Hebrews Chapter Thirteen part 4, A study of Hebrews 13:15, Hebrews 13:16, & Hebrews 13:17

Hebrews 13:15

"Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise - the fruit of lips that openly profess his name." NIV translation

Because of the fact that Jesus delivered us from sin and death, it is natural for praise to come out of our lips through our hearts. Here, Paul describes it as "fruit of lips" and, just as fruit appears on a healthy tree, praise for what God has done will come out if our walk of faith is healthy. We see that this praise is done in the open and not as some kind of "closet Christian". Even in the face of extreme persecution, the early disciples stood up and boldly proclaimed the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 13:16

"And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased." NIV translation

Our willing joyful service is also a form of praise to God. This loyal love flows out of a heart that has been gripped by His grace. This giving of our time and resources is pleasing to God as we demonstrate His love to the world.

Hebrews 13:17

"Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you." NIV translation

What does Paul mean by having confidence in your leaders? In our world today, we are taught that a leader must go to some college where he or she is qualified to be a leader in the church. This is not what Paul is talking about. He is speaking of the fact that their lives demonstrate what they are teaching. The greatest test is whether they demonstrate the loyal "hesed" love that Paul has referred to. Submitting to their authority is not blindly following someone because they have been given a diploma from some college. It is a respect for the fact that the leaders are in their position by the will of God. If He wanted them removed, then, He would do so. That being said, if we do not have confidence in them, we should move on and trust that God will deal with them.