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HEBREWS 13:15-17

THE "OUTCOME" OF REAL WORSHIP!

In this Text Paul teaches us the Spirit-ordained results of true Worship!

"By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His Name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you."

 

 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
II Timothy 2:1

 

 

LESSON 1, INTRODUCTION:

Lately we have been focusing on the grand theme of Worship!

While browsing a Christian book catalog, I noticed a new publication. The volume was said to cover the Bible's view of worship ... from Genesis to Revelation! Seems like it amassed nearly six hundred pages, but I needed a copy.

How it spoke to my heart! Not so much what the writer said, nearly as much as the Scripture Texts he exposited.

A recurring fact as God's Word taught us to worship is this. Worship leads us to action! Of course it concentrates on the Lord, in all His Glory and Honor and Praise! But it even does more than that! Its outcome is practical! Even Mary's pouring that precious ointment on Jesus' feet, an act of worship, was practical ... once understood! Judas didn't understand it, but he was lost!

Let me give you an example of what I mean. "By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you." Hebrews 13:15-17

For today we shall be content just to notice that worship has been offered to God. It's called "the sacrifice of praise" here! Then, renaming worship, Paul adds "giving thanks to His Name!"

But, and here's the point, look how this worship ends!

1. Doing good to others, apparently our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ!

2. "Communicating" with them, both by fellowshipping and by sharing! Here worship leads to giving!

3. Then, finally, being easily persuaded, "obeying" really, one's Pastor, sweetly following his leadership and he feeds us out of the Word of God!

4. All of which, when properly done, leads to our spiritual "profit!"

This Passage, only three verses long, will be our focus this week, the Lord willing!

Worship ... then serve!

That's the Scriptural pattern to be followed, both on earth, and in Heaven!

In Heaven?

Yes!

Even there the worshipping throng is also said to serve the Lord! "Therefore are they before the throne of God," the worshipping,  "and serve him day and night in his temple," the serving, "and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them." Revelation 7:15

Let us worship!

                                                                                    --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2:

Worship is the activity of Heaven!

One which must also be practiced on earth!

That is, for us Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Here's one description of worship, New Testament style. "Let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually." Hebrews 13:15

Moses and his heirs offered sacrifice for sure! Animals by the millions! Doves, lambs even goats on occasion! Not counting the oxen as well!

Blood sacrifice!

But today, Jesus having died on the Cross, lambs and such are no longer needed! The Lamb has been slain ... and raised back to life!

Therefore when we worship now we offer a different kind of sacrifice!

Here's one kind of sacrifice: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." Romans 12:1

Paul even considered the Gentiles whom he won to Christ as an offering! "That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost." Romans 15:16

Then Peter, speaking more generally, says: "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." 1st Peter 2:5

And here in Hebrews 13 our lips sacrifice an offering of praise to God!

Even this is done "by Him!" See, "By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually." The preposition "by" is "dia" and when used with the genitive case as here it means "by means of" or "through" Him!

Yes, worshipping God the Father is only possible by means of Jesus' Shed Blood! Just as we pray "in Jesus' Name" ... so do we worship in His Name too!

"Let us offer," the verb "anaphero," means "to carry up" or "to bring up" to Someone an item of significance. Here it's a subjunctive, expressing the ideal or the goal for Christian worship! The first time it's used in Scripture, Matthew 17:1, Jesus "brought up" Peter and James and John into a high mountain to behold His Glory! Mark 9:2 also uses this construction, describing the same incident. Secondly, Luke uses "anaphero" for the Ascension of Jesus! "And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven." Luke 24:51

The noun "sacrifice" is spelled "thusia" and means that which is slain! If often implies a violent killing! As Jesus was crucified! This certainly implies that our praise might cost us something!

"Praise," a classic noun, is derived from "ainesis." Its history is beautiful! "Ainos" in Greek simply means a "story!" Not a story in the sense of not being true! A story in this sense; a narrative, a factual account! Therefore, "praise" Biblically, when this word is used at least, is a delighting in and a relishing of the grand old Story of the Gospel! Of course this includes the accounts of Creation and the establishing of Israel and the Hand of God in the affairs of man leading up to the Virgin Birth of Jesus! Praise God for what He has done!

To whom do we present this worship?

"To God!" The words "ho theos" are used. It means "The God!" Not a god! The One and Only Living God! "Theos" is framed in the dative case here. That means it provides this information: "to whom" or "for whom." To Whom do we direct our worship? God! For Whom do we give our heart-felt adoration? God!

Then comes the time marker, "continually!" The term "diapantos" is used and is a blended word. "Dia" often reveals the "channel" of an action! "Pas" means "all or every or the whole thing!" So, "continually" means into all times, at every opportunity!

What an encouragement to worship this is!

Let's genuinely "praise" God today!

"By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually." Hebrews 13:15

                                                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3:

As we worship the Lord God today, frequent blood sacrifice, the slaying of innocent little animals, is no longer necessary!

Because of Jesus' vicarious Death on the Cross and His subsequent burial and resurrection, we who are saved can bring another kind of "sacrifice!"

The "sacrifice of praise" says Paul in Hebrews 13:15.

But, lest anyone misunderstand, the Holy Spirit inserts an appositive, a restatement of that "sacrifice of praise."

Here it is. "That is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His Name." Hebrews 13:15b

The opening words, "that is," introduce a secondary definition of one's "sacrifice of praise." In Greek "tout estin" links a demonstrative pronoun and a present indicative verb. "This is" ... or "that is" ... or even "which means!" It "is" and continues to be!

The noun "fruit" is spelled "karpos." It comes from the verb "harpazo," meaning "to seize or take" for oneself! It actually pictures the "picking" of live fruit! Our tongues can and should bear such fruit!

The noun "lips" translates "cheilos," a derivative of the Greek word we know as "chasm!" The lips encircle the chasm known as our mouth!

Now here's a neat thing! The expression "giving thanks" uses "homologeo" in Greek as its basis. "Homo" means the same! Homosexual, to give a bad example. And "logeo" means "to say!" Put it together, "to agree, to say the same thing, to assent, to profess or even to confess!" As a present participle here, our term is giving motion to the lips! Only this once in the whole King James Bible is "homologeo" rendered as "giving thanks!" While 17 times it is "confess!" Once it is even translated "promise," Matthew 14:7.

The Believers' lips here are worshipping God, bearing fruit unto His Name! Giving thanks to Him, confessing Him, professing Him, promising Him, even acknowledging Him as in 1st John 2:23.

The preposition "to" is provided by the dative case in which the noun "Name" is fixed. Giving thanks "to" His Name and "for" His Name!

One's "Name" in Scripture "onoma," represents his or her very character and person!

It's quite amazing! In exactly one half of a verse we have learned another way to worship our dear Lord!

Again ... "The fruit of our lips giving thanks to His Name!

Let us do so regularly!

Dear friend, have you borne any fruit this morning?

The fruit of your lips I mean!

                                                                                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4:

What happens after we worship?

When God is exalted, what's next?

Paul gives us at least one answer in Hebrews chapter thirteen. "By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His Name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased." Hebrews 13:15-16

See the worship?

It's "the sacrifice of praise!"

"The fruit of our lips giving thanks to God's Name!"

Then notice what follows true worship.

Doing good!

Communicating!

These activities are even called "sacrifices" here!

And they follow worship! They complement it actually, beautifying it even more!

"To do good" expresses "eupoiia" in Greek. It blends "eu," meaning well or good, and "poieo," meaning "to make or to do." Doing good things to others! Beautiful things! Poetic things!

Also "to communicate" is "koinonia" in Greek, a sharing with others! Distribution, contribution, both are synonyms!

These two activities, doing kind things and sharing our goods with the Brethren, are not to be forgotten! "But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased."

"Forget" is spelled "epilanthanomai" and means "to neglect." Or "to lose out of one's mind!" Actually "lanthano" can be defined as letting something escape your notice! The prefix "epi" merely intensifies the meaning. Here our verb is an imperative, a stark command!

"Not" is "me," pronounced "may," and means "no" as a qualified negation!

When I truly worship God, as I leave Church, I will find someone and be good to him and her, giving them of my substance!

So worship really spawns kindness and love and generosity and helpfulness too!

Surprisingly, doing good here and communicating and giving to those in need are called "sacrifices!" And "thusia" is the same word that's used for blood sacrifice in past times. "Thuo" means to slaughter! It's a violent word!

God, having just been adored and magnified, is "well pleased" with such follow-up! "Euaresteo" means "good, the "eu" part," plus "arestos," agreeableness! Acceptable! Using "euaresteo," Enoch "pleased" God in Hebrews 11:5. And without faith it is impossible to "please" God according to Hebrews 11:6.

Dorcas or Tabitha worshipped God, then ... made coats and garments for the Church ladies! See Acts 9:39.

Barnabas worshipped God, then ... sold some of his land, giving the money to help support poor Believers! See Acts 4:37.

Elisha worshipped God, then ... became a servant to Elijah the great Man of God, helping him with the lowly tasks of life! "Pouring water on the hands of Elijah" says 2nd Kings 3:11.

Jesus worshipped His Father, then ... died on the Cross to save us sinners!

And in each of these cases God was well-pleased!

Especially that last one!

Friends, what do we do after we've worshipped?

                                                                                      --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5:

We often separate Bible verses from their "context," making them "say" things the Author did not intend!

This can be done without our even being conscious of it, at least at times.

And this week's Passage is a prime example of such a thing!

I would like to try now and explain what has just been said.

Hebrews 13:15 is a beautiful verse! With that assessment no one disagrees, not a Christian anyway!

"By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name." Again, this is Hebrews 13:15, but just verse 15 mind you!

Then comes, of course, verse 16. "But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased." That was explained yesterday. But only in the "context" the Holy Spirit has placed it! We can best "do good" and "share" and "fellowship," the root meaning of "communicate," after we have worshipped God, giving thanks and praise unto his Name! Truthfully, such doing good and giving and helping is the outcome of worship! Without it we may not have really adored and praised God as we might have thought!

In other words, verses 15 and 16 really should be studied together, just as the Lord has "built" them! "By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. "

The noun here translated "context," which has already been used twice in this Lesson, means "that which is woven together!" It's Latin, and "textere" means "to weave." The prefix, again Latin, is "com" or "con" and means "together." Do not cut asunder what God hath woven together!

But now, today, we come to verse 17. Many of you know it. "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you."

Surely, while this great piece of Biblical advice might be able to "stand alone," it is best viewed in light of its "setting" too!

When will a Christian most fervently see the need to "obey" his Pastor? When will "submitting" to the Man of God's leadership and preaching be most acceptable? And under what circumstances will Christ's "joy" and our "growth" be most significant?

Answer: just after we've worshipped God ... in Spirit and in Truth! Immediately following our having "offered the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His Name."

See? That's the context!

Now for those of you who visit on Saturdays, we shall seek to explain this concept further tomorrow.

We shall then need to define these great verbs ... and a couple of nouns too ... plus one adjective!

I'll capitalize them for you now. "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you."

It just makes all the difference in the world when verse 17 here "fits" into the plan, the pattern God is weaving ... about worship!

The context!

                                                                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

Your Pastor is not on an "ego" trip! He is awed by the responsibility verse 17 places into his hands! We are to "obey" him and "submit!' He must "rule" over God's people acceptably, "watching" for their very souls! He will be held "accountable!" And he must serve "joyfully" too! Plus, without this combination God's work in any given place, any Church, will become "unprofitable!"

But such a respectful attitude toward the Man of God where you attend Church will follow, as thunder does lightning, the right kind or worship!

The Bible tells me so, when read in context!

 

 

LESSON 6:

David once, in Psalm 142:4, said that no man cared for his soul.

However, New Testament Believers who are in the right kind of Bible-believing Churches do have someone who cares. Or at least someone who "watches" over them spiritually.

Using the language of Hebrews 13:17, "they watch for your souls." Surely that's a description of a godly Pastor. Notice please, a sincere Man of God!

The verb "watch" in this Text is "agrupneo" and literally means "to keep awake!" The prefix "a" in a prohibitive meaning "no." And its "root" is "hupnos" or "sleep" in Greek! Deliberately not sleeping in order to watch over one's flock!

God-called individuals love the Lord and long to see those under their "watchcare" grow in Grace!

Now it's to this class of men, and to them only, the rest of our Verse applies. "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you." That's the complete verse, Hebrews 13:17.

We are to "obey" these Biblical Preachers! In a surprising move, "peitho" is used here! Not the usual word for obedience, it means "to have confidence in" a person! To "trust" him! To "believe" him and even to be "persuaded" by him! And, as we can see, it is rendered "obey" in the King James Bible. Seven times in fact!

And, yes, it is a command, being in the imperative mood. Also it's middle voice quality here suggests that the subjects will be changed by their obedience to the Man of God, to his Bible preaching!

The verb "rule," resented by many, translates "hegeomai" and means "to go before" someone, to lead them properly! In the Scriptures it's used as "having esteem, being governor or being chief!" Here it's a present participle.

To "submit" oneself is "hupeiko," obviously a relative of "hupo," under! The verb "eiko" means to yield! At times it can mean "to be weak" or even "to surrender." Here we have its one-time occurrence in all of Scripture! This is an imperative present active verb.

What a list of verbs!

Those who oversee our spiritual welfare are NOT however dictators who "lord over God's heritage!" And, again, their lives need to match their testimonies! Genuine, non-hypocritical Men of God!

These who seek to, using the Scriptures, bring us to maturity ... must also "give an account" for their faithfulness. "Apodidomai" just means "to give" or "to deliver" or "to render." A future participle, this time of judgment rested in the future as of Paul's writing. It still does today. "Account" translates "logos." It really means "something said." 

That our Pastors be able to serve joyfully is important here. "Chara," or "joy" here means gladness or cheerfulness or delight. And "grief" is "stenazo," that which constricts or squeezes literally! It pictures one groaning or sighing due to pressure and trials.

But why would we care?

What's a Pastor's "reward" or "motivation" got to do with us, his hearers? I can only give you the Bible answer here. "They that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you."

We "profit" when the Preachers serve the Lord joyfully and faithfully and fruitfully! The adjective "unprofitable" is spelled "alusiteles" and blends "a" and "lusis" and "telos," all familiar words. Not reaching one's goal! Being tied up spiritually! One scholar says "gainless."

The Pastor longs to help me mature in Christ Jesus!

If he is defeated or frustrated or overly burdened in his task ... I suffer with stunted growth!

Reason enough!

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7:

We have been studying the Bible concept of Worship!

Not topically, but looking at an actual three verse Text, analyzing it in its Scriptural setting.

"By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you."  Hebrews 13:15-17

No one would challenge the fact that those first few words focus on God and His Worthiness. "By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name." This is verse 15 alone. Worship God! Sacrifice unto Him! Praise His Dear Name! Thank Him again and again!

But, when we arrived at verse 16 ... is that worship? "But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased." Answer: yes, it is! These two good deeds are "linked" in worship by the common word, shared by both verses 15 and 16, "sacrifice" or "sacrifices."

Here's the implication: if we have genuinely praised the Lord, continually so, and given thanks to His Name as we should, then ... we shall leave that time of worship and "do good" to our Brethren, and graciously "give" to the right needs in their lives!

In other words, worship makes me both kind and generous! It does not leave me bitter and stingy! This is a "horizontal" consequence of worship, loving my peers in Christ!

Furthermore, adding verse 17 to the mix, true worship also seeps into my attitudes toward my Pastor! Now we are going "vertical" in our response to the experience of real worship! "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you." See, the verse is loaded with authority! If I have worshipped, as Jesus said "in Spirit and in Truth," I will love and appreciate and follow my godly Pastor as he stays in the Word of God, living right and preaching right to the Glory of God!

And look at this. All the way through this three-verse Context, or "Co-text" as I heard it called yesterday, there is joy and delight!

Watch carefully.

Worship! The Father in Heaven actually "seeks" people to do so! Jesus said this in John 4:23! "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him." The verb "seeketh" is "zeteo" and means both "to look for and to search for" ... and can even mean "to expect!" Its present tense quality implies constant yearning for such worshippers! Thus we can be safe in assuming God is delighted when worship is raised to His Name! So here, God is satisfied! Then, by our kindness and generosity to others, the Lord is also "well pleased!" Additionally, one goal in our respecting and loving true God-called Pastors is that they may serve with "joy" and not grief!

Worship, either directly or indirectly, leaves all involved full of satisfaction and delight and joy!

What a thought to contemplate this Easter Sunday morning!

Dear Believing Friend, today as you worship and adore your Heavenly Father, subsequently love your Brothers and Sisters in Christ, and sincerely encourage your Pastor!

How spiritually and Biblically and properly "thrilled" you will be!

                                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

MAY THE LORD BLESS THIS SEVEN LESSON BIBLE STUDY SERIES TO HIS GLORY!

 

 

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