Sabbath School Summary
By Elder Dr Masimba Mavazq
Memory Text: “Let brotherly love continue” (Hebrews 13:1).
Hebrews 13 presents the apostle’s concluding admonition: “Let brotherly love continue” (Heb. 13:1). He has affirmed through-out the epistle that we are of the household of the King-High Priest, Jesus, His brothers and sisters. The author does not conceive of the audience only as a group of individuals who work on their salvation in a one-on-one relationship with Jesus, but as a family, or household, saved together.
Paul has characterized the work of Jesus for us as “brotherly love”: He was “not ashamed to call them brothers” (Heb. 2:11, ESV). Thus, believers should do for one another what Jesus did for them.
Throughout the letter, brotherly love involved “exhorting one another” so that no one would fall short of the grace of God (Heb. 3:13; Heb. 10:24, 25; Heb. 12:15-17). In chapter 13 it involves numerous elements: hospitality (Heb. 13:2), visiting and supporting prisoners and those who have been mistreated (Heb. 13:3), honoring marriage (Heb. 13:4), avoiding covetousness (Heb. 13:5, 6), remembering and obeying the leaders of the church (Heb. 13:7-17), and praying for the author himself (Heb. 13:18, 19).
SABBATH: We are a little band of brothers & sisters in the family of Christ. He’s the author of Love. He called us brothers & we’re to copy Him (Heb. 2:11, 13:1). Paul sums up “brotherly love” as “exhorting one another” (see Heb. 3:13; 10:24, 25; 12:15-17), hospitality, helping prisoners & the weak, honoring marriage, not coveting, obeying leaders, & praying for others (Heb. 13:2-19). Be firmly bound in love!
SUNDAY: A lover of hospitality may entertain angels unknowingly. The visit of angels to Abraham & Sarah was prompted by hospitality (Gen. 18:2-15). We have the solemn duty to care for others & not to neglect them (Heb. 13:1, 2; Rom. 12:13; 1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:8). Christ gave all He had, even His life to & for us (Heb. 2:10-18). We ought to care for the physical & spiritual needs of all (Heb. 10:32-34, 11:25, 13:3).
MONDAY: The marriage bed must be kept undefiled. Covetousness & sexual immorality is a dire threat to brotherly love (Heb. 13:4, 5; Luke 16:10-18; 1 Cor. 5:1; Eph. 5:3-5, & Col. 3:5). Breaking the marriage oath & unwarranted divorces do not honor marriage (1 Cor. 5:9-11; 6:9, 10; Eph. 5:5; 1 Tim. 1:9, 10; Rev. 21:8; 22:15). Society shouldn’t dictate sexual ethics but God (1 Tim. 6:10, 2 Cor. 9:8, Phil. 4:11, 12).
TUESDAY: Paul contends that the pioneers who instituted the early church & ministered to His readers are worthy of emulation. Their good acts & words were to be kept fresh in the mind (Heb. 13:7-17). He lists these church builders in the company of the heroes of faith. They’re not false guides but those who care for them. Their great was Shepherd Jesus (1 Pet. 5:1-4, 1 Cor. 3:10-15, Heb. 13:8, 9, 20).
WEDNESDAY: Satan seeks for a soil in which he can sow his tares through false teachers. Paul warns his readers to beware of diverse & strange doctrines (Heb. 13:9; 2:9; 4:16; 6:19, 20). The “foods/meat” alludes to ritual meals & animal sacrifices in the sanctuary service. The cross of Christ is better; an altar from which we can eat & His grace holds our faith (Heb. 13:10, 8:4, 5; 10:1-18, John 6:47-58).
THURSDAY: Jesus suffered shame & reproach. He was nailed on the cross “outside” Jerusalem (Heb. 13:10-14, Mark 8:34, Matt. 10:38, Luke 14:27, Gal. 2:20). The place “outside” the gate of the camp of Israel was deemed impure (Lev. 4:12, 13:46, 24:10-16, 23; 1 Kings 21:13; Acts 7:58, Num. 5:3, Deut. 23:14). Paul bid us to follow Christ “outside” the gate like Moses (Heb. 12:2, 11:26, 13:13, Exod. 32).
FRIDAY: After the full auction of the Holy Spirit, believers rejoiced in sweetness of their communion. They were more tender, selfless, & thoughtful. They had love for one another as Christ loved them. But at a point they began finding faults in others. They became strict with rituals & theory than practising faith. Brotherly love was lost! John in his last epistles wrote about the need for [God’s] brotherly love.
—Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 547, 548.