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Today’s main verse is Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.”
What an encouraging promise it is that Jesus never changes.
I hope our faith in Jesus will be strengthened today by studying about the work and character of Jesus from the epistle to the Hebrews. Please read Hebrews 13:7-17.
The author of Hebrews introduced the work of Jesus in Hebrews 1:2-3 by saying, “God appointed Jesus an heir of all things, and through him he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”
In Heb. 4:14-16, Jesus is introduced by the author as a great high priest. The character of the high priest is expressed in verse 15, saying, “We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet without sin.”
Heb. 7:24-25 says, “Because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.”
Further, Heb. 9:12 says that “Christ has obtained eternal redemption,” and verse 15 introduces him as “the mediator of a new covenant.”
Please review these Bible verses to see and understand who Christ is.
Jesus never changes. He is the creator of the universe. He is heir and sustainer of all things, provider of purification of sins, who has been tempted in every way. He always lives to intercede for us as an unchanging high priest and the mediator of a new covenant by which we have obtained eternal redemption.
As we have learned what kind of savior Christ is and the many blessings we receive through him, let us continuously confess that “Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.”
Heb. 13:7 says, “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.”
I wonder how each one of you was lead to your faith in Christ.
I suspect that you met someone who introduced you to the word of God.
In my case, I met a friend who was a Christian when I was in high school. He took me to his church, and there I met the pastor, many church members, missionaries and their families, who led me and encouraged me to become a Christian. As I shared with you in my last message, I have many good memories of being moved by the love among Christian brothers and sisters. My faith was deepened and strengthened by the great examples of brotherly love demonstrated right in my church and among Christians who were close to me. I imagine that many of you had the same kind of experience in your own life. I hope that we can receive this challenge to be good examples to those around us by demonstrating our brotherly love right in our church and community.
Heb. 13:17 says, “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of an advantage to you.”
“Keep watch” here means to watch over you without sleeping.
I wish to be the kind of leader who can communicate well with believers so that they can receive prayers and practical help from me and fellow believers whenever they face problems or difficulties.
I pray and expect that the Lord will raise many leaders who will watch over His church in a spirit of brotherly love.
Heb. 13:9 says, “Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not be ceremonial foods, which are of no value to those who eat them.”
I suspect that “all kinds of strange teachings” here mean legalistic Jewish teachings and Gnosticism that were gradually sinking into churches.
These are teachings that distract believers’ attention from their faith in Christ.
Christ is the one who is the same yesterday, today and forever. Our faith in Christ alone should be sufficient to nourish our spiritual needs. We are saved because of the love that Christ demonstrated to us.
The religious leaders at that time emphasized that we should be nourished spiritually through the Scriptures, our faith in God, and by His grace, which we ought to remember in our Christian walk today.
As another example of strange teaching found in the early church, please refer to Col. 2:16-23.
These verses say that many members of the Colossian churches fell into the heretical teachings based on human regulations and ascetics.
We need to learn from these mistakes as we remember that our faith should be based on God’s grace.
Heb. 13:15-16 teaches us the new way of worship in the New Testament era. Christians are to continuously offer a sacrifice of praise to God — the fruit of lips that confess his name.
Hosea 14:1-2 also says that “we may offer the fruit of our lips.”
Hosea prophesied that the Christians would return to the Lord, receive forgiveness of sins and offer praise to God.
The coming of Christ opened a new era.
Heb. 13:16 says, “Do not forget to do good and to share with others.”
I suppose you realize that this proactive way of worship stands in drastic contrast to the old worship by the blood of sacrificed animals.
Jesus is the same forever.
We have started a new way of life, loving Jesus and loving others with brotherly love by reaching out in practical ways.
Let us continually offer our New Testament worship following the leading of the Holy Spirit.
(Please refer to Romans 12:1, I Peter 2:5, and James 1:27.)