Hebrews 13:15-16“Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share; for with such sacrifices, God is well pleased.”
Worship is a very important part in the growth of every Christian. Many times, we measure God in light of the difficulties we are facing. We think there is little, or no hope for us, because our problem seems massive. It is in worship that we are able to see our life in light of the nature of God. We need to magnify God (which does not mean to make Him bigger, but to bring Him into focus) so we see life in light of His great love, mercy and power. As we magnify Him, we will see how little our problem is, compared to His ability. That becomes the source of great peace during trying times.
Here, in Hebrews 13, we see a couple of key elements that should be part of the worship life of the believer. First, we are told to offer the sacrifice of praise. Music is an amazing medium. Things that are often difficult to remember, seem to become fixed in our minds when put to song. How many times have you had a song “stuck in your head”, and no matter how hard you try, you cannot seem to get it out? I do not consider myself to be poetic in the least. In fact, I find it difficult to express to God the way I truly feel, but there are so many worship tunes that seem to say what I am feeling. When we gather for corporate worship, and I am able to follow the musicians as they play, I feel like my heart is finally able to express the things I wanted to say to God, but could not find the words.
Second, we are told worship must include thanksgiving. Just prior to these verses, we are warned against covetousness. To “covet” is to want what we do not have. It is often driven by failing to be content with what the Lord is currently doing in our lives. The children of Israel were known for grumbling and complaining during their wilderness travels. Instead of looking at what God was doing: providing water from rocks, miraculous food from heaven, a cloud covering from the sun, and a heavenly night-light to lead them, they chose to focus on the things they felt He was neglecting to do. They constantly complained about His provision, and threatened to turn from the Lord every time things got tough. Instead of focusing on the things that do not seem to be going your way, get your eyes on the Lord, and begin to thank Him for all He has done and is doing.
Finally, a life of worship, is a life that not only looks up, but also looks out. When we see God as He truly is, we cannot help but develop His heart for others. We are exhorted to include doing good to others, and sharing the things God has given us to benefit them. Worship is not something that is exclusively singing. While song is a great way to express how we feel about Him, it cannot be the only way we express praise. We must express it in actions toward one another. The Levitical Priesthood was composed of singers and musicians, but also included people who set up the tent, made the incense, baked the show bread, and a long list of other requirements, to make corporate worship possible. In God’s economy, those things are as much worship as playing guitar or leading in song. At our church, there are many who worship in the kitchen making coffee, or bring refreshments to make fellowship better. Others worship in the parking lot, assisting people to find a spot, and still others worship by inviting friends and neighbors to hear about Christ.
Don’t forget, doing good and sharing is as important to your worship life as singing, playing musical instruments, or expressing thanks
Questions for Hebrews 13
1. Verses 1-4 address loving one another. Are there any commands in these verses that the Lord is addressing in your life right now?
2. Covetousness-wanting something you don’t have in a way that makes it more important than God. Perhaps you believe you can’t be happy without the thing that you’re coveting, or that all your problems would be fixed if you just had that something. Read verses 5-6. What are the antidotes to coveting found within these verses?
3. God sets leaders up within the church, not simply to preach and teach, but also to serve as examples of how to walk with God. What things does verse 7 and 17-19 tell us to do concerning our leaders in the local church?
4. Read verse 8. Why is it such a good thing that Jesus never changes?
5. Look at verse 9. Religious ritual is not a good foundation for our hearts. How should we establish our hearts?
6. The theme of Hebrews is that Jesus is better. Here we see again that He offered a better sacrifice (Himself) than the Old Testament priests offered (livestock), and that He offered once for all. Look at verse 15-16. What kinds of sacrifices is God interested in now?
7. Read verses 20-22. The author both prays for the Hebrews (talks to God about them), and then exhorts the Hebrews (talks to them about God). Do you do both of these things for the people in your life? Note the things that are prayed for and incorporate these into your prayer life for others.
8. Note verse 25. What a great way to end this letter!