Hope from Hebrews #25 - Concluding Moral Directions
Text: Hebrews 13:1-6
Thesis: To note some of the concluding exhortations that will help us to live the life.
(1) “A change of tone in Heb. 13 is unmistakable. Up to this point, the argument has been closely knit and carefully developed. Now the author's tone changes, and he gives a variety of instructions -- comprising fifteen different topics -- to his readers. The exhortation in Heb. 13 resembles the usual assortment of ethical, practical, and personal information which is found at the end of most New Testament letters” (LWC).
(2) Let us note some general guidelines for Christian living from the first six verses.
I. Love Fellow Christians (v. 1)
A. “‘Brotherly love’ (philadelphia) is a most important virtue in the NT. Those who are linked in the common bond of having been saved by the death of Jesus cannot but have warm feelings toward one another (cf. Rom 12:10; 1Thess 4:9; 1 Peter 1:22; 2 Peter 1:7; in the OT see Ps 133:1)” (EBC).
B. “This verse teaches three things: (1) that the Hebrews addressed here had such love of the brethren; (2) that it is God's will that such brotherly love should have been continued; and (3) that there were manifestly some dangers that it might be permitted to wane” (Coffman).
II. Show Hospitality (v. 2)
A. Hospitality “was highly esteemed in the ancient world and was certainly very important for Christians. Accommodation at inns was expensive, and in any case inns had a bad reputation. But as Christian preachers traveled around, believers gave them lodging and so facilitated their mission. Without hospitality in Christian homes, the spread of the faith would have been much more difficult” (EBC).
B. “The reference to ‘some’ who ‘have entertained angels unawares’ is primarily to Abraham's experience when he entertained "three men" by the oaks of Mamre (Gen. 18:1ff). The author may also have in mind such later examples of hospitality as Gideon (Judg. 6:11ff), Manoah (Judg. 13:3ff) and Tobit (Tobit 3:17; 5:4ff)” (LWC).
III. Minister to Those in Prison & to Those Who are Mistreated (v. 3)
A. “‘The prisoners’ probably refers to some Christians imprisoned for their faith or for practices related to it (as in 13:23). Roman law used prison as detention until punishment rather than as punishment itself; sometimes prisoners had to depend on outside allies for food” (IVP Bible Background Commentary).
B. “To ‘remember’ here is more than a mental act; it involves help and active care” (LWC).
C. “Believers should feel so much for their friends in prison and for "those who are mistreated" that they become one with them. Compassion is an essential part of Christian living” (EBC).
IV. Hold Marriage as Honorable & Keep the Sexual Relationship Pure (v. 4)
A. “The ‘bed’ was an idiom for intercourse (IVP Bible Background Commentary).
B. “‘Fornication’ and ‘adultery’ are not synonymous in the Bible. Fornication covers a wide range of sexual irregularities, including intercourse with an unmarried person. Adultery implies unfaithfulness by either partner to the marriage vow” (LWC).
C. “All forms of sexual sin come under the judgment of God. This was a novel view to many in the first century. For them chastity was an unreasonable demand to make. It is one of the unrecognized miracles that Christians were able not only to make this demand but to make it stick. The word ‘God’ comes last in the Greek and is emphatic. Sexual sinners are likely to go their way, careless of all others. But in the end they will be judged by none less than God” (EBC).
V. Be Content with the Lord (vv. 5-6)
A. “The transition from sexual sins to ‘love of money’ is not uncommon in the New Testament. This connection is made also at Eph. 5:3 and Col. 3:5. The similarity may be the result of a common tradition of ethical teaching in the early church” (LWC).
B. “The covetous man pursues his selfish aims, whether sexual or financial, without regard to the rights of others. So the writer warns against the love of money and urges contentment with what one has” (EBC).
C. The basis for one’s contentment is the promise of God’s always being there for man and His ability to care for man (cf. Gen. 28:15; Deut. 31:6-8; Josh. 1:5).
D. “The second quotation is from Ps. 118:6; these words are the response of the community to God's promise. Because of God's faithfulness, the community does not need to ‘fear.’ Trust in God precludes the ‘love of money.’ For this thought, one may compare Jesus' words at Matt. 6:25-33” (LWC).
- Are you living a life that demonstrates to others that you are a Christian?