Sabbath School Lesson for March 19-25, 2022
Overview for Lesson 13
To conclude the book of Hebrews, we are given admonition in chapter 13 to do some things, and to refrain from doing other things. We are given counsel about…
- caring for the needs of others, both in church and in the community (Sunday)
- avoiding sexual immorality and greed (Monday)
- paying attention to our leaders and supporting them when we can (Tuesday)
- watching out for strange doctrines not found in the Bible (Wednesday)
- going to Jesus, even when that means suffering with Him (Thursday)
Everyone loves to get to the end of a good book and see how the story ends. The author often saves the best for last. And that is why we need to pay particular attention to this last chapter of Hebrews. Paul sums up the whole purpose of his writing in these final verses.
So far, we’ve been shown individual examples of many faithful persons in the Bible whose stories thrill us. But toward the end of chapter 11, the faith chapter, we find many brave, unnamed individuals, who were alone or few in number.
Paul wants to be clear in how God’s church can corporately show faith and be a shining light to the world. He speaks to all his readers about caring for each other’s needs, being hospitable to everyone, and avoiding any sexual misconduct or engaging in greedy transactions. In addition, we should respect our church leaders, not allow ourselves to be swayed by diverse teachings, and be willing to follow Christ, even when it means experiencing hardship or even death.
Memory Text: “Let brotherly love continue.” Hebrews 13:1
Our memory text this week is so short, it even matches the title of this week’s lesson. By loving our brothers and sisters, we are setting the stage for following Christ in all the ways He’s called us. It begins there, in showing brotherly love, plain and simple.
Jesus said they will know we are His disciples when we love each other (John 13:35). And 1 Corinthians 13:13 tells us that love is the greatest character trait to have, making it even greater than faith. That same chapter says if we have enough faith to move mountains and don’t have love, we are nothing (1 Corinthians 13:2). Yes, our faith, and everything we do, must be motivated by love.
Sunday: Caring for God’s People
Hebrews 13:1, 2 shows us what caring for God’s people means. It’s more than helping our fellow church members, or “distributing to the needs of the saints” (Romans 12:13). This kind of hospitality extends to everyone we meet, even strangers. As Paul reminds us, some have been unaware that they were entertaining angels. (The story in Genesis 18 of the three men who visited Abraham and Sarah comes to mind.)
We must be willing to share our possessions with those who have trials going on in their life, but we can also share in their suffering by giving them emotional support. As Jesus demonstrated in His ministry, our giving must include more than praying for someone, as important as that is. Tangible acts of kindness are needed to extend the kind of hospitality God expects of us.
Paul also reminds us that this sharing must be done ungrudgingly, or without complaint (1 Peter 4:9 and Romans 9:7). Yes, God does love a cheerful giver. There’s a natural joy in giving that should not make this requirement difficult.
Hebrews 13:3 mentioned prisoners. There was no doubt many Christians imprisoned at the time, and their needs were not to be forgotten either. Jesus included Himself in this marginalized population (Matthew 25:36). God’s people should be involved in prison or jail ministries as much as they are able.
Bible Verses to Explore:
Hebrews 13:1-3 and Matthew 25:36
- Who are to be the recipients of our brotherly love?
- How does seeing those we serve as either angels or Jesus Himself affect the way we care for them?
- When might you have “entertained” an angel?
1 Peter 4:9 and Romans 9:7
- Why is our attitude as important as the tangible help we give?
Monday: Covetousness and Sexual Immorality
The next two verses, Hebrews 13:4, 5, is a shift from what we should be doing to things we should not be doing. The two things mentioned, sexual impropriety and greedy selfishness, are very common temptations we face almost every day. They are both related to covetousness, to wanting something or someone more than we should.
Our culture feeds on these unwholesome desires today, as it has all through history. The media bombards us with continual enticements to feed our desires in unholy ways.
Ephesians 5:3-5 and Colossians 3:5 expand on the nature of these overwhelming temptations. Sexual immorality, which includes coarse joking and filthy language, is definitely seen as unclean in God’s eyes. And selfish greed, which may be just placing too much value on our material possessions, is seen as idolatry. It causes us to elevate things above God. We are worshiping our possessions instead of God, as if they were idols.
Bible Verses to Explore:
Hebrews 13:4, 5
- Why are these two sins mentioned as threats to our survival as God’s people?
- What kind of behaviors are included in the definition of fornication and greed?
- How and why might Christians be tempted in these areas?
Tuesday: Remember Your Leaders
Most of the remaining verses in Hebrews 13 involve our relationship with religious leaders. Verse 7 says we are to remember them–referring to those church founders who brought them the word of God. As verse 17 states, we are to obey their counsel and be submissive, or respectful, to undershepherds, who serve the flock of Jesus.
These leaders would include the faith heroes of chapter 11 and Jesus, our ultimate example of faith, as seen in chapter 12. Anyone charged with our spiritual welfare deserves our respect as well. We should do all we can to make the service of church officers a joy, and not a grief (Hebrews 13:17).
Our relationship with church leaders will be a joy when it combines faithful care from the leaders and respectful trust from church members. We should do all we can to make our church experience with leaders both pleasant and profitable. The church will grow in numbers, but most importantly, in spirituality, when this happens.
Criticizing leadership all too often becomes a habit. We should not ignore blatant offenses, but neither should we be searching for ways to condemn or attack their service. Remembering that leaders are humans, who make mistakes like the rest of us, may help us support them rather than criticize. Our careful attention to this will make the church a more effective tool in reaching out to others.
Bible Verses to Explore:
Hebrews 13:7, 17
- What are some ways we can improve relationships between church leaders and members, and why is this important?
Wednesday: Beware of Diverse and Strange Teachings
It’s helpful to take the verses of Hebrews 13:9, 10 together. We know that Jesus never changes, but evidently we can be carried away by manmade doctrines that can change. Hebrews 6:19, 20 mentioned our hope in Christ’s priestly mediation being an anchor for our soul. Surely then, this anchor can keep us from being carried away by strange teachings.
The part of this passage that talks about foods has come under close scrutiny. What kind of foods are intended (Hebrews 13:10)? There have been conflicts about food throughout church history, but perhaps the main idea here may be that God’s grace is permanent and the physical food we eat is not. Feasting on Jesus establishes us in ways that can never be achieved by the tangible food we eat.
A growing relationship with God will ensure our being established in His grace. It will cause us to share Him with others in ways that are natural and faith-building. Strange teachings will have no appeal for us when we have a true understanding of Jesus, our Lord and Savior.
Bible Verses to Explore:
Hebrews 13:9, 10
- How are our hearts established?
- What does it mean to be “occupied” with foods?
Thursday: Go to Jesus Outside the Camp
Hebrews 13:10-14 contains some disturbing ideas. Paul encourages his audience to go outside the camp to find Jesus. But outside the camp, or temple gate, was always considered the most impure place they could be. And yet, that’s where Jesus was sent to die on a cruel cross–it was outside the city of Jerusalem.
Paul is most likely suggesting that they follow Jesus in His sufferings. They should expect to share in the reproach that association with Him brought. Moses left Egypt, we remember, and found this reproach to be greater riches to him than the treasures in Egypt (Hebrews 11:26). Jesus even instructed His disciples to take up their cross and follow Him (Mark 8:34 and Luke 14:27).
In Galatians 2:20 Paul plainly describes what it means to go outside the camp. Paul said that he was crucified with Christ, an experience that brought Him closer to the Son of God. Jesus actually lives inside us when this happens.
The city of Jerusalem, even the earthly sanctuary, is not where God’s presence dwells now. We, like Abraham, are looking for that city, whose builder and maker is God (Hebrews 11:10). In other words, New Jerusalem and God’s heavenly sanctuary should be our focus, not the troubles we find on this sinful planet.
Bible Verses to Explore:
Hebrews 13:10-13, Mark 8:34. and Galatians 2:20
- What does it mean to go outside the camp and be crucified with Christ?
Hebrews 13:14, 11:10, 16 and Revelation 21:10
- Where will this holy city be found, and why should we look forward to it?
What better advice could Paul give to the Hebrews in the early Christian church than to…
- care for each other’s needs
- avoid sexual immorality and greed
- support their leaders
- watch out for strange, religious doctrines
- go to Jesus, even if it means suffering for Him
These are timeless pieces of counsel that God’s church should always hear and follow. We are only as strong as we pay attention to these areas Paul so carefully laid out in this last chapter of Hebrews.
The first verse of Hebrews 13 says to let brotherly love continue, and the last verse calls for grace to be with us. God’s grace makes it possible to have this kind of love for each other…in “The Family of God”—https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9VTg5iuQv4
Next Week: The Creation
To read the Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly or see more resources for its study, go to