MASSIVE TO-DO LIST: This concluding chapter is packed with exhortations (commands you must follow). This chapter summarizes well what it means to live as a Christian:
v1 - Love those who've been brought into the kingdom with you;
v2 - Show hospitality to all people;
v3 - Remember those who've been imprisoned and treated poorly (mistreated in general, but especially those who are being mistreated on account of the gospel);
v4 - Keep yourself sexually pure;
v5 - Love God, not money;
v7 - Continue to live as you've been taught;
v9 - Don't be carried away by strange teachings;
v13 - Separate yourself from the world no matter how much disgrace it brings;
v15-16 - Continually offer praise to God by:
openly professing His name
doing good and sharing with others (notice how these concepts are combined. So often we want to just focus in on one or the other)
v17 - Confidently submit to your leaders;
v18 - Pray.
HERE'S WHY YOU CAN DO THIS: If you don't feel hopelessly inadequate after reading that list, you probably don't fully understand the implications of those exhortations. But remember, Christianity is not a mere list of to-do's for you to accomplish in your own strength. The entire book of Hebrews has been all about demonstrating how Christ is better than anything else, and even this list of instructions for Christian living is peppered with indicative statements reminding you both how and why you can live this way: It starts with the concluding statement of the last chapter:
12:28 - Since you are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken...
v5 - God has said, "Never will I leave you or forsake you;"
v6 - The Lord is your helper, so don't be afraid. What can mere men do to you?
v8 - Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever;
v9 - It is good for your heart to be strengthened with grace;
v12 - Jesus suffered to make people holy through His own blood;
v14 - You do not have here an enduring city, but you are looking for the city that is to come;
v16 - God is pleased with your sacrifices of praise.
v20-21 - Notice how this awesome benediction (good words of blessing) fits the AAA prayer pattern below.
OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCE:
Once again Psalm 118 is quoted. Read v1-7 as a reminder of the unshakable promises the Lord has made and fulfilled to you.
Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:
EYE FOR DETAIL—From what you recall seeing in this chapter, try answering the following question without looking at your Bible: In this chapter the author tells his readers to remember three specific categories of people. What were they? (v3, 7)
Pick one exhortation (top list) and one indicative (bottom list) that stand out the most to you as you read them today. Why did you choose the ones you did?
Question 1 taken from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament.
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: The God of peace who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep (v20).
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that God will equip you with everything good for doing His will, and that He will work in you what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ (v21a).
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: Ask God to give you what you need in order to live in a way that glorifies Christ for ever and ever (v21b).