in us.  Get alone with God.  Get honest with Him.  Let Him create a clean heart in you.  Let Him remind you to keep your eyes focused on Jesus, not the circumstances.  Let Him help you walk victoriously through this battle to victory!

 

This leads to our first principle:

 

Discipline reveals our legitimate sonship and produces a harvest of righteousness and peace.

 

Application Questions:  What is hindering you from walking with God well?  What distracts you from fixing your eyes on Jesus?  How will you re-focus?  What future joy are you focused on that helps you persevere in challenges?  How will you remember that hardship is discipline, not punishment?  What frustrations do you need to discuss with God and let Him handle?

 

Now let’s look at our second division.

 

Read Hebrews 12:12-17.

 

To persevere, we need to be strong.  To run a race, you need to train.  If you wake up one day and say, “I’m going to run a marathon!”  You don’t find a race that is happening on that day and show up to run it!  You train for it in the gym.  You train for it in the kitchen.  You train for it on the track.  You train for it mentally and emotionally.  How are you training for the race in your daily walk with Jesus?  How are you strengthening your feeble arms and your weak knees?  Lifting your hands in praise?  On your knees in prayer?

 

Are you following closely after Jesus?  That’s a sure-fire way to walk a straight path!  It’s when we stray that we find hazards.  And those hazards are avoidable if we follow closely after Him!

 

Are you making every effort to live at peace with everyone?  Blessed are the peacemakers…  And about being holy: are you prayerfully studying the Bible and asking God to help you to obediently live it out?  Are you asking Him to develop Christ-like character in you?  Are you pointing others to Christ?  Are you working tirelessly to weed bitterness out of your heart?  Are you encouraging others to not be bitter?  Or are you feeding their complaints that are helping that bitterness grow?

Are you keeping your physical appetites in check?  Whether it’s sex or food or lack of regard for God or your responsibilities, are you controlling those urges or letting them control you?  Have you ever fallen to one of those appetites and later regretted the temporary satisfaction, like Esau?  How can you prevent falling for the temporary satisfaction again?  What safeguards can you put in place to keep you from making ungodly choices?  We could spend so much more time talking about this, so I challenge you to spend with God talking about these verses.  Let’s keep moving.

 

Read Hebrews 12:18-21.

 

These verses take us back to Exodus 19.  Prior to this, Moses has led the Israelites out of Egypt and through the Red Sea on dry ground.  Israel praised God for His deliverance.  When water couldn’t be found in the wilderness, God provided.  When the people were hungry and grumbling and regretting leaving Egypt, God provided manna, then meat.  They were victorious over the Amalekites.  Now we arrive at chapter 19 where, three months into the journey after escaping Egypt, Moses climbs Mount Sinai to meet with God and receive promises and instructions.  When the Lord descended upon the mountain, the people were not allowed to touch the mountain or its border.  Any person or animal that broke this command was to be stoned.  This is the Old Testament way where the people were kept away from God’s presence.

 

But, once again, the author of this letter reiterates that this is not what these believing Hebrews were following anymore.  Read on.

 

Read Hebrews 12:22-24.

 

Followers of Christ are redeemed.  Eternal life begins NOW.  There is joy rather than fear!  There is fellowship with God rather than separation from Him!  It is all about Jesus and His sacrifice and His resurrection and the new covenant of grace and mercy paid for by Jesus’ perfect, righteous blood!

 

Read Hebrews 12:25-29.

 

How can we not obey?  How can we ignore this awesome God?  Are we putting our trust in things that can be shaken?  Or are we trusting in and clinging to the Creator and Sustainer of all things?  Are we spending time with Him in the Scriptures so He can speak to us?  Are we thankful for Him?  For the salvation He has gifted to us?  The talents He has bestowed on us so we can worship Him and make Him known to others?  The Scriptures that are His love letter to us?  The opportunity to enter His presence and pray?  The trials that bring us to our knees and into His presence?  Are we being wowed by the consuming fire that is our God and Father?

 

And here is our final principle:

 

The opportunity to walk with Christ and be made like Him, to avoid God’s wrath and anticipate heaven makes the believer thankful.

 

Application Questions:  How might you encourage yourself to obey God’s directives from Scripture today?  How are you spending your time with God each day?  Is your time in studying the Bible each day more encouraging, challenging, informative, something else?  How might you systematically study God’s word for better balance?

 

How are you running the race God has marked out for you?  What are you focused on?  How are you training your body, mind and spirit to run well?  When things seem difficult, how are you reminding yourself that this is a blessing from God that proves you belong to Him?  Are you encouraging others to see their difficult circumstances as discipline and not punishment?  If you are a son or daughter of God, are you taking every opportunity possible to pray and praise Him and express your thanks for all He does and Who He is?  Let’s pray.

Holy Father, You are good and gracious and merciful and wonderful.  I pray that we would be excited to enter Your presence and celebrate this life You’ve given us on earth to live to Your glory.  Mold us and shape us into Christ’s likeness.  In the mighty name of Jesus.  Amen.

   

Hebrews 12 Homiletics

Divisions (run-on sentence OK, direct verbiage from Scripture/Principles are Aims for each Division – a truth about God, a truth about man, a truth about God’s relationship to man; a sin to avoid, promise to trust, example to follow, command to obey, truth to believe):

1.Endure hardship as discipline (Hebrews 12:1-11)

Principle:  Discipline reveals our legitimate sonship and produces a harvest of righteousness and peace.

2.Let us be thankful (Hebrews 12:12-29)

Principle:  The opportunity to walk with Christ and be made like Him, to avoid God’s wrath and anticipate heaven, makes the believer thankful.

 

Subject Sentence (10-word sentence with proper structure showing exactly where you are in Scripture):

Run the race with endurance and obey Him Who has spoken.

 

Aim (“To Cause My Audience To…” Know, See, Learn, Understand, etc.):

TCMATK Believers’ challenges are discipline, not punishment, and we should persevere and be joyful for the future.

 

Application (not yes or no question.  Meant to bring about heart change):

1.What is hindering you from walking with God well?  What distracts you from fixing your eyes on Jesus?  How will you re-focus?  What future joy are you focused on that helps you persevere in challenges?  How will you remember that hardship is discipline, not punishment?

2.How might you encourage yourself to obey God’s directives from Scripture today?  How are you spending your time with God each day?  Is your time in studying the Bible each day more encouraging, challenging, informative, something else?  How might you systematically study God’s word for better balance?

 

The Big Idea (author’s main purpose in writing; the one thing all the other things in the passage is about; if you couldn’t talk about it, you would still understand the passage is trying to convey this):

Perseverance

   

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