“Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. And do not neglect doing good and sharing for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”
Praise is an expression of your love for God. The sacrifice of praise is the believer’s doctrinal response, specifically to the Lord Jesus Christ. Praise is the soul’s appreciation of Jesus Christ expressed verbally or vocally from our “altar” inside — Bible doctrine resident in the soul. Praise in the soul, then, is the appreciation of the Lord Jesus Christ from your inner altar. The altar must be built, however, before you can praise God. Capacity for love is expressed in praise to God.
Thanksgiving is a form of worship in which the Church Age believer acknowledges the benefits related to the grace of God. The biblical definition of worship is the basis for the true function of thanksgiving. This definition is given in John 4:24, “God is a spirit, and those who worship Him must worship by means of the Spirit [filling of the Spirit] and by means of [truth] doctrine.” All true worship in the Church Age is based on the filling of the Holy Spirit and Bible doctrine in the soul of a believer. The application of doctrine through the use of the Problem Solving Devices produces true thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is the expression from capacity for appreciation of God and the mental attitude of gratitude toward God. Thanksgiving is to be your daily attitude toward God. Thanksgiving is an act of giving thanks, grateful acknowledgement of the benefits of the grace of God. Therefore, it is an expression of gratitude toward God based on your doctrinal capacity to appreciate Who and what He is. Thanksgiving is an index of the spiritual status of the believer. The greater the content of Bible doctrine in a believer’s soul means greater capacity for mental attitude of thanksgiving in the life. Thanksgiving is a function of prayer. (Ephesians 1:16, Philippians 4:6, Colossians 1:3, 4:2)
Neglecting the production of divine good is a sign of negativity toward Bible doctrine. To produce divine good requires doctrine in the soul. Producing divine good includes sharing with others (not always material things). The neglecting of doctrine means the neglecting of the normal function of the Royal Priesthood. These sacrifices are offered by a believer who is executing the Christian Way of Life and advancing to spiritual maturity.
“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls, as those who will give account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.”
Every member of the Royal Family of God has a right pastor and he is to be your spiritual authority. Submit to them means as a member of the Royal Family of God you are to be in Bible class and listening to the teaching of the Word of God in order that you might reach spiritual maturity. By doing this a believer is submitting to the spiritual authority of their pastor as a servant of God. A pastor’s spiritual authority is always established on the basis of his faithful teaching of accurate Bible doctrine. On the basis of that Bible doctrine in your soul you are going to take control of and handle your own spiritual life.
“And keep on obeying the teaching of doctrine in order that your pastor may do this accounting with inner happiness, and not with groaning (grief): for this accounting with groaning is disastrous for you.” A pastor-teacher who has a congregation will have to render an account with regard to that congregation at the Judgment Seat of Christ. The pastor has no worries as long as he is faithful in teaching accurate Bible doctrine. The rest is up to the congregation’s volition. (I Peter 5:4; 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20) It is disastrous for a believer who uses his free will to reject the accurate teaching of their pastor. Your pastor may groan (be grieved) at the Judgment Seat of Christ for you, but a believer who fails to follow his teaching will be ashamed.
“Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in all things. And I urge you all the more to do this, so that I may be restored to you the sooner.”
The believers who received this epistle were not all in a state of reversionism and he requested their prayers. For those who were in reversionism, he was exhorting them to get back in fellowship, obey their leaders, submit to their teaching of doctrine and begin praying for him and his fellow companions. The author was writing from Italy, so he must have had a past history with this church in Jerusalem. Therefore, he desires to return to them and be restored to fellowship with those in reversionism. However, if they did not recover from reversionism there would be no hope of restoration.
“Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever, Amen.”
Being in an agricultural society the Jews should have understood this analogy, because it was about sheep and the shepherd. Jesus Christ is our Shepherd and He gives His life for “the sheep.” (John 10:9-11) Jesus Christ is the Great Shepherd, Who was raised from the dead. (Hebrews 13:20-21) And Jesus Christ is the Chief Shepherd, Who will come in glory. (I Peter 5:4) Jesus Christ is our Shepherd and we become His sheep by faith in Him as our Savior. Sheep have certain needs that must be provided for them by the shepherd. For example, sheep cannot guide themselves (John. 16:13), sheep cannot clean themselves (I John. 1:9), sheep are helpless when injured (Psalms 9:9; 46:1), sheep are defenseless (John. 14:27), sheep cannot find food or water without help (John 14:26), sheep are easily frightened (John 14:16), sheep produce wool that belongs to the shepherd. (John 15:4-5) The analogy is that our Shepherd provides guidance, cleansing, help, protection, spiritual food and drink, freedom from fear, and all that we have is His.
Not only did Jesus say that He was the Shepherd of the sheep, He also said that He was the door to the sheepfold. Jesus made a point that those attempting to enter the sheepfold by any other means than by Him are thieves and robbers. These thieves come into the sheepfold to steal, to kill and to destroy. The analogy should be clear that this is a reference to Satan’s work of blinding people to the truth. In John 10:17-18 Jesus said that He would lay down His life and take it back again. He also said that no one would take His life, but that He would lay it down of His own free will.
Equip you in every good thing to do His will brings to mind the armor of God found in Ephesians 6:14-17.
Holy Spirit is potential, depending on the volition (free will) of the believer. We are then commanded to move forward with the execution of the Christian Way of Life. (I John 1:5-10)
“But I urge you brethren, bear with this word of exhortation, for I have written to you briefly. Take notice that our brother Timothy has been released, with whom, if he comes soon, I will see you. Greet all of your leaders and all the saints. Those from Italy greet you. Grace be with you all.”
Bear with this word of encouragement (exhortation) reminds the readers of the purpose of the epistle:
Grace is all that God is free to do for mankind on the basis of the work of Jesus Christ on the Cross. Grace is undeserved mercy and unmerited favor. Grace is the title of God’s plan and His policy for mankind.
“For by grace are you saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God: not of works lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:8-10)
The maximum expression of God’s grace is the Cross. Jesus Christ paid the penalty for all sin. Therefore, sin is not an issue in salvation. (I Peter 2:24) We are free to accept or reject God’s free gift of eternal life. The plan of God is for all of mankind to come to know His Son, Jesus Christ. (II Peter 3:9) Because Jesus Christ completely satisfied the righteousness and justice of God, God is now free to give eternal life and the other 40+ spiritual assets at salvation. (John 2:1-2) Our salvation brings glory to God. (Hebrews 2:9) When we trust Christ as our personal Savior we are adjusting to God’s grace. (Romans 3:24)
God’s grace has always been operational in relation to mankind. Even under the Law, God’s grace was at work in the lives of believers and unbelievers alike. God, in His grace, has revealed Himself to the entire human race beginning with Adam. Salvation for mankind has always been on the basis of God’s grace by faith and faith alone in Jesus Christ. Even the Mosaic Law was a grace gift from God, to show the unbeliever his need for a Savior and to guide him to the Cross. The Levitical offerings pointed to the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:20, 4:3; Genesis 15:6; Galatians 3:24)