Monday, September 19, 2005

It's All About Him: Hebrews Lesson 54

The Writer begins to close his letter with several pithy proverbial type statements:

Let love of the brethren continue.

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.

Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body.

Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.

Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you," so that we confidently say, "The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?"

Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. (Hebrews 13:1-7, NASB 95)

Although these are not main arguments in his letter, one must pause and ask, "Why these proverbial nuggets?" Look at this list and ask yourself, "How many issues in the church and society would not be helped if God's people abided by these things?"

  • Love among believers would promote harmony in the church and reduce or eliminate splits. It can come about when each of us takes personal responsibility to be at peace with all others, forgiving offenses and being eager to lend a helping hand.
  • Hospitality to "strangers" coming through our doors would advance the gospel. What groups of people in the community around you do you or your church now push away? What people are not welcome? What outward differences do these people have that creates fear? Is there another church in the area that would make them feel welcome? Remember that Jesus had a way to attract sinners to Him without compromising message or practice. How can we do better?
  • Remember the prisoners. This is probably a reference to believers in prison because of their faith. As such, it was dangerous to visit. As I read this, I wonder how much more I should be doing to be aware of the persecuted church and play a part in its encouragement and support.
  • Marriage. A strong committed marriage is the essential brick in society. From such units come strong well-adjusted, capable children. It also provides intimacy and companionship to the husband and the wife. The church must model this. Our moral voice to the community on these issues will be in direct proportion to the degree that we live these principles out.
  • Love of money and materialism are easy traps to fall into. It can creep upon you and before you know it, you are no longer free. The solution is to develop a contented and thankful heart and to realize that it is God who is our power and refuge in troubled times--not our possessions and financial resources.
  • I hope that you have had other Christians who modeled faith and the Christian life to you. I cherish those who I know that are way past me in their discipleship. They spur me on.

Test everything. Cling to what is good.

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