"Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show
gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence
and awe; for our God is a consuming fire. 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." (Heb. 12:28-13:4)
We saw examples of faith in Hebrews 11 and found encouragement for hope in
Hebrews 12; now we see evidences of faith through love of other believers in
Hebrews 13 along with other applications in the final chapter of this great
epistle. Yet, if we disconnect from the wealth of spiritual resources from
Christ, in Christ, and through Christ seen in all the other chapters we will
be impotent in carrying out the commands called for in this closing chapter.
For Jesus is not only superior to prophets, angels, Moses, Joshua, Aaron, He
gives us a superior power to live out the Christian life. "The Son is the
radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being,
sustaining all things by his powerful word" (Heb. 1:3) including "all
things" He calls us to do for His glory. It seems that the church of
Ephesus was rebuked for this very reason - doing good things for Jesus but
forgetting Him, their first love and source of love for others. (Rev.
This is how we can "offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and
awe." "Let love (Gr. philadelphia) of the brethren (all believers- saved
family members, friends, even enemies) continue." (Gr. philadelphia - love
of brothers or sisters in Christ.) This does not preclude love for the lost
but God calls us to especially love believers, those like us who love Him.
"Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people (the lost
included) especially to those who belong to the family of believers." (Gal.
6:10) There are many exhortations in Scripture to love other believers (Rom.
12:10; I Thess. 4:9; I Pet. 1:22; II Pet. 1:7).
How to - "Let love of the brethren (believers) continue" - Do not neglect
to show hospitality to strangers." ["This might refer primarily to believers
who were fleeing from persecution and were hard-pressed to find food and
lodging; to entertain them was to expose the host and hostess to danger. The
verse may also be understood as a general encouragement to show hospitality
to any believers who need it." MacDonald, William ; Farstad, Arthur:
Believer's Bible Commentary : Old and New Testaments. Nashville : Thomas
Nelson, 1997, c1995, S. Heb 11:1] The thought of entertaining angels as we
minister to strangers probably refers to Abraham when he did entertain
angels unaware and one of those was the Angel of the Lord, the pre-incarnate
Christ (Gen. 18:1-15). But the word for angels (Gr. aggelos) can also mean a
human messenger from God. As we open up our heart and possibly our home to a
believer we have never met we may receive a special word or blessing from
God through them. So we should never judge from outward appearances.
How to - "Let love of the brethren (believers) continue"- "Remember the
prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated,
since you yourselves also are in the body." This probably refers to
prisoners who were jailed because of their testimony for Jesus (Heb. 10:34)
but if any believers we know are imprisoned they need our prayers and if
nearby, our visits, Christian books, encouragement, etc. This also includes
those who are mistreated or persecuted for their faith as we read about more
and more of this happening outside the USA. Many believe that we will see
more persecution of the saints in our own country.
How to - "Let love of the brethren (believers) continue"- "Marriage is to
be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for
fornicators and adulterers God will judge." In the time of these Jewish
believers, marriage was generally not "honored" by most of the people in
their culture. Divorce was easy for men, others forbade marriage (1 Tim.
4:1-5) while others allowed it but restricted sexual intimacy (1 Cor.
7:1-5). On the other hand the pagans practiced prostitution openly and
religious prostitution as well. And how can we honor marriage in our world
today that is becoming more and more tolerant of "same sex" marriages,
fornication, adultery and divorce?
The word for honor (Gr. timios) means precious or of great value. It is of
great value because it was first of all instituted by God (Genesis 2:18-25;
Matthew 19:3-12), and now God uses marriage to portray the relationship of
the church (as a bride) to the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:22-33). "This
is a profound mystery-but I am talking about Christ and the church." (Eph.
5:32; Rev. 19:7; 22:17) It is a reflection of His passionate love and
faithfulness to us, His spouse, both in the OT and NT. (Hosea 2:19) Married
couples are simulators of the gospel as both parties commit to passionately
love "a sinner" to the end. So as we honor our spouse we reflect the gospel
and the very character of God to our children, friends and a watching world.
As husbands we are called to love our wives as Christ loves us and gave
Himself up for us (passionate, sacrificial and committed love) and the wives
are to respect their husbands and follow us as we follow Jesus. (Eph.
5:23-33) "Marriage is to be held in honor among all." We also love other
believers as we honor their marriage and treat it as something precious and
of great value. Yet singleness is also honorable as believers commit
themselves to Christ (the Eternal Bridegroom) and, like married couples,
wait until heaven to experience fully His passionate love for all eternity.
Sexual purity and faithfulness honors our spouse and demonstrates our love:
"Therefore, be imitators of God as dearly loved children and live in love,
just as Christ also loved us and gave himself for us, a sacrificial and
fragrant offering to God. But among you there must not be either sexual
immorality, impurity of any kind, or greed, as these are not fitting for the
saints. Neither should there be vulgar speech, foolish talk, or coarse
jesting - all of which are out of character - but rather thanksgiving."
(Eph. 5:1-3) That which God values greatly He will fiercely protect by
severely disciplining those who mar His character revealed in marriage by
having sex outside of marriage (passion without commitment-fornication); and
by those who break their vows in marriage (adultery). ["Those who are
married should be faithful to their vows and thus keep the marriage bed
undefiled. In spite of modern man's smug laxness in this area, the fact
remains that any sexual relations outside the bounds of marriage are sin.
And it is a sin which God will inevitably judge. No form of immorality will
escape." MacDonald, William ; Farstad, Arthur: Believer's Bible
Commentary : Old and New Testaments. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1997, c1995]
"Let love of the brethren (believers) continue"- Why is this commanded here
and elsewhere in the Scriptures?
First of all, we must show brotherly love because this is one of the two
great commandments of the Bible, Old Testament and New Testament. (Matthew
Second, loving other believers is an evidence of our faith in the Lord
Jesus - of being a disciple of Jesus, and it reveals Him to others. (John
Third, loving other believers shows that the law of love is written on our
hearts empowering us to fulfill our responsibilities to our brothers/sisters
in Christ. "Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." (See Rom.
Fourth, brotherly love is commanded because it doesn't come naturally or
easily and drives us to Christ for His power. (Gal. 2:20)
Fifth, difficult times were coming then (and now) and these are times when
love can grow cold. (Matt. 24:9-12)
"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone
who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not
know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He
sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son
as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.1 Dear friends, since God so loved us,
we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love
one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us." (1 John
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION AND APPLICATION
1. This is how we can "offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and
awe." "Let love (Gr. philadelphia) of the brethren (all believers- saved
family members, friends, even enemies) continue." Why is this so important
to God and to us?
2. Who might be a stranger to me, thus providing me with the opportunity to
obey this text? How much effort do I expend seeking to welcome and embrace
newcomers to our church?
3. What am I doing to show love to other believers who are suffering or
persecuted or in prison for the faith?
4. How can we honor marriage in our home and in a world that is becoming
more and more tolerant of "same sex" marriages, fornication, adultery and
divorce? If I am single, how is my lifestyle consistent with purity in
Len’s Teaching Newsletters
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Len’s Teachings Guide
The Book of Genesis – July 2007 – March 2009
Psalm 119 – June – September 2012
The Book of Daniel – September 2012 – May 2013
The Book of Acts – May 2011 – June 2012
The Book of Romans – June 2013 – March 2014
The Book of Galatians – October 2006 – June 2007
The Book of Hebrews – March 2010 – February 2011
The Book of James – March 2014 – December 2014
The Book of Jude – March 2011 – April 2011
The Book of Revelation – September 2008- January 2010
The Life of Jesus – October 2004 – February 2006
The Life of David – March 2006 – October 2006
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