Letter to the Hebrews Message 35
2 Corinthians 5:20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
Paul set forth how we are represent the Person of Jesus Christ to the world, living out our lives for Him with accuracy, preciseness, correctness. Paul gave us some characteristics which we can use to examine ourselves as he concluded this letter. We have described –
3. The Manifestation of Fidelity. Hebrews 13:1-17
The believer’s fidelity to God is noted by his –
a. Reputation. Hebrews 13:1-6
We should be known for our –
1). Love. 13:1
With the Lord Jesus Christ as our foundation and His character as our guiding principle, the following characteristics should flow naturally from the believer through our relationship to Him (Vine and branches) to others. We should know the great influence love has on all relationships. The Holy Spirit led the writers of the Scriptures to focus heavily on believers having love for God and for one another
a). Jesus loves those who rejected Him.
b). Jesus loves those that did not know of Him.
c). Jesus loves those that did not believe Him or encourage His ministry.
d). Jesus loves those that love Him.
In loving Him and loving others, the instructions that follow will be normal actions in our lives.
The child of God should always be known for –
2). Hospitality. 13:2
Matthew 25:34-40 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
We should look forward to the opportunity to show hospitality to others. We have the blessing to be used to care for strangers and –
“…thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”
Can you imagine the blessing in knowing that you were given the opportunity to entertain angels. We may only learn in eternity how often we interacted with the messengers of God. Some, like Abraham and Lot, only learned after the initial meeting that they were speaking with angels. Some, like that Apostle Paul were encouraged by angels in times of trouble. Others were not rewarded with the knowledge that they had entertained angels at all. Even so, they were blessed through their care for strangers – human or angels.
The admonition is that we show hospitality to those that we have opportunity to help. Through love, we are to be a blessing by not holding tightly to the material wealth we control.
Ephesians 4:28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
Loving God and loving others, putting that love into action through hospitality brings us to the discussion of –
3). Compassion. 13:3
Hebrews 13:3 Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.
We are to count ourselves as being one with them. We are to know that while we may not be in their circumstances at this time, we may be soon because we live out the same faith in the Lord as they do!
We are not to act from a position of false humility or arrogant condescension, but from true care, feeling what those in need feel and care for them with genuine compassion. There are those that get involved in compassionate ministries because their actions make them feel good. They are looking for an experience or self-satisfaction. The more they help, the better they feel. Helping begins to become addictive. They forget they are serving God as they serve others and simply begin to serve themselves. It seems that they must do more and more to feed their need of worthiness. The Lord never helped anyone to prove or to increase His worth among man. He is always worthy whether He ministers to anyone or not. Is it possible for us to love others, be hospital to them, have compassion and help in their needs without changing who we are or how we feel about ourselves?
In order to serve God and be a help to others, the believer must keep himself pure. The introduction of purity in marriage may at first seem out of place as we have been instructed thus far in love, hospitality, and compassion. We will note though, how perfect the placement of this subject is as we consider the greatest danger we face individually and as families – the destruction of the family. How often the work of God has suffered through infidelity before or in marriage. All of the love, all of the hospitality, all of the compassion has been forgotten because of the foolish submission to the lust of the flesh. God turns our minds at this time to –
4). Faithfulness. 13:4 “…Marriage is honourable in all…”
The commitment and the consummation of marriage is honourable before the Lord. The Lord has created as perfect union on the earth as can be possible. Satan has attacked the family mercilessly throughout all time because of the special position God holds for this institution. Paul understood the mindset of those he was addressing in this letter and reminded them of the holy position we are to follow in our marriage relationship.
Note how many scandals would be avoided if men would follow God’s plan for marriage. We are to be faithful!
We are further warned of another danger which will destroy our testimony for the Lord – that of covetousness. We are to are to render to the Lord all of our –
5). Confidence. 13:5,6 We trust that He will supply all that we need
Our present world offers one of the greatest distractions – the freedom to choose a career path. Do you realize that this is a relatively new phenomenon? From ancient times until about two centuries ago men rarely chose their vocation. They usually followed their fathers in their work: farmers, merchants, servants, carpenters (as Jesus followed Joseph in His vocation). Even in their situation with very limited choices in life, The Lord led Paul to challenge believers to be content.
“…The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me….”.
When we trust the Lord, we cannot be coerced to do wrong by those that have power over us. At times the employer will pressure the believer to act against the principles of God in the course of doing business. The believer should refuse to sin against the Lord and must stand for truth even though he may lose his position. He must know that the “Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man can do unto me.”
Will you think about how your love, hospitality, compassion, faithfulness, and confidence in the Lord measure up to the commands we have received this morning? I must ask myself “How do I represent the Lord in my day to day life”? How is your reputation?
Do people see Christ in me?
Do I have such a testimony that I can hand out a gospel tract or give an invitation to church with such sincerity and care that the recipient appreciates the love of God, even though not understanding it?
Ask yourself this question – when is the last time you told someone the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Our mandate is this “Ye shall be witnesses unto me…”