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SERIES: The Book of Hebrews
TEXT: Hebrews 13:10-16
MESSAGE: Living in the Tension
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13 “All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth…16 they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” — Hebrews 11:13-14;16
“If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.” — C. S. Lewis
TEXT: Hebrews 13:10-16
This text helps us to understand how to live in the tension of two cities (present & heavenly) in three ways. 
 
As Christians, we must…(1. Go outside the city 2. See beyond the city 3. Live for the city)
  1. Go Outside the City (v. 10-13)
We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat. 11 For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. 12 So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. 13 Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured.”
“The sacrifice of Christ is a better sacrifice…because those who enter the heavenly sanctuary “by the blood of Jesus” know that the One who became their perfect sin offering is permanently available as the source of their spiritual nourishment and refreshment, as they feed on him in their hearts by faith.” — FF Bruce
“Imagine early Christians talking to their neighbors in the Roman Empire. ‘Ah,’ the neighbor says, ‘I hear you are religious! Great! Religion is a good thing. Where is your temple or holy place? ‘We don’t have a temple,’ replies the Christian. ‘Jesus is our temple.’ ‘No temple?’ But where do your priests work and do their rituals? ‘We don’t have priests to mediate the presence of God,’ replies the Christian. ‘Jesus is our priest.’ ‘No priests? But where do you offer your sacrifices to acquire the favor of your God?’ ‘We don’t need a sacrifice,’ replies the Christian. ‘Jesus is our sacrifice.’ ‘What kind of religion IS this?’ sputters the pagan neighbor. And the answer is, this Christian faith is so utterly different than how every other religion works that it doesn’t really deserve to be called a ‘religion.’” 
— Timothy Keller
“If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” — John 15:19
  1. See Beyond the City (v. 14)
For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.
  1. Live For the City (v. 15-16)
Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”
“The intentional community idea assumes that when you say love your neighbor as yourself, you have some kinds of right to go out and pick your neighbor. I think that the ideal of loving your neighbor has to take on the possibility that he may be somebody you’re going to have great difficulty loving or liking or even tolerating.” — Wendell Berry (Writer & Poet)
TAKEAWAYS: How can we live in the tension?
* Acknowledge the tension
 
“Jesus Christ can afford to be misunderstood; we cannot. Our weakness lies in always wanting to vindicate ourselves.”  – Oswald Chambers
 
Remember the gospel
Illustration: “Dignity” by Ph.D. Donna Hicks
“I heard recently about a man who was awarded a prestigious employee-recognition award for his contributions to his company; by all accounts, the award was clear affirmation of his dignity. Yet when asked how he felt about receiving the award, he said that he still felt like a number, that he wasn’t really seen or recognized for who he was. Without an internalized belief in his own worthiness, unless his wounds from the early imprints to his dignity were cleansed and healed, he would not be able to appreciate any validation of his worth from the outside, no matter how much recognition he was accorded.
* Embrace your city
 
“When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices, and when the wicked perish there are shouts of gladness. 11 By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is overthrown.”
— Proverbs 11:10-11
“Many of us are in serious need of roots. Maybe you’ve been in your city for years, but you’ve never made it your home…Most of us are in this zone; we have a crush on the place we live, but we haven’t made a commitment.” — Alan Briggs (Staying is the New Going)
“For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.” — John 6:38