The Marks of a Christian; Belief Modification (Honoring God in the Heart)

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The Marks of a Christian; Belief Modification -

(Honoring God in the Heart)

Heb. 13:9-25                                                               July 27, 1997

Scripture:  Unison Reading, Hebrews 13:9-19, page #1879, Pew Bible


          Last Sunday we talked about the marks of a Christian in how our behavior is modified as a member of God’s family.  We honor God by how we behave as a member of his family. 

I.       Social Life  (vv. 1-3)

          A.      Brotherly love:  God’s family holds to a common origin.

          B.      Hospitality:  God’s family considers others as potential                                    members.

          C.      Empathy:  God’s family remembers those who are hurting.

II.      Private Life  (vv. 4-6)

          A.      Marriage:  God’s families stay intact.

          B.      Money:  God’s families recognize true wealth in each other.

          C.      Contentment:  God’s families depend on God.

III.    Religious Life  (vv. 7-8)

          A.      Honor:  God’s family remembers their leaders.

          B.      Victory:  God’s family remembers its champion.

Timeless Truth:   Jesus Christ - He’s the same yesterday, today, and                                             forever.  You can act on it.

          Today we will continue that type of theme as we finish our study of Hebrews.  A member of God’s family has a right heart toward God.  Because our beliefs have been modified we are able to honor God in the heart.  This past week I had two different experiences with people I had occasion to tell about the gospel.  Neither one had a right heart toward God.  The first was a man sitting or waiting at the corner of a parking lot up on Lawrence Ave. near Elston.  I offered him a tract and he reluctantly took it.  Then I told him what it was about - that Jesus Christ came to die on a cross for the forgiveness of sins.  He said he didn’t believe in the forgiveness of sins - that we sin knowing full well that we sin so how can there be any forgiveness.  I explained but he didn’t want to receive.  He wanted to live in his sins.  He didn’t want to modify his beliefs and give them up.  You see, forgiveness of sin demands that we forsake sin.  He didn’t have, nor want, a right heart toward God.

          The second was a woman near Salem EFC near Armitage and California.  As soon as I got out of the car I saw her staggering down the sidewalk in front of the mission home.  As soon as she saw me she started to proposition me for sex, booze, and a good time.  I had my Bible with me and I was overwhelmed with the urge to preach.  I gave her a tract and told her about the gospel of the good news of salvation in Christ.  She told me that she understood it all and that she was saved.  I said then you must agree that you must give up living in sin.  She said she needed the alcohol to forget sin.  So I confronted her with the contradiction - that it doesn’t work, nor make sense, to use sin to deal with sin.  I showed her the exhortations in Hebrews that if we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there is no sacrifice for sins left.  I urged her to live her faith in the power of God to deliver her from sin and then I prayed with her.  When I got done praying I took her alcohol away from her.  She said it wouldn’t make any difference and she propositioned me again.  I left her in God’s hands. 

          This woman is different than the man I met, and yet they are both the same.   He didn’t want to know God or need God, and he didn’t want to have a right heart toward God.  She said she knew God and needed God, but she didn’t want to have a right heart toward God either.  Both wanted to live in their sin.  I don’t believe either one is in God’s family.  But that doesn’t mean it is not possible in God’s time.

          What is it that makes a right heart toward God?

2588 kardia {kar-dee'-ah}

 prolonged from a primary kar (Latin, cor, "heart"); TDNT - 3:605,415; n f

 AV - heart 159, broken hearted + 4937 1; 160

 1) the heart

    1a) that organ in the animal body which is the centre of the

        circulation of the blood, and hence was regarded as the seat

        of physical life

    1b) denotes the centre of all physical and spiritual life

        2a) the vigour and sense of physical life

        2b) the centre and seat of spiritual life

            2b1) the soul or mind, as it is the fountain and seat of the

                 thoughts, passions, desires, appetites, affections,

                 purposes, endeavours

            2b2) of the understanding, the faculty and seat of the


            2b3) of the will and character

            2b4) of the soul so far as it is affected and stirred in a

                 bad way or good, or of the soul as the seat of the

                 sensibilities, affections, emotions, desires,

                 appetites, passions

    1c) of the middle or central or inmost part of anything, even

        though inanimate

I.       Sacrifice  (vv. 9-16)


          A.      A right heart before God is willing to give up the old ways.

                   (vv. 9-10)

We can take heart in the fact that Jesus is forever the same.

We can remain in the truth we have received and confessed about him.

This truth will never change.

The right heart will not return to strange teachings no matter what garb they may presently be clothed with.

Satan is always coming up with a new twist especially designed to deceive us in our particular weakness which he knows well.

Even then in the early church these strange teachings were said to be diverse or of all kinds.

The right heart remains grounded in the truth of the grace of God to us in Jesus.

That is where true strength lies.

Victory is a truth encounter, and there is power in truth.

The works of ‘do it yourself’ religion has no value whatsoever.

Only what Christ has done is acceptable to God.

Only what Christ has done has power to save.

Through faith in him we have something that non-believers have no right to.

The context is the sacrifice of atonement which was not and could not be eaten but was burned outside the camp.

Lev. 16:27  The bull and the goat for the sin offerings, whose blood was brought into the Most Holy Place to make atonement, must be taken outside the camp; their hides, flesh and offal are to be burned up.

Only the blood was used.

This prefigured the sacrifice of Christ.

But we have a permission that the priests did not have.

We have an altar or sacrifice that is not theirs.

That altar is the sacrifice of Christ.

His sacrifice becomes yours if you believe.

We know that the One who became our perfect sin offering is permanently available as our source of spiritual nourishment and refreshment as we feed on him in our hearts by faith.

A right heart is nourished at God’s table of grace to us in Christ and not at the table of some other sacrifice of strange teaching.

Grace strengthens our faith, works do not.

The altar of the cross is a greater privilege than the altar of the tabernacle.

          B.      A right heart before God is willing to become like Jesus.

                   (vv. 11-14)


Ps 40:6¶  Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but my ears you have pierced; burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require.

Rom 12:1 ¶ Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-- this is your spiritual act of worship.

2Sa 24:24  But the king replied to Araunah, "No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing." So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen and paid fifty shekels of silver for them.

We may suffer disgrace by separating from the established system.

We must separate from the established system if we would seek God.

In Jesus the old values had been reversed.  What was formerly sacred was now unholy because Jesus was expelled from it.  And what was formerly unholy was now sacred because Jesus was there.

To be associated with Jesus means to be willing to bear the stigma he bore - to take up the cross and follow him.

We must be willing to totally identify with Christ.

The perimeter of the camp is clearly defined.

To go outside with him means we cannot expect any better treatment than he got.

A decisive break is required.

The offense of the cross is that it rejects not only Judaism but all other means of self-manufactured salvation.

Our faith may not be accepted by others.

Ex 33:77 ¶ Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the "tent of meeting." Anyone inquiring of the LORD would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp.


Heb 11:24  By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter.

25  He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time.

26  He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.

We are able to bear this disgrace because it is temporary, if we believe it.

There is the reward of the eternal city.      

The stigma of disgrace in the world’s eyes carried an eternal glory with it.

The lasting character of our city lies in the future, not in the present


The term ‘city’ refers to the fact that there are others - that this withdrawal from the camp is no isolated occurrence affecting a few individuals only.

It is a new spiritual society.

Togetherness is an essential part of the Christian faith.

Heb 11:10  For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

Heb 12:27  The words "once more" indicate the removing of what can be shaken-- that is, created things-- so that what cannot be shaken may remain.

          C.      A right heart before God is willing to become a living                                      sacrifice.  (vv. 15-16)

A living sacrifice offers up continual praise to God not only with lips but with life.

This is the testimony of words, thoughts, attitudes of the heart as well as actions of obedience.

As Christ offered himself once we are to offer ourselves continually.

His one perfect and righteous sacrifice has set eternity in motion in our hearts.

The change his grace has made in us is in itself praise to God.

The seed of his sacrifice for us has produced the fruit of his sacrifice in us.

The nature of fruit reveals the character of its source.

Our praise reveals Christ in us.

This praise can only be offered through Christ.

He is the only way to God and the only channel of praise.

Only faith in Christ makes our praise for God possible and acceptable.

Praise for Christ amounts to an open declaration of allegiance to God.



Php 2:17  But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you.

Heb 10:18  And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.  (The word ‘sacrifice’ does not appear in Revelation.)

Ps 27:6  Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the LORD.

Ps 51:16  You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.

Ps 54:6  I will sacrifice a freewill offering to you; I will praise your name, O LORD, for it is good.

Ps 107:22  Let them sacrifice thank offerings and tell of his works with songs of joy.

Ps 141:2  May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.

Jon 2:9  But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the LORD."

Ro 10:9  That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Php 2:9  Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,

Php 2:10  that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

Php 2:11  and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Ro 14:11  It is written: "'As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.'"

Isa 45:23  By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear.

Ho 14:2  Take words with you and return to the LORD. Say to him: "Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips (or - offer our lips as sacrifices of bulls).

Ps 50:12  If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it.

Ps 50:13  Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats?

Ps 50:14  Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High,

Ps 50:15  and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me."

1Pe 2:5  you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.


The sacrifice of Christ for sin should bring joy, not drudgery.

But it is not enough to just give lip service to God.

A more practical outpouring is also in mind here.

The sacrifice of Christ should result in good works by love and not demand.

The outpouring of praise has a social and practical side to it.

1Jn. 3:18

To the sacrifice of praise must be added the sacrifice of kind and loving action.

Living sacrifices offer themselves to others as well as to God.

In offering ourselves to others we do offer ourselves to God.

Christianity is sacrificial through and through.

It is founded upon the one self-offering of Christ and lives on through the offering of his people’s praise and property.

The praise of their service and their lives is caught up into the perfection of his acceptable sacrifice and is accepted in him.



Prov. 21:2 ¶ All a man's ways seem right to him, but the LORD weighs the heart.

3 ¶ To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.

1Sa 15:22  But Samuel replied: "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

Ho 6:6  For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.

Mt 9:13  But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

Jas 1:27  Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

II.      Submission  (vv. 17-19)                 


          A.      A right heart before God is willing to obey the authorities                     He establishes.  (v. 17)

There must also be a responsible attitude toward leaders.

This attitude of the heart involves obedience and submission.


Leaders watch over our souls.

Leaders know their accountability.

Leaders can be grieved and hurt.

Those who accept authority and exercise authority must also accept responsibility.

Their job can be made a headache.

But it is supposed to be a joy.

If leaders lead for a purpose then that purpose can better be achieved if it is not frustrated.

That purpose is for the good of those led.

It is to the advantage of those led not to make leadership an unbearable burden.

Remember the burden of the Israelites upon Moses?

God placed him for good but the people’s rebellion did not work out to their advantage.

(Note that the leaders are men.)

2Co 11:28  Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.

1Pe 5:2  Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers-- not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve;

Joh 21:15 ¶ When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?" "Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my lambs."

          B.      A right heart before God is willing to uphold the authorities                 He establishes.  (vv. 18-19)

We uphold God’s authorities when we pray for them.

The writer says they are confident in asking for prayer because they are confident in what they are doing.

In other words, they are worthy of prayer support.

But they also want prayer support so that they will continue to be confident.

S. Rom. 13

The writer is confident that prayer works.

III.    Sanctification  (vv. 20-25)    


          A.      A right heart before God is willing to seek Him in                                  conforming to His will for us in Christ.  (vv. 20-21)

We must be willing to be perfected by God in Christ and this benediction passes on that desire.

Note that this perfection is made possible by:

          the God of peace.

          the eternal covenant

          the God of resurrection and life

          the Great Shepherd

          the equipping of God

          the working and energizing of God

With all that going for us we cannot lose.

The work of God makes man’s work possible.

We have the powerful activity of God behind us.

But it is only possible through Christ.

We will become like Christ.

If God raised Christ from the dead he can raise us.

All it takes is faith and a willing heart.

          B.      A right heart before God is willing to take instruction.

                   (vv. 22-25)

Be open to exhortation.

Be aware of the conditions of the saints.

Be in fellowship with leaders.

Be aware of God’s grace.

Throughout this epistle to the Hebrews, outright encouragement has not been a major feature.

But there has been much to give confidence to those willing to stake all on faith in Christ.

That is encouragement enough for me.

Timeless Truth:   Are you willing to stake your heart on Christ?

                             He would be honored.


The Marks of a Christian; Belief Modification -

Honoring God in the Heart

Heb. 13:9-25                                                        July 27, 1997


I.       Sacrifice  (vv. 9-16)


          A.      A right heart before God is willing to give up the old

                   w _ _ _ .

                   (vv. 9-10)

          B.      A right heart before God is willing to become like J _ _ _ _ .

                   (vv. 11-14)

          C.      A right heart before God is willing to become a living                                     s _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ .  (vv. 15-16)

II.      Submission  (vv. 17-19)                 


          A.      A right heart before God is willing to o _ _ _  the authorities               He establishes.  (v. 17)

          B.      A right heart before God is willing to u _ _ _ _ _  the                                      authorities He establishes.  (vv. 18-19)

III.    Sanctification  (vv. 20-25)    


          A.      A right heart before God is willing to seek Him in                                  c _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ to His will for us in Christ.  (vv. 20-21)

          B.      A right heart before God is willing to take

                   i _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ .  (vv. 22-25)

Timeless Truth:   Are you willing to stake your heart on Christ?

                             He would be h _ _ _ _ _ _ .


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