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SERIES: The Book of Hebrews
TEXT: Hebrews 13:1-9
MESSAGE: A Distinct Community
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“What are Christians known for? Outsiders think about our moralizing, our condemnations, and our attempts to draw boundaries around everything. Even if these standards are accurate and biblical, they seem to be all we have to offer. And our lives are a poor advertisement for the standards. We have set the game-board to register lifestyle points; then we are surprised to be trapped by our mistakes. The truth is we have invited the hypocrite image.”   David Kinnaman

So, what is it that Christians should be marked by?

TEXT: Hebrews 13:1-9
The writer of Hebrews tells us that we should be a distinct community marked by…(1. Authentic Love 2. Accountable Lives 3. Empowering Grace)
 
1. Authentic Love (v. 1-3)

“Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.”

“What binds us together is not common education, common race, common income levels, common politics, common nationality, common accents, common jobs, or anything of the sort. Christians come together…because they have been saved by Jesus Christ and owe him a common allegiance. In the light of this common allegiance, in light of the fact that they have all been loved by Jesus himself, they commit themselves to doing what he says—and he commands them to love one another. In this light, they are a band of natural enemies who love one another for Jesus’s sake.”  Don Carson

“The reference is no doubt primarily to Abraham’s experience when he entertained ‘three men’ so hospitably by the terebinth of Mamre, and found that one of them was none other than Yehweh (God)…He is not necessarily encouraging his readers to expect that those they entertain will turn out to be supernatural beings traveling incognito; he is assuring them that some of their visitors will prove to be true messengers of God to them, bringing greater blessing than they receive.”  FF Bruce

2. Accountable Lives (v. 4-6)

“Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

“The institution of marriage was assaulted from two sides in the ancient world. Some felt chastity in marriage was unreasonable. For example, in some corners of the Greco-Roman culture men were expected to make mistresses as their confidants and sexual partners. Others felt marriage stunted spiritual devotion and thus held asceticism as the ideal.” 

— George Guthrie

“Such greed amounts to accusing God of incompetence as a provider of one’s most basic needs and, therefore, is incompatible with commitment to God himself.” — George Guthrie

3. Empowering Grace (v. 7-9)

“Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them.”

“It is grace, nothing but grace, that we are allowed to live in community with Christian brethren.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Life together) 

TAKEAWAYS: Let’s honestly ask ourselves…

 

  • How well do I love others?
  • Have I sought real accountability?

8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices…”  — Colossians 3:8-9

“For a Christian to be a Christian, he must first be a sinner. Being a sinner is a prerequisite for being a church member. The Christian church is one of the few organizations in the world that requires a public acknowledgement of sin as a condition for membership.” R.C. Sproul
  • Has the grace of God genuinely marked me and my relationships?

v. 5  “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”