How we can live for God
1 Continue to love each other like brothers and sisters. 2 Always remember to be kind to strangers. Let them stay in your homes. In this way, some people have received angels as visitors, and they did not know that they were angels.
3 Remember to help those believers who are in prison. Think about what that would be like, if you were there with them. Remember those believers who are receiving bad trouble from people. Think about them as if you were receiving the same pain in your own body.
13:2The Bible tells us about some people who received angels as visitors. See Genesis 18:1-21; 19:1-3.
13:3At the time when this book was written, Christians received a lot of trouble from other people. Many of them were in prison. People did many bad things to them.
4 When a man and a woman have married each other, they must each respect the marriage. Husbands and wives must only have sex with each other. God will punish anyone who has sex with another person's husband or wife. He will punish anyone who has sex in a wrong way.
5 In the way that you live, do not want lots of money. Be happy with the things that you have. Be happy, because God has said this:
‘I will never leave you;
I will always be there with you.’
6 Because of that, we can bravely say this:
‘The Lord is the one who helps me,
so I will not be afraid.
I will not be afraid of anything that people can do to me.’
7 Remember your leaders, who taught God's message to you. Think about the way in which they have lived and the good things that they have done. They have trusted God, so you should have faith like they do.
8 Jesus Christ is always the same, yesterday and today and for ever. 9 Some people teach all kinds of strange new things. Do not let them lead you away from God's true message. It is good that God is very kind to us. That is what makes us strong inside ourselves. Rules about what foods we should eat do not make us strong like that. Those rules have never helped the people who tried to obey them.
13:9Some people were teaching that Christians should obey certain rules about food. They thought that Christians should obey the old rules about meals at the Jewish sacrifices. Food can make our bodies strong but it cannot help our spirits. Only God can help us like that. Only God can make us really strong inside ourselves.
10 Jesus is the sacrifice that we have as believers. The priests who obey the Jewish rules of sacrifices can eat part of those sacrifices themselves. But they have no authority to receive anything from Jesus' sacrifice. 11 In the old agreement, the leader of the priests brings the blood from the animal sacrifices into the Most Holy Room. He does that so that God will forgive the sins of the people. But they take the bodies of those animals away from there. They burn them outside the town. 12 In the same way, Jesus also died outside the city. He did that as a sacrifice on our behalf. His blood has made his people clean from their sins. 13 Jesus died like that in a place where people insulted him. So we must go out to that place too. We must be ready for people to insult us, as they insulted him. 14 Here on earth, we who are believers do not have a city that will always be our home. But we are waiting for God's city that will come.
13:11Israel's priests could eat some of the meat from animals that people brought as certain sacrifices. See Leviticus 6:26,29; 7:6-7. This showed that they shared in what the sacrifice was for. But on a certain day each year, they offered a very special sacrifice, for all the people. They killed animals and the priest took their blood into the Most Holy Room. The priests could not eat any of the meat from those animals. Nobody could eat it. They had to burn the animals' bodies. See Leviticus 6:30; 16:27. That special sacrifice was like a picture of how Jesus would give himself as a sacrifice for us. And now Jesus has died for us. So now nobody needs the sacrifices that belonged to the old agreement between God and his people. Nobody needs those priests who worked for God during the old agreement. They have no authority to share in the sacrifice that is ours now. When we eat food, it makes our bodies strong. When we really believe Jesus, his Spirit makes us strong. So we could say this: we ‘eat’ Jesus when we believe him. When we believe him, we share in his sacrifice for us.
13:12They killed Jesus outside Jerusalem city. See John 19:20. Israel's people thought that a place ‘outside the city's gate’ was a dirty place. It was a place for someone that they refused to accept. It was a place where people were ashamed to go.
15 So we should always praise God, because of what Jesus has done for us. Let us say clearly that we trust Jesus. That is like our sacrifice which we offer to God all the time. 16 Remember to be kind to other people. Share with them the things that you have. God is happy with sacrifices like that.
17 Respect your leaders and obey them. They watch over your lives on God's behalf. God will check to see if they have done their work well. So respect them, and then they will be happy as they serve God. Do not say bad things against them, because that will never help you.
18 Pray to God for us. We are sure in our minds that we have done nothing wrong. We always want to do only what is right. 19 The most important thing is this: Pray that I may come back to you soon.
20 I pray that God will help you. He is the one who gives us peace in our minds. He caused our Lord Jesus Christ to become alive again after death. God forgives us because of the blood of Jesus' death on the cross. That is God's new agreement with his people that will be true for ever. Jesus is our great shepherd. and he takes care of us like his sheep. 21 I pray that God will give you every good thing that you need to serve him. Then you can do everything that he wants. I pray that God will help us to serve him in a way that will make him happy. He will do that because we belong to Jesus Christ. Jesus is very great, and we should praise him always and for ever! Amen. This is true.
22 My Christian friends, please listen patiently to my message. This is only a short letter and I want to help you to be strong. 23 I want to tell you about Timothy, who is like a brother to us. They have let him go out of prison, so that he is free now. If he arrives here soon, he will come with me when I travel to see you.
24 Say ‘hello’ on my behalf to your leaders and to all God's people. The Christians who have come here from Italy say ‘hello’ to you too. 25 I pray that God will be very kind to all of you.