Hebrews 13:16-20
Heb 13:16 (KJB)
But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
To communicate - The act of sharing or partaking, fellowship
Not only are we to offer the sacrifice of praise with our lips but we are also to give of ourselves and our substance. Christianity is not just a verbal faith and this verse is telling us that in conjunction with our verbal testimony, we are to have a testimony of beneficence. We need to remember those that are poor and to help them if possible plus we are to send forth the Gospel into this world to bring the message of Christ to unbelievers so that the Elect among them can be saved. God is pleased when we use what He has given us for the purpose of evangelism and for the purpose of maturing those who are already in the faith. Cheap Christians will never know the joy of seeing others come into the Kingdom of God nor will they know the joy when a new believer begins to grow in the faith. It is not only money that we give, but we give according to the spiritual gift that God has given us. If He has given us the gift of teaching, then we teach but only those things in Scripture. There are too many who think they are teachers but are phonies and are causing confusion by creating their own systems of belief which are diametrically opposed to Scriptures. So we always work within the parameters of where God has gifted us.
Heb 13:17 (KJB)
Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for 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.
Obey - To be convinced or persuaded
Watch - Be vigilant or on the alert
Submit - To be submissive (Imperative Mood making it a command)
Account - A word, proclamation, or declaration
Not only are we to love God and one another but in this verse we are being told that we must submit ourselves to our local church leadership. True church leadership will always be on the alert for false teachings creeping into the church and will reject them immediately. It is unfortunate that today many pastors and elders in churches want to “dialog” with false teachers and listen to false gospels under the false notion of “love.” There is no love attached to a false doctrine which could hurt the believers. False doctrine is from Hell and there is no love in Hell plus believers have nothing to do with it. Those Christians who leave churches thinking that they are obeying God are fooling themselves. We may leave for a while if our present church is adopting a system of false teachings but that is not a reason to leave churches permanently. Those who refuse to attend church are violating the command in this passage. Those in church office must be accountable to the Lord for all they do within the church, that is, they can be removed if they are violating some scriptural ordinances. On the other hand it is the responsibility of the believers to willfully submit themselves so when the leaders have to give a word or declaration, they may report it joyfully and not being grieved in their spirit by a church full of rebellious people. A church which is predominantly rebellious toward its leaders would be unprofitable since those leaders would be diverted from their role as teachers. If they are not teaching, then the Christians are not learning and growing. If a church leader is guilty of improprieties, then they should be removed so a lingering bitterness will not prevail in the church between the leaders and the congregation. If someone in the congregation thinks they should be a leader and is stirring up the congregation against the leaders, then they must be removed until they learn humility. There should be harmony between the congregation and its leadership.
Heb 13:18 (KJB)
Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.
Here the inspired writer requests that prayer be made for him and also for unnamed others as he uses the word “we.” He requests this on the heels of asking them to submit to their leaders. He is persuaded that he has a good conscience toward God and that his life is being lived in accordance with Scriptural and Godly principles. He states that he is willing to live honestly which means his life is an open book before all.
Heb 13:19 (KJB)
But I beseech you the rather to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner.
Restored - Reestablished or cured
The writer here would love to come to Jerusalem but he seems to be hindered by either sickness or another circumstance like prison or he is waiting for an opportune time to visit. He is beseeching the Hebrew Christians that they live the same way as he is, and that is, as an open book before all so all suspicion of wrong doing is removed before there can even be one accusation. He wanted prayer in hopes that maybe God’s will for him would be a soon visit to Jerusalem and this was a test for the Hebrew Christians to see if they would pray for him. A Christian that does not pray is giving an indication they are spiritually out of step with the normal Christian life and needs to be guided back.
Heb 13:20 (KJB)
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,
Dead - Lifeless
Verses 20 and 21 give a closing benediction to this letter. First of all, God is called the God of peace. God gives the peace of eternal salvation to His people and He makes the war between man and Him end on the basis of the blood of Christ. (Psa 46:9 KJV) He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. The war between the believer and God is over upon the moment of salvation. He raised the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. Many have tried to claim Jesus only fainted on the cross but the witness of Scripture teaches plainly that His body was “lifeless” and a body without life is dead. Christ is the great shepherd of the sheep having given His life for us. (John 10:11 KJV) I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. All those in leadership positions in churches are under shepherds. The blood of Christ has removed all the sins from the believers and this is eternal. Grace is the eternal covenant which Christ ushered in by means of His sacrifice on Calvary, in contrast to the temporary covenant of Sinai.