Listen:  154.5

To answer your question, let’s read Hebrews 13:1-3, “Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.  Verse 1 is so important.  We are not told to create brotherly love.  We are instructed to let it continue.  As believers on the Lord Jesus Christ, we have love for our brothers and sisters in Christ.  Romans 5:5tells us that, “…the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”  However, we are often guilty of not showing that love to others.  When we put ourselves first, our intention is to make ourselves happy and put our needs before others.  May we learn, in a practical sense, to allow the love for fellow believers to abide in us.

Next, we are told to entertain strangers.  1 Peter 4:9instructs us to, “Use hospitality one to another without grudging.”  We should be willing to open our homes to others as the Lord leads.  Who knows, perhaps we might be entertaining angels without even knowing it?  This makes us think of Abraham, who took in two men who were, in fact, angels.  I encourage you to read Genesis 18:1-15for this fascinating account.  While there were really three angels, we see that one of them was in fact the pre-incarnate Lord Jesus Christ.

We have seen instructions regarding love to fellow believers and hospitality to strangers.  Now we have teachings dealing with those who are less desirable that a fellow believer or a stranger.  Again, Hebrews 13:3tells us to, “Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.”  By reading the entire verse where those who are in prison and those who are suffering adversity are brought before us together, we can safely conclude that we are being instructed concerning Christians who have been falsely imprisoned and those who are going through times of hardship.  The believers were not to forget about them.  They were to identify themselves with them, and seek to minister to their needs.  Perhaps they needed encouragement; perhaps they need practical items to help them; perhaps they need prayers.  We read in Psalm 9:9, “The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.”  The Lord very often uses us to carry out His ministry to others.  Today, around the world, there are many faithful believers who have been imprisoned or even martyred because of their faith and testimony for the Lord.  May we all ‘remember them’!  We have a scriptural principle in 1 Corinthians 12:26 that tells us that, “…whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it…”  As the Lord gives opportunity, we may be able to minister to their spiritual or physical needs.  We can, and should, pray for these dear saints.  (154.5)