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                      "THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS"

           Closing Words Befitting A Grand Epistle (13:18-25)


1. We now come to the closing words of what is truly "a grand 
   a. One that has been described as:
      1) Beginning like an essay
      2) Progressing like a sermon
      3) Ending like a letter
   b. In which we noted systematic arguments upholding:
      1) The superiority of Jesus Christ
      2) The superiority of the New Covenant dedicated by His blood
   c. Where we have been exhorted to:
      1) Draw near to God with a true heart in full assurance of faith
      2) Hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering
      3) Consider one another in order to stir up love and good works
      4) Run with endurance the race set before us, looking to Jesus as
         we do so
      5) Purse peace with all men and holiness
      6) Heed the voice of Him who speaks from heaven
      7) Serve God with reverence and godly fear
      8) Love the brethren, display hospitality to strangers, and 
         remember the prisoners
      9) Uphold the sanctity of marriage and avoid covetousness
     10) Avoid various and strange doctrines, obeying those who rule 
         over us in the Lord

2. With the last eight verses, we find:
   a. A request for prayer in behalf of the author - He 13:18-19
   b. A benediction offered in behalf of the readers - He 13:20-21
   c. A final exhortation, comment and farewell - He 13:22-25

3. I am suggesting that these verses serve as "Closing Words Befitting
   A Grand Epistle"...
   a. For they touch upon themes developed earlier in the epistle
   b. Therefore serving as a close worthy of such an epistle as we have

[As we take this opportunity to reflect upon these closing words, we 
first observe the author's...]


      1. He is confident of "a good conscience", desiring to live 
         a. The mention of a good conscience brings to mind several 
            verses - He 9:9,14; 10:22
         b. Through the blood of Christ, his conscience has made clean
            to serve God
      2. Certainly their prayers in his behalf would be for a good 
         a. To bless a man whose has been cleansed by the blood of 
         b. To bless a man who desires to live honorably!

      1. To be restored to them sooner
      2. Thus he expresses his intention to come them

[Having requested their prayers, the author reciprocates with a prayer
of his own...]


   A. MAY GOD...
      1. Described as "the God of peace"
         a. A description found often in Paul's letters - Ro 15:33; 
            16:20; 1 Th 5:23; Ph 4:9
         b. He is the source of peace (note the salutations in most 
      2. "who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead"
         a. This is the only explicit reference to Jesus' resurrection
            in the epistle
         b. Though it is assumed in passages which speak of Christ at
            the right hand of God - cf. He 1:3; 4:14; 9:24 10:12; 12:2
      3. Jesus is described as "that great Shepherd of the sheep"
         - cf. Jn 10:11,14

      1. "in every good work to do His will"
         a. The author wants them to be complete in doing God's will
         b. Yet he recognizes that they cannot do it on their own, they
            will need God's help!
      2. How will God make them complete in every good work to do His
         a. "through the blood of the everlasting covenant"
            1) This refers, of course, to the blood of Jesus
               a) Which is able to purge our conscience from dead works
                  - He 9:14
               b) By which Jesus has become the Mediator of the New 
                  Covenant - He 9:15
            2) By this blood Jesus has "perfected forever those who are
               being sanctified" - He 10:10,14
            -- Through the blood of Jesus, then, God is able to make us
               complete in every good work to do His will
         b. "working in you what is pleasing in His sight, through 
            Jesus Christ"
            1) Not only are we cleansed by the blood of Jesus, but God
               works in us to do what pleases Him!
               a) This is reminiscent of Paul's comments in Ph 2:12-13
               b) That as we "work out" our salvation, God "works in" 
            2) Instrumental in God working in us is the role of His 
               a) We are strengthened by God's Spirit in the inner man 
                  - Ep 3:16
               b) It is by the Spirit we can put to death the deeds of
                  the body - Ro 8:13
            -- It is by both the blood of Jesus and the work of the 
               Spirit that we are truly "washed", "justified" and 
               "sanctified" - 1 Co 6:11; Ti 3:5-7

[While we are admonished throughout this epistle to be steadfast, this
closing prayer reminds that we are not alone.  In His grace and mercy,
God aids in our desires and efforts to do His will!

And now at last, we notice...]


      1. To "bear with the word of exhortation"
         a. This epistle has truly been one of exhorting them; we have
            exhortations against...
            1) Drifting from what they have heard - He 2:1-4
            2) Departing from the living God - He 3:12-15
            3) Disobedience to His Word - He 4:11-13
            4) Dullness of hearing - He 5:11-6:6
            5) Despising God's grace - He 10:26-39
            6) Defying Him who now speaks from heaven - He 12:14-29
         b. While at times he has written rather strongly, he
            encourages them to bear with it
      2. While one of the longer epistles in the New Testament, it was
         still "written to you in few words" (compare it with some of
         the writings of the "church fathers"!)

      1. "Our brother Timothy" - most likely he who was Paul's constant
      2. Evidently just released from prison, and likely to join the 
         author in coming to them

      1. Greetings from the author...
         a. To "all those who rule over you", i.e., their elders (cf.
            He 13:7,17)
         b. To "all the saints", i.e., the rest of the Christian
      2. Greetings from "those from Italy"; this suggests two 
         a. The author was writing from Italy, passing along greetings
            from those present
         b. The author was writing to Italy, sending greetings from 
            those with him who were from there
      3. A simple farewell:  "Grace be with you all. Amen"


1. So ends "the word of exhortation", that grand epistle known simply 
   as "The Epistle To The Hebrews" (or "To The Hebrews")

2. Though written to Jewish Christians, with their particular need in 
   a. It is of great value to all Christians
   b. It tells us more about the intercessory work of our Lord as High
      Priest than any other book of the New Testament
   c. Its warnings and exhortations are needed just as much today by
      Christians who are being tempted to leave Christ and go back into
      the world

Especially these words found in Hebrews 10:19-25...

   "Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the
   blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for 
   us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest
   over the house of God,"

   "let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith,
   having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies
   washed with pure water.  Let us hold fast the confession of our
   hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.  And let
   us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,
   not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the
   manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more
   as you see the Day approaching."

I pray that our study has served the same purpose, to encourage us all
to "draw near" to God, to "hold fast" the hope we confess, and to stir
up "love and good works".
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