Summary: Exposition of Hebrews 13 regarding must not forget to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Text: Heb 13:3, Title: Married to a Murderer, Date/Place: NRBC, 11.13.11, AM
A. Opening illustration: story of Adel, Hearts of Fire, pp. 5-44
B. Background to passage: this is a simple instruction for those among a persecuted church to remember those that in chains and suffering for Jesus. The word “remember” means “to recall or be aware of information, and as a result to respond in an appropriate manner.” It could be paraphrased, “you, yourselves, call to your mind the persecuted and pray for them.” So let me exhort and instruct you today – remember the persecuted.
C. Main thought: we must not forget to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ.
A. As though you shared a cell (v. 3)
1. First thing that the preacher says regarding remembering those in prison is that we should think of them as though we were chained with them. The word is perfect tense, “having been chained together with them.” He says in your mind to picture yourself sitting/standing beside them having nothing but the blood of Christ, hungry, thirsty, still bleeding after the last beating. The perspective is quite different if you are on their side of the bars. First century prisons where not exactly hospitable places. Rats, coldness, heat, dampness, no TV internet, weight rooms, 3 meals a day, college learning programs, parole hearings, etc. No medical care, no any care, no rights at all, no friends, no family, all alone.
2. Phil 1:29, Rom 8:35-39, Rev 6:11, Acts 5:41, Heb 11:35-38
3. Illustration: story of Purnima, HoF, pp. 45-76, get some countries and their stories,
4. This is difficult to imagine, most of us never having been in a jail, and if we were it was probably a really nice jail, and you were probably there for something other than believing in Jesus. We would not forget to pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ if we were chained with them, would we? This has a side benefit of making us thankful. So think about what it would be like for your wife lead your children to take the only food and water you would get daily, making a public spectacle of them as the useless pigs of the prisoners. Think what it would be like to wonder if your one bowl of mush for the day was contaminated with something, and you know you will probably throw up for hours after eating it. Think about being rounded up by police and interrogated in the freezing cold after being stripped of your clothes. Think about instructing your children about what to do if they are captured, and what to tell them if they threaten to kill them if they don’t convert. We remember veterans once a year, but intermittently as well, let’s do so with those suffering because of their faith in Christ.
B. As though it was your brother (v. 3)
1. It would be easier to continually remember those suffering persecution if it was our family in the jail cell. Knowing that, the writer of Hebrews tells us to remember them because, or as, they are your family. This hits close to the things that we are talking about in 1 Cor 12 about us all being one body in Christ. Christians that are being slaughtered for their faith are your brothers and sisters. They are your family. They are part of the body of Christ worldwide, and when one in the body suffers, we all suffer with it.
2. 1 Cor 12:26, Rom 12:15, Mark 3:35,
3. Illustration: remember when those missionaries in Haiti were imprisoned for kidnapping; we prayed more diligently because they were family of Hollie Patterson. I have more of an awareness of our soldiers in Afghanistan because my cousin just got home after serving a year there, and my brother is there now. All of us broken hearted over Mr. Shorty’s passing because he was family,
4. This requires you to bring your feelings into submission. You are to have compassion, and feel something for your brothers and sisters that you have never met before. Do you feel a connection with them? It will also require that you know about your family; that’s what makes your family special. So you must make the effort to learn about persecution. Sign up for the Voice of the Martyrs magazines or emails. This also requires you to understand the body of Christ and know that they are your brothers and sisters. You need to know that they need your prayers everyday just to get to the next one.
C. How do we pray?
1. Pray for strength to endure suffering well. “Notice that in no point in Acts 4, do you see them praying for the persecution to stop, at no point in Acts 4 do you see them praying for God to bring the wrath down on those people around them. At no point do you see them lamenting for what they were going through. Instead of praying for escape from that trial, they prayed for enablement to stand up under the trial.” –David Platt