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.
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?”
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.
Hebrews 13:1–9, ESV
Counties in our state, including ours yesterday, are transitioning from the Red Phase to the Yellow Phase. During Sunday’s online service I will speak about the phases the deacons and I are developing for regathering Thompsontown Baptist Church. Were I unable to rest in the sovereign grace of God, I might give in to the fear that we will never again be ‘unphased’ by this virus.
Hebrews 12 ends with a call to the saints to remember that Christ’s blood shed for us has made us citizens in a better kingdom than the kingdoms of this world, “a kingdom that cannot be shaken” (v. 28). As citizens in this better kingdom, we have access to God, and we come before Him in awe and worship. In an earth-shattering event, His Son saved us. Now we bow before this awesome God.
Though we are worshippers in God’s kingdom, we must live out our citizenship in this world. Hebrews 13 begins with a series of straightforward commands for doing so. Love the saints. Graciously open your home to the stranger. Don’t forget the persecuted church. Honor your marriage vows. Trust God more than money. Follow those saints God has put in leadership over you. Cling to gospel truth. It is rather telling how the issues addressed in these commands are the very same ones we deal with today.
It can be tempting to read Hebrews 12 and 13 as though they describe phases in the Christian life. First, we become good at worship. Then, we deal with life. The problem with such a reading is this: There is no sense in which we need to reach a certain level of progress in our worship before we can move on to daily obedience. Our sanctification has no such phases. We who love God with all our being are at the same time those who are to love our neighbors as ourselves. We who bow in worship are at the same time those who are show love in the church, love to our neighbors, love to suffering saints, and love to our spouses as we trust God for His provision, His guidance, and His truth.
I am praying for you as you work through these phase-dictated days in which we live. It can sometimes be overwhelming. My prayer is that you will be empowered to do so as citizens of a greater kingdom, by the grace of our great King.