Summary: It pleases God when we are conscientious about being grateful and doing good.
Title: Doing Nice Things Can Be Habit Forming
Text: Hebrews 13:1-8 and 15-16
Thesis: It pleases God when we are conscientious about being grateful and doing good.
Stephen Ambrose wrote the book, Band of Brothers… it is the story of Easy Company of the 101st Airborne Division of Paratroopers. Ambrose follows their story from their basic training near Toccoa, Georgia in 1942, to the invasion at Normandy on June 6, 1944, to the occupation of Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest at the end of WWII on May 8, 1945.
The title for Ambrose’s book and the 10 part mini-series that followed was lifted from Shakespeare’s Henry the V, Act IV, Scene 3 where Henry V gives a speech before going into battle saying:
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers,
For he today that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother…
In keeping with the clear teaching of Jesus Christ, we may say, “Whoever shall be my fellow Christian is my brother and my sister…”
The bible reminds us that one of the good things we are to remember to do is love our siblings in Christ.
I. Remember to do good by loving your siblings in Christ
Continue to love each other with true Christian love or keep on loving each other as brothers. Hebrews 13:1 NLT / NIV
Those who have known military combat known well the sense of brotherhood that exists between those who go into battle together.
The writer of the book of Hebrews speaks of this familial relationship that extends beyond that of being siblings in the literal sense.
• There is that which we think of as brotherly love or sibling love between family members.
• Ambrose likens the familial relationship to that sense of brotherhood that exists between soldiers.
• Fraternities and sororities are named such as brotherhoods and sisterhoods.
• And, the writer suggests that the sense of sibling love may also be likened to the relationships in the family of God between Christians, as brothers and sisters in Christ.
In his book, Bowling Alone, Robert Putnam writes: Before October 29,1997, John Lambert and Andy Boschma knew each other only through their bowling league in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Sixty-four year old Lambert had been on a kidney transplant waiting list for three years when thirty-three year old Boschma learned that he needed a kidney and offered to donate one of his to Lambert.
While in the hospital together Andy said to John, “I really like you John and I want you to know that I feel a kinship for you and would not hesitate to do this again if I could.” He later told the Ann Arbor News that he liked John before but now he was really rooting for him. They were men of differing professions and generations. They were of different race... but the fact that they were bowling buddies made all the difference.
When you look around the room this morning I want you to be aware of our differences. We are of differing socio-economic groups, generations, races and ethnicities, genders, professions, marital statuses, body-types, personalities… but the fact that we are Christians, brothers and sisters in Christ, makes all the difference.
The bible reminds us to remember to love each other as brothers and sisters… we remember to reach out to each other because we are siblings.
The bible also reminds us to do good by remembering to love the strangers in our lives.
II. Remember to do good by loving strangers
Don’t forget to show hospitality to or entertain strangers for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! NLT / NIV
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Hebrews 13:2 KJV
I don’t know that we encouraged to entertain strangers because we just might happen to get to entertain an angel. But the text does speak to the occasion in Genesis when three strangers, slash angels or as some believe an epiphany or theophany in which God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit made himself known by visiting Abraham and Sarah to assure them of the birth of an heir.
The context from which this teaching comes is from the early years of Christianity when the disciples moved from community to community teaching and preaching. There were no new Savannah Suites just around the corner from church or Double Trees up Sheridan and across Highway 36.
What they did have were more like flop-houses, roadside inns, and accommodations like we might find in some neighborhoods over on Federal. In the absence of any place to stay or suitable places to stay, Christians were encouraged to open their homes to the fellow Christians and particularly, itinerate ministers who were in need to hospitality.
Perhaps another way we might hear and understand the text today is through a story you may have read about in the paper.