Text: Hebrews 13:8-16
Theme: True worship that involves our whole lives as a sacrifice can be dangerous and disgraceful.
Key verses: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. So do not be attracted by strange new ideas…We have an altar from which the priests in the Tabernacle have no right to eat. Under the old system, the high priest brought the blood of animals into the Holy Place as a sacrifice for sin, and the bodies of the animals were burned outside the camp. So also Jesus suffered and died outside the city gates to make his people holy by means of his own blood. So let us go out to him, outside the camp, and bear the disgrace he bore” (v. 8-13). “Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name. And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God” (v. 15-16).
What God said to me: Dwayne, there are some key words in this passage that you need to take note of and understand. First is the word, “same.” I am the same; I never change. Thus, my words never change, and what I expect of my servants doesn’t change either. The example I set for true worship as a sacrifice is still true today. Worship I accept will always come at a personal cost to you and a sacrifice. The next word to notice is “disgrace.” The writer here is urging you to bear the same disgrace I bore “outside the camp.” True worship isn’t measured by how well you sing and serve inside the temple. That’s important; however, true worship that glorifies me is also done out in the world where the needs are, where the people who need to hear of my love reside. Your neighbors, co-workers and friends need to see your sacrificial compassion and commitment. Notice how you are to offer a “continual sacrifice of praise” to me. Costly praise isn’t for a few times in your life. It’s something you should offer through Jesus all the time–when you awake, when you drive down the road, when you are alone, and when you are with your family or other people. Finally, “don’t forget” to do good and to share with those in need. True worship must involve sharing with and helping others. These are the sacrifices that please me. This is truly disgraceful worship.
What I said to God: Father, thank You for speaking to me on this cool Sunday morning. I confess I have not always worshiped You when I’ve been alone. I’ve not been willing to sacrifice my comforts and conveniences at times, clinging rather to my personal preferences and selfish leanings. I know You never change, and what You expected of your disciples then you still expect of us today: total surrender of us taking up our cross and following You completely. Lord, please help me offer a continual sacrifice of praise through You. I certainly can’t do it through me. That would make You sick and be impossible for me to sustain. Nonetheless, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I can live this Christian life. I can please God both outside the camp and inside the temple–everywhere I am all the time–because of and only through Your awesome grace and mercy. Thank You, precious and loving Lord!