A Personal Gospel Blessing (Hebrews 13:18-25)


Big Idea: We need a personal blessing based on the gospel.

Out of all the beginnings of books of the Bible, I think Hebrews may be my favorite. I admit it’s close. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). That’s really good. Or John 1:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:1-5)

That is amazing. But I can’t tell you how much I love the beginning of Hebrews:

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. (Hebrews 1:1-4)

Right at the beginning of this letter, you have a soaring statement of who Jesus is. He’s incomparable. He is unique. And that sets the tone for the rest of the letter, which magnifies Jesus and demolishes all alternatives.

So there are some great beginnings of books in the Bible, and Hebrews may be my favorite. But there are also some good endings of books in the Bible, and hands down, the ending of Hebrews is my favorite.

The writer’s just given a well-reasoned, passionate plea for the church to treasure Christ. The stakes are high. He’s told them over and over that their eternal future’s at stake. How is he going to wrap up his written sermon?

As it turns out, he’s going to wrap it up beautifully. Here are the two things I love about it.

One: It’s personal.

Years ago, John Piper wrote a book for pastors called Brothers, We Are Not Professionals. Hear his heart:

We pastors are being killed by the professionalizing of the pastoral ministry … Professionalism has nothing to do with the essence and heart of the Christian ministry. The more professional we long to be, the more spiritual death we will leave in our wake. For there is no professional childlikeness (Matt. 18:3); there is no professional tenderheartedness (Eph. 4:32); there is no professional panting after God (Ps. 42:1).

Professionals can stand apart from a congregation and speak dispassionately. A true pastor can’t. A true pastor gets personal.

And that’s just what you see in this passage. We still don’t know who wrote the book of Hebrews, but we know that they knew, and that it’s someone who cared for them. He wasn’t writing from a professional distance. So he writes:

Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things. I urge you the more earnestly to do this in order that I may be restored to you the sooner. (Hebrews 13:18-19)

He writes as someone who needs prayer himself. He doesn’t just want to preach the gospel; he wants a life that’s lived in line with the gospel. And he wants to be with them. Can I just add this as a prayer request for myself? Pray that I never pastor as a professional. Pray that I live what I preach. And pray that I continue to love being with my brothers and sisters in the church.

But then he adds a postscript in verses 22 to 25. He wraps up the letter. He sends an update on Timothy. He sends his greetings. And he blesses them. This is a deeply personal closing written by someone who knows them, loves them, and wants the best for them.

These last verses are important to us because they give us some clues about the author and recipients of this letter. But it’s also really valuable because it shows us the heart of the writer. This letter is deeply personal, just like the best ministry is personal. That’s one reason I love the end of this letter.

But here’s the other reason I love it. Not only is it personal, but:

Two: It’s a blessing based on the gospel.

We’re going to spend some time on this in the next month, but we need blessing. We need someone who believes the truths of the gospel for us and applies them to our hearts. That’s what we get in this passage.

The author crafts a farewell blessing that contains the essential elements of the entire letter. This blessing gives us just what we need to apply the message of the book to our lives. It’s a blessing based on the who, what, how, and why of the gospel.

Let me break out this blessing in four categories: who, what, how, and why.


Christian, who is at work in your life? Here’s who.

The God of peace and power — The writer prays to “the God of peace” in verse 20. God is at peace with himself. God is at peace with himself, and he has made peace with us through his Son. The idea if peace here is more than just serenity; it’s deep wellbeing. We don’t live in a world of peace, but we have a God of peace. John Piper says, “Your Father in heaven is a God of peace. He is at peace with himself, and he is at peace with you. He is like a great ocean, calm in himself, and he gave his Son to suffer in our place so that we might have an eternal family of peace.”

But he’s also a God of power. He “brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus.” The God who is at work in your life is the same God who raised Jesus from the dead. In fact, Ephesians 1 tells us that the same power is at work in you that was at work in raising Jesus from the dead.

But that’s not the only person at work in your life. The God of peace and power is joined by “our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep.” So far in this book we’ve seen Jesus as God’s final Word, the creator, our sympathetic high priest, the mediator of a blood-bought covenant, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, and more. But now we see Jesus as the risen shepherd of the sheep.

The role of a shepherd is to care for sheep, to lead, guard, and protect them. Jesus is a unique shepherd because he protected his sheep with his life, offering his life for them and triumphing over death in his resurrection.

Here’s the blessing that Hebrews wants you to receive: The Father and the Son are at work in you, and they are very good at their work. You are not alone. The God of peace and power and your great shepherd Jesus is at work in your life, and God will not let you go.


That’s the who. Now we get to the what.

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight… (Hebrews 13:20-21)

Here’s what God is doing in your life and will continue to do: he will equip you with everything good that you need. God is very resourceful. The idea here is that God will supply everything that’s necessary for you to live the Christian life and please him. There’s the idea of making you complete in this passage. It also has the ideas of mending, restoring, perfecting, and equipping. God is doing all of those things in your life and more.

Here we need to admit our utter dependence on God. Calvin said, “We are by no means fit to do good until we are made or formed for the purpose by God, and that we shall not continue long in doing good unless he strengthens us; for perseverance is his peculiar gift.” We need God; we have God, so we have everything we need.

We’re in the middle of updating our condo right now. We’re replacing appliances and fixtures and painting. It’s slow. Sometimes it seems like nothing is happening. But it is. God willing, if you come to our place in a month or so, you’ll find that the work has been done.

Do you ever feel like the progress is slow in your life? Sure. But make no mistake: God is at work. He could have done his work instantly, but he chose not to. He’s repairing you, equipping you, enabling you, and changing you. He’s providing everything that’s needed. God is doing a work in your life.

Who? The God of peace and power, along with your great shepherd. What? He is equipping and enabling you.


How is he doing this?

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ… (Hebrews 13:20-21)

How is God doing all of this? By the blood of the eternal covenant and through Jesus. All throughout Hebrews, the writer’s been talking about the new covenant that’s been enacted through the ministry of Jesus. Now he reminds us: everything flows from this. Everything flows from the renewed heart and personal relationship we have through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Because of Jesus, you have boldness to approach God’s throne. Because of Jesus, you have full and final forgiveness of sins (10:18). You have "eternal salvation” (5:9), “eternal redemption” (9:12), and an “eternal inheritance” (9:15). It’s all about what Jesus has done for you.

  • Who? The God of peace and power, along with your great shepherd.
  • What? He is equipping and enabling you.
  • How? Through Jesus.



“….to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” (13:21)

Here’s what it’s all about: the glory of our God. “To glorify God is the object of it all” (Spurgeon). Join all the angels and creation in worshiping him. That’s not only what our salvation is for; it’s what all life is for. Jesus atoned for our sins and instituted a new covenant. He deserves all the glory and praise forever. He has shown us his eternal plan of salvation and rain our hearts to him. And so he’s worthy of all praise and glory. After grasping our salvation, it’s the only thing left to do. You have been saved by God for the glory of God, and he made you for his glory. We have the incredible privilege of ascribing all worth to the One who is worthy of all praise. It’s all about his greater glory.

And by the way, we do really well when we live for that glory. As one preacher said, “Our ship sails well to his glory” (Kent Hughes).

What a great ending to an amazing book. We need a personal blessing based on the gospel. We’re meant to personally know that the God of peace and power, along with our great shepherd, is equipping and enabling us through Jesus for his glory. He’s at work in your life. He will not let you go.

The writer has just preached this great sermon by writing this great letter, and now he wants to leave us with this personal blessing. Cling to Jesus. Never let go of him. But at the same time, recognize that he’s at work in you. He’s giving you everything you need. He’s completing his work. He’s doing it through Jesus. And he’s doing it for his glory.

You will be blessed as you increasingly grasp what God is doing in your life.

So, Father, give us eyes to know who you are: the God of peace and power. Help us to see your Son: our great shepherd who died and rose for us. Help us to know what you’re doing: that you’re equipping and enabling us to please you. And help us to grasp what it’s all about: your eternal glory.

And Lord, as we grasp these things, keep us close to Jesus. Help us to cling to him forever and never turn our attention to lesser things. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash

I'm a grateful husband, father, oupa, and pastor of Grace Fellowship Church Don Mills. I love learning, writing, and encouraging. I'm on a lifelong quest to become a humble, gracious old man.
Toronto, Canada