Winners of Giveaways:
“I Choose Not to be Offended” Giveaway…copy of Jesus Calling…goes to Breinny who posted on February 3rd at 3:01 p.m.
“Even in the Darkness Giveaway”…copy of Hidden Joy…goes to both Lori who posted on February 15th at 3:25 p.m. and Stephanie who posted on February 15th at 3:50 p.m.
Congratulations!! Please send me an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, with you full name and mailing address so I can send you your books.
Lesson 13: Living a Cross-Centered Life
You made it!!! We have reached the end of our journey. How I wish I could hug each and every one of you and spend the day together celebrating this most monumental achievement. This has been the longest on-line study we have done together, and you have been so faithful to hang in there! This journey through Hebrews has demanded much of us, and you have no let up. You persevered to the end. We now have a working knowledge not only of this challenging book but also of the rich history of God’s people and His priesthood. I am so proud of you!! And you can be assured of this: God will richly bless your faithfulness.
Thank you for investing your precious time in this study. I am so thankful for each and every one of you! I will be starting a new study in April on my book, Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner. I would love to have you join us. If you are registered for this study, you are registered for all future studies, including the Hidden Joy study. If you are unsure if you are registered, just click on the link in the right column that says “Sign up for Wendy’s On-Line Bible Studies.” If it gives you an error message when you register, then you are already registered.
Please don’t be a stranger from now until April. Stop by and visit when you have time. I will continue to post between now and the next study. In fact, next week I will be introducing a new author who is a dear friend of mine and the wife of our pastor. She has written an amazing book on prayer that has just been released, Sometimes He Whispers, Sometimes He Roars. Be sure to come back and visit for a chance to win a copy of her book.
Now…let’s move on to our study. With this chapter, the author of Hebrews moves us to the practical. He spends this last chapter teaching believers how to practically live out their faith. Warren Wiersbe summarizes it well with these words: “true faith demands true living.”
Jesus says it even better:
Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16 (NIV 1984)
The author calls us to live lives of integrity. Friend, we must never forget that we may be the only Jesus some people ever meet. Our lives must be living, breathing evidence of a cross-centered life.
This Week’s Memory Verse: Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to His name. Hebrews 13:15 (NLT).
This Week’s Prayer:
Precious Father, You have brought me such a long way. This is my last week of Bible Study. Thank You for all that You have taught me these past months. Thank You for opening the eyes of my heart to receive and understand the wonderful things in Your Law. Thank You for the amazing knowledge You have revealed about the history of Your people and about the true meaning of the gift of Jesus’ sacrifice. These are truths that have changed my life and my faith forever. Father, don’t let me close this chapter and forget all that I have learned. Plant these words deep in my heart and enable them to take root. I give You my heart and hold nothing back. Take Your Word, the double-edged sword, and pierce my soul. Mold me and change me to be more like You. Use me, Lord, to take what I have learned and do great things that will bring glory and honor and praise to You. Teach me to stand strong in my faith, to be a Light in this dark world. Give me courage to live out my faith no matter the cost. I love You, Lord, lead me down paths of righteousness, fill me with everlasting joy, use me, Lord, use me for your glory!! I ask this in Jesus’ Name. AMEN
Assignment: Read Hebrews Chapter Thirteen
1. The author of Hebrews presents three pieces of evidence that demonstrate a cross-centered life. The first piece of evidence is Christian Fellowship. Read Hebrews 13:1-6.
- Hebrews 13:1 says to love one another as brothers and sisters. Share places in your own life where you observe and or experience the “brotherly” love spoken of here.
- Why does such love fail to exist in some churches, communities and relationships?
- Hebrews 13:2 says to show hospitality to strangers. Read Matthew 25:40. What does this verse tell us about helping a stranger?
- Practically, how can we offer hospitality today? What keeps us from doing this?
2. Read Hebrews 13:4.
- What is another way of loving one another according to this verse?
- List ways we can honor marriage (Hint: read Ephesians 5:21-33 and 1 Peter 3:1-7).
- Do you struggle with any of these words as you read them? If you do, invite the Lord to show you if there is any place in your marriage where you are not honoring His will and His way for you and your husband. Listen prayerfully to His answer and then comit what you hear to Him in prayer and ask Him to change your heart. Watch and see the wonderful things He will do.
3. Read Hebrews 13:5-6.
- What is the author’s teaching? How does it relate to loving one another?
- Read Exodus 20:17. Write this Commandment below.
- How does Colossians 3:2 guide us in living out this call from the author of Hebrews?
4. Read Hebrews 13:7-9 . The author of Hebrews now moves on to the second piece of evidence of a cross-centered life: Honoring our Spiritual Leaders.
- To what does the author of Hebrews call his audience in these verses?
- Who are some people in your life who have set a Christian example for you? How do you remember them? Take time today to pray for those people and thank God for the influence they have had in your life. Maybe even write them a note of thanks and blessing, telling them how they have impacted your faith.
- What is the warning in Hebrews 13:9? What should be be wary of today?
5. Read Hebrews 13:15-16. What are the two sacrifices we can offer God? Choose one of these and apply it in your life this week. Share with us later in the week how God uses it to bless you and honor Him.
6. Read Hebrews 13:17-18.
- According to this verse, what is another way to honor our leaders?
- What emotions and thoughts does verse 17 elicit as you read them? Do you agree with the author’s instruction?
- Why should we trust our spiritual leaders? Read James 3:1. How does it relate to this discussion?
- To what does the author of Hebrews call his audience in Hebrews 13:18?
- Would you prayerfully consider praying for a Christian leader today? It may be a national leader or preacher, your own preacher, a Sunday School teacher, a Young Life Leader, a pastor, or a worship leader. After the Lord has laid that person on your heart, contact him or her and let him/her know you are praying. Let him/her know you will cover them in prayer for a certain period of time. Keep in communication as you pray. Watch and be amazed at what the Lord does in and through your obedience.
7. Read Hebrews 13:20-25. The author of Hebrews now presents the third and final piece of evidence of a cross-centered life: Spiritual Lordship.
- Read John 10:11-14 and 1 Peter 2:25. Share how the Hebrews passage and these passages make Jesus more personal.
- What does the author of Hebrews pray for his audience in Hebrews 13:21. Write what this verse means personally in your life.
- Read Ephesians 2:10. What does this verse teach us about oursevles?
8. It is only when we fully surrender our lives to Christ and make Him Lord over all that God can work in and through us to enable us to be the women He knew and created us to be before time began.
- List some ways God “perfects” and equips His people.
- Personally, how has God perfected and equipped you? Was any part of this process painful? How?
- How is God now using that equipping in your life?
9. Read Philippians 2:13. Share what it says and how it relates to this discussion.
10. Take a deep breath, sweet friend. We are on our last few questions!! Let us spend the last few questions remembering. In Hebrews 13:22, the author of Hebrews instructed us to “pay attention” to what he has written in this letter. Please take time to do just that…to reflect on what you have learned.
- How has the year you have spent in Hebrews affected your love for Jesus?
- What difference has spending the last nine months in Hebrews made in your life?
- Write down one or two new truths from this study that you have learned and have applied ( or will commit to apply) in your daily life.
- Describe one way your life is different because of this study.
Let me close our study with a prayer:
Heavenly Father, I thank You for bringing me into this fellowship of women. Thank You for the spiritual truths, promises, history lessons, and warnings that You have taught me over these past seven months. Thank You that You are faithful even when I am not.
I praise You as the Holy One of Israel, Jehovah God, the One Who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Thank You for revealing the secret things about Your One and Only Son, Jesus Christ. I praise Him today as my Savior and my Great High Priest. Thank You that by the shedding of His blood, You made a way for me to enter into Your presence. Stir my heart, Lord, to desire more and more of You…to daily enter into Your presence.
Father, Your Word says to be still before You. Help me to do this. Help me to stop striving in my own flesh and to rest in You. Your promise me REST. You promise to keep in perfect peace the one whose mind is steadfast because she trusts in You. Help me to fix my eyes on You and You alone, the Author and Perfecter of my faith. Help me to trust in You and in all Your ways. As I empty myself of me, fill me with more and more of You. Father, give me the fullness of Your Peace and Your presence…transform me from the inside out.
And as I leave this study, Lord, give me a hunger and a thirst to stay in Your Word. Continue to lead me through Your Holy Scriptures. Continue to teach and remind me of Who You are and of Who I am In You. Never let me stop learning. Never let me stop growing. Let Your truths and promises take root and grow wild and free in my heart. Let them consume me from the inside out. And as I change and grow, open my eyes and my heart to see where You want me to take me. Use me, Lord, use me to do Your great kingdom work. I ask all this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
With great love and admiration for each and every one of you,