Study 12 ARE YOU LIVING FOR TIME OR ETERNITY?
HIGHLIGHTS IN HEBREWS
by Francis Dixon
(Key verses: Hebrews 13:10-16)
In these verses the writer refers to the old Jewish sacrifices offered upon the altar, but the bodies of the animals were taken outside the camp and burned. The Lord Jesus was taken outside the city of Jerusalem to be crucified (John 19:15-18). In these verses there is a sequence of practical truth and teaching which will force itself upon you: Are you living for time or eternity? Consider:-
1. AS CHRISTIANS WE ARE CALLED TO LIVE A LIFE OF SEPARATION (verse 13).
This is separation from all that is sinful, doubtful and displeasing to God. It speaks to us of the Pathway we are to tread and should be read in conjunction with verse 12. The word “us” refers to Christians. In plain words, these verses mean that the Lord Jesus suffered and died for us “outside the camp”; we must tread the same pathway along which He travelled. To the Jewish Christians the reference was to the old altar and sacrifices. The call to them was to go out from Judaism to Christ; the call to us is to leave all that is contrary to God’s will for us as Christians. We are to be separated from the formality of a powerless religion (2 Corinthians 6:14-17); from the pleasures of a sinful world which include worldly associations, worldly fashions, worldly standards, worldly speech (1 John 2:15-17); and from the deceptions of a self-centred life (3 John 9). Are you living for time or eternity?
2. THIS LIFE IS A LIFE OF SEPARATION TO THE LORD JESUS (verse 13).
It is not only separation from all that is sinful. We must consider the Person we are to follow, not only leaving behind the things which are displeasing to God but going forward, following Him and finding fellowship with Christ Himself. God’s call to separation is both negative and positive; it is ”from” but it is also ”to”. The Christian life is not one of ”do’s and don’ts”; it does include these, but when we leave the world behind us we are to go to Jesus Himself - as those who believe on Him (John 16:31); who love Him (John 21:17); who belong to Him (Mark 9:41); and who live for Him (2 Corinthians 5:15). Christ’s call to us is “Follow Me” (John 21:19); but where are we to follow Him to? Where does He lead us? The answer is – “outside the city gate” (verse 12), ”outside the camp” (verse 13) and we must “go to him”. If you stay inside the camp you will not find Him, for He is outside! The formality of powerless religion will not bring you to him, or the pleasures of the world. “A Christian outside the camp becomes a disciple in fellowship with his Lord” - look up and meditate on Mark 3:13-14 and John 6:66-69, and then notice the third truth:-
3. TO LIVE THIS LIFE OF SEPARATION INVOLVES SACRIFICE, MISUNDERSTANDING, SUFFERING AND EVEN COMPLETE REJECTION (verse 13).
We get this in the words ”bearing the disgrace he bore”. This speaks of the Persecution we are to share. During His earthly life and ministry our Lord was misunderstood, ostracised and finally rejected, and He is still misunderstood and rejected by the world. The word ‘disgrace’ is strong; it is the word ‘stigma’ and refers to the contempt, the abuse and the shame which He bore for us, and which we are now to bear with Him as we follow Him and identify ourselves with Him in His rejection. If we are faithful and loyal we must not expect an easy time - look up and compare Matthew 5:11-12; John 16:33; Philippians 1:29; 2 Timothy 3:12; 1 Peter 4:12-14; and then compare Luke 9:22-26 and Philippians 3:7-10. It is a costly way to follow Jesus but it is the most satisfying way and one which glorifies Him.
4. AS WE LIVE THIS SEPARATED LIFE WE MUST KEEP HEAVEN IN VIEW (verse 14).
This speaks of the Prospect we are to keep before us. The A.N.T. rendering is, “For here we have no permanent city, but we are looking for the one which is to come”, or better still, “which is coming”. Everything down here is going to pass away but we are looking for a new environment altogether. This is why we are to live like pilgrims and not get settled down here as if this were our home. We are to be like Abraham (Hebrews 11:8-10); and like the patriarchs (Hebrews 11:13-16). Our home is a heavenly home - look up and compare John 14:1-3; Philippians 3:20; 1 Peter 2:11. Then compare Matthew 6:19-21 and Colossians 3:1-3. As we live in the light of this glorious prospect we shall gain a true sense of values. Now, it’s very important to notice that although we are a heavenly people and have a heavenly home, this doesn’t mean that we have no responsibilities while we travel as pilgrims through this world. In other words:-
5. WE ARE NOT TO BE “SO HEAVENLY-MINDED THAT WE ARE OF NO EARTHLY USE” (verses 15-16).
This speaks of the Privilege we are to enjoy. It is a two-fold privilege of sacrificial service which reaches up towards God and out towards man - look up and compare Luke 10:27.
- 1. We are to offer the sacrifice of worship to God. This is indicated in verse 15. Day by day we are to offer the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving - look up Leviticus 7:12 and Psalm 50:14.
- 2. We are to offer the sacrifice of service to man. This is indicated in verse 16, and the reference is to kind and loving actions - look up Matthew 25:40.
Are you living for time or eternity?