Hebrews Chapter 13
Hebrews 13:1 “Let brotherly love continue.”
The last chapter of the epistle focuses on some of the essential practical ethics of Christian living. These ethics help to portray the true gospel to the world, encourage others to believe in Christ, and bring glory to God.
The first of these is love for fellow believers (John 13:35). Although the primary reference would be to Christians, the writer must have had emotions similar to those of the Apostle Paul when it came to considering his fellow Hebrews (see Rom. 9:3-4).
When Jesus’ mother and half brothers and sisters in the flesh came to see Him, He gave an explanation of who His brothers and sisters were.
Matthew 12:50 “For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”
If you are a Christian, then you are a brother or sister of Christ. We are the adopted children of the Father. Jesus is our older brother.
John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” “By this shall all [men] know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
The one another mentioned here are the fellow believers.
Romans 12:10 “[Be] kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another;”
We find that Jesus tells us that just 2 commandments cover all the laws and commandments of the Old Testament.
Matthew 22:37-40 “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” “This is the first and great commandment.” “And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
Hebrews 13:2 “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”
“Entertain”: The second grace needing development was the extension of love to those who were strangers (Rom. 12:13; 1 Tim. 3:2). Hospitality in the ancient world often included putting up a guest overnight or longer. This is the hardest to do when experiencing a time of persecution. The Hebrews would not know whether a guest would prove to be a spy or a fellow believer being pursued.
“Angels”: This is not given as the ultimate motivation for hospitality but to reveal that one never knows how far-reaching an act of kindness might be (Matt. 25:40, 45). This is exactly what happened to Abraham and Sarah (Gen. 18:1-3), Lot (Gen. 19:1-2), Gideon (Judges 6:11-24), and Manoah (Judges 13:6-20).
One incentive the author uses to encourage love and hospitality is that “some have entertained angel unawares”. For example, Abraham (Gen. 18:1-3), and Lot (Gen. 19:1-2), were unaware that their guests were angels at the time they received them. Care must be taken so as not to read too much into this statement.
The verse says that “some have entertained” (aorist tense). The use of the present tense, meaning that some do entertain angels, would provide grounds for expecting this still to happen. But such is not the teaching. We should, nonetheless, show hospitality to the needy, for it will benefit us as well as them when it is done as to the Lord (Matt. 25:35-40).
One of the most vivid lessons on this subject in the Bible is;
Matthew 25:35-40 “For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:” “Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.” “Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed [thee]? or thirsty, and gave [thee] drink?” ” When saw we thee a stranger, and took [thee] in? or naked, and clothed [thee]?” “Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?” “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done [it] unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done [it] unto me.”
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.”
“Yourselves”: Believers should be able to identify with the suffering of others because they also suffer physical (“in the body”), pain and hardship.
Christians are all part of one body, The Body of Christ. If you stump your toe, your whole body hurts. If we are one body in Christ, we will behave as these 2 following Scriptures direct us.
Romans 12:15 “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.”
1 Corinthians 12:26 “And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it.”
Paul was in prison for a great deal of the time for his bold ministering. We will see that he was not forgotten by his fellow Christians while he was there.
2 Timothy 1:16-18 “The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain:” “But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found [me].” “The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well.”
Paul had a large group with him while he was imprisoned in his own home in Rome. Luke the physician went nearly everywhere with him, and Rome was no exception. I will give one verse from Peter’s writings telling us how to behave toward each other.
1 Peter 3:8 “Finally, [be ye] all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, [be] pitiful, [be] courteous:”
Hebrews 13:4 “Marriage [is] honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”
“Honorable”: God highly honors marriage, which He instituted at creation (Gen. 2:24); but some people in the early church considered celibacy to be holier than marriage, an idea Paul strongly denounces (in 1 Tim. 4:3). Sexual activity in a marriage is pure, but any sexual activity outside marriage brings one under divine judgment.
“God will judge”: God prescribes serious consequences for sexual immorality (see notes on Ephesians 5:3-6).
Whoremonger is speaking of male or female prostitutes. Adulterers here mean those who sleep with someone they are not married to, and it also has to do with those who follow other gods. This then is physical and spiritual adultery. One of the 10 commandments is (Thou shalt not commit adultery).
We see from the following Scriptures that God created man and woman to marry and populate the earth. It is no sin to marry. God planned that a man would marry one woman and they two should become one flesh. This is God’s plan for the creation of the people on the earth. Sex should be reserved for the marriage bed.
Sex is for the creation of new beings on the earth. That is the very reason homosexuality and lesbianism is so wrong. God calls both things the unnatural use. Now let us look at some scriptures on man and woman marrying.
Genesis 1:27 “So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
Man in this verse means a human being.
Genesis 1:28 “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
Notice in this that the sin of Adam and Eve was not in the fact that they slept together. It was in that they disobeyed God and ate the forbidden fruit. God wanted them to populate the earth, even before they sinned in the garden. Notice the judgment that God will make on the whoremonger.
Ephesians 5:5 “For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.”
Hebrews 13:5 “[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.”
Lusting after material riches is “a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (1 Timothy 6:10; 1 Timothy 3:3).
“I will never” (quoted from Gen. 28:15; Deut. 31:6, 8; Jos. 1:5; 1 Chron. 28:20). Believers can be content in every situation because of this promise. Several negatives are utilized in this statement to emphasize the impossibility of Christ deserting believers. It is like saying “there is absolutely no way whatsoever that I will ever, ever leave you.”
We are living in a materialistic generation. Many are teaching that all you have to do is ask for anything you want and God will give it to you. This is not what God promised at all. God has promised to give us our needs, not to furnish our greed. Paul gave the best advice to all of us when he said whatever position he found himself in, he was satisfied.
Philippians 4:11-13 “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, [therewith] to be content.” “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.” “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
We are told to seek first the things of God.
Matthew 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?”
Matthew 6:34 “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day [is] the evil thereof.”
One of the worst sins in our society today is that people want what their neighbor has. Most are not very willing to wait until they can afford it, they want it now. Many will even take things that really do not belong to them by force if necessary. Greed has overcome.
Luke 12:15-20 “And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” “And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:” “And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?” “And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.” “And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, [and] be merry.” “But God said unto him, [Thou] fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?”
You see we brought nothing into this world, and it is for certain we will take nothing out with us. Lay up your treasures in heaven.
1 Timothy 6:6-8 “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” “For we brought nothing into [this] world, [and it is] certain we can carry nothing out.” “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.”
Hebrews Chapter 13 Questions
- What are we told to let continue in verse 1?
- Who did Jesus say were his mother and brothers and sisters?
- How are we younger brothers and sisters of Christ?
- How will men know you are Christ’s disciple?
- Who are the one another mentioned here?
- How many commandments, that Jesus gave, cover all the law and commandments?
- What are these commandments that Jesus gave?
- Why should you entertain strangers?
- What does Matthew chapter 25 verses 35 on tell us about doing for others?
- Christians are all part of one ____.
- We are to _______ with them that rejoice.
- Where did Paul spend a great deal of his time?
- Why did Paul say for the Lord to give mercy to the house of Onesiphorus?
- Who was the physician that went nearly everywhere with Paul?
- How did Peter tell the Christians to behave toward each other?
- Marriage is ___________ in all.
- What does whoremonger mean here?
- What 2 things does this adulterer have to do with here?
- Why did God create man and woman?
- What are a man and his wife one in?
- What is sex for?
- What does God call homosexuality?
- Man in Genesis 1:27 means what?
- Who are made in the image of God?
- What were they to have dominion over?
- What was the sin of Adam and Eve?
- What is God’s judgment on the whoremonger?
- Do not covet; be content with ____ ___ ____.
- What kind of a generation are we living in?
- What did Paul say about this?
- I can do all things through _____ ___ _______ __.
- What is the Christian to seek first?
- Tell what the parable of the rich man was all about?
- Having _____ and ________ let us therewith be content.