Note from Jesus
While involving yourself in Christian assembly and gathering together with believers for encouragement, exhortation and worship are important (Hebrews 10:19-25), your worship should be much more extensive than an hour or two of the week spent with other believers. We — Father, Son, and Spirit — want your whole life to be your worship. It must be much more than just a little sliver of your time offered one or two days of the week. I commanded you to love Us “with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). That means that everything you do should be done as part of your worship. Paul said it well when he wrote to Christians in Rome:
Brothers and sisters, in light of all I have shared with you about God’s mercies, I urge you to offer your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice to God, a sacred offering that brings Him pleasure; this is your reasonable, essential worship.
As My writer of Hebrews comes to the end of his “word of exhortation” (Hebrews 13:22), he calls on his readers — and I’m calling on you — to worship in all of your daily world with head, heart, and hands.
Unfortunately, the chapter divisions in your Bibles can sometimes lead you to miss the Holy Spirit’s message. With the chapter break, Hebrews chapter 12 ends with a call to worship with “awe and reverence.” Some mistakenly think this is talking about being reverent when you gather for Christian assembly. Now, of course, all worship needs to be approached with “awe and reverence.” However, this division between chapter 12 and chapter 13 in your Bibles may lead you to miss the main point being made by the Holy Spirit. This “awe and reverence” needs to be a part of your worship in the daily world. In fact, He tells how to worship in “awe and reverence” in the first 14 verses of chapter 13. He then returns to the thought He began at the end of chapter 12: “the praise of lips that confess His [My] name without ceasing” and doing “what is good” and sharing “what we [you] have.” These are the “sacrifices” that please Us!
So what specifically is this worship in your daily world that is done with “awe and reverence”?
Here are some exhortations from this section of Hebrews:
- Let your love continue toward each other.
- Extend hospitality, including to strangers.
- Don’t forget to care for those in prison for their faith.
- Value marriage and keep your marriage sexually pure and dedicated to the person to whom you are married.
- Stay away from greed and the love of money; be content with what you have. Trust that We will never forsake you.
- Follow your Godly leaders and live the kind of life they have lived.
- Stay away from new and strange teachings.
- Avoid the type of worship that values special foods.
- Join Me and My work, even if it means being pushed outside the acceptance of the crowd. This principle is valid even if your holy life leads to suffering for My cause. Remember that you have a better future with Me.
This, My dear disciple, is true worship. Yes, I love it when you praise the Father and confess My name in word and song. However, don’t forget to do good to all people and share what you have, who you are, and what you believe with others. This, My dear disciple, is also real worship. These are things that you can do each day to worship Us with “awe and reverence”!
Verses to Live
Writers and speakers in the first century often signaled that material went together by using a technique called inclusio. Basically, they put verbal brackets or bookends around their teaching. These bookends used similar language to show that the spoken or written words between them went together. The writer of Hebrews used this technique to frame this section on worship. He began with an emphasis on worship (Hebrews 12:28-29) and ended with this same theme (Hebrews 13:15-16). In between these two verbal brackets, he shared what this worship looked like in the everyday world of the disciples.
Focus on two things as you read this material with its bookends:
- Notice how this list from 2,000 years ago is still relevant, needed, and proper in your day.
- Ask yourself what other things you could add to this list about how to worship the Father in your daily world.
Therefore, let us all be thankful that we are a part of an unshakable Kingdom and offer to God worship that pleases Him and reflects the awe and reverence we have toward Him, for He is like a fierce fire that consumes everything.
Let love continue among you. Don’t forget to extend your hospitality to all — even to strangers — for as you know, some have unknowingly shown kindness to heavenly messengers in this way. Remember those imprisoned for their beliefs as if you were their cellmate; and care for any who suffer harsh treatment, as you are all one body.
Hold marriage in high esteem, all of you, and keep the marriage bed pure because God will judge those who commit sexual sins.
Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have because He has said, “I will never leave you; I will always be by your side.” Because of this promise, we may boldly say,
The Lord is my help —
I won’t be afraid of anything.
How can anyone harm me?
Listen to your leaders, who have spoken God’s word to you. Notice the fruits of their lives and mirror their faith.
Jesus the Anointed One is always the same: yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried away by diverse and strange ways of believing or worshiping. It is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by regulations about what you can eat (which do no good even for those who observe them). We approach an altar from which those who stand before the altar in the tent have no right to eat. In the past, the bodies of those animals whose blood was carried into the sanctuary by the high priest to take away sin were all burned outside the camp. (In the same way, Jesus suffered and bled outside the city walls of Jerusalem to sanctify the people.)
Let’s then go out to Him and resolve to bear the insult and abuse that He endured. For as long as we are here, we do not live in any permanent city, but are looking for the city that is to come.
Through Jesus, then, let us keep offering to God our own sacrifice, the praise of lips that confess His name without ceasing. Let’s not neglect what is good and share what we have, for these sacrifices also please God.
(Hebrews 12:28-29; Hebrews 13:1-16)
Response in Prayer
O Father, please help me tear down the wall in my mind that I use to separate my life into compartments of the secular and the sacred. Help me, dear Father, to live with all my life as sacred. Help me to recognize that all of my thoughts, emotions, and actions are part of my worship of You. I want to worship You with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength in every moment of my life. So please, dear Father, may my thoughts be worship. May my heart be full of Your praise. May the work of my hands and the path of my feet in my daily life bring You honor, glory, and praise. May my soul be filled with Your gracious compassion as well as Your passion for righteous character and sacrificial living. I ask this in the name of Jesus, Who lived a life of worship and praise in His daily world to bring Your grace to all He taught, loved, and touched. Amen.
‘A Year with Jesus’ is written by Phil Ware.
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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.