As I have often mentioned in this blog, my friend Frank and I have an agreement. We read the same chapter in God’s Word each day for a week and then drop each other a short email about what we have learned. We then move to the next chapter the next week. I describe our modest online Bible study here. You might want to try this with a friend or relative. Here are the books that Frank and I have covered over the last couple of years:
As we finish up our reading of the book of Hebrews, we are deciding which book to read next (the Gospel of John? the book of Psalms?). But there is much in this final chapter of Hebrews that I just have to go over with you. Let’s look at the first few verses:
The writer to the Hebrews has covered a lot of territory in the previous twelve chapters. Now he gets real practical. But notice how complimentary he is in these three verses:
“KEEP ON LOVING”– He is acknowledging their love for the brothers and sisters. But feels the need to challenge them to keep doing what they’re doing!
“DO NOT FORGET” — We often underestimate the power of hospitality. And the writer encourages his readers to show hospitality to strangers. They just might find themselves entertaining angels!
“CONTINUE TO REMEMBER” — Again, it seems the author is complimenting his readers. They had already remembered those in prison and those in suffering. But they are encouraged to keep doing so.
Today’s Challenge: As you examine your life, what would you say you are doing right? Keep on doing that — to the glory of God!
Many of you know that my New Jersey friend Frank and I are reading through God’s Word together (described here). We’re now in the book of Romans and are reading chapter 12 each day this week.I count 24 injunctions or commands or imperatives for the believer here in Romans 12. I’m aware that the expression “critical imperative” is redundant, but I think it’s useful for what we see here in this great chapter. Let’s continue our multipart study by looking again at verse 13.
We’ve seen that the believer is to offer his body as a living sacrifice, not to conform to the pattern of this world, to be transformed by the renewing of his mind, to think of himself with sober judgment, to use his gifts to build up the body of Christ, to hate as God hates, to be devoted to the body in love, to honor one another beyond yourselves, to keep one’s spiritual fervor, to be joyful in hope, to be patient in affliction, to be faithful in prayer, and to share with the Lord’s people who are in need! Challenging!
The fourteenth critical imperative is —14. Believers are to PRACTICE HOSPITALITY (v. 13)!
I live in the South where people traditionally built houses with large, wraparound front porches so the neighbors could come by and sit for a spell, drinking wonderfully sugared iced tea! Sadly, those porches seem to have fallen into disuse. It seems money is no longer wasted on such luxuries when few are inclined to get to know their neighbors, much less invite them over for a spell.
But what have we lost? Our homes have been transformed into our castles, apparently with a moat around them stocked with alligators and a drawbridge that is only lowered for relatives who visit! The believer can choose to be counter-cultural in becoming more neighbor-friendly, don’t you think?
It is possible that the Apostle Paul here is referring to believers’ showing hospitality to other believers. This is a needed challenge, especially in a Covid or post-Covid world where we choose to become “socially distanced” even when we don’t have to!
But our unsaved friends and neighbors need to see inside our homes! They need to be invited over for a game night, to watch a good movie together, to simply spend time getting to know one another, to be part of an evangelistic Bible study! And those efforts involve . . . HOSPITALITY!
Today’s Challenge: How would you rate yourself and your family on the hospitality scale? What is one practical step you can take to become more hospitable with your home?
Our latest book, Unlike Jesus: Let’s Stop Unfriending the World is a call to becoming a friend of sinners like the Lord Jesus was! You can order this through Amazon or directly from me (send $10 [which includes shipping] to my address).
Dr. Larry Dixon
117 Norse Way
Columbia, SC 29229 Cell: 803-201-9745