(6): Faith Completed
Prayer, Psalm 115.1-11
Children, Genesis 18.1-15 (Abraham & the three visitors;
Message, Hebrews 13.1-25
sermon, though he concludes: “written briefly” (13.22)
(the race set before us)
(in peace and holiness)
Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal
covenant, 21 make you
complete in everything good so that you may do his will, working among us that
which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory
forever and ever. Amen. (13.20-21)
chapter? Show hospitality. Remember those in prison. Honor marriage. Obey your leaders. Pray for us.
It sounds less like faith completed and more like the parting advice of
moms and dads: drive safely, always use protection, respect your teachers,
brush your teeth, don’t forget to call home at least once a week.
in EVERYTHING GOOD”? And, while the
catch-all series of exhortations is a typical way to close the letters in the
New Testament, each letter has its own context.
For Hebrews, the context is FAITH.
And the exhortations are given with the understanding that living by
faith makes us into faith-ful people.
Faith fills and saturates every part of our life.
for faith: “aman”. It is a word that
speaks of nourishment and support – and is the root for the terms “foster
father” and “foster mother”. It is a
word that speaks of firmness and reliability – and is the root for the term “pillar”,
like the pillars in my basement that hold up my house. And the term shows up over and over in the
New Testament and in the prayer life of God’s people as “amen”. When we put our faith in Jesus, we become
more supportive, more reliable people.
It is a qualitative change that comes as we put our faith the one who is
reliable … we become reliable as well.
As we put our faith in the one who supports … we become supportive as
nourishment & support of faith
strangers – visiting a church in
in the public arena, new to the neighborhood, outsiders
grateful for your welcome
To those in
prison and tortured, “remember”
injustice in the justice system
the persecuted church (Ingrid’s story)
responsibility to care for one another (original focus)
though you were with them”
those who are in hospitals, nursing homes”
service at Smith, opportunity for visitation ministry
As we put our faith in the one who supports … we become
firmness, the pillar
– the bed “undefiled”
for worship (defiled ant. holy)
from the love of money, and be content with what you have
he has said, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you’”
money is not trust-worthy
money makes no promise of supporting you
money won’t love you back, no matter how much you love it
we can rely on Jesus!
As we put our faith in the one who is reliable … we become
(in this case, a negative statement of the theme)
side: do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings
side: remember, consider, imitate, obey leaders
Bjornberg’s father broke the ground for this building
& Gary Shupp’s father provided the first trees for the property
Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (13.8)
another, but a reminder that our faith is focused on one particular person,
Jesus Christ our Lord. In every age
there are “strange teachings”, generally a recycled and repackaged version of
the heresies of the primitive church.
Don’t be carried away by the novelty, the supposed benefits, the “superior”
scholarship, the secret knowledge, the greater liberty. It’s just not there. Instead, be carried away to Jesus. “Let us then go to him outside the camp and
bear the abuse he endured” (13.13).
faith in Jesus, and use as a model those leaders whose lives have borne it out –
people who have become reliable and supportive just like the Lord we trust.