In Hebrews 13:1-19 we see many virtues and experiences which we need not only for our personal Christian life but for the practice of the church life; such experiences include brotherly love, practicing hospitality, holding on to Christ, following Jesus outside the camp, and offering a sacrifice of praise to God through Christ.
After unveiling such a high and lofty vision of Christ in His heavenly ministry, Paul in Hebrews 13 speaks of many practical things which we need to practice for the proper church life.
We need to let brotherly love continue, not forget hospitality, remember those in prison, and let marriage be held in honor. We need to pray for one another that the Lord would give us a divinely-human marriage life for the church life.
We need to have a way of life that is without the love of money. There needs to be a thorough dealing with money and allow the Lord to touch in love the love of money. We need to be satisfied with the things which are at hand.
We need to remember the ones leading us; in the church life we don’t have n organisation, but there are some saints that are leading us, and we need to consider the issue of their manner of life.
We need to obey the leading ones and submit to them; there’s an organic element, which we sense in our spirit, that causes us to realize who are the ones watching over our souls, who take the lead, and who care for our growth and maturity in life – we need to pray for such ones.
All these practical aspects revealed in Heb. 13 are not only for our personal Christian life, so that we may have a walk that is pleasing to the Lord in all consideration, but it is for the church life.
Loving the brothers is for the church life; being hospitable is for the building up of the church; suffering with those who are persecuted is for the church life, and having a married life is in a divine and human way for the building up of the church.
Our married life is part of the Body life; we should not be a certain kind of person in the meeting, and a different person at home.
For all these practical matters we need a divine transmission; we need to remain under the divine dispensing so that we are one person with one living, one way of life, and one expression, whether we are at work or at home or in the church meetings.
Hold on to Christ, be in Spirit, and Go outside the Camp to follow the Suffering Jesus
Chapter 13 of Hebrews – as indicated by its content – was written with a view to a proper church life, for nearly everything mentioned here, such as brotherly love and hospitality, is for the church life – not merely for the Christian life (Heb. 13:1-7, 16-18).
The marvelous ministry of the ascended Christ which is transmitted to us should be expressed in the church life with all of its aspects; this is what the Lord delights to see, and when He gains this, He can boast that Gen. 1:26 is fulfilled among men!
He wants to see Jesus living again in a group of brothers and sisters, so that image of Christ would increase among man and the kingdom of God would expand.
For us to have a true and steadfast church life, we must hold on to the Christ who is the same yesterday and today and even forever; we must not be carried away by various strange teachings (Heb. 13:8-9).
We need to have our heart confirmed by grace, by God being our enjoyment, and the Christ who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, will be our center. He was processed and consummated, and now He’s in His heavenly ministry; now He is unchanging, and we need to have Him as our center.
For this, we need to be in our spirit, enjoying the heavenly Christ; the more we are in spirit, the more we will come outside the camp of religion, following the suffering Jesus (Heb. 13:12-14).
The Lord doesn’t want us to “build a bridge between the Lord’s recovery and Christianity”; He desires that we have fellowship with all believers, but He also wants us to come forward to Him in spirit, be outside the camp, outside Christianity, bearing the Lord’s reproach.
There are various strange teachings being promoted; the way to be kept from these and be saved from the dissension and division caused by the strange teachings, is by teaching the one thing, which is God’s economy, which is in faith (1 Tim. 1:3).
There must not be “another Jesus” or “a different gospel” preached in the church (2 Cor. 11:4; Gal. 1:8-9). Amen!
We need to be “outside the camp” and “within the veil” (Heb. 13:13; 6:19) to follow the suffering Jesus. To enter within the veil is to enter into the Holy of Holies, where the Lord is enthroned in glory; this is to be in our spirit, where the practical Holy of Holies is today.
To go outside the camp means to come outside of religion, whence the Lord Jesus was cast in rejection; to come outside of religion we need to exercise our spirit and be in spirit, following the suffering Jesus.
We need to be in our spirit to enjoy the glorified Christ, and we will be enabled to come outside the camp of religion to follow the rejected Jesus.
The more we remain in our spirit to contact the heavenly Christ, who is in glory, the more we will go forth outside the camp of religion unto the lowly Jesus to suffer with Him.
Lord Jesus, we want to hold on to You and to the healthy teaching of God’s economy so that we would not be taken away by various strange teachings but have a true and steadfast church life. Keep us in our spirit, Lord, as we live our daily life in the church life today. We want to come outside the camp of religion, following the suffering Jesus, and remain in our spirit to contact the heavenly Christ and be in the Holy of Holies. Lord Jesus, we contact You in spirit, we enjoy Your glorification, and we are energized to take the narrow pathway of the cross on earth and bear the reproach of Jesus!
Offer up a Sacrifice of Praise to God through Christ Continually in the Spirit
In the church life we enjoy the unchanging Christ (who is the same yesterday, today, and even forever) as grace, we follow Him outside religion, and we enter within the veil; also, we offer through Him sacrifices of praise to God (Heb. 13:15).
When we follow the suffering Jesus outside the camp of religion, we may suffer persecution and sufferings; even though we may go through all these things, we still have to praise God, that is, offer a sacrifice of praise to God through Jesus Christ.
Only the Lord knows our situation and experience, but if we look at ourselves and the saints, how many saints throughout the earth offer a sacrifice of praise to God?
Sometimes we may praise the Lord in the meeting because a brother encourages us to praise the Lord…but how much praise we have to the Lord in the meeting? How much content do we have in our praise of the Lord? When was the last time we offered a praise that was the expression of what has been wrought into us at a cost?
The sacrifice of praise to God is praise offered to Him at a cost; when we hear good news, we praise the Lord, but when we hear bad news, do we still praise Him? We don’t praise the Lord for sufferings or problems – we praise Him in all these things.
Offering God a sacrifice of praise is precious to Him. He knows there’s a severe loss taking place, our heart is aching and breaking, we may be dismayed, but yet we offer Him a sacrifice of praise because we realize that, in the midst of all these things, the throne of God has not changed, God is still faithful, righteous, and caring, and He IS.
Only those who receive a particular transmission from the heavenly ministry to their spirit in the midst of a challenging situation can say in the midst of all things, You are my God; I praise You, I worship You, and I exalt You!
We may pray and deeply care for someone for many years, yet the Lord may not answer our prayer; yet we praise the Lord, offering Him a sacrifice of praise, vindicating Him in His righteousness and faithfulness.
We can’t make up our mind to praise the Lord – we are not “spiritual heroes”; we need to offer such a sacrifice of praise to God through Jesus Christ to vindicate Him and exalt Him, as we realize and see who our Christ is and what He is doing.
The Lord needs an increasing number of experienced saints who know what it is to offer a sacrifice of praise continually. In the church we should offer up through Christ a sacrifice of praise to God continually.
In the church He sings in us hymns of praise unto God the Father (Heb. 2:12), and in the church we too should praise God the Father through Him.
Eventually, in the church He and we, we and He, by our spirit, praise the Father in His Spirit. This is the best and highest sacrifice that we can offer to God through Christ the Son. This is greatly needed in the church meetings.
As seen in Heb. 13:20-21, on the one hand through Christ we offer a sacrifice of praise to God, and on the other hand, through Christ we do what is well pleasing to Him.
The more we receive the transmission of Christ as the Minister in the two tabernacles, the more we can present ourselves to the Lord and say, Lord, do with me whatever You want to do, whatever pleases You!
May we be those who not withhold anything from the Lord but simply respond to His transmission, stand before the Lord, and tell Him,
Lord Jesus, we consecrate ourselves and our day to You. For the sake of Your Body, Your bride, and Your kingdom, do in us what is well pleasing in Your sight, so that as a result we will do the will of God. We offer You the sacrifice of praise through Jesus Christ. May Your will be done on earth as it is done in the heavens. May we practice the church life in all its aspects under the wonderful transmission of our heavenly Minister in the Holy of Holies! Lord, we praise You for what You are, what You are doing, and what You are transmitting into us from the heavens in spirit!
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, the message by Ron Kangas for this week, and portions from, Life-study of Hebrews, msgs. 55, 57, as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, Cooperating with the Heavenly Ministry of the Ascended Christ (2017 Spring ITERO), msg. 7 (week 7), Practicing the Church Life under the Ministry of Christ as the Minister of the True, the Heavenly, Tabernacle.
- Hymns on this topic:
# Our mouth shut up defeats us / And wins the Devil’s smile; / So why not open battle / And chase him all the while. / By “sacrifice of praises” / And shouts of victory— / ’Twill cost us but our faces / God’s chosen fools to be! (Hymns #1095)
# Enter the veil, on heaven’s fatness feast, / Without the camp, in hardship persevere; / Though earthly trials sorely pain my heart, / Heaven’s communion doth my spirit cheer. (Hymns #549)
# “Within the Veil“: be this, belov’d, thy portion, / Within the secret of thy Lord to dwell; / Beholding Him, until thy face His glory, / Thy life His love, thy lips His praise shall tell. (Hymns #642)