Last night at Englewood Baptist Church, I felt a familiar feeling. This is a feeling, a sensation that I have felt in the past. It is an air of expectation, waiting for the powerful hand of the Lord to sweep into a congregation and reveal things that are much bigger than they expect they can do. Englewood is the largest church that I have been a member of, yet all churches can experience this blessing.
Hebrews 13:1-7 helps us to understand why this blessed atmosphere can gather in the midst of a church body. Granted, this is not always the case, because sometimes there are undercurrents of sin that affect things. Let’s take a brief look at some of these verses to learn more:
- Verse 1 – “Let brotherly love continue.” This verse is key. Not only are we to love one another, we are to be diligent, long-suffering, consistent with our care for each other.
- Verse 2 – “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers...” This verse reminds us of the obligation that we have to show kindness to faces that we are unfamiliar with. The last part of the verse tells us that the messengers of the Lord may even be visiting us. Wouldn’t it be horrible to turn away from one of God’s holy angels?
- Verse 3 – “…and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.” We have brothers and sisters around the world who are under severe persecution. We should never allow our comfort be an excuse to forget them.
- Verse 4 – “Let marriage be held in honor among all...” God expects us to honor His established model of marriage. Pop culture may attempt to sway you on what that model is, but scripture is clear. It is interesting that God reminds of this in this context.
- Verse 5 – “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.” My, my… maybe brotherly love isn’t enough? God tells us to live contented lives, not greedy for the material things of this world. In my observation, this is very difficult for Westernized Christians to do. However, if we will walk away from materialism, He promises to walk with us – what else could we want?
- Verse 6 – “The Lord is my helper…” Again, what else could you long for?
- Verse 7 – “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.” I’ll wrap up here. To experience the special feeling that I referenced at the beginning of this post, we have to follow the leadership that God has established. If we really, REALLY believe that God has placed pastors and leaders in our midst to shepherd us, shouldn’t we follow faithfully? I think so. I must point out that God places a great expectation on those leaders. If we should imitate them and trust their leadership skills, they should be in His will and follow His directing more than human wisdom or their own power. Unless we see reason to doubt, we should assume these things are so.
Let me finish up by saying… “Thank you Lord!” It is such a blessing to feel this feeling and be a part of something bigger than myself. Somethings cooking.