Hebrews’ Closing Announcements: Missional Action Steps

Uncommon God, Common Good | 4/28/2018 | Staff
TitanSwimr (Posted by) Level 3
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How often do you carefully read the church bulletin or listen to closing announcements? If the answer is “not often” or “never,” then you will probably miss the import of Hebrews chapter 13. The closing words might read like announcements at the close of a service, but they are missional action steps for God’s kingdom’s mission advance. Thomas Long puts it this way:

…the sermon is being followed by the announcements and the “joys and concerns.” As is the case with all good preachers, however, the sermon actually continues. The preaching does not stop when the sermon notes are folded up, and the Christological task does not end when the “minute for mission” begins (Thomas G. Long, Hebrews, Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching {Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1997}, page 142).

Glance - Chapter - Chapter - Reader - Heights

To be honest, it is easy to think at first glance that chapter 13 is a bit anti-climactic. Chapter 12 brings the reader to the heights of the heavenly Mount Zion. Having seen the glory of God in Christ on the mountain top at the height of the author-preacher’s sermon, the descent at the close of the service/sermon with the closing chapter might seem like a real downer. Nothing could be further from the truth. What we find here is the high Christology brought home to people’s lives in the valleys below where we daily live. After all, Sunday is only the first day of the week. The sermon had better carry the reader or listener along until week’s end.

The preacher-author’s Christology (doctrine of Christ) is not simply for the lofty mount of transfiguration. Hebrews’ Christology functions just as well on street level and in dining rooms (Hebrews 13:2), prison cells (Hebrews 13:3), bedrooms (Hebrews 13:4), and bank accounts (Hebrews 13:5), not simply in sanctuaries but also outside the...
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