Life-Study of Hebrewsby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Apparently, the book of Hebrews does not touch the matter of the church. Actually, it is absolutely for the church, because the church is the consummation of God’s economy. In Hebrews 2 we clearly see that the resurrected Christ with His uplifted humanity is for the church. According to 2:12, after His resurrection Christ came back to His brothers and, in the midst of the church, He sang hymns of praise unto the Father. In this verse the church is clearly and definitely mentioned in a very deep way. By this we see that Hebrews is not only a book on Christ; it is a book on Christ for the church.
Hebrews 10:25 says not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. As we have pointed out, for the Hebrew believers to forsake the assembling of themselves together with the saints meant that they were forsaking the new covenant way. When the believers assembled themselves together in ancient times, that assembly was the practical and actual church.
As we have seen, in 12:18-24, we have a contrast between the sight of the old covenant and the scene of the new covenant. In the scene of the new covenant, we see Mount Zion, God’s holy city, the myriads of celebrating angels, and the church of the firstborn ones. The church is the center of this scene. After the mention of the church, we have the justifying God, the justified spirits of the ancient saints, and Jesus, the Mediator of the better covenant with His precious blood that speaks better than that of Abel. By this we can see that the church is the focus of the scenery of the new covenant.
In this message we come to chapter thirteen. Although the word church is not found in this chapter, the entire chapter is concerned with the church life. The experiences of Christ (vv. 8-15) and the ten practical virtues (vv. 1-7, 16-19) covered here are for the church. Nearly everything mentioned in verses 1 through 7 and 16 through 19, such as brotherly love and hospitality, is for the church life, not just for the Christian life. If we would have the proper church life, we need all ten of these virtues. Let us now consider each of them.
Verse 1 says, “Let brotherly love continue.” No one can say that brotherly love is not for the church life. If we were not in the church life, we would not need brotherly love, for we would be far away from one another and would not need to love one another. But because we have been flocked together, we need brotherly love to continue.
Every local church passes through a honeymoon period. I believe that all the churches in the United States and Canada have passed through their honeymoon. After the honeymoon is over, every newly married couple will eventually have a collision. In order to stay married, we must have the marriage love. In the church we need brotherly love, and in our families we need marriage love.
First Corinthians 13:13 says, “And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (Gk.). According to this verse, love is the greatest virtue. It is also the most excellent way (1 Cor. 12:31, Gk.). The most excellent way is not the way of gifts or teachings but the way of love. Love is the most excellent way because it is the expression of life (1 Cor. 13:1). Love is just life appearing in another form. In 1 Corinthians 8:1, Paul says, “Knowledge puffeth up, but love buildeth up” (Gk.). If we would be built together, we must have brotherly love.
Verse 2 says, “Do not be forgetful of hospitality, for through this some have entertained angels without knowing it.” How we need hospitality in the church life in the Lord’s recovery today. No one can estimate how much hospitality has built up the Lord’s testimony since the beginning of the Lord’s recovery in this country. Hospitality truly edifies. It brings much new blood into the fellowship of the Body. How we thank the Lord for this! In Romans 12:13 we are told to pursue hospitality, and in 1 Timothy 3:2, Titus 1:8, and 1 Peter 4:9 (Gk.) we are admonished to be hospitable. Among us, brotherly love should continue and hospitality should not be forgotten.
Verse 3 says, “Remember the prisoners as bound with them, and those who are ill-treated as being yourselves also in the body.” Remembering the suffering members is undoubtedly for the church life. If we remember the suffering members, it means that we are living in the Body and have the sense of the Body. When one member suffers, all the members sense it and suffer with him (1 Cor. 12:26). This is the Body life. Hence, to remember the suffering ones is a function in the Body, in the church life.
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