Things to Remember • Hebrews 13:7-16
Again we are studying the Book of Hebrews, and we are near the end. Go with me to chapter 13. We will complete the book of Hebrews in this month.
It was in my early years of dating my wife Valerie that I found the language pig latin. Some of you know what Pig Latin is. Others of you, I'm sure, were just like me. You had no idea. It was at visiting the McIntosh household on that fateful afternoon in the front living room that Valerie and Patti were having a pig latin conversation. And being the first time in my life ever hearing Pig Latin I doubted that it even existed. I thought they were simply goofing off together, only to come to find out it was a language that I did not understand and that they were fully communicating to each other. Some would say a portion of our text to them would be a little bit like Pig Latin.
John MacArthur even says in one of his sermons it is the most difficult text to try to interpret in the Book of Hebrews. That's quite daunting. Probably one of the greatest expositors on the earth who for him to say that. And yet as we go through this this morning we're going to dip into verse 7 through 16. The pastor writer of this church is giving them some fateful instruction and it's instruction that is clear, it's true, it's fateful as it was for them to be those things for for you and I. So let's begin together looking at verse 7 where he says this.
We're going to look at this in two different movements this morning, this text that we just read from. Looking first of all the easier side of it where he says to remember your leaders. And then we're going to follow along this, as what I believe the pastor writer does, is gives them a form of biblical theology as he's done throughout this book of Hebrews taking the Old Testament and we're going to remember Jesus because that's what I think he does in this text. So he tells us here in verse 7 to remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the Word of God. Now obviously to us that would, in part, be pastors and he'll address pastors and the congregation relationship later in this chapter as it moves to a close. But I don't think that's exclusive just to pastors. There are leaders you know in all of our lives. There's many leaders in a church and there were many leaders in this church and this undoubtedly was probably a little Hebrew church on a hill in Italy. He tells them as they going through, we know, a very difficult time right. That's the whole purpose of the writing of this book that they continue to follow after , Jesus because Jesus is better though there had been some around them that had fallen away from that. From following Jesus here we know that difficulty came to these Christians. Persecution arose for following Jesus. In Chapter 10 verse 32 through 35, as we know there, it's specified that the church went through a hard struggle. The writer tells us there that they were under public reproach. Some were even put into prison and some of them had their property seized from them, it was stolen from them. And he, as he writes this expositional sermon the epistle of Hebrews, he's praising them for their endurance and for their compassion. And he says, as we looked back the verse 6, so we say confidently he had confidence in them. Because he believed as it were they knew that they had no lasting city, of verse 14, and they were living as followers of Jesus for the city that is to come. That's what Christians do. Yet they were struggling. The struggle was real. They were being ostracized in society and they were being persecuted. And the Bible tells us for this group of people, none had yet been martyred for Christ but they had been dealt with severely. Prison, your property stolen. And he says as he's giving some closing instruction, some closing of that we saw last week of exhortation. An exhortation is an encouragement with a warning and then some flat out just encouragement he tells them this. First of all. Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the Word of God. He calls their attention to this. Those who were in the struggle, and the struggle is real for anybody who's faithfully following Jesus, we all know this. All of us are engaged in a battle and as we follow after Jesus suffering in persecution comes from that faith.
Remember those who teach you the work of God. Their lives are to be examined. They are to be the example of those who walk humbly. They are those who the Church's view of how they see that they have followed Jesus, not just week after week but month after month, year after year. They are stable people. Those who are leading in the church who are distributing the word of God to people. He says look at their lives consider the outcome of their faith. View their relationship with their wives. View their relationship with their children. View of their relationship in their interaction with the church and those who are without Christ. Look at them. He says in that and please he says remember them which means to pray for him and he'll give that instruction as well. And as their lives encourage you he says to take that and be strong in the grace that God has saved you thereby.
Now we'll see this oftentimes in the Bible, particularly obviously throughout Scripture, but in the New Testament where good strong Christian examples are referred to. Right here in Hebrews, you'll see it in 1 Corinthians 11. In Philippians 3 and in 2 Thessalonians 3. And I just throw those out, we're not going to go to them, but it's just a sighting of what is really an easy instruction. We understand what this is. Right? Remember your leaders, follow after and imitate their lives. Now each of you, as you came in to the body of Christ, as you place your faith in Christ you had some sort of a leader in your life. Could be in your family, it could be and your friends, I would trust and hope it would certainly include your pastors but you have many leaders, people who have taught you to word of God and I want you to think about yours. Think about those people who have taught you the Word of God and have have been a mentoring a discipleship type of relationship because that's what the church is for, to disciple into following Jesus. You would look at their lives and you would remember their lives and and other text in the epistles that says to consider their lives and then eventually Paul say to imitate their faith. But here's the truth because everybody has their own favorites don't they from time to time. And here's the truth that couples with that, leaders die. They're all going to die. That's why he transitions, I believe in this text, to tell them remember your leaders. That's good. It's good to remember them it's good to consider them. And it's good to imitate them. There's good instruction there. But more importantly remember Jesus. Remember Jesus. Just in case some of those leaders perhaps that some of you have had in your life they've stumbled or even walked away perhaps from the faith.
That's why he says here in this I believe and in verse 8 he says Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. And we know that through the book of Hebrews he is presenting to us Jesus in a high priestly ministry. And so Jesus sits before us as the Great High Priest of the church there are no priests in the church. There are only pastors and teachers that are Ephesians 4 speaks of but we still yet retain and have the greatest high priest that ever lived. It is Jesus Himself who lived the life friends that you have lived, who endured the suffering and the persecution and he did it as a just God. Receiving of course unjust persecution because he didn't deserve it. Remember Jesus as your high priest. Remember him, he says, yesterday, today, and forever. So let's just stay within this pistol. Turn back to Chapter 5 of Hebrews. He says there in Chapter 5, this would be a picture of remembering him yesterday. Chapter five verse seven. In the days of his flesh Jesus offered up prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to him who was able to save him from death and he was heard because of his reverence. Remember Jesus in that example, he was consistent yesterday.
As you suffer, chapter four of Hebrews verse 15, "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are yet without sin." Jesus today in this very moment for each of us he sits and he has compassion. He has this understanding of what you're in and what you're going through. And let's be honest even more so because Jesus endured all the temptations of life yet without sin where we stumble and the Bible tells us that that is this people we can go to him within that text in chapter four we can do so with confidence and that Jesus has great compassion. He has understanding to our weaknesses because he knows what it's like to live this life. Remember Jesus is the same yesterday. Jesus is the same today, and Jesus is the same forever. Flip over to Chapter 7. Chapter 7 verse 25. Consequently he is able to save to the uttermost, those who draw near to God through Him. Since he always lives to make intercession for them. Jesus, dear church, is making intercession for us.
He has been able to save us and he does save us to the uttermost. He is the one that will bring us to God. Remember Jesus, because Jesus is perfectly consistent, he is the same yesterday, today, and forever. And our high priest is eternally the same, from eternity past to eternity future. And yet folks in this very moment he is currently relevant. He's currently relevant. Now he gets into something here that has been a great deal of dispute. Look at verse 9 he's giving this and destruction to remember Jesus for this reason because there were group like we looked at last week that had a wrong view towards sexual relations. There was a group that had embraced some sort of strange teaching that had to do with foods. Verse 9, "Do not be led away by diverse and strange teaching for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace and not by foods."
Now without trying to, you know, rack our brains forever trying to figure out what exactly they were doing with those foods let's let it be sufficient to say that some group has tried to add that there would be a greater degree of holiness if you viewed a type of foods in this way and I don't know maybe perhaps it had to do with the sacrifices that have been made in the temple and they were distorting the grace of God that's found alone in Jesus Christ. If it had to do with the Lord's table itself or even if was just some weird focus of a diet, it really doesn't matter. What's really tied to this is that there were a group of people that were bombarding them. And he notes this to say, "hey listen you're not strengthened by what you do. You are strengthened by the power of grace in your soul." You're strengthened by Jesus himself. The strengthening of your grace in this case doesn't come from strange foods. Even those people who thought they were being devoted to them were closer to God. No. Our strength comes to us by grace and that's why it's important in God's creation. The church's pastor Alex mentioned about giving. There's a strength of grace that we get from the hearing in the instruction of the word. There is a strength of grace that God provides in building our faith through the table for the waters of baptism through those things that God uses to encourage us and to strengthen us. It is Jesus though who is giving us this strength by his grace.
How you might wonder? Well look at verse 10 through 12. He says this, "For we have an altar from which those who serve the tent had no right to eat for the body of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp." So he's setting up an example. So Jesus also suffered outside the camp in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Now I believe he responds to this in two ways. First of all he responds by letting them know, Jesus is the better altar. Because there were those look at verse 10. We have an altar from which those who serve the ten have no right to eat. There were those that had tried to pull these people away from Jesus or add to Jesus by staying under and worshipping the Old Covenant symbols.
The pastor writer here says, "Those who continue to serve under the old covenant symbols have no right to the New Covenant table because Jesus is the new and final and eternal covenant." Jesus therefore for us is the new and better altar. You and I enjoy a spiritual nourishment that is supplied by the grace of Christ. Therefore in verse 10, in my mind, the altar is a symbol. The altar has always been a symbol. How does a man a sinful person approach a holy God? And we ask ourselves in knowing the full word of God, how is it that you and I approach the Word of God? Because you didn't come in here this morning bringing a turtle dove, you didn't come here this morning bringing a bull or a goat or any other Lamb. No. How do we approach God? Only through the blood, body, and death of Jesus can someone come to God. That all of the covenants in the shadows and the types in the pictures that we've seen throughout the book of Hebrews as the pastor writer would relate to them in a biblical theology find they're in because Jesus, my friends, is the better altar. He is the new altar. He is the only way that man can have access to God. Well why is this true? I believe this is the second portion of this because Jesus is the better sacrifice.
Look again the verse 11 as we move along. "For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp." And you're doing this number right here. Why in the world? What is he talking about? It starts to look like pig latin, doesn't it? For some of us. I want to just take just a moment of this, what I think he's relating though is the Day of Atonement. He's relating the day of Atonement which is where the people of of God, the nation of God Israel, would come and they would bring a sacrifice and he's showing how that picture of what they did is finalized now because Jesus is the better sacrifice. So go with me to Leviticus Chapter 16. Hold your spot here. And we won't look at all of it because it's very detailed in the High Priest had to obviously follow its instruction to a T. But I want to point out just a couple things I think that are in Leviticus 16 that correlate with this passage that we're looking at in Hebrews 13 ,as to what he's talking about. Because you and I have a better altar. Jesus is the new and better altar and the final altar. You and I have a better sacrifice and we've noticed this throughout the study of the book of Hebrews here. He's shedding light of it. And it from a different angle. The pastor writer here is explaining to them the sacrifice, I believe, on the day of atonement. That's how it comes in the picture here. And really the day atonement is pictured in Leviticus Chapter 16 and under the number of things that are mentioned in Leviticus Chapter 16, there's two things that the pastor speaks of in Hebrews Chapter 13.
The first one is this, where the high priest would take a go and confess the sins of the people and then he would turn what's called the scape goat loose and it would run off into the wilderness. It was a picture. It was a shadow. It was a type. That's why he says this, for the body of those animals in verse 11 whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice of sins are burned outside the camp. And talks about in verse 12 of Hebrews 13 of a suffering outside the gate. Well this was a picture of the scapegoat. Notice this with me in Leviticus Chapter 16 verse 22. He says goat, in this picture the high priest would take the goat and he would he would lay his hands on him and he shall bear their iniquities on itself to a remote area and then he shall let the goat go free in the wilderness. That is he was to be set free away from what was considered the holy place which was Jerusalem, and of course the temple itself. As it was instructed, the goat is turned loose.
Then the other sacrifice whether it was a bull or a goat the high priest would take he would make a sacrifice there, and he would take the blood and he would sprinkle it upon the altar. And then the offering itself was burned. That's why you get the pastor writer referring to it being burned outside the camp. So you're talking about two sacrifices but it really is a picture of what will be the one final sacrifice. And that's Jesus. On this particular day as you're looking with me at Leviticus Chapter 16, when this service was culminated by the High Priest, verse 34 tells us and this shall be a statute for ever for you that atonement may be made for the people of Israel once in the year because of all their sins. And Moses did as the Lord commanded and year by year they had to do so. Dear friends if you go back to the book of Hebrews verse 12. So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood.
You see what happened with that picture of that scapegoat and then the picture of the sacrifice of the bull or the goat where the blood was sprinkled upon the altar, was that sin was being laid on that scapegoat and then it was let out into the wilderness. That the shed blood which represented the death was seen as a sacrifice for sin. Look at verse 12 of Chapter 10. You'll recall this when we were moving through this. The Bible tells us that picture of the day of atonement was a picture that the people had been made holy. But they would have to come back year after year after year with the same type of sacrifices. Yet Jesus in his one time sacrifice verse 10 of Chapter 10. And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all, and every priest stands daily at his service. He compares the Old Covenant offering repeatedly the same sacrifices which can never take away sins. You see friends that goat, that bull, that the lamb whatever sacrifice was made. That itself couldn't take away sins. No. They were instructed to do that by faith because that's what God instructed them to do. And they're trusting in YHWH save them. But Jesus becomes the fulfillment of this shadow. This picture, this type, because he can take away sins. Because, verse 12, when Christ has offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins. He sat down at the right hand of God. Which is a picture that his work is accomplished. That you and I have a better altar. That you and I have a better sacrifice because Jesus has accomplished it all. He bore our sin on the cross.
Now the other thing to me that I found this interesting about really interesting because the writer talks about in verse 11 that it's done outside the camp, in verse 12 it says that Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. In order to make us holy that Jesus died outside the gate of Jerusalem on the cross of Golgotha. That Jesus was buried outside the gates as well. Jesus is the fulfillment. Dear friends. Church, of the day of atonement in that releasing of the goat as the priest would pray. As that as that sin was to bear the iniquity, Jesus bore our sin on the cross. He bore it so that he could make us holy as we could approach God as a sinful person which in the Old Covenant only the high priest himself could go. We cannot make ourselves holy to God, to a holy God but Jesus can and Jesus did and Jesus will make you holy if you'll place your trust in Him alone. Jesus can and will save you from your sin. Your sin can be completely atoned, under the new and final and eternal covenant through our Great High Priest Jesus. Because Jesus is the better altar and Jesus is the better sacrifice. What an amazing correlation I believe that's given here. Jesus shed his blood. Jesus gave His life so that we who are sinful could be made holy and live in his presence. Our atonement alone is realized in Jesus.
So what's the point. Let me give you quick three things that are found in verses 13 through 16. Let us therefore go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured for we have no lasting city but we seek the city that is to come through him. Let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God. That is the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name and do not neglect to do good and to share what you have for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Now that God has made us holy, now that God has changed our hearts. The new law has been written on our hearts that the covenant that was foretold from Jeremiah Chapter 31. We carry that capacity where we can be pleasing to God. I want to give you three things I think that result out of this and in a concluding type of way, that are important for us as God's people who have Jesus as the better altar and sacrifice that will benefit our lives to live out a faithful existence for Christ. Number one is this endure faithfully. Endure faithfully.
It seems like an odd verse there I think. Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured what he is telling those people yeah. You are suffering. That suffering is real, bear the reproach of that because Jesus bore your sin. You're never going to pay for your sin. Jesus is poor. He has paid for that so gladly bear the reproach, gladly endure the suffering and be the people of God because Jesus was faithful. So that your sin could be atoned. Jesus fatefully endured suffering. I believe he's saying let us, the church even today, let us identify with Jesus and bear any reproach or ridicule or suffering that may come. Let us accept with holy spirit courage a suffering that is part with following after Christ because we do have a better high priest and a better altar and a better sacrifice. And it is Jesus Himself that is offering his grace for your strength so that you will live in such a way. Verse 14 not for the things of this earthly life but you will live your life seeking for the city that is to come. Dear church endure faithfully.
How do we do this. Secondly this and do this exclusively, worship Jesus. This church got bombarded with some strange teaching. We saw some of it last week. Some of whom who thought a celibate life was going to make them more holy with God because apart from that they would be inferior. Some other group attach themselves here to adding some sort of food instruction and he gives correction to this. Man I've been a Christian for about forty five years and I've bumped into some strange strange teaching coming inside the walls of church. Dear friends. May God help us to worship Jesus alone and to not get caught up into some strange teaching. You see what this is it's legalistic ads because they thought by participating in these things it was going to make them more spiritual. Yes follow your leaders who follow Jesus. But please worship Jesus in simplicity, in simplicity. Because Jesus is the only one who can save and so turn loose of any foolish strange teaching that you may be holding on to.
I know I've had too many of them in my lifetime. God forgive me for all the air that I've taught but let's take Jesus in simplicity. And may we worship Him. May our hearts be filled with a type of worship of Jesus, this beautiful savior you and I have, with love and with praise. May Jesus be on our lips. Not all kinds of other religious junk that really doesn't mean anything. Endure faithfully, worship Jesus, verse 15, through him let us continually offer up through him. Its talking about Jesus. A sacrifice to praise the God that is the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name whose name is Jesus name.
And then lastly if this were true this worship of Jesus and enduring faithfully I believe this is true as well. If if we will acknowledge the glory of this new eternal covenant that you and I have made a part of and we endure faithfully in our lives as following after Jesus and we worship Jesus in simplicity. God help us to work diligently. Verse 16, we close, do not neglect to do good and to share what you have for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Friends those who worship Jesus in simplicity serve others. You have, and I have, been left for a work to do. We have a work to do and so in your life a proper worship of Jesus will work it has a desire to be pleasing to God. That is God is churning in your heart and mind a desire to serve. A desire to minister a desire to share your life, alive. A desire to give of your resources to promote Jesus that the glory of the Gospel would be across the globe. God wants us to be gospel centered and Christ centered and those who are gospel centered and Christ centered are not those that are saying "let go and let God" rather know the grace that is saved them has a passionate desire to work diligently that's what he's saying. Hey look I know it's difficult on you but you have the great high priest and you are eternally saved. Do not neglect to do good. Friends, this was under persecution. He tells them do not neglect to do good. Why? And share from what you have. That is every aspect of your life for such sacrifices. Please God, the God we love. And I believe everyone here who knows Jesus this morning is here for that very reason because you want to please God. May God by His strength of his spirit in the word of his grace help us to endure faithfully worship Jesus and work diligently.