Hebrews 13:1-3 Amplified Bible
The Changeless Christ
13 Let love of your fellow believers continue. 2 Do not neglect to extend hospitality to strangers [especially among the family of believers—being friendly, cordial, and gracious, sharing the comforts of your home and doing your part generously], for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. 3 Remember those who are in prison, as if you were their fellow prisoner, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body [and subject to physical suffering].
The Word of God for the Children of God.
Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.
Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.
Love’s Generous Expression
Hebrews 13:1-3 Common English Bible
Our acts of service and sacrifice
13 Keep loving each other like family. 2 Don’t neglect to open up your homes to guests, because by doing this some have been hosts to angels without knowing it. 3 Remember prisoners as if you were in prison with them, and people who are mistreated as if you were in their place.
Keep Loving each other like family.
Do not neglect to open your homes to guests.
Remember the prisoners as if you were in prison with them.
What an incredibly interesting array of both ancient, contemporary ideas!
Loving each other like family – respecting and honoring one another!
Respecting the home, respecting the life of the family and their belongings.
By showing kindness to strangers, you could be showing kindness to a messenger of God.
Paying it forward, buying an extra burger to share with a homeless person, helping someone change a flat tire on their car, offering a ride to a colleague who needs one—in these ways and countless more, our God often gives us all opportunities to show hospitality and compassion for someone who has a need.
As I encounter people who are not part of a faith community, it saddens me when they describe Christians as less-than-compassionate people.
Words I often hear in these conversations are that Christians are aloof,not friendly or forthcoming; cool and distant. and judgmental and condescending.
Many people see church buildings in their communities as little more than social clubs, entertainment centers or worse, only occupied on any Sunday.
Any other day, the parking lots are 99.99% empty of cars and any activity.
They hear church people speak out mostly about what the members oppose.
Where is that sound of “little children of all ages” glorifying God and Jesus?
The world needs to see the Body of Christians as people of compassion—good-news people who minister and act like Jesus.
That will happen only when we finally nurture a habit of practicing compassion.
It is not by accident that the writer of Hebrews urges readers to love each other and to look out for the needs of strangers.
It’s easy to overlook the unusual or the unfamiliar.
It takes the love of Christ to step out, move out and reach out to the stranger who might just bring a singularly unique blessing that you never saw coming.
Learning, Growing, Living, in the Family of Faith
There’s all the difference in the world between describing what it means to ride a bicycle and actually helping somebody learn to get on the seat and pedal away.
Making a layer cake seems to be fairly straightforward when I look at the recipe books, but I haven’t had much success in making one that actually tastes right!
What I need is hands-on guidance: somebody to actually take the time to teach me to do it in front of me and then patiently allow me to try my hand at it too.
The moral instruction provided for us in Hebrews 13 is to be trained and formed in our lives not by learning to apply abstract principles but as a result of seeing these principles successfully or erroneously worked out in the family of faith.
We can read, for example, about what it means to love one another, but it is far better to observe such love in the lives of loving people.
We can understand that we are supposed to care for strangers, but we can experience it firsthand if we are brought up and raised in a home where such care, consideration and compassion for one another is faithfully practiced.
We can extend ourselves into areas of ministry and mission which are quite challenging – church prison ministry (https://heartprisonministries.org/) or Christian Prison Ministry (Kairos https://www.kairosprisonministry.org/)
We can read the principles and hear sermons, demands for sexual purity, but we will do far better if we are raised in a flourishing home where they are modeled or we are even able to sit in such homes as we visit other families in our church.
Praise God, the list of mission and ministry opportunities goes on and on.
Establishing these ethical norms is demanding.
It takes the first love of God, our time, effort and patience, and involvement.
The miracles wrought through purposeful discipleship, transformation cannot be achieved by searching the internet, watching a video or reading an article.
If information was enough to bring about transformation, then all we would need to do is write it down or say it.
But you can’t learn love, honor, and faithfulness from the content on a screen.
No, if you are to be content, pure, loving, and hospitable, then that is going to have to be proactively discovered and actively worked out in the family of faith.
Look, then, to your brothers and sisters who exemplify Christ-likeness in these ways.
Read Hebrews 13:1-3 again, praise God for those you know who live these verses out, then be sure to learn from them so in these ways you become like them.
Make it your aim to follow their example that you, like Paul, might humbly be able to say to others, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1).
Easter is but a short time away.
Celebrating the ultimate act of agape love and sacrifice and service.
What will your efforts at discipleship and transformation in preparation for this coming Easter look like, sound like, be more Christ like in these coming weeks?
I have heard repeatedly: “it takes an entire community, an entire village.”
According to Wikipedia, the original quote “it takes a village to raise a child” is an African proverb meaning it takes a whole community of people interacting with a child to ensure he or she grows in a healthy and safe environment.
Regardless of which stage of life we are all in: parents raising children, married with no children, single, or late adulthood, even a church, we need community.
In these times of recovery, perhaps we need to go back to the essential basics of the Gospel to learn it all over again – to teach it unto each other all over again?
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us Pray,
Heavenly Father, thank You that while we were yet sinners You loved us and gave Christ to be the propitiation for our sins. Help us in word and deed to increase and abound in brotherly love for one another, just as we also do for You. Give us wisdom as we enter into mission and ministry to our brothers and sisters in Christ and may we speak the truth in love to Your praise and glory. This we ask in Jesus name, AMEN.
Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.
Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.