Summary: This is a Bible Study
A CHALLENGE TO HOLY LIVING
"The world,” said Alexander Malaren, “takes its notion of God most of all from those who say they belong to God’s family. They read us a great deal more than they read the Bible. They see us; they only hear about Jesus Christ.” This statement is a reason that chapter 13 is given to us in the manner that it is. Most of Hebrews is given for the purpose of doctrine with the last two chapters emphasizing the duty of the believer in his practical existence. It certainly is not enough to only know the truth without obeying the truth. Like a laser beam of Truth this last chapter is beaming with exhortation challenging us to let our light to so shine. Weeks of study would produce a great benefit to the student who would outline and examine all of the instructions that are given in this thirteenth chapter. I will group this final challenge in three parts as I give an exposition of these last words of the Book of Hebrews.
I. THE IMPORTAINCE OF MAINTAINING ONE’S PERSONAL CONDUCT (Vv. 1-6)
There are a number of different areas mentioned in this last chapter that pertains to the believer’s conduct. Here is a list of those things that are mentioned: brotherly love, Hebrews 13:1; hospitality, Hebrews 13:2; sympathy with those in bonds, Hebrews 13:3; fidelity in the marriage relation, Hebrews 13:4; contentment, Hebrews 13:5,6; submission to those in authority, Hebrews 13:7,8; stability in the doctrines of religion, Hebrews 13:9-15; benevolence, Hebrews 13:16; obedience to those entrusted with office, Hebrews 13:17; and special prayer for him who wrote this epistle, Hebrews 13:18,19. The epistle then closes with a beautiful and impressive benediction that should serve to challenge each of us to a personal commitment to the Lord in regards to our personal conduct. Hebrews 13:20, 21.
I. Maintaining a Personal Conduct as It Involves Others (Vv. 1-3)
Verse one begins with “Let brotherly love continue” as though to say let this be an ongoing virtue that marked these early believers. The phrase brotherly love describes an attitude that should mark the church. There should be a family love that even marks the church family. Tenderness and caring one for another should be that which marks us. The word brotherly gives a clue as to the kind of love that should mark us and also a study of the word love as it is defined in the Greek gives a further indication of the atmosphere of love that should characterize the church family. Notice what Guzik says regarding the use of the Greek words for our English word love: “In the ancient Greek language the New Testament was written in, there were four words at hand that we might translate love. Eros was one word for love. It described, as we might guess from the word itself, erotic love. It refers to sexual love. Storge was a second word for love. It refers to family love, the kind of love there is between a parent and child or between family members in general. Agape is another word for love. It is the most powerful word for love in the New Testament, and is often used to describe God’s love towards us. It is a love that loves without changing. It is a self-giving love that gives without demanding or expecting re-payment. It is love so great that it can be given to the unlovable or unappealing. It is love that loves even when it is rejected. Agape love gives and loves because it wants to; it does not demand or expect repayment from the love given - it gives because it loves, it does not love in order to receive. Agape love isn’t about feelings, it is about decisions. But the word for love used in Hebrews 13:1 is philadelphia, coming from the root philia. This ancient Greek word speaks of a brotherly friendship and affection. It is the love of deep friendship and partnership. There should always be plenty of this kind of love among Christians, and it should continue.”
In verse number two, we are told “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” In Bible history we know how both Abraham and lot were called on to entertain angels. The meaning of having a spirit of hospitality is not for the purpose of entertaining angels, as they did, but doing so realizing that according to God’s providence, He may have someone to come your way that He has sent that you can be a benefit to in ways that will have eternal value. This kind of hospitality should certainly mark the believer and also his church. When a missionary drops by or calls on the church, we should have a kind and benevolent spirit towards that one realizing that he is a messenger (angel) from God. The word angel means: messenger.