Text: Hebrews 13:1-7
Continue Loving Brethren
Implied is that the Hebrew brethren did love their fellow Christians and the writer desires that it not become neglected (John 13:34; Romans 12:10; I Peter 1:22; I John 4:20-21). So many problems with the church would quickly disappear when love is practiced in truth.
The word "hospitality" can translate the Greek word philoxenia. It is a compound word of "love" (philo) and "guest room or lodging" (xenia). This word is used in Romans 12:13 and Hebrews 13:2 and refers to an enjoyment of having people stay with you. Hospitality is about sharing the things that I have with others -- my home, my food, my time, etc. It is about getting to know people on a personal level. Putting someone up in a hotel and buying them breakfast has as little to do with hospitality as sending money to an orphan's home has to do with visiting orphans (James 1:27).
The command to entertain strangers is given support by noting that some in the past have entertained angels without being aware of who their guests were. For example, Abraham served a meal for angel (Genesis 18). Lot took two angels into his home (Genesis 19). It isn't that everyone has entertained angels or that this is a common occurrence. The point is that no one ever knows when they might be entertaining an angel, so being hospitable should not be neglected.
Remember the Prisoners and the Ill-Treated
The writer is not talking about all prisoners or all ill-treated people. His focus is on fellow Christians “since you yourselves also are in the body” (Hebrews 11:36). Following Christ will at times lead to persecution (Matthew 5:10-12). There is a temptation to think that people who are suffering did something wrong and deserve the hardship. It is how Job’s friends treated him. There is also the tendency to forget about those you don’t see as often, but these are the very people who most need support from their fellow Christians (Matthew 25:36; Colossians 4:18; II Timothy 1:16-18).
From the time that God created the world, His intention was that sex would be freely expressed within marriages between a husband and wife (I Corinthians 7:2-4). The word "bed" in Hebrews 13:4 is a translation of the Greek word koite. It literally means "bed," but it also refers to the actions that take place in bed -- in other words, sexual intercourse. The English word "coitus," the actual act of a man joining with a woman in sex, comes from this Greek word. Within marriage sexual intercourse is proper, but outside of marriage, it is a sin.
The word "adultery" refers to sexual relations where one of the two involved is married but not to the current partner. The word "fornicators" is a broader word that includes any sexual activity outside the bond of marriage.
Money becomes a distraction from living righteously. It is easy to place our confidence in wealth, but it is unreliable (Proverbs 23:4-5; 27:24; I Timothy 6:8-10).
Our confidence is derived from being close to God. We must abide in God so that we may have confidence (I John 2:28-29) and God then helps us with our confidence. As David said, “I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken Or his descendants begging bread” (Psalms 37:25). Notice particularly that the confidence does not come from ourselves but from God. The writer quotes Joshua 1:5 and Psalms 118:6 to prove his points.
Remember Those Who Led and Taught You
The Greek word hegeomai means to lead or guide. It is sometimes translated as “rule,” but that has the wrong connotation in English. A rule of power is against what Christ taught (Luke 22:25-26). Just as a shepherd does not drive his flock but walks in front and the sheep willingly follow, so we follow those who lead us by considering the outcome of their conduct and imitating their faith. These are the people who taught us God’s Word (I Thessalonians 5:12) and even after their death, we can follow the godly example they left for us.