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Hebrews 13:7- Jesus Is The Same Yesterday, Today and Forever

This morning we are going to read Hebrews 11:7-9but we are going to concentrate mainly at Hebrews 13:7 which says, “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them.”


We have seen in this letter that these Christians began to turn their attention away from Jesus Christ and the Covenant of Grace. One of the reasons that this happened was because they were experiencing some persecution, sufferings, trials, and difficult providences.


These Christian thought that if they returned to the Law of Moses some of these external pressures would go away. If they returned to Judaism they would most likely be received back into their families, into their communities, and back into the Temple worship.


However, even if most of these external pressures went away they would find that their hearts would be troubled just like the psalmists testified to last week in Psalm 73:21-22 when he said, “When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you.” If they strayed from the LORD they would testify with David, “For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as the heat of summer.” (Psalm 32:4)


The author of Hebrews understands that there is more going on here than just external pressures. He knows that there is an internal problem that must be addressed. These external things are revealing an inner problem pertaining to the heart. The author of Hebrews knows that their hearts have shifted from Christ and their hearts needed to once again be established in grace and remain there. If Jesus were to speak to them He would say to them, “Where is your faith (in me)?” (Luke 8:25)


They needed to have their hearts established in Christ and in His grace. This is what is spoken about in Hebrews 13:9 where we read, “Do not be led away (carried away, misled) by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened (established, made immovable, steadfast) by grace...”.


True doctrine, sound theology, and biblical teaching regarding Jesus Christ will always establish the heart in grace; however, diverse and strange teachings that are contrary to Christ and the Covenant of Grace will destabilize the heart. Last week we saw in Psalm 73:26 that the psalmist spoke of this inward problem and the grace we need when he wrote, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”


It was the authors intention as he wrote this letter to establish the hearts of these believers back upon Jesus. He did this in the first 12 chapters by giving them good doctrines, clear gospel truths, and grand theologies regarding Jesus and the New Covenant of Grace. We could summarize the book of Hebrews in this way:

  • The author has testified about what the Old Testament Scriptures revealed about Jesus.

  • The author testified about what Jesus Christ accomplished when He came and fulfilled these Old Testament types, shadows and promises.

  • The author has testified about what Jesus Christ continues to do today and forever.

  • In other words, Hebrews 13:8 is a summary statement of the entire message of the book of Hebrews, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever”?


As this letter draws to an end the author of Hebrews exhorts them in Hebrews 13:9 and he provides two exhortations in Hebrews 13:7-8 to help their hearts remain established in grace.

  • Hebrews 13:7, “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.”

  • Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”


We saw last week that these two exhortations are helpful in two directions. First, these exhortations ground our hearts in truth so that we are not led astray by false teaching; so that, our hearts are grounded in grace (made stable, immovable, secure). These exhortations also give us wise principles by which we can observe the faith and beliefs of other godly people and we can imitate them.


We see an example of this in 1 Thessalonians 1:6-8 which states, “You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in AchaiaFor not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything.


Secondly, we also see that once the heart is established in grace our lives will express this grace in fruitfulness and godliness. In the immediate context we see that this grace will express itself in the things mentioned previously in Hebrews 12:28-13:6. (worship, loving our brothers, honoring marriage, sexual purity, contentment).


Let’s look at Hebrews 13:8 which says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”.


It seems to me that these words are difficult to understand in this context. It seems like these words are out of place and that they would have been better placed in the verses that had come before in Hebrews 13:5-6. Then it would have said, “Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have, for He has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ For ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.’ So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’”


The Holy Spirit, however, did not place these words with those verses. Instead He placed these words in verse 8 as an exhortation that helps to keep us from being led astray into strange and diverse teachings; so that, our hearts can be grounded in grace.


One way that we may be helped as we consider this is to recognize that there is something happening in this verse that we have already seen in previous verses. In Hebrews 13:4 we saw that the translators had chosen different ways of translating that verse because there was no verb. Therefore, the translators had to determine how they should best translate it according to the context.

  • The ESV translated verse 4 as an exhortation, “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled...”

  • The NKJV translated verse 4 as three simple facts, “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.”


We saw this again at the beginning of verse 5 because there was no verb there either. Both the ESV and the KJV translated that verse as an exhortation. The ESV translated it as, ‘Keep your life free from the love of money...’. The KJV translated it as, “Let your conversation be free from covetousness…”.


Here again in Hebrews 13:8 there is once again no verb. It simply says, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday and today and forever.” This is a true and accurate statement and the KJV makes no change in their translation, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and forever”. The ESV, which has consistently translated verses such as these as exhortations, now chooses to add a verb which expresses a state of being, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”.


How does the Holy Spirit want us to understand this verse?

  • Is it to be a statement of fact, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and forever.”

  • Is it to stress the nature of Jesus, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

  • Or is it to be an exhortation,“Let Jesus Christ be the same yesterday and today and forever”. Or “Consider that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.”


If we stay consistent with the rest of the verses in the context of Hebrews 13 we should make Hebrews 13:8 an exhortation, “Consider that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.”. If we do this vv. 7&8 are exhortations that are supporting v.9 and help to accomplish the exhortation given that we are not be led astray by different and strange doctrines, for (because) it is good that the heart be established in grace. Jesus does not change, He is the same yesterday, today, and forever; therefore, His word, His instruction, and His teachings don’t change.


We have seen the reality of v.8 already at work in the theology of the author.

  • The author of Hebrews has written about what had been revealed about Jesus in the Old Testament Scriptures.

  • He has written about what Jesus Christ accomplished when He came and fulfilled these Old Testament types, shadows and promises.

  • He has written about what Jesus Christ continues to do now and what He will do in the future.

  • The author of Hebrews believed that ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever’ and as a result he could write the way that he has. He is an example of someone whose heart has not been led astray; rather his heart is firmly and securely established in grace.


Therefore, just as Hebrews13:7 exhorted us to do, we would do well to remember him, consider him, and imitate his example. Hebrews 13:7 stated, “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.”


As I have considered v.8 it seemed appropriate to conclude that we could look at the Old Testament passages of scripture and apply God’s character to our lives since ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever’.

  • God revealed His goodness to Moses; therefore, God is the same and He will reveal His goodness to us too.

  • God was forgiving to David when he sinned; therefore, God is the same so we can be forgiven.

  • God gave courage to Joshua; therefore, God is the same so He will give us courage..

  • God heard Hagar’s prayer and she knew Him as the God who sees; therefore, God is the same and He will hear our prayer and see our affliction.

  • God saw the affliction of His people in Egypt; therefore, God is the same so He sees our affliction and will deliver us.

  • God heard the prayer of Hannah; therefore, God is the same so He will hear our prayer.

  • God defeated all of David’s enemies; therefore since God is the same He can deliver us from our enemies.


Let me try to expound on this a bit further by considering some of the unchangeable truths concerning the LORD that we find in the London Baptist Confession (2.1) concerning God And The Holy Trinity. This confession in called the 1689 London Baptist Confession so it is 335 years old now. And yet, even though the things contained in this confession are so old they still contain biblical statements about God that have not changed and never will. For example, we read these words, “The LORD our God (The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit)...is unchangeable...most loving, gracious, merciful, and patient. He overflows with goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin. He rewards those who seek Him diligently. At the same time, He is perfectly just and terrifying in His judgments. He hates all sin and will certainly not clear the guilty.


None of these truths concerning God have changed and they never will. These are things about God that the faithful people of old have always known to be true because God never changes. Abel, Seth, Noah, and Job believed these things about God. The Judges, Samuel, David, and Hezekiah all believed these things about the LORD because He never changes. Isaiah, Daniel, Hosea, Micah and Malichi all believed these things about the LORD because He never changes.


Using these traits regarding the nature of our LORD let us use Psalm 25 and see how David believed these things to be true about God. We will also see that David understood that those who came before him and those who came after would find these things to be true, stable, unchangeable, and immovable attributes of the LORD.


  • The LORD is always most loving, gracious, merciful. In Psalm 25:6-7 David prays, “Remember your mercy, O LORD, and your steadfast love, for they are from old. Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O LORD.” If David could consider God’s past love and mercy to others and then ask the LORD to respond in the same way to him, can we not also consider how the LORD answered David and expect that God will be merciful, gracious and loving to us as well?


  • The LORD always most patient and overflows with goodness. David says in vv. 4-5, “Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long”. David considers God’s goodness in Psalm 25:8 and says, “Good and upright is the LORD; therefore He instructs sinner in the way”. One of the most important trait in a good teacher is to be patient with the pupil. The LORD makes known His ways, He teaches and leads us in truth. Those who have been taught by the LORD who is patient become patient themselves and wait for Him all the day long. God is good and upright and He instructs sinners; therefore, can we who are also sinners turn to God who is good and upright and thank Him for patiently teaching us, patiently making known His ways to us, patiently leading us all the day long?


  • The LORD always overflows with truth. In Psalm 25:5&9 David prays to the LORD and says, “Lead me in your truth and teach me...(for)...The LORD leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble His way.” If the LORD gave David understanding and wisdom in truth will He not also do the same for us as well since we are the sheep and He is our great Shepherd?


  • The LORD is always forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin. David prays in Psalm 25:16-18, “Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses. Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins.” If the LORD was gracious to David and delivered him from his troubles, his distresses, his afflictions, and forgave him of all his sins; therefore, will the LORD not be forgiving of our sins if we will humble ourselves and repent and turn from them?


  • The LORD always rewards those who diligently seek after Him. David prays in Psalm 25:14, “The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear Him, and He makes known to them His covenant.” If the LORD was a friend to David and made His covenant promises and blessings known to David will He not respond to us when we seek after the LORD with faith? Will the LORD not reward us, restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish us when we come to the end of the race of faith that has been marked out for us?


  • The LORD is always perfectly just and terrifying in His judgments, He hates sin and will certainly never clear the guilty. David says in Psalm 25:3, “Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.” Psalm 25 talks more about David being delivered from his enemies than it speaks about how God dealt with the wicked and faithless. Yet, David consistently humbled himself and confessed his sins so that he was set apart from those who were wicked and faithless. If they did not repent and turn to the LORD these godless people would not be saved. Therefore, we too should humble ourselves before God and seek his mercy. David received it and was delivered from his own sin and from all of his enemies. We to have this same confidence because Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.


My friends, have you lifted up your soul to the LORD and trusted in Him for salvation (1-2)? If you will turn from your friendship with this world and humble yourself before the LORD He will make known to you His covenant of Grace and redeem you out of all of your troubles (14&22).


If the LORD has saved your soul then we can pray for the same things that David does here in this psalm because Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.

  • We can pray to be delivered from every one of our enemies (2).

  • We can pray that the LORD, the God of our salvation will teach us His truth and lead us in His paths (4-5 & 8 -10).

  • We can consider God’s faithfulness to past generation of His people and remember the LORD’s mercy, steadfast love, goodness and forgiveness (6-7).

  • We can have our hearts established in the grace of God as we remember that God has pardoned our great sin for His own names sake (11).

  • Having had our guilt pardoned our soul shall abide in well-being as we grown in our knowledge of His covenant of grace (12-14).

  • Because of God’s grace, love, goodness and mercy we can call to God and He will respond to our prayer and deliver us from distresses, afflictions, trouble, and our sins (16-18).

  • No matter how many, or how powerful, our enemies are we know that God will guard our soul and deliver us. He will not let all who take refuge in Him to be put to shame. We trust in the LORD as David did and we wait for him in faith and in our integrity and uprightness (19-22).


The LORD revealed His nature to those who came before David, then then to David, and now we can experience God’s faithfulness because Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. David said, “I have never seen the righteous forsaken…”. (Psalm 37:25) David still testifies of this today.

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