Hebrews 13: 1-6
The Bible says in Hebrews 13:1-3, Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; as being yourselves also in the body.
At the very end of Hebrews chapter 12 the Bible mentioned the holiness of God and described God in His glory and holiness by saying, For our God is a consuming fire. Verse one of Hebrews 13 goes on to say, Let brotherly love continue. There are some people who emphasis the holiness of God in a way that distorts the truth of His love and mercy. They forget that the Bible says in Romans 8:1, There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit. And then there are those who emphasis the love of God in a way that distorts and twists the truth of the Word of God. These people have forgotten that the Bible says in I John 5:17, All unrighteousness is sin.
In reality holiness and love go hand in hand. In fact, in the Greek, both words come from the same root. The Bible says, Let brotherly love continue. We live in a world of selfish and hateful people, sinners by nature. This is why there are so many terrible murders and wars that paint the pages of human history dark red with the blood of the innocent. Of course those of us who have found forgiveness through the blood of Jesus Christ have a new nature, a divine nature. II Corinthians 5:17 says, Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. Because of Christs forgiveness a human soul becomes capable of loving others in a deep, meaningful, and spiritual way: the way that God loves us. Yet even though the believer is a new man, there is an effort that must be given; a daily effort to say, not my will, Lord, but Thine, be done. And there is an effort that must be given to love other people. Let brotherly love continue. It is not enough to have a natural God-given compassion or sensitivity for other people. Some of the people of the world have this. This is expressed in their humanitarian efforts. Love for others must be spiritual in its source. Its basis must be Jesus Christ. It is youre love for God that will be the source of your love for others. Just as Colossians 1:8 says, it must be a love in the Spirit.
The word used for love here in verse 1 is a word that refers to friendship. Jesus is your friend. And just as an old hymn says, There is not a friend like the lowly Jesus. Let brotherly love continue. This is a command not a request. If we must let love continue then there is a possibility that there may cease to be love in our hearts. And what is it that stops the flow of Gods love into us and from us into others? Sin, unconfessed sin. In the Sermon on the Mount, when Jesus taught us to pray, He said in Matthew 6:12 that we should pray to God, And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. The two greatest stumbling blocks to letting brotherly love continue will be: not seeking Christs forgiveness when we need it, and not forgiving others who wrong us. Let brotherly love continue, the Bible says. Verses 2-4 of Hebrews chapter 13 tell us 3 works that are a result of having a true love in the Spirit for our fellow brethren and for all the needy people of the world.
Verse 3 says, Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. We live in a day and age in which there are many luxuries and entertainments that take our time. But the question is; whom do you live for, yourself or for God? Love is self-sacrifice. Of-course Jesus has given us the best example of love by dying on the cross for our sins. Jesus said in John 15:13, Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his live for his friends. The phrase to entertain strangers is actually one word in the Greek. The word is also used in Romans chapter 12:13 which says, given to hospitality. Jesus did say to love thy neighbor as thyself. And He also said to love your enemies. Of-course society was very different 2000 years ago, the time in which the N.T. was written. People did not have cars, or airplanes to travel in. People would travel from place to place by foot or animal. A family would often provide a meal and a nights rest in their home to any travelers passing by. Even though our society today is much different from the world 2000 years ago, in many ways it is still the same. There is more than enough crime in the world for people to be suspicious of strangers. But if you rely on God for wisdom, He will show you how to the use the opportunities that He gives you; to encourage, provide, and assisted others from time to time. God has given us a very good motivation to not be forgetful to entertain strangers. You may very well be visited by an angel. There are many stories in the O.T. of people visited by angels of God. The word angel means messenger. You may never be visited by an angel, but you will most certainly come across Gods human messengers from time to time. And you should remember that Jesus said that in Matthew 10:42, And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward. Everything that you do in the name of Christ and for the glory of God matters; no matter how small a deed it may seem to be. Our greatest works for God may seem to us as; only drops of sand on the seashore, but Jesus said in Matthew 25:40, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto Me.
Secondly, if we truly are having the love for others; the way God would have us love others, we should remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body. The same Greek word for remember is used in Hebrews 2:6 to say that God is mindful of us. God remembers us, but He certainly does much more than just think about the fact that we exist. Have you ever had a child, or a wife, or a parent, or someone that you loved very dearly suffering some terrible tragedy? In such a circumstance most people feel great pain and wish it could be them that suffered instead of the one that they loved. Jesus with His eyes, like flames of fire, looked down from heaven upon the sufferings of man; suffering that came because of sin. And the Bible says in John 3:16, For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have life everlasting. Jesus said to love your neighbor as yourself. If you truly are remembering those that are bound and those that are suffering then you will pray for them fervently and you will do whatever God enables you to do to help them first spiritually and then physically.
The Bible goes on to say in verse 4, Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. The world is blind and perverted. When the people of the word think of the word love, it is often really just twisted and perverted sexual lust. Of course God created romantic love. And it is something holy and beautiful. This is why the Bible says in Song of Solomon 8:7, Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.
Unto the pure all things are pure. But unto the defiled all things are defiled. In the beginning God created them male and female. And God created sex to be only between a husband and a wife. Sex outside of marriage is merely sinful lust. And it will destroy you physically and spiritually. The end of sin is death. I Corinthians 6:18 says, Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. Dont be fooled by the wicked lies of Hollywood. An immoral lifestyle will only bring you sexual diseases, emotional torment, and a wasted life. The Bible says in Hebrews 13:4, marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. God judges sins. Those who do not repent of their adulteries and fornication, and all sexual sins will pay a terrible price both in this life and the next. If you live an immoral life you will miss out on the great joy and pleasure of love that is only found in marriage.
Let brotherly love continue, the Bible says. Those have brotherly love, a love in the Spirit, those who love their neighbors as themselves; will not commit sexual sins. Think of all the children that have suffered because their parents marriage was destroyed because of adultery. Think of all the women whose lives have been torment and wasted because they were prostitutes. There would be no prostitutes if there were no whoremongers. Think of all the great pestilence of sexual diseases that has plagues and destroyed mankind because of sexual immorality. Think of all the murders that have been committed of the jealous rage of a betrayed spouse. And think of all the innocent little children that live their lives haunted because they were sexually abused. Sin is selfishness. Those who do not live moral lives are selfish people. They are people who think only of their own lusts and not the well being of others. They are people who need to learn to trust in God and wait upon God. Let brotherly love continue.
Hebrews 13:5 says, Let your conversation be without covetousness; be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. The conversation refers to ones way of living, ones habits and lifestyle. Covetousness is selfishness. Love and selfish-ness are very much opposites. Most of the people of the world place their greatest efforts in seeking to gain money, material possessions, human friend relationships and other temporary things. There is nothing wrong with money, or material possessions or any of the physical things in this world that God created. But if you desire anything too much it may very well keep you from following the will of God. Col 3:1-2 says, If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
What and who do you love? Jesus gave His life for you. He suffered a painful and a shameful death. He took the punishment for your sins. Do you love Him for that? The people of the world that greedily and fearfully clutch after empty and vain material things, what they really desire is a meaningful contentment and fulfillment in their lives. Human beings are dreamers. We dream of having love in our lives. We dream of bigger homes and better jobs. We dream of wonderful children that will grow up to love us. We dream of more money to buy the things that we want. But there is one dream that bigger than all of these. And it can become a reality with just a prayer. It is the dream of eternal bliss that is found in Jesus Christ. You can have abundant love, and a loving family, and inherit the great and eternal riches of the kingdom of God. Have you ever dreamed this dream?
Sometimes when a person is in love he might say something romantic to his lover like, you are the only thing I need. Or perhaps you might say, you mean everything in the world to me. If you truly love Christ then you should be able to say such things to Him by the way that you live and by the way that you are content with what God has given you. Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. There is an old Hymn that says, It is enough that Jesus died, and that He died for me. Are you content? Is your life satisfying? Such things can only be found in loving Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul when imprisoned and soon to be executed for his faith, was able to say, I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content, and also to say, I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Hebrews 13:5 says that we can be content because Jesus will always be here close to each of us in a very personal and spiritual way. I can be content because Jesus is here with me. It is no small wonder that Paul could boldly declare, I have learned in whatsoever state to be content. If you only believe this promise of Christs, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee, and if you grow in love for God then you too will be able to say just as Paul did, I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
Hebrews 11:6 says, So that we may boldly say, the Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. Most people are not so bold in believing that the Lord is their helper. Seek and ye shall find, Jesus said. I will never leave you or forsake you, Jesus said. The presence of God will always be right next to His children to comfort them because a child of God has the Spirit of God inside of him. The Promises of God are also always here to light our path as we walk through this life. And God is always providing for us day by day, giving to us out of love what He knows that we need. Confidence means boldness. Confidence means what you trust or rely upon. If you walk through this life under the shadow of the love of God, if you keep in mind and heart the promises of God you will be able to boldly say the Lord is my helper.
The world is filled with violence and cruelty. The evil preys on the innocent. And the forces of darkness seek to destroy those who live in and preach the truth. The Bible says those that will live Godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. Paul the apostle was certainly a man that suffered greatly at the hands of evil men who opposed the Christ. Paul even lost his life for the name of Jesus. But despite all of the terrible persecutions that we could experience for Jesus we need not fear what man may do unto us because the Lord is our helper. God helped us by sending His Son to die on the cross for our sins. God has helped us by providing His word to strengthen, comfort, and guide us. God helps us by answering our prayers. And Jesus will soon help the world by returning as He has promised. The Lord is my helper, I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
Copyright; 2002 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved