Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Entertaining Strangers

Temple Baptist Church - 10-21-2020

Hebrews 13:2




A.  As Paul ends the Book of Hebrew, he gives admonitions in different scenarios.  Last week, it was “Let brotherly love continue.”


B.  Tonight, we will look at verse 2 within its context.  Chapter 13 of Hebrews deals specifically with the interaction of people within the local church.  In the Old Testament (Old Covenant), everything about the Tabernacle and Temple were individual.  Though they gathered to worship to some degree, especially in the Feast Days, it was not like the local church, the “called out assembly” of saints to worship together. 


C.  I did a little research on our verse for tonight and did not find any specific messages preached on verse 2.  It is one of those verses that has been basically passed over.


D.  I will basically break down the verse word by word and it will by self-explanatory.


1.  The word “Be” is a command, not a prerogative.  “Be” ye fill with the Holy Ghost and “b” not conformed to this world are such verses.  Therefore, verse 2 is a strong verse as we are commanded in this area.


2.  “Not” is an absolute negative.  It means no, never, or not for any reason or not at any time.  Thus, we have no “wiggle room” to set this verse aside or not to conform to its command. 


3.  “Forgetful.”  Forgetful is to be neglectful: that is to know to do something but not to do it.  Forgetful is to lose out of mind.  Not to just forget for a while but forgetful is to continue in forgetfulness.  We forget to do what the Bible says to do when we meet strangers. 


At this point, I find it beneficial to reverse the order of the next 2 words, “entertain” and “strangers.”


4.  “Strangers.” Let us look at the Bible definition of the word:


Stranger—an alien or foreigner who lodges as a guest.  In this definition, we find that they are not strangers until they interact with someone.  Strangers in the Old Testament were generally held in high esteem.


A stranger is someone whom you do not know or have previously never met.  They could be one of your peers, one of lesser estate, or one of great estate.


A stranger is unknown to us as to where they are from, who their family is, what they do for a living, what they are doing in your area.  Though not strange to others, they are strange to you.


A stranger, though strange to you and I, are not strangers with God!


The word “stranger” or “strangers” are used 211x in your King James Bible.


a.  The First Mention of “stranger” speaks of Israel being a stranger in Egypt.  They were mistreated and Egypt paid a terrible price for mistreating Israel.


Genesis 15:13  And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;


b.  The Second Mention of “stranger” speaks of Israel living in the land of Promise.


Genesis 17:8  And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.


c.  The Last Mention of “stranger” speaks of faithfulness to such.


3 John 5  Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers;


5.  “Entertain.”  The words “entertain” and “entertained” are only found 2x in your King James Bible and both instances are in our text!  Therefore, we have the First Mention, the Last Mention, and the Full Mention Principles of Bible Interpretation in one sentence.  It means that there is nothing that needs to be said on the subject.


NOW, what are we forgetting or neglecting to do?  To entertain strangers or people who we do not know, people of unknown origin! 


If “stranger” in one form or the other is found 211x times and “entertain” or “entertained” is found only 2x and in out text, there is something in the Old Testament that was lost or not followed in the New Testament. 


We, as both Christians and members of a local New Testament Church must be careful not to forget to walk in the Old Paths of the Scriptures and our forefathers.  I fear that much has been lost over the generations through forgetfulness in this matter of maintaining.


Entertain—to be fond of or to be hospitable to.  To care for someone within your home or specifically here in the church.  To treat as a dear friend.  To give attention to or to be considerate.


6.  “Entertained angels unawares.”  The verse admonishes the New Testament believer to not be forgetful to entertain strangers because some strangers have been and will be “angels unawares.”


There are many things that took place during the transitional period of the Bible that were passing things.  We could name several them, but I will not take the time tonight.  Entertaining strangers and the possibility of entertaining angels is not transitional!



There were times in the Bible when these strangers were angels in human form, sent out from God on a mission.  I find no place in the Bible where this practice by God stops.  In our day, I am sure that that there is the possibility of us encountering angels.


I find no place in the Bible where angels stopped appearing in human form as they continued to appear for certain reasons or missions here on earth.  Unawares means that, if they appear, we ARE NOT AWARE OF WHO THEY ARE.  I add this because of the “visionary” aspect of Pentecostalism that causes them to see visions and dream dreams, etc.


7.  Now, let us put this in perspective.  We are to be friendly and acceptant to those we meet outside of the local church.  But chapter 13 of Hebrews, within its context, is speaking of the inner workings of the local church.


Matthew 25:34-40  Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:  (35)  For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:  (36)  Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.  (37)  Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?  (38)  When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?  (39)  Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?  (40)  And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.


James 2:8  If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:


8.  We are to accept and be considerate to those who choose to visit our church.  No matter what ethnic group, color, or anything else that they are.  God made all men equal; loves all men equal; accepts all men equal; and so, must the people in the local church.  We are to love them and treat all who come as we would expect to be treated. You just may have been entertaining an angel unaware! 


9.  We are to accept those who join in our church fellowship.  I understand that they are joining us, we are not joining them doctrinally.  But every saint of God is welcome and is to be treated with equality and love.  You just may be entertaining an angel unaware.  There are no


10.  We are to accept those missionaries that we both give a meeting to and those that just drop in.  These are God’s men and should be received and treated as such.


Conclusion:  Hebrews 13:2  Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

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