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Bible Commentaries

Chuck Smith Bible Commentary

Hebrews 13

Verses 1-25

Chapter 13

Chapter 13, closing out the book.

Let brotherly love continue. Don't forget to entertain strangers: for some have entertained angels without knowing it ( Hebrews 13:1-2 ).

Interesting. I believe it. I don't think I have ever really entertained angels, not to my knowledge. I have never really thought, "Oh, I wonder if that was an angel." I haven't really had that kind of an experience. I would not challenge it. There are stories about angels and all, but I guess in some ways I am a skeptic to a lot of rumors that go around. And yet, I surely do not dismiss the possibility, because it is here in the scripture that it is possible that angels could come disguised as people and we wouldn't even know it. That would be sort of awesome.

Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them ( Hebrews 13:3 );

Now this is one of the reasons why I think Paul was perhaps the author of Hebrews, because he was in jail so much. And when he was in jail he was encouraging the people to remember him, pray for him and all; pray for him in his bonds. And here he is encouraging those to remember those that are in prison as bound with them.

and those which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body ( Hebrews 13:3 ).

He taught in I Corinthians 12 , we are all one body in Christ and when one member suffers, they all suffer. So, if one within the body of Christ is suffering adversity, be in prayer, remember them, because we are all one body.

Now, I personally feel very guilty that I do not spend more time in prayer for the Christians in Russia. You see, I, like you, have been such a victim of propaganda; everybody in Russia is a horrible atheist. There are no good people in Russia. They are Russians, how can they be good when they are wanting to destroy us? But that is not so. In Russia there are many beautiful, godly people who have really suffered for their faith. In Siberia multitudes of people there suffering for their faith in Jesus Christ. And you know, I rarely think about praying for them, yet they are all one body with me in Christ. They are a part of the same family. They are really my brothers and sisters in Jesus, and yet, I really don't pray for them very often. I don't think of praying for them. And that is wrong. They should be on our prayer list. And the thing that really convicts me is when I get letters smuggled out from a group there in Siberia who listened to translations of my tapes in their Bible studies and they write and tell what a blessing it is and how that they pray for Calvary Chapel every day. And I think, "Oh God. I forget to pray for them and they are really going through it, and here I am living in these conditions so blessed of Thee and they're praying for me and I forget to pray for them and that is not right."

Remember those that are in bonds, those that are in prison in China, in Siberia for their faith in Jesus Christ. Those that are in the church that are suffering behind the Iron Curtain, remember them in your prayers, hold them up, because we are all one body, and when one member suffers, they all suffer.

Marriage is honorable in all, the bed undefiled ( Hebrews 13:4 ):

There is a proper place for close, intimate, sexual relationship within the bonds of marriage; the bed is undefiled. God has purposed that it be a beautiful experience whereby two lives might be made one.

but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. Let your manner of living be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have ( Hebrews 13:4-5 ):

Paul the apostle said, "Godliness with contentment is really being rich. I've learned in whatever state I am to be content." Here again, "Be content with what things that you have."

for he hath said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you ( Hebrews 13:5 ).

I've got so much. I've got Jesus. Be content with what you have. If you've got the Lord, you've got everything. He is everything. He is our resource. He is all that we need. For He said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."

So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, I will not fear what man is going to do unto me ( Hebrews 13:6 ).

Oh I love that! "If God be for us," Paul said, "who can be against us?" ( Romans 8:31 ). The Lord is my helper, I will not fear what man might do.

When Asa, the king of Judah, came to the throne, the Ethiopians invaded the land with a tremendous army. Hopelessly outnumbered, he prayed unto the Lord, and said, "O God, it is nothing for You to help, those who are strong, or those who have no power. Help us, O Lord, for in Your name we are going to go out against this huge army. Don't let man prevail against You" ( 2 Chronicles 14:11 ). I like that. There is a lot of wisdom in that prayer. "God, it doesn't make any difference to You if we have a huge army or no army; we need Your help. We don't have any power. We need Your help. It is in Your name we are going to go out against them. Don't let Your name get whipped. Don't let man, Lord, whip You. We're on Your side." It's not, "Hey God, please get on our side; help our program." "God, we're just getting on Your side and don't let man prevail against You." The Lord is on my side, I will not fear what man is going to do to me. The Lord is my helper, my strength.

Remember them which have the rule over you ( Hebrews 13:7 ),

And this is spiritually, those who are spiritually responsible for your spiritual welfare. Remember them,

who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their manner of life ( Hebrews 13:7 ).

I mean the end of the godly life, the end of a life following Jesus Christ; considering the end of that kind of a life.

"So remember them which have the rule over you, have spoken to you the word of God; whose faith follow."

And then this interesting verse,

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, to day, and for ever. Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines: for it is a good thing that your heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein ( Hebrews 13:8-9 ).

So, that our faith be established in grace, not in works, doctrines that would stress the works of man, the works of righteousness that we might do. You know, the things that I can eat and can't eat and so forth. "Don't be carried about by divers and strange doctrines," really referring here to men like Herbert W. Armstrong who tells you the types of meat you should eat and shouldn't eat and so forth. That your righteousness becomes a manner of keeping the law and the Sabbath law and so forth. It is a good thing that your heart be established with grace and not with outward ordinances, the meats, which have never profited anybody that got all involved in those things.

We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle. For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp ( Hebrews 13:10-11 ).

When they would use an animal, the carcass of the animal that they used for the sin offerings, they always took them outside the camp and cremated them; burned them outside of the camp.

Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate ( Hebrews 13:12 ).

That is why in Jerusalem I do not feel that the church that the Catholics have built over the supposed site of the cross of Christ is legitimate. It is within the city. Jesus was taken without the gate. That's why I think that the area of the Garden Tomb across from Herod's gate, across a block or so away is probably the more legitimate sight of the crucifixion of Jesus, because it is outside of the Damascus Gate.

"Wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered without the gate."

Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp ( Hebrews 13:13 ),

That is, without the camp of Judaism, without the law of Israel, and without that religious system; let's go outside of it.

that we might bear his reproach. For here we have no continuing city, but we do seek one to come ( Hebrews 13:13-14 ).

We are like Abraham who was searching for the city which has foundation, whose maker and builder is God. We have no permanent residence here. We are pilgrims and strangers on the earth. We are just passing through. We do seek that permanent city, the city of God, where we shall dwell with Him.

By him [that is, Jesus] therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to his name ( Hebrews 13:15 ).

With these sacrifices, God is well pleased. He spoke of His displeasure with the sacrifices that they were bringing. He said, "I'm sick of your offerings." "Sacrifice and offering thou wouldst not, but a body thou hast prepared me," prophecy concerning Jesus. Now, here is the sacrifice that is acceptable to God: our praises, the fruit of our lips. Rather than taking a little goat to the priest to be slain or something, let's just give thanks to God. Let's just praise the Lord. Spend time in praising the Lord, that is the sacrifice that is well pleasing unto Him.

But to do good and to communicate don't forget ( Hebrews 13:16 ):

That is, to help those that are in need.

for with such sacrifices ( Hebrews 13:16 )

Another way we can sacrifice is in the giving to others.

God is well pleased. Obey those that have the rule over you ( Hebrews 13:16-17 ),

Here we were told earlier to remember those that had the rule, and now, obey them that have the rule over you.

and submit yourselves: as they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you ( Hebrews 13:16-17 ).

John wrote and said, "I had no greater joy than to know that my children walk in truth." And I think that is the story of every pastor. No greater joy than to know that your children walk in truth.

Pray for us: for we trust that we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly. But I beseech you the rather to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner ( Hebrews 13:18-19 ).

In other words, "Pray for me and I really ask you to do this that I might be restored sooner, because remember those that are in bonds, that are in prison. I want to come to you, so I want your prayers that I might be able to come sooner to you."

Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will ( Hebrews 13:20-21 ),

This is a beautiful benediction, "The God of peace that brought again from the dead the Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep." Jesus said, "I am the good shepherd; I give my life for the sheep" ( John 10:11 ). He's a great shepherd of the sheep. May He make you fully matured. The word perfect in Greek literally is fully matured, in every good work to do His will.

working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. Now I beg you, brothers, allow the word of exhortation [or receive the word of exhortation]: for I have written a letter unto you in few words. Know ye that our brother Timothy has been set free ( Hebrews 13:21-23 );

He probably was in prison with the author and now has been set free.

with whom, if he comes shortly, I will see you. Greet all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy greet you ( Hebrews 13:23-24 ).

This letter was written from Italy, probably from the prison in Rome and probably one of Paul's Roman epistles.

Grace be with you all. Amen ( Hebrews 13:25 ).

Fabulous book of Hebrews, so much, so rich.

When we get into James, he is going to exhort us, "Be ye doers of the Word and not hearers only, deceiving yourself" ( James 1:22 ). We've been given a lot of exhortation in these two chapters this evening. It would be well for you to go and read them again; review them once more. Review again the exhortations; praying for those that are in bonds as being bound with them. Remember those who are suffering for their witness for Jesus Christ, because we are all one body. Don't forget to communicate to those that are in need; give a helping hand. Great exhortations!

Now let's not just be hearers of the Word and say, "Ya, we really ought to pray for those in Siberia," let's pray for them. Let's put Christianity into action. Be doers of the Word and not hearers only. We don't want to deceive ourselves.

May the Lord be with you as you put your faith into practice, as you put into practice the things of the Word, as you begin to walk obediently to the injunctions of the scriptures. May the Lord be with you, and may the Lord bless you. And may He guide you and keep you in His love, fill you with His peace, cause your heart and life to overflow the richness of His goodness as you walk in the consciousness of His presence day by day this week. May your life be deepened in the Lord and in the things of the Spirit as we deny the flesh to take up our cross and follow Him. In Jesus' name. "

Copyright Statement
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Hebrews 13". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". 2014.