2017-02-26-keith-powers-Right Living Requires Right Thinking part 2

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Last week we looked at Hebrews 13:1-6 where we saw 5 guidelines for christian living.

They were as follows.

1 love fellow christians.

2 Show hospitality.

3 Minister to those in prison and to those who are mistreated.

4 Hold marriage as honorable and keep the sexual relationship pure.

5 Be content with your financial status.

This week we will be looking at the rest of chapter 13 and finishing the book of Hebrews.

This message is also titled right living requires right thinking.

I want to read the beginning of a letter Chip Ingram’s ministry sent out in December.

Even though I normally throw this kind of envelope out without opening it for some reason this week I opened this one and read the introductory letter.

This letter has a lot to say about how it is so important to think correctly in order to live like Jesus.

The letter is titled:

There is Hope for America and the World

Dear Ministry Partner,

There is HOPE for America and the world, but the path is NARROW and it is NOT where most people are looking.

Deliverance will not come from a new President, a new Senate, a new Congress, a new economic plan, or new laws that align more with biblical values.

America's massive debt, racial conflict, disintegrating families, sexual confusion, declining education, overcrowded prisons, and disregard for the lives of the unborn and the aged are merely the FRUIT of a nation that has lost its moral compass.

The ROOT of America's decline is not a political or social problem, but a spiritual one. God's Church is the steward of His TRUTH and the agent of His LOVE and COMPASSION in a fallen world.

Who would have imagined 40 years ago, that evangelical churches would question the authority of God's Word, condone same-sex relationships, experience the same rates of divorce and abortion as the culture, and lose 70% of their young people who long for far more than a self-help Jesus and a prosperity gospel. Our churches are filled with Christians who unwittingly and often unintentionally are not living like Christians.

As a result of our faulty and distorted view of God, we have created a god of our own making and a Church that has lost its salt and light for the world. How did we get here, and where is our HOPE?

Everything rises and falls with people having a high and accurate view of God.

Our only HOPE is to regain a high and accurate view of the REAL GOD. When you correct your misperceptions about God and start to truly know and experience Him, it changes every aspect of your life. It impacts your relationships, your view of yourself, your decisions, your sense of purpose, and how you deal with adversity. You receive a gift from Him – a lasting hope about all things. And, when you know Him in a way He longs for you to know Him, it brings intimacy into your relationships and you can move toward what He created you to be and do.[1]

As we finish chapter 13 we will be looking at guidelines for leadership and doctrine in verses 7-19 and the benediction and closing in verses 20-25.

Hebrews 13:7-19 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

7 Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 9 Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, through which those who were so occupied were not benefited. 10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. 11 For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest as an offering for sin, are burned outside the camp. 12 Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate. 13 So, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach. 14 For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come.

15 Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. 16 And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.

18 Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in all things. 19 And I urge you all the more to do this, so that I may be restored to you the sooner.[2]

The first thing the author reminds us to do is found in verse 7.

1 Remember your leaders

7 Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.

Here the preacher is reminding us to remember those who walked the walk, and lived an exemplary life of faith before us.  Yes he is talking about those who have lived their lives. This can be seen in his words telling us to consider the result of their conduct and imitate their faith.

This actually ties back to Hebrews 11 where he is talking about the great cloud of witnesses.  

Hebrews 11:32-34 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

32 And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.[3]

What he is getting at is that as history progresses those who lived lives for Christ are also part of this cloud of witnesses.


We are to remember our leaders.

He next tells us to remember their conduct and follow their example of faith.

2 remember their conduct and follow their example of faith

The words Paul gave to us in Philippians 3:7-11 encapsulate the attitude of being totally sold out for Christ as an example for us to follow.

Philippians 3:7-11 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

7 But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, 9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; 11 in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Over the centuries these words have been an inspiration to believers who have followed this example.  

By making these words the core guideline for their lives these believers have have also become examples for us to remember and follow.


We are to remember our leaders.

Next we are to remember their conduct and follow their example of faith.

Next we are to remember what they taught.

3 remember what they taught

The phrase who spoke the word of truth to you was put there to remind us to remember what it was that they taught us.

So what was it they taught.

Verse 8 tells us.

8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

As we look back over Hebrews His immutability His unchangeableness is taught throughout the entire book.  

1 Jesus is the same yesterday.

The author starts of the book by telling us Jesus was there at creation.

Hebrews 1:1-2 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

1 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.

Just to make sure we get the point he continues in verse 10; “And,

“You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the works of Your hands;” [4]

Remember that is the Father speaking to the Son here.

What we see is at the beginning of the universe Jesus was there and he took an active part in creating the universe.

2 Jesus is the same today.

The author of Hebrews reminds us of what he taught earlier.

Hebrews 1:3 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,[5]

Hebrews 1:13 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

13 But to which of the angels has He ever said,

“Sit at My right hand,

Until I make Your enemies

A footstool for Your feet”?[6]

Jesus is still the one who is the perfect image of The Father, and He is still sitting at the right hand of The Father.

Hebrews 7:26 tells us “For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens;”[7]

3 Jesus is the same forever.

Hebrews 7:17 reminds us “For it is attested of Him, ‘You are a priest forever

According to the order of Melchizedek.’”[8]

So we see that we have been taught that Jesus is that eternal Great High Priest interceding for us.

Hebrews 1:10-12 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

10 And, “You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth,

And the heavens are the works of Your hands;

11 They will perish, but You remain;

And they all will become old like a garment,

12 And like a mantle You will roll them up;

Like a garment they will also be changed.

But You are the same,

And Your years will not come to an end.”[9]

So even though this universe will come to an end.  As it says here Jesus will roll the heavens up like a garment, but He will remain the same.

The key to our hope is that Jesus is always the same for all eternity.

His love will never diminish.  His salvation is to the uttermost.  Just because I sin His plans for me will never change.

I can remain confident in my salvation because Jesus cannot lie and He made a promise that He will keep for all eternity.

We are to remember our leaders.

We are to remember their conduct and follow their example of faith.

We are to remember what they taught.

We are to guard against “all kinds of strange teachings and identify ourselves with Jesus’ teaching.

Hebrews 13:9-14

9 Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, through which those who were so occupied were not benefited. 10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat.

By talking about the old testament sacrifice here the author is reminding the believers of the specific thing that was drawing them away.

This issue is also at the core of what we all seem to fall back to in our own lives.  

I am not talking about temple worship but salvation by works.

Paul dealt extensively with this same issue with the Galatians.

Galatians 1:6-7 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

6 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; 7 which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.

In Hebrews 7:22 the author corrects this same distortion by reminding us “so much the more also Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.”[10]

Verses 11 and 12 remind us that Jesus sacrifice was THE once for all offering that established the better covenant of salvation which comes by faith alone.

11 For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest as an offering for sin, are burned outside the camp.

12 Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate.

Verses 13 and 14 remind us that we need to actively identify ourselves with this new and better covenant.  

13 So, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach. 14 For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come.

The encouragement to go out to Him and bear His reproach is an encouragement to live the sanctified life.

We are to live a life separated from the world.  Notice that it is taken as a fact of life if we identify ourselves with Christ we will suffer reproach.

We are to remember our leaders.

We are to remember their conduct and follow their example of faith.

We are to remember what they taught.

We are to guard against “all kinds of strange teachings and identify ourselves with Jesus’ teaching.

Next we are to offer a new kind of sacrifice.

Verses 15 and 16 describe this new kind of sacrifice and why it is so important.

15 Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.

16 And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

Notice the author starts “Through Him”.  and describes this new offering as the fruit of lips.

Remember right living requires right thinking.  As Jesus said out of the fullness of a man’s heart the mouth speaks.

Verse 16 also ties doing good and sharing as part of the sacrifice that pleases God.

Paul describes this fruit in Galatians 5:22-23.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.[11]

We are to remember our leaders.

We are to remember their conduct and follow their example of faith.

We are to remember what they taught.

We are to guard against “all kinds of strange teachings and identify ourselves with Jesus’ teaching.

We are to offer a new kind of sacrifice.

Finally we are to obey our leaders.

17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.

There is that word again OBEY.

This is not I repeat NOT the obedience of believers doing everything the leader tells them to do.

Leaders have been given the charge of watching over our souls and will be held accountable.

These are spiritual matters, matters of accurately teaching God’s word.

Obey here means pay attention, follow up on what you are being taught.

An example of this can be found in Acts 17:10-11.

10 The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.[12]

God Holds the leaders responsible to teach His word.

He holds all of us responsible to study to show ourselves approved workmen.

The author then closes this section with a prayer request for himself and his work.

18 Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in all things. 19 And I urge you all the more to do this, so that I may be restored to you the sooner.

This prayer sets a good example for our daily prayer life.

We should be praying for our leaders that they may conduct themselves honorably in all things.


The book of Hebrews closes with this benediction and final greeting.

Let’s look at this as the preacher’s benediction to us from this book.

Hebrews 13:20-25 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

20 Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, 21 equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

22 But I urge you, brethren, bear with this word of exhortation, for I have written to you briefly. 23 Take notice that our brother Timothy has been released, with whom, if he comes soon, I will see you. 24 Greet all of your leaders and all the saints. Those from Italy greet you.

25 Grace be with you all.[13]


[1] N.a. "December 2016." Livingontheedge.org. n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2017. <http://livingontheedge.org/coffeebreak/december-2016>

[2] Bible Gateway. "Hebrews 13:7-19 (NASB)." Bible Gateway. n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2017. <https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews+13%3A7-19&version=NASB>

[3] Bible Gateway. "Hebrews 11:32-34 (NASB)." Bible Gateway. n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2017. <https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews+11%3A32-34&version=NASB>

[4] Bible Gateway. "Hebrews 1:10 (NASB)." Bible Gateway. n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2017. <https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews+1%3A10&version=NASB>

[5] Bible Gateway. "Hebrews 1:3 (NASB)." Bible Gateway. n.d. Web. 25 Feb. 2017. <https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews+1%3A3&version=NASB>

[6] Bible Gateway. "Hebrews 1:13 (NASB)." Bible Gateway. n.d. Web. 25 Feb. 2017. <https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews+1%3A13&version=NASB>

[7] Bible Gateway. "Hebrews 7:26 (NASB)." Bible Gateway. n.d. Web. 25 Feb. 2017. <https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews+7%3A26&version=NASB>

[8] Bible Gateway. "Hebrews 7:17 (NASB)." Bible Gateway. n.d. Web. 25 Feb. 2017. <https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews+7%3A17&version=NASB>

[9] Bible Gateway. "Hebrews 1:10-12 (NASB)." Bible Gateway. n.d. Web. 25 Feb. 2017. <https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews+1%3A10-12&version=NASB>

[10] Bible Gateway. "Hebrews 7:22 (NASB)." Bible Gateway. n.d. Web. 25 Feb. 2017. <https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews+7%3A22&version=NASB>

[11] Bible Gateway. "Galatians 5:22-23 (NASB)." Bible Gateway. n.d. Web. 25 Feb. 2017. <https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Galatians+5%3A22-23&version=NASB>

[12] Bible Gateway. "Acts 17:10-11 (NASB)." Bible Gateway. n.d. Web. 25 Feb. 2017. <https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+17%3A10-11&version=NASB>

[13] Bible Gateway. "Hebrews 13:20-25 (NASB)." Bible Gateway. n.d. Web. 25 Feb. 2017. <https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews+13%3A20-25&version=NASB>