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RCCG Miracle Land Dundalk
Wednesday, December 15 2021

Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai

We have finally come to the last study of an incredible journey that has been spotted with amazing revelation offered in this letter to the Hebrew Christians.
Although not confirmed anywhere in the scriptures, we have come to “loosely” accept that this letter was written by the Apostle Paul because of certain styles of writing/argument spotted in different chapters of the letter.
Today’s topic, following on from verse 15, touches on the Apostle’s Final Admonishment, Benediction and Greetings to the Hebrew Christians and consequently us.

Verse 16: Pleasing Sacrifice
And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.

In verse 15, we were admonished to offer a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name through Jesus. Here in verse 16, we learn that praise is not the only sacrifice that pleases God.
We also please God when we share with those in need. Praise and worship are important, but the Christian’s obligation does not end there.

Verse 17: Obey Your Spiritual Leaders
Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit.

This is a very sensitive command that has been used for manipulation and control over the years and so, we must be careful. The KJV says, “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves . . .” the NIV says, “Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority”

How can we be careful about this?
We are to be submissive to the leaders God gives us (assuming they have the character mentioned in Hebrews 13:7). “Remember your leaders who taught you the word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and follow the example of their faith.”

Simply, their lives and character must model that of Jesus Christ and whatever it is that they ask from you must align with the Word of God. A teacher should teach us to submit to God, not to himself.

The second part of the verse is even more delicate.
Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God.

The responsibility God placed on spiritual leaders is a “huge” one and with what we are seeing around the world today, we realize that many of the spiritual leaders themselves don’t seem to understand the gravity of this responsibility. Of course, this does not relieve individual responsibility (every one of us shall give account of himself to God Rom.14:12) but it puts an additional accountability and responsibility upon leaders.

The third part is an appeal as well as a profitable advice.
Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit.

The responsibility is a huge one, we should not make their task any more difficult or burdensome but create an environment where they can joyfully fulfil their calling. This cooperative conduct is not only a joy to leaders, but it is profitable for the whole body. It is for our own sake that we should obey and submit to God-appointed leaders. Because to do otherwise is akin to biting your nose to spite your face.

Verses 18-19: A Request For Prayer
“Pray for us, for our conscience is clear and we want to live honourably in everything we do. And especially pray that I will be able to come back to you soon”

When we studied the book of Romans we came across a similar request from the Apostle Paul in chapter 15:30-31 as we see in these two verses where he called for the believers to pray for him. In both contexts, we see a leader who is clearly humble in making this request.
Very interestingly, his request for prayer was not just a cliché that we hear these days when someone says: “Please pray for me” without giving the prayer point. Here we see the Apostle being very clear about what the believers needed to pray about; again, a clear indication of his humility.

(i) We want to live honourably in everything we do
(ii) And especially pray that I will be able to come back to you soon

To live honourably (especially as a spiritual leader) is very important. Being honest with yourself, others and ultimately God! Paul understands this that is why he was coveting the prayers of the saints for he and the other leaders to be able to live honourably in “everything” they did.

The second prayer point implies that there were certain obstacles preventing him from returning to the recipients of this letter. He knew that prayer could remove those obstacles; so he urged the believers to specifically pray about this; showing how much he regarded their prayers for him.

Verses 20-21: A Blessing Is Pronounced.

“Now may 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, 21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

After asking his readers to pray for him, Paul prays for his readers.

Verse 20: “Now may the God of peace”
This is a blessing in the style of the priestly blessing of Numbers 6:22-27: The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.

In this blessing God is first recognized in His attributes: His Peace, Power (brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead), Loving Care (that great Shepherd), and Ever Giving Love (the blood of the everlasting covenant).

Verse 21: “equip you with everything good for doing his will”
Other versions say “Make you complete in every good work”
This expresses the ultimate reason for the blessing of God. It is for fulfilling God’s will as He works in us through Jesus Christ.

“Brothers and sisters, I urge you to bear with my word of exhortation, for in fact I have written to you quite briefly. 23 I want you to know that our brother Timothy has been released. If he arrives soon, I will come with him to see you. 24 Greet all your leaders and all the Lord’s people. Those from Italy send you their greetings.”

Verse 22
“. . . bear with my word of exhortation, for in fact I have written to you quite briefly”

At this final stage of the letter, the Apostle reminds us of his purpose. His desire was to write a word of exhortation to encourage discouraged Christians, both then and now.

Verse 23
“I want you to know that our brother Timothy has been released. If he arrives soon, I will come with him to see you.”

This final statement also “loosely” hints us of the writer’s identity. Although, they only tell us that the writer knew Timothy, but which other writer in the entire Bible ever mentioned Timothy in their writings except for the Apostle Paul?

Verse 25

“Grace be with you all.”
This is a definitely a fitting end for a book that documents the passing of the Old Covenant and the institution of the New Covenant.
And as we conclude this year’s Bible Study, I say, “Grace be with you all indeed, under what God has given through the superior Saviour, Jesus Christ! Amen!”


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