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: [1Corinthians] [Biblical Shepherding] [Hebrews (2017-18)] [Hopewell 101] [The Lord's Day] [Lord's Supper Table Lessions] [Family Worship Teaching Times]

Monday, July 16, 2018

2018.07.16 Hopewell @Home ▫ Hebrews 13:18-19

Questions for Littles: What does the apostle want them to do for him (v18)? Of what is he confident? What does he desire to do in all things? But why does he especially urge them to pray for him (v19)?  
From the Scripture for this week’s sermon, we learn the necessity and power of prayer.

First, we find the necessity of prayer in the command. “Pray for us,” says the apostle. You remember those who are prisoners (v3). You remember those who spoke the Word of God to you (v7). Remember us, too, in prayer.

This is the greatest service that we ever may do to those who are nearest to us: to go to the throne of heaven, armed with the blood and righteousness of Christ, and ask to have done all of the holy will of our most merciful and gracious God.

And even for those most distant, we may yet perform this greatest service!

Second, we find the necessity of prayer by considering him who asks for it in this text: the eminent apostle himself. Now, if the apostle needed prayer, how much do you need it? How much do those whom you care about it need it? How much do those whom God brings to mind need it?

In particular, the apostle needed prayer for his release and subsequent restoration to them. For those whom God places in positions where they come under the attack of the enemies of Christ, He calls us to the service of prayer!

Because God commands it, we do not ask “what good does it do” by way of challenge or rebellion. Rather, assuming that God commands us to do that which is good, we genuinely wonder: what does prayer accomplish? If all of God’s works are known to Him from the foundation of the world, does prayer change anything?

And the answer in this passage is: it absolutely does! The apostle believes that he and his companions have a good case to make before the judge. They have a good conscience, which is to say that they cannot think of a true charge against them. This is a strong plea both with the human judge, and with the divine Father who would give whatever strokes of discipline were necessary to a wayward child.

The apostle is an example to us in this: remember that he is speaking the Word of God to you, and follow the faith that has produced his good conscience, just as you follow the faith of your leaders, whose conduct was the fruit of faith and love in Christ. Let us follow the apostle in desiring to live honorably and in maintaining a good conscience.

But, the apostle now urges his readers to pray. Why? So that he may be released to them sooner. What? Can this eminent apostle really believe that if the readers do not pray, it will be longer; but, if the readers do pray, the apostle’s release will be sooner? That is exactly what he says!

Yes, known to God are all His works from the foundation of the world. And among those works are commanding His people to prayer, and moving His people to prayer, and sustaining His people in prayer. Prayer doesn’t change His plan, but it does change our circumstances, because He who rules over those circumstances has revealed Himself as the God who graciously hears and answers prayer! Therefore, prayer is an exceedingly powerful action, for it moves the hand of Almighty God!
For whom ought you especially to be praying? What might God be planning to do through you?
Suggested Songs: ARP4 “Answer When I Call” or TPH518 “Come, My Soul, with Every Care”

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