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Acceptable Worship: Love of Neighbor (Hebrews 13:1-7)

Have you been enjoying the book of Hebrews? Many have expressed how our studies in Hebrews have deepened and enriched their understanding of the Gospel and of the person and work of Jesus Christ. Have you enjoyed the rich Christology of the book of Hebrews? Have you relished in His great high priesthood, foreshadowed in the temple and the sacrifices? Has all this wonderful knowledge sparked a greater love and exultation of the Son of God, who is greater than all who came before Him? It has been said that great theology prompts great doxology (praise). This is certainly true. The more we know of our glorious Christ, the more we desire to worship Him acceptably, with reverence and awe.

But there is an equally necessary horizontal component to worship that must also be affected by increased knowledge of Jesus Christ. Worship (the Greek word latreuo) may equally be rendered as service.   Worship directed toward God corporately on the Lord’s Day is but a single aspect. Correctly understood, worship is our day-to-day life as we love God and love and serve others. Doing all things to the glory of God involves aspects of how we treat our neighbors with whom our lives intersect in the body of Christ, our family, our leaders, as well as how we handle mundane matters – our spending, bank accounts, giving, etc. As great theology prompts great doxology, it is also true that great theology prompts great service to one another.  

There is a way of daily service that is acceptable to God, and we can know it because God prescribes it in His Word. He does not leave the question of how to live in a manner that is pleasing to Him to guesswork or mystical ideas.  Acceptable service is revealed in His Word as imperatives (commands).  This is where Hebrews 13 fits into the context of the entire book. It is not, as some suggest, an addendum to the book, perhaps written at another time; chapter 13 answers the question: What does all of the rich theology in the epistle look like in day-to-day life. And it’s not complicated – these commands are quite clear and require very little comment to understand.

Lord willing, we will look at the first 5 commands in Hebrews 13 on Sunday, under the banner of “Let brotherly love remain.” They are: 1) do not neglect hospitality, 2) remember those in prison and ill-treated, 3) honor marriage, 4) live contented lives – free from the love of money, 5) remember your leaders and imitate their faith. If we have been truly affected by the deep theology of the book of Hebrews, it will manifest in our lives in these ways.