Worship IX Day 10 Family Worship: Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper Days

Finding the original intent of Scripture and making good application to our everyday lives as we become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

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The Questions

1) Why would the author tell his readers to “imitate the faith” of their leaders? (verse 7)

2) What is meant by strange teachings? (verse 9)

3) What is a sacrifice of praise? (verse 15)

Hebrews 13:7-16

7 Remember your leaders who have spoken God’s word to you. As you carefully observe the outcome of their lives, imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 9 Don’t be led astray by various kinds of strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be established by grace and not by food regulations, since those who observe them have not benefited. 10 We have an altar from which those who worship at the tabernacle do not have a right to eat. 11 For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the most holy place by the high priest as a sin offering are burned outside the camp. 12 Therefore, Jesus also suffered outside the gate, so that he might sanctify the people by his own blood. 13 Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing his disgrace. 14 For we do not have an enduring city here; instead, we seek the one to come. 15 Therefore, through him let us continually offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name. 16 Don’t neglect to do what is good and to share, for God is pleased with such sacrifices.

Original Intent

1) Why would the author tell his readers to “imitate the faith” of their leaders? (verse 7)
From the beginning of time, people learn by watching others and imitating what they see and hear. While exact authorship for Hebrews and its intended audience remains unknown, we can assume its earliest readers had converted to Christianity from either Judaism or another pagan religion. Regardless of their original belief system, the author wants them to focus on where they are going as they follow Jesus, which is why he instructs them to remember what they had observed from their leaders of the faith. Hebrews was written long before Google, YouTube, Bible apps, and even the Bible as we know it today. The body of believers, Church, was reliant on their community and its leaders for teaching, training, and learning how to live as Christ-followers. Undoubtedly, there was pressure to return to their former way of life, especially in light of the persecution the church faced in its earliest days. In essence, the author is saying, “Remember how you got here, think back to those who shared Jesus with you and look at their lives. They are sticking with Jesus, so watch, listen, learn, and then do what you witnessed these Jesus-followers doing.” There is another aspect we can’t miss, which is the role parents play in leading their children. Parents training up children in the way the Lord intended leads all the way back to Old Testament times and the days of Moses. Deuteronomy 6:7 says, “Repeat them (the laws) to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Both modeling and mimicking true, whole-life worship are essential to growing God’s Kingdom and living as His Church.

2) What is meant by strange teachings? (verse 9)
An ongoing issue for early Jesus-followers was separating themselves from the old law of Moses and all its various rules for living in order to walk in the new paths of Christ. Rules covered everything including what food they could and couldn’t eat, what sacrifices to make and when, as well as circumcision, work on the Sabbath specifics, and a host of other laws. When the author says, “don’t be led astray by strange teachings”, he is reminding them to go back to the gospel they had heard and believed; there is only one way to a relationship with God, that’s through Jesus. There was no longer a need to follow the old rules because Christ came to fulfill the law. (Matthew 5:17) The word strange means different, so the author is encouraging the new believers to stay away from believing anything different than what they already knew to be true. Paul says the same thing, “As we have said before, I now say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, a curse be on him!”. (Galatians 1:9) Part of worship, and teaching our children the essence of true worship, is ensuring we are actually worshiping God, not simply following a bunch of rules. Authentic worship is more than our ability to follow a list of rules and regulations, it’s giving our all to Jesus our Savior.

3) What is a sacrifice of praise? (verse 15)
The word sacrifice used here is ‘thysia’ in the original Greek language. “Thysia” refers to various forms of Old Testament blood sacrifices. Interestingly, according to the Oxford Reference Dictionary, “Sacrifice was the central rite in Greek religion, but there is no single Greek equivalent to the English word ‘sacrifice’. The practices we bring together under this heading were described by a series of overlapping terms conveying ideas such as ‘killing’, ‘destroying’, ‘burning’, ‘cutting’, ‘consecrating’, ‘performing sacred acts’, ‘giving’, ‘presenting’.” This was surely confusing for these new believers. The words that were once used to describe required sacrifices now described an offering of praise to Jesus. The word ‘praise’ is even harder to define in the original language because there are a number of Greek words that can be translated as praise. However, we can take our modern-day understanding of praise and apply that to our understanding of the phrase “sacrifice of praise” and define it as “a giving up the old (sacrifice) and showing honor and reverence to the new (Jesus).”

Everyday Application

1) Why would the author tell his readers to “imitate the faith” of their leaders? (verse 7)
While most of us didn’t grow up under Jewish customs, we were influenced by various religious experiences from our families of origin. Regardless of these experiences, we must not simply accept the faith, non-faith, or rituals of our parents or grandparents. We must explore the claims of Christ for ourselves and observe Christ-followers who have consistently modeled biblical faith in everyday life. The focus of our hearts ought to hinge on the Jesus of the Scriptures, not merely some methodology we grew up with. The New Testament often references this idea of “imitating faith”. 1 Corinthians 4:16 says, “Therefore, I urge you to imitate me” and Hebrews 6:12 tells us, “We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.” Our biggest challenge for imitation is found in Philippians 2:5, “…adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus”. If you want to know how to live the Christian life, look to and imitate the Master, Jesus. Then, look to His people who follow Him closely. People are always watching believers, whether it seems like it or not. Christ-followers are called to live different lives because we have been made new by God’s Spirit! 1 Peter 1:16 reminds us of our calling, “be holy, because I am holy”. People are going to imitate you, it’s just a fact. Think of those you hang around with and consider how quickly your words and actions start matching theirs. I have a good friend who uses the word “y’all” often. It’s not a word I typically use, but after spending time with her, let me tell y’all it shows up in my words! Those faithful followers in Scripture can confidently say, “imitate me” because they are imitating Christ Jesus. (1 Corinthians 11:1) As followers of Jesus, can we just as confidently encourage others to “imitate me” because we are imitating the Master?

2) What is meant by strange teachings? (verse 9)
In today’s society, learning to identify “strange” teachings that steer away from the clarity of the gospel as defined in the Bible is critically important. We must remember, and remind those around us, there is only One source of truth. Truth for godly living and salvation does not come from the news, social media, politicians, sports heroes, medical professionals, teachers, or anyone else. Jesus alone is Truth! His Word is Truth! We must test all other teachings against Scripture to ensure its worthiness and accuracy. If those vying for our attention, and encouraging us to follow them, are saying things that don’t match Scripture, then maybe we should “unfollow” them. Everyone and their brother says stuff like, “follow me on (fill in the blank)”. We must fight hard for the generations behind us that they may know the truth! This requires us to get comfortable talking about Jesus and His ways ALL the time. My pastor once said, “Jesus plus nothing equals everything”. Such a simple, easy to remember phrase, but challenges me every day to live by its truth. It’s so easy to be pulled into the idea that we need to add activities, rules, or other stuff to the gospel. This is a lie! What Christians call the gospel is really pretty simple: 1) Do you believe Jesus is who He claims to be as God the Son? 2) Do you believe you are a sinner and can do nothing to save yourself? 3) Have you told Jesus these things and asked Him to save you from your sins? 4) Have you given the whole of your life over to Him? If you can answer “yes” to these simple questions, then nothing else is needed. So, don’t buy any “strange teachings” that anyone else wants you to believe.

3) What is a sacrifice of praise? (verse 15)
Let me answer the question with a different question. What are you willing to give up for Jesus? Psalm 51:16-17 explains it well, “You do not want a sacrifice, or I would give it; you are not pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. You will not despise a broken and humbled heart, God.” Can we just be honest and acknowledge these are hard words to read and follow? Who wants to have their spirit and heart broken and humbled? It’s counterintuitive to our nature to desire these things. Still, the essence of following Jesus is surrendering our control and our desire for our way. Psalm 34:8 says, “Taste and see that the LORD is good”. Jesus’ way is always better, always enough, and always right. Remember, humans learn by watching, following, and imitating. What are others learning by watching you when it comes to sacrifice and praise? Are we consistently digging our heels in, fighting against God because we want our way? Or, do others watch as we confidently and faithfully set aside what we want in order to follow Jesus? Do others observe us working long, exhausting hours to make more money to buy more stuff, or do they see us working long, yet fulfilling hours sharing the love of Jesus with others? As a parent, I have failed more times than I can count. But the longer I live, and the closer my walk with Jesus, the more comfortable I become with sacrifice and praise. I’ve come to know, and trust, that He will always be better! Even though my children are now young adults, they still watch and listen. Bottom line, the best way to worship Jesus is to walk with Him every day and humbly obey and follow Him above all else.

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Digging Deeper is for Everyone!

1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read it, and the verses around it,
several times
3) Write down your questions
as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use www.studylight.org, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you
other related verses!). (www.esvbible.org)
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God
in your everyday!

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Why Dig Deeper?

Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.

In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!

Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.

Study Tools

We love getting help while we study and www.studylight.org is one of many excellent resources, providing the original Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament) with an English translation.

Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Discover “origin”, “definition” and hear the original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want more background? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))

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