(with Roger Kirby) 39. Hebrews 13:1–7 - Keep on … don’t forget … remember …
Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it. Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies. Give honour to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery. Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” So we can say with confidence, “The LORD is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?” Remember your leaders who taught you the word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and follow the example of their faith.
There is no one outstanding highlight in these verses but they constitute a brief but important part of the whole writing. So I have to sweep them together into a little pile and say - look at this! The book of Hebrews is crammed full of teaching about our Lord, Jesus, who he is and why we should follow him. Only now, late on in his writing, does the author comment on what it should all mean in hard significant facts about our daily lives.
He is particularly anxious that we should: 1. Be very aware of the need to offer loving support to our fellow Christians through hospitality, special support to any who have fallen foul of anti-Christian authorities; 2. Be very careful about our sex lives. They will have been living in a situation in which it was as difficult to stay sexually pure as in any modern one. Our sexual appetites can be very strong and difficult to resist. But both within marriage and without we should stay pure; 3. Be aware of the dangers of living a life distorted by too great a concern for money and what it can buy.; 4. Be prepared to give full honour to those who work hard in the gospel, particularly through the pastoral ministry.
We all particularly in the West, are living in a society which in historical terms is rich beyond the wildest dreams of people from earlier societies. Even for ordinary citizens with no exceptional sources of wealth - Our houses are bigger, our kitchens are full of wonderful machines, we mostly own a chariot which will take us faster and in much greater comfort than any that have existed before, we holiday in greater comfort and in many more places than any but the very richest used to do.
Just imagine what our writer would have said to all that! What would he have expected us to do with all that in terms of support for the kingdom?