The title and subject matter of today's bulletin is taken from Heb. 13:1, where the Hebrew writer simply encourages the saints to continue in love. This seems like a simple thing to do. In fact, if we think back to our childhood it is one of the basic lessons our parents likely taught us as we grew up. Sure, we might say that they taught us to be hospitable, kind, compassionate, caring or courteous. Fathers may have taught their sons to be chivalrous by standing when a lady walks into a room, or to open a door for a lady, or to give up his seat when his elder has none. Mothers may have taught there daughters how to be a good help, meet for her future husband. They may have taught their daughters the joy of taking a meal to a new mother or to one too sick to cook their own. Many of us had parents that instructed us about God. Some of them may have not had the proper understanding about worship or the work of the church, but they taught us to honor and glorify God. In each of these circumstances our parents are actually teaching us about love. Or at least, how we manifest that love in a given circumstance, be it to God, a parent, a child, a stranger, a spouse, or a coworker. In fact, Christ stated that the whole Law and prophets rested upon two simple commandments. Love God and love your neighbor (Matt. 22:37-40). But, knowing that we are to be loving and actually being loving are two different things. So, how are we to let brotherly love continue? The Hebrew letter continues by giving us several things we need to do to show our love unto others.
Be hospitable. The Greek word hospitable literally means to show love to strangers. Following this commandment is the example we have of Abraham hosting the Lord and two of his angels. I do not know if he is implying that we could possibly host an angel today, but that is irrelevant. The point he is making is that you never know who it is that you are helping. Several months ago I received an email telling a story about a church who was all excited because their new preacher was finally arriving. On that same day, a poor man, who clearly appeared homeless had visited the assembly. While there were some who would shake his hand, most avoided him. Even those that shook his hand really seemed to do it out of habit. No one seemed really interested in meeting his needs, helping him find a seat, or even to get his name. They all seemed preoccupied with the arrival of the new preacher. At the beginning of the services, the elders introduced the new preacher. The poor man everyone ignored walked to the front of the building shook hands with the elders and addressed the congregation. The congregation was stunned to say the least. (The elders were in on this from the beginning). It was meant to be an object lesson to teach hospitality. The lesson he preached that day was allegedly from Matt. 25 where Jesus separated the sheep from the goats based upon their treatment of the least of his brethren. I do not know if this was a true story or just a really nice email. What I do know is that how we treat those we come in contact with is of great importance. Could you imagine how different Lot's story would have been if he never invited those angels into his home? If it were you, would you have passed by that night? Or, would you have given up your bed to take care of these men.
Remember those that are suffering. Heb. 13:3 specifically mentions those that suffer persecution for being a Christian. I would add that we need to show love not just to those that suffer at the hand of those that hate Christians, but we need to show love to any of our church family that is suffering. And brethren, we have them here. We have some here that have severe health problems. We have some here who suffer because a loved one has severe health problems and we have some here that are suffering because their home life is not what is should be. Brother, Sister, I ask you what are you doing about it? Heb. 13:3 says to remember them. We seem to use that to say that we didn't forget. We remembered to pay the bills. However, in the bible to remember something meant to act upon that remembrance. When Noah was in the ark floating for 150 days it says that God remembered him (Gen. 7:24-8:1). God didn't forget Noah. To remember meant God was going to act. Brethren, act. Go. Do. Help those suffering. Call them. Sit by their bedside. Cry with them. Pray with them. Love them.
Honor your spouse. In the process of showing your love unto others do not defile your marriage (Heb. 13:4). Don't forget to be there for your family. I know a preacher who did this very thing. He was so busy being there for everyone else he failed his spouse and his children. His spouse left him and one child has fallen from grace. Don't let this happen to you.
Grinnell church of Christ
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Let Brotherly Love Continue
Volume 4 Issue 38