Title: Final Exhortations
Purpose: To motivate Christians to steadfast devotion

Intro:	1.  Wrap up study of Hebrews
	2.   Verse 7-14 Sums up the message of Hebrews in a nutshell
		a.  Remember Heroes of Faith
		b.  Jesus is the same as always, even world change, he doesnt - dependable
		c.  Then says don’t be carried away by false teachings -
			- When things get rough a smooth talking teacher may come along and 
			    offer something much easier
			- Jesus calls them wolves in sheeps clothing
		d.  The fact of the matter is that Jesus was crucified outside the camp
			-We need to go out to him and bear with him in his reproach
			-In the reproach, we find victory, and there is no other way.
	3.  To sum up, do not diminish in your love for Christ
		-They went back to Jewish system with all its sacrifices
		-We no longer do that do we, we are New Testament Christians, not Old Testament Israelites
	4.  Now he comes to some final practical exhortations
	5.  Text:  Heb 13:15-17  (also read to end of book)  Will focus on v.15-17
	6.  The thrust of this passage is that in light of the faithful service of Jesus (our forerunner/preist), we need to 
	      render an acceptable service to God (Through Him).  How?  Ways

I.  By offering God a sacrifice of praise  (so we DO offer sacrifice after all)
	A.  Sacrifice and praise are two things that don’t seem to go together
	B.  Understanding of sacrifice
		1.  Think of giving something up we really don’t want to, not what learn from OT 
		2.  God was never interested in the offering itself (The earth is the Lord’s)
			a.  Isaiah 1:10-20  - God wasn’t interested in the offering itself
			b.  What God was interested in was obedience and honor
			c.  Sacrifices were not about giving God something he could have anyway, 
			     but about expressing honor to him
			d.  What did a sacrifice say?  Depends on what type:
				-I’m sorry for offending you God by my sin
				-Thank you Lord for blessing us so richly
				-I want to fellowship with you in this offering (sacrifices often eaten)
				-I honor you God above all else (only firstlings, only unblemished)
		3.  We don’t sacrifice on altars anymore to our God, but we still say the same 
		     things in our New Covenant sacrifices
		4.  Notice the text again
			a.  Offer a sacrifice of praise
			b.  The fruit of our lips that give thanks to God
	C.   To often we forget this
		1.  ILL:  The preacher that announced to congregation that 9 were lost at sea
			-Congregation was horrified, and asked what happened
			-He said that there were requests to pray for the 11 that went on trip
			-Only 2 requested prayers of thanksgiving, assumed other 9 lost at sea
		2.  ILL:  Legend about Angels assigned to gather up prayers in the prayer baskets
			-On was to gather up petitions, the other to gather up thanksgivings
			-They returned, the first Angel’s basket was bursting
			-The other disheartened angel’s basket was nearly empty
	D.  Even though we don’t offer up thank offerings any more, our worship & service still 
	     communicates the same sorts of thing
		1.  What does my service say to God now?
		2.  How often do I thank God for more than just my “many blessings”?
			(Usually specific about requests, why not be specific about thanksgivings?)
		3.  Am I saying with my service that:
				-Thank you Lord for blessing us so richly
				-I want to fellowship with you in this offering (sacrifices often eaten)
				-I honor you God above all else (only firstlings, only unblemished)

(God doesn’t take leftovers.  Offering him praise can’t be an afterthought.  Neither can what he says to do next)

II.  Go not neglect doing good and sharing
	A.  This seems like a very easy command to keep, or is it?
	B.  Remember the situation of the Hebrews
		1.  At one point they did good very well:  (10:32-36)
			a.  However, they backslidden, they failed to mature, they failed to endure
			b.  God is now calling them back to good service
		2.  The way they did good and shared with each other was obvious
			a.  10:33 - Became “sharers” with those mistreated
			b.  Now he calls them BACK to remember those ill treated (13:3)
		3.  Eph 4:17-32 - Characteristics of the New Self
		4.  We need to be growing every day toward maturity in Christ
	C.   Speaking of growing, I was reflecting on a corn field the ohter night
		1.  We were one our way and passed by several corn fields
		2.  At the foot of every stalk is a grave  (Turn to John 12:24)
		3.  (John 12:24) “Truly truly I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into
		    the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears 
		    much fruit”
		4.  Jesus himself died, and we reap the benefits of the fruit of his sacrifice
	D.  Jesus expects us to share the benefits
		1.  It involves us dying as well (John 12:25)
		2.  We need to do good and share with our brethren and those in need
		3.  I do good and share by__________________ (complete sentence)
		4.  If have trouble completing, it is time to make a decision today isnt’ it?
		5.  You’ll have that opportunity in a minute to announce it.

III.  Obey your leaders
	A.  This seems an odd exhortation in context, but it fits well
	B.  Explanation
		1.  Those that were backsliding needed to listen to their leaders who watch over 
		      their souls
		2.  Need to under stand the word “obey”
			a.  Not implying an authoritarian role
			b.  The word is passive (receives action), could be trans. “be persuaded by” 
			      or “give deference” to your leaders.
			c.  In other words, don’t just obey them enough to get by, but seek them out 
			     and learn from them
			d.  Leaders will give an account for their ministry to God
		3.  Need to “submit” to the leaders as well
			a.  Why?  so that their ministry is with joy and not grief
			b.   NIV translates to make your leaders work a joy and not greivous
		4.  How do you make leaders work greivous?
			a.  Gripe and complain about everything, but never offer to help
			b.  Never thank your leaders for the work they do
			c.  Go around and complain about your leaders, but never talk to them 
			d.  When they are wrong, make sure everyone knows it
			e.  When they are right, ignore them
			f.  Be a skeptic with everything they do
	C.  To be grevious to your leaders will be of no benefit to you (it may be bad for you)
		1.  Man who studied Indonesian language here in the states went to go visit
		2.  Those of you who studied foreign language know that it is one thing to study it 
		      in class, another thing to speak it coherently
		3.  This guy bought a house and plunged right into the language
		4.  He phoned  to a newly hired servant, and the servant laughed and said
			a.  ”just goes to show you that you may think you know a language, but 
			     when you get here, you find out you know nothing of it.  It sounded like 
			      he said there was a lion in the house chasing the cooks dog”
			b.  Everyone proceeded to laugh
		5.  Just then, a dog ran into the room with a tiger right on his heels
		6.  They barely escaped with their lives
	D.  Like I said, being skeptical about everything your leaders say and making their work a 
	      grief is of no profit to you
		1.  You may think your leaders are off based, but the verse says to listen to them
		2.  I know leadership is a question now, it has been a topic in class and seminar
			-Some of you may be wondering, is this goin anywhere?
			-YES, it is. 
			- We will be doing some application over the next few weeks of what we 
			    have learned.
		3.  But remember, part of rendering acceptable service to God involves listening to 
		      your leaders.
		4.  Where rubber meets road:
			-"I refrain from making my leaders work grevious"
			-I make my leaders work a joy by___________________ fill in blank
		5.  If can’t fill in the blank, its decision time

1.  Will you render God acceptable service:
	-Giving God praise and thanks
	-Doing Good and Sharing
	-Listening to your leaders

2.  This is the sacrifice that God is pleased with.

3.  What are you communicating to God with the service you are giving him