1Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. 2Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! 3Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.
Here is where it gets so hard, this is where we so often drop the ball. We have to remember that our Christian brotherhood comes from our mutual relationship with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. We are all heirs of the same inheritance in Heaven. We are taught the Father's love and we need to learn how to show it. Above it says to love one another like brothers and sisters. We are given a visual, something to stimulate how others feel when we are asked to remember those in prison as if we were there ourselves and to fell pain as those who are mistreated. That is really asking a lot, but we can get through it if we take verse # 2 to heart. One of, if not my favorite verse in the whole Bible. A simple reminder that God gives us to keep doing what is right. We may be entertaining angels without realizing it. Angels record everything for God. Food for thought.
4Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery.
Very simply put, God has high standards for marriage and we need to abide by those standards.
5Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said,
“I will never fail you.
I will never abandon you.”
Don't love money, do not make it an idol before God. He is the one that will fill all our needs. He reminds us here that he will never fail us or leave us. We must believe that statement. Go to God first. The love of money and relying on money will only open you up to so many more sinful ways if God is not the provider.
6So we can say with confidence,
“The lord is my helper,
so I will have no fear.
What can mere people do to me?”
From the Fire Bible Study Notes: 13:6 THE LORD IS MY HELPER. No matter how limited our earthly possessions may be or how difficult our circumstances, we never need fear that God will abandon us (see Jos 1:5, note) or fail to provide for our needs. God’s Word clearly communicates that the heavenly Father cares for us. For this reason, we can say with the author of Hebrews, who quotes the psalm writer, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.” We can rest assured of this in times of distress, trouble and suffering (see Mt 6:30, 33 notes
7Remember your leaders who taught you the word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and follow the example of their faith.
8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
The truth that Jesus Christ does not change gives us a firm anchor for our faith and for our lives. We as followers today can not compromise the unchanging truth of God's Word. To experience His salvation and companionship and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and all God's kingdom power is far better than to just be content with where you are. His promises are real and they are for us today, just as they were yesterday and will be forever.
9So do not be attracted by strange, new ideas. Your strength comes from God’s grace, not from rules about food, which don’t help those who follow them.
10We have an altar from which the priests in the Tabernacle have no right to eat. 11Under 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.
Jesus Christ is our altar. There is not sacrifice that we can give today that can out do the sacrifice that Jesus himself gave for us. We are freed from the old system and our strength comes from God's grace. Do not let any strange doctrine or ideas sway you from that.
12So also Jesus suffered and died outside the city gates to make his people holy by means of his own blood.
Jesus's death outside the city represents the removal of sin, just like the OT animal sacrifices were burned outside the Israelite camps. He suffered outside the gate of Jerusalem as an outcast to separate his people from their old sinful lives and set them apart for God's service.
13So let us go out to him, outside the camp, and bear the disgrace he bore. 14For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.
To be a follower of Jesus Christ involves going "outside the camp". This represented the former religion of Judaism for the new Jewish Christians. We must be willing to leave the ungodly values and temporary goals and sinful pleasures of the world and possibly bear disgrace and rejections just like Christ did. Identifying with Jesus is essential in following him. We must make ourselves strangers to this earth and set ourselves on the journey that Christ has put before us.
15Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name. 16And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.
Sacrifices here are symbolic or our offerings. We are to constantly offer to God our praise, our worship and living a life that pleases him by helping others. For some of us, taking that time and changing our behavior may seem more like a sacrifice than an offering. But in doing this continually, we proclaim our allegiance to Him.
17Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit.
18Pray for us, for our conscience is clear and we want to live honorably in everything we do. 19And especially pray that I will be able to come back to you soon.
Obedience and faithfulness to our Christian leaders is based on a higher loyalty to God. Our highest and first loyalty is to our first hand relationship with God himself. But God puts us under authority of the leaders he has put in place in our lives through the church, the congregation and our community.
20Now may the God of peace--
who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus,
the great Shepherd of the sheep,
and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood--
21may he equip you with all you need
for doing his will.
May he produce in you,
through the power of Jesus Christ,
every good thing that is pleasing to him.
All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.
22I urge you, dear brothers and sisters, to pay attention to what I have written in this brief exhortation.
23I want you to know that our brother Timothy has been released from jail. If he comes here soon, I will bring him with me to see you.
24Greet all your leaders and all the believers there. The believers from Italy send you their greetings.
25May God’s grace be with you all.
We end with this prayer that reinforces that Jesus is our ultimate guide and care giver. We are told, that he will equip us with all we need to do his will and that we can have the power of Jesus Christ by doing every good thing that pleases Him. We are reminded to pay attention to the words that were written, we shouldn't need that reminder but we constantly do.