Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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PENTECOST 12 – Sept. 1, 2019 – Heb. 13:1-17 “THE BIG CHANGE”

Introduction:  Grace be to you and peace, from God our Father, and from our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.  Our text is the Epistle Lesson just read, from Heb. 13.  We begin with prayer. 


Dear fellow disciples of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ:

  • It is an astonishing thing, that we get so mixed up about how we are to live our lives in honor and service to God! Should we be concerned about foods and meats?  Should we do good to others?  What should our motive be – our own standing with God and in society, or the real needs of others?  Do we really have to “share” what we have, what God has given us?  Do we really have to “obey” and remember to imitate the faith of our leaders?
  • It is equally astonishing how easily our “religion” and “spirituality” can become contrary to true love and decency. Consider Jesus’ debate – as to whether or not one is “allowed” to do good on the Sabbath, on the day set aside to worship God.  For that matter, why do we have to “worship God” on the Sabbath?  Is it to gain something from Him, some status or obligation, or is to receive and be blessed by His love and His gifts? 
  • In our text we see that for Christians a “BIG CHANGE” has taken place, and we are encouraged to continue living in the change, consistent with what we have learned in regard to God’s love for us and for all people. The encouragements in our text are really simply this:


I.  We Are To Love As God Has Loved Us In Christ – In Accord With His Commandments, The Fulfillment Of Which Is Love


John 15:9-12  “As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Abide in My love.  If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.  These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.  This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”


Romans 13:10  “Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”


A.  This Means That We Are To Be Hospitable To Strangers


Text:  “Let brotherly love continue.  Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”


B.  We Are To Show Empathy To Those Who Are Jailed And/Or Mistreated


Text:  “Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.”


C.  There Is To Be No Sexual Sin Among Us


Text:  “Let marriage be held in honor by all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.”


D.  There Is To Be No Greed Within Us, But Rather Contentment


Text:  “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for He has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’  So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’”


E.  And So We Are To Praise God In Worship And In Our Living


Text:  “Through Him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge His Name.  Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”


Statement:  Each of these things has to do with loving others as God has loved us.  He has been hospitable to us – blessing us with so many things, even when we are still in trespasses and sins.  He has shown us empathy in our imprisonment and enslavement to sin.  He is faithful to us in all things – and it is His will that we also be faithful to our spouse, and faithful to others, that we not engage in any sexual immorality at all.  And God continues to urge us to give up the idolatry of greed and love of money.  His goal is just the opposite of marketers and advertisers:  they want you to be discontented until you buy their product; God wants us to be content with what we have.  It is evil to rely on anyone or anything other than God, and money and wealth is a sore temptation to idolatry!  Rather, God wants us to have contentment, to be thankful to Him, and to trust and rely upon Him with great confidence, and to praise Him with thanksgiving and a life of love.


Application: The more we study and learn God’s Word, the more we know about Him.  The more we know about Him, the more convinced we are that “God is love.” [1 John 4:8]  The more faith and knowledge that we have of God’s love for us, the more free and the more motivated we are to love others as He has loved us, to love others as described in our text.  The freer we are, knowing that God is taking care of us, the more content, joyful, and full our life will be.  This is the blessedness God wants each and every one of His children to have and enjoy! 


Transition:  And though it seems to be contrary to the equality that God has established among all of His dear children, we can grow in this blessedness when:


II.  We Heed Those Who Lead By Speaking God’s Word To Us      


Text:  “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the Word of God. . . . Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give account.”


A.  Remember That Jesus Remains The Same Forever


Text:  “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”


B.  So Beware Of False Teachers


Text:  “Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace.”


1.  We Are To Cling To Jesus, Not To Ritual, Diets, Or Irreligion


Text:  “It is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, NOT by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them.  We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat.  For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought in to the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp.  So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through His own blood.  Therefore let us go to Him outside the camp and bear the reproach He endured.”

2.  For We Seek What Is Promised And Is Surely Coming


Text:  “For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.”


Statement:  Religions based in good works, or in dietary concerns, or in human beings sacrificing to make up for their sin – in essence, any religious or “spiritual” behavior that is not centered in Christ, the Lamb of God Whose blood cleanses and sanctifies us – are worse than worthless; they are abominations that deny God and His beloved Son.  Nothing good can come from this.  All of this has to do with the “old way” of sin and ignorance of God and His love.


Application: But once a person has been freed and renewed in the knowledge of God, a “BIG CHANGE” has taken place.  The image of God is being restored so that we also begin to love as He has loved us.  This is good for us!  It is also good for those around us!  God loves it and rejoices in it! 


So we engage in what is truly good, right, and loving, and we reject all that is contrary to love, regardless of how the unbelieving and simplistic may object.  If we know God and His love, then we know His Word must always be a Word of love and goodness for us!


Conclusion:  It is important, especially as God wills for us to be blessed with a clear knowledge an understanding of these things, for us not to be confused about God’s love for us and His simple will that we also engage in the joys of loving others.  His love is always our model; His Word is always our guide.


Focused on Jesus, heeding those God-fearing and faithful preachers of God’s Word, and learning from them, we will indeed enter into these joys of love, and be protected from all that would molest us spiritually and denude us from the life in God. 


This also is His good and gracious will for each of us.  Thanks and praise be to God, Amen.


Votum:  And the peace of God, which surpasses all human understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds in the true faith, which is in Christ Jesus, even unto life everlasting, Amen.