As the Preacher draws this passionate sermon to its conclusion, it seems that his primary desire is to encourage and challenge the hearers to live out faith in the 'real stuff' of life. Christian faith is not simply a code of religious practices. If we really believe the truth of the preceding 12 chapters we will be shaped and changed to become more like Jesus. The instructions in this chapter help us to see exactly what this looks like! Two major contexts may be identified: 1) life 'in the street - here we are called to love each other, be hospitable, be compassionate, be sexually pure and be content; 2) life 'in the community of believers' - here we are called to pay attention to the relationship between leaders and the community, to watch for false teaching, embrace suffering, offer sacrifices of praise and good works. The Preacher then closes his letter with one of the most beautiful hymns of praise in all of Scripture. To Him be glory for ever and ever, AMEN!!
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