Sermon #92 Hebrews Notes
Title: “Let Brotherly Love Continue”
Text: Hebrews 13:1-7
Subject: Practical Religion
Date: Tuesday Evening—
Tape # X-21a
How often our Lord encourages us to love one another! Nothing is more like our Savior than love. Nothing is more unlike him than the absence of love. As he brings his Epistle to its inspired conclusion, the Apostle Paul makes his final word of instruction an encouragement to brotherly love. The last chapter of the Book of Hebrews begins with these words—“Let brotherly love continue.”
Paul has been encouraging us to persevere in the faith, to continue in the grace of God, to run with patience the race that is set before us. Then, he says, “Let brotherly love continue.” It is as though he is saying, “The way to run this race, the way to persevere in grace, the way to walk in faith is to keep on loving one another.”
Tonight, I want us to look at the first seven verses of this chapter. May God the Holy Spirit be our Teacher and grant us the grace to obey the instructions he gives us in these seven verses.
(Hebrews 13:1-7) "Let brotherly love continue. (2) Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. (3) Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body. (4) Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. (5) Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. (6) So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. (7) Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation."
Multitudes live in religious bondage, trying to obey rules and regulations imposed upon them by their leaders. These rules of bondage people everywhere call “practical godliness.” Our Lord calls them “vain traditions,” “works of the flesh,” “a vain show in the flesh” and “a form of godliness.”
Proposition: Here, in these seven verses of Inspiration, the Holy Spirit shows us that godliness is to be measured by love.
This is very much the same thing that James says in James 1:26-27.
(James 1:26-27) "If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. (27) Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."
Divisions: There are three things in these open verses of Hebrews 13 to which I call you attention tonight.
1. First, we see love expressed by deeds (vv.1-4).
2. Second, verses 5 and 6 speak of contentment rising from assurance.
3. Third, the Holy Spirit calls for us to remember God’s servants as rulers worthy of allegiance (v. 7).
I. First, we see love expressed by deeds (vv.1-4).
As was his custom, having finished his doctrinal instruction, Paul here applies his doctrine to our everyday lives. He begins the application of his doctrine with these words, “Let brotherly love continue.” He is saying, “Children of God, never cease loving one another. Let nothing divide your hearts. Make it your life’s business to love one another and to show your love to one another. Let brotherly love continue in you and among you.”
We are to love all men, even our enemies; but the love Paul is talking about here is that special family love that God plants in the hearts of his people for one another. It is the love of hearts united to Christ. – “The fruit of the Spirit is love.”
(John 13:35) "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."
(1 John 3:7-11) "Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. (8) He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. (9) Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. (10) In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. (11) For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another."
(1 John 4:20) "If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?"
(1 John 5:1) "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him."
A. I am not talking about lip love. Anyone can say, “I love you,” or “I love my brethren.” Lip love is no love. Love is manifest by deeds. And the deeds by which the love of Christ in us is manifest are not matters about which we have to guess.
1. If we love one another, we pray for one another.—That’s how Christ loves us. Isn’t it?
2. If we love one another, we bear one another's burdens.—That’s how Christ loves us. Isn’t it?
3. If we love one another, we are forbearing, patient, longsuffering, and forgiving with one another.—That’s how Christ loves us. Isn’t it?
4. If we love one another, we meet together to encourage and exhort one another.—That’s how Christ loves us. Isn’t it?
If we do not love one another, any profession of faith we have is but a meaningless, vain delusion (1 Peter 2:17; 1 John 3:14-18).
(1 Peter 2:17) "Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king."
(1 John 3:14-18) "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. (15) Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. (16) Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (17) But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? (18) My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth."
(1 Corinthians 13:1-7) "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. (2) And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. (3) And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. (4) Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, (5) Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; (6) Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; (7) Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things."
Paul says, “Brethren, see that you make this the fixed principle by which you live, the unbroken habit of your lives. Love one another. As you grow in love for Christ, grow in love for one another.”
Now, look at verse 2. Here the Holy Spirit tells us something about how this love for the brethren is to be expressed.
B. Love is hospitable, given to hospitality.
We know that a pastor must be a man given to hospitality; but the reason that is a requirement for one who preaches the gospel is simply the fact that faith in Christ makes people loving, gracious, hospitable.
(Hebrews 13:2) "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."
The Amplified Version gives us an excellent paraphrase of this verse.— “Do not forget or neglect or refuse to extend hospitality to strangers [in the brotherhood--being friendly, cordial, and gracious, sharing the comforts of your home and doing your part generously], for through it some have entertained angels without knowing it.”
We must never neglect or fail to care for and meet the needs of God’s people in this world. We must never fail to use that which God has trusted to our hands, as stewards in his house, to benefit, minister to, and comfort his people in this world.
We are to make it a matter of conscious effort to be friendly, cordial and gracious, toward God’s people (especially those who cannot return the kindness), sharing the comforts and provisions of our homes generously.
Now, watch this—“for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” When you invite one of God’s people into your home and into your life, you may just be inviting an angel of God, a special messenger of God into your home and life.
· Abraham (Gen. 18:1-8)
· The Disciples (Luke 24:28-31)
Our Savior tells us that entertaining one of his people is entertaining him (Matt. 25:38-40).
C. Brotherly love expresses itself by tenderly caring for brethren in need (v. 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."
This is not talking about prison ministries and caring for legally incarcerated criminals. It is talking about those who are in bonds for the gospel’s sake and those who suffer adversity (particularly God’s suffering people in their adversities), because we are in the same body with them.
· The Body of this Flesh
· The Body of Christ
· The Body of the Church – The Same Family. – “Weep with those that weep. Rejoice with those that rejoice.”
If we love as brothers and sisters in Christ, we will see that missionaries, old people, needy people, sick people and people out of work have their needs supplied, as we are able to supply them.
Then, in verse 4, Paul seems to throw in something that is unrelated to this matter of brotherly love. He speaks of the honor of marriage. But what he has to say is very much related to brotherly love. He says…
(Hebrews 13:4) "Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge."
D. Brotherly love flourishes when home love flourishes.
If I do not love my wife and care for her, if I do not devote myself to her, I do not love you or Christ and will not care for you and the things of Christ. So Paul says…
1. Take your marriage vows seriously. – Let marriage be held honorable and highly esteemed in all things. Your marriage bed is honorable. And there is never an excuse (religious or otherwise) for a husband neglecting his wife or a wife her husband.
2. Love means you keep yourself from sexual promiscuity!—“Whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”
II. Second, verses 5 and 6 speak of contentment rising from assurance.
(Hebrews 13:5-6) "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. (6) So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me."
Here again, Paul is still taking about brotherly love. Covetousness destroys it. Contentment promotes it.
Children of God live free from love of money, free from craving wealth and worldly possessions, free from greed and lust for material things. Be content with what God has given you. Be content with your present position and circumstance. Such contentment arises from the assurance spoken of in verse six. God has said, "I will not in any way fail you, nor give you up, nor leave you without support.'' “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want” (Matt. -34; Phil. 4:6,11,12; 1 Tim. 6:6-8).
Five times in the Book of God this promise is given,
1. —Jacob (Gen. 28:15)
2. —Moses (Deut. 31:6-8)
3. —Joshua (Jos. 1:5)
4. —Solomon (1 Chro. 28:20)
5. —Us (Heb. 13:5)
that we may, as Isaiah puts it, (Isaiah 66:11) "That ye may suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations; that ye may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory."
(Psalms 37:25) "I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread."
(Philippians 4:6) "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God."
(Philippians 4:11-12) "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. (12) I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need."
(1 Timothy 6:6-8) "But godliness with contentment is great gain. (7) For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. (8) And having food and raiment let us be therewith content."
III. Third, the Holy Spirit calls for us to remember God’s servants as rulers worthy of allegiance (v. 7).
(Hebrews 13:7) "Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation."
This is not talking about political rulers, but spiritual rulers, those men who are given the responsibility for ruling God’s house, pastors. The word would be better translated “guides” or “governors.” Gospel preachers are men who rule the house by the Word of God and the example of faith, by which they guide God’s people to glory.
(Jeremiah 3:15) "And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding."
· Remember Them
· Respect Them
· Follow Them
· Pray For Them
· Provide For Them
· Honor Them For Christ's Sake.
(Hebrews 13:17) "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you."
(1 Thessalonians 5:12-13) "And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; (13) And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves."
(Ephesians 4:1-13) "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, (2) With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; (3) Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (4) There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; (5) One Lord, one faith, one baptism, (6) One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. (7) But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. (8) Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (9) (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? (10) He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) (11) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; (12) For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: (13) Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ."
 When the Apostle tells us to “entertain strangers” he is not suggesting that we open our homes and invite people into them who are strangers to us, though that may certainly be included. We have a responsibility to protect our families. The strangers he speaks of here are the “strangers” spoken of in verse 13 of chapter 11. They are our brethren who are “strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”