Sermon 3150. 'Never, No Never, No Never'
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, JUNE 24, 1909.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, MARCH 16, 1873.
"Let your conversation be without covetousness: and be content with such things as you have. For He has said, I will neverleave you, nor forsake you. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me."Hebrews 13:5, 6.
[Other Sermons by Mr. Spurgeon upon the whole or parts of these two verses, are as follows-Sermons #477, Volume 8-NEVER! NEVER!NEVER! NEVER! NEVER!; #1449, Volume 24-A VILE WEED AND A FAIR FLOWER and #1880, Volume 32-A LESSON AND A FORTUNE FOR CHRISTIANMEN OF BUSINESS-.]
WHEN the Lord foretold, through the mouth of His servant, the Prophet Isaiah, that He would "make unto all people a feastof fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow," surely He must have had in His mind such preciousTruths of God as this one which we have in our text, "I will never leave you, nor forsake you." This is the very essence ofconsolation! I might truly say that it is the quintessence of delight! Here is solid spiritual food condensed into a verysmall space. Take these eight words and extract the marrow from them, or treat them as a honeycomb and get the sweetness outof them into your soul-and it will be full of content, no, more-it will be overflowing with sacred delight! "I will neverleave you, nor forsake you."
I. With such a text before us, we need no further preface, so we will at once begin our meditation upon the text. And first,I will ask you to VIEW THESE WORDS AS A QUOTATION.
You observe that the Apostle writes, "He has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you," from which it plainly appearsthat Paul was quoting from Holy Writ. This should teach us how necessary it is for us, also, to quote Scripture whenever wecan. The Holy Spirit abounds in gracious thoughts and in fitting language in which to express those thoughts, so He has noneed to make extracts from what He has previously said. Yet He pleases to do so. Instead of giving us a new promise, He heregives us an old one over again, as if to remind us that there are no better things in the world than the Words of God, Himself,and that the very noblest expressions are those which have been already used!
Besides, the Holy Spirit here puts honor upon the Old Testament by quoting from it for the consolation of New Testament Believers.There are some persons who seem to think more of the New Testament than they do of the Old Testament. I have met with Christiansin Germany with whom it has been quite a superstition that the Evangelists were superior to the Apostles and that the Apostleswere superior to the Prophets. I trust that such notions as those will never spread among us! We see here that when an Apostlewrites as an Inspired man, he quotes from the Pentateuch, he quotes from the Chronicles and he quotes from the prophecy ofIsaiah-so that we are to honor the Old Testament and not to look upon it as a secondary book compared with the New Testament,but to reverence the Divine teaching in both portions of the Inspired Word.
In addition to that, the Holy Spirit bids Paul apply this Old Testament promise to us to show us that the Words of God spokento saints in the ancient times were spoken also to us, so that if the Lord gave a promise to Jacob, it was not meant to berestricted to Jacob, but to belong to all those who, like Jacob, can wrestle in prayer! And that if God spoke, as He did,a promise to Joshua, it was not intended to be only for Joshua, but for all who were in like circumstances to his. Scripturepromises have, all of them, a message to all Believers-and if you believe in Jesus Christ-what God has said to other Believersof old He says this day to you!
I think we may learn much from the fact that this promise is a quotation from the Old Testament. Where did Paul find it? Itis not very easy to say, because it occurs in various places and the Apostle has not quoted it literally. He has given thesense rather than the exact words of the quotation. He may have quoted the Septuagint version rather than the Hebrew, forno doubt he was familiar with both. There is not any one text in the Old Testament of which you could positively say thatit is the one he intended, but there are several passages, any one of which you might say, "The words are almost here, andthe spirit and meaning of the passage are entirely here."
One of the first passages which Paul may be supposed to have quoted is Genesis 28:15. The fugitive Jacob lies asleep, with a stone for his pillow. In his dream, he sees a ladder reaching from earth to Heaven.At the top of it stands the Almighty, who makes a Covenant with him-and among the other Covenant promises is this, "Behold,I am with you, and will keep you in all places where you go, and will bring you again into this land; for I will not leaveyou until I have done that which I have spoken to you of." Here you get the words, "I will not leave you." Does not that passage,in its proper connection, suggest that the promise is very applicable to young people starting out in life?Jacob was leavinghis father's house under very unfavorable circumstance and he was going to a distant country where he had relatives, but strangersmight have been kinder to him than Laban was, for he got all he could out of him and gave him as little in return as he could!So Jacob, starting for Padanaram, gets this promise from God, "I will not leave you."
I can conceive of that promise coming to some young friend here. You have committed yourself to God's keeping. You are a Believerin the Lord Jesus Christ and now you are about to start on a new career. Some measure of trembling comes over you and youhave been breathing this prayer to God, "O Lord, lead me in the way in which You would have me go-guide me in all my untroddenway." It is just possible that you are going to a distant land and you are a lover of your home, as Jacob was, and you feelsome natural anxiety concerning the change that you are about to make. Here comes in the promise that is just suited to yourcase, "I will not leave you." Jacob proved the truth of that promise. Although he had many trials, which were, most of them,of his own making, yet never was he deserted by his God! In his old age, he said, "All these things are against me," but hewas not speaking the truth when he said that, for even then everything was working for his good! And, notwithstanding histroubles, he died a blessed old man who was able to give blessings to others as well as to enjoy them himself. So, my dearyoung Friend, take this text as the Lord's promise to you for many years to come, "I will not leave you until I have donethat which I have spoken to you of."
There is a second passage which is more nearly to the point from which the Apostle probably quoted. That is Deuteronomy 31:6-8. Moses first speaks to the children of Israel and he says to them, "Be strong and of a good courage: fear not, nor be afraidof them: (that is, of the Canaanites) for the Lord your God, He it is that does go with you; He will not fail you, nor forsakeyou." Then turning to Joshua, Moses says, "The Lord, He it is that does go before you; He will be with you, He will not failyou, neither forsake you fear not, neither be dismayed." In Joshua 1:5, we find that the Lord repeated the promise to Joshua, "I will not fail you, nor forsake you." In the version which Paulmay have read, the words here may have been identical with those he uses in writing to the Hebrews. What do we learn fromthe context of this passage? God was here speaking to those who were about to lose their leader and who would need this assurance.Moses was about to die. He had been the mainstay of the children of Israel and they had always looked up to him as their leader.Under God, Moses was the father of that nation and he carried them like children in his bosom. If they wanted water, it washe who smote the Rock to make the stream gush forth. If they needed that their enemies should be destroyed, it was he whoseuplifted hands brought them the victory! Now Moses was about to go up to the top of Nebo and to die there-and the people greatlytrembled at the prospect of losing him. But the Lord gave them this promise to console them, "I will not fail you, nor forsakeyou."
Moses dies, but Moses' God does not die! The strong man, whose eyes had not waxed dim, and whose natural force had not abated,must look from the mountaintop upon the good land beyond the Jordan-and then his God must take away his soul as with a kiss-yetGod would not be gone. He is the dwelling place of His people in all generations! You see then, dear Friend, what is the bearingof the text upon your experience. You have lost, or are about to lose, the mainstay of your house. Your father is failingin health and you cannot shake off from your mind the apprehension that in a few more days, you may have to pay a visit tothe grave. One in whom you have rightly reposed much confidence and in whose presence you have felt that all was well, issoon to be taken away from you. But be not distressed as though God Himself were about to die, for Jehovah ever lives andHe said to you, "I will not fail you, nor forsake you." You who are
already, or who soon will be a widow, dry your eyes with this blessed handkerchief! You who are, or soon will be, a fatherlesschild, be of good comfort, for your Father in Heaven will not leave you nor forsake you! Perhaps I am addressing members ofa bereaved Church. You have lost a man of God who went in and out among you as Moses did among the children of Israel in thewilderness-and you are asking, "Where is his successor to come from?" Perhaps there is a Joshua within sight, but you arehalf afraid as to whether he will have the power needed to carry on the great work. Trust that the God who was with Moseswill also be with Joshua and take this promise home to your own heart-and say to each of your fellow members in the sorrowingChurch that the Lord has said, "I will not fail you, nor forsake you."
There is another passage from which Paul may have quoted, in the first Book of the Chronicles, in the 28th Chapter, at the20th verse, where David says to his son, Solomon, "Be strong and of good courage, and do it: (that is, build the Temple) fearnot, nor be dismayed: for the Lord God, even my God, will be with you; He will not fail you, nor forsake you, until you havefinished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord." I scarcely need indicate that the promise is applicable toany who are about to undertake some great enterprise for God's Glory. You have not to build a material temple, but you have,perhaps, to build up a spiritual Church, or to evangelize a wide district, or to gather together a class of young people-andyou feel half afraid that you are unequal to the task-but will not this promise be like a girdle about your loins? Will itnot strengthen you to do exploits when the Lord says, "I will never leave you, nor forsake you"? Go in this your might, Oyou who are full of weakness and trembling! Go, for God bids you go and, therefore, let not your heart again ever fear!
One other passage contains part of our text in another form. It is that well-known one in Isaiah 41:10-"Fear you not; for I am with you: be not dismayed; for I am your God: I will strengthen you; yes, I will help you; yes, Iwill uphold you with the right hand of My righteousness." There the promise is enlarged, but the sense of it is the same-itis a promise of the Divine Presence and of the Divine help to the Lord's tried and afflicted people!
II. Now we will change the run of our thought and VIEW THESE WORDS AS AN ADAGE OR HOUSEHOLD
WORD FROM GOD.
I think this must have been a sort of proverb or common saying among the early Christians, "The Lord has said, I will neverleave you, nor forsake you," and that it was one of the things that they constantly said, the one to the other. I wish thatwe had more such holy proverbs current among us nowadays-that our common sayings were more worth saying than they often are,and that our proverbial philosophy were more truly Christian philosophy!
This saying, "I will never leave you, nor forsake you," is peculiarly a saying of God. Paul puts a, "Thus says the Lord" tothis saying-"He has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you." To my mind, it invests these words with special powerto my soul when I remember that it is God who speaks to me and to each of my fellow Believers, and says, "I-Isay this, I willnever leave you, nor forsake you." As I repeat these words, they may not seem to you to have much power in them, but if theHoly Spirit will impress these simple syllables upon your heart, they will come to you full of the music of Heaven and youwill realize that it is GOD who says, "I will never leave you, nor forsake you."
Further, these words are remarkably forcible in the original. You probably have heard that in the Greek there are no lessthan five negatives. We cannot well translate them into English except in such language as that of the verse we were singingjust now-
"The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose, I will not, I will not desert to his foes! That soul, though all Hell shouldendeavor to shake, I'll never, no never, no never forsake!"
In our English language, two negatives would destroy each other, but it is not so in the Greek language-and the heaping up,as it were, of these denials on God's part of all thought of ever forsaking His people ought to be sufficient to satisfy eventhe most doubtful among us! If God has said, "I will not, not, NOT, no never forsake My people," we must believe Him! Andwe must chase away all thought of the possibility of the Lord's forsaking His servants, or leaving them to perish.
These words also derive much of their preciousness as a Christian proverb from the fact that they relate to God Himself andHis people. They are God's own words and they speak concerning Himself-"Iwill not leave you." This is not merely a promiseof deliverance out of trouble, or of the presence of angels to bear us up in their hands lest we dash our
feet against a stone. God is not here promising us any temporal mercies, nor indeed any spiritual mercies by themselves, butHe is speaking concerning Himself, who is the Substance of all His own promises, but Infinitely greater than the promises!And He says, "I will never leave you, nor forsake you."
And you will observe that this promise ensures to us God's Presence and God's help. "I will never leave you"-that is, "I willalways be with you"-"nor forsake you." The force of that promise is, "Being with you, I will never let you work alone. I willhelp you. I will not desert you as to My Presence and I will not desert you as to My succor. I will be with you and I willhelp you in all that you have to do." This is a double promise and it is doubly sweet!
Besides that, this promise wards off from us the most terrible calamity that could possibly occur to us. It may help to makethis promise increasingly precious to us if we think for a minute what would become of us if God did leave us or forsake us.Then, indeed, might the heavens be hung with blackness and the light of the sun be put out forever if God should leave us!The straight road to Hell would be open before us and we should soon be going there if we were forsaken of God. It would havebeen far better to never have been born, or never to have known the way of life at all than, after all, to be deserted ofGod and be left to perish! Thank God that can never be the portion of anyone who has truly trusted in Him.
Recollect also that, if He had not been God, He would have forsaken us long ago. Our patience with our fellow creatures holdsout but a very little while. But it is because God is God and, therefore, changes not, that we are not consumed. Have younot done a thousand times enough to have made Him forsake you if He were like the sons of men? I confess sorrowfully thatI know I have. And if He could turn from His eternal purpose, and if His everlasting love could change, then surely He wouldlong ago have cast my poor soul far away from His Presence, to receive its well-deserved punishment! Is it not a blessed thingto think that the very thing that is most to be feared by any man can never happen to a Believer, for God has said, "I willnever leave you, nor forsake you"? You well deserve to be forsaken of God, but He will never leave you! He will deal withyou in the way of Grace, and not of Justice. If He left you, you would utterly perish, but He will not and cannot do so-youare too dear to Him for His heart to ever turn away from you.
And while this promise averts from us the direst ill, it secures to us the richest possible blessing. To have God with us-isthere anything beneath the sky-is there anything above the sky that is a choicer blessing than that? To be with God and tohave God with us is the very Heaven of heavens! And he who has this blessing here has a veritable Heaven upon earth! No otherblessings can ever be compared with this one. No mirth of them that make merry in the dance, or of those who shout by reasonof wine can ever be likened to the holy excitement and enthusiasm of a soul that is in the Presence of God and knows thatit is there! To be helped of God, which is the second part of the promise, is bliss indeed. What better help than that doesanyone need? We are glad to be helped by our fellow Christians who have the ability to aid us-but to be helped of God is tohave the Treasury of Heaven and the great deeps of Divine Omnipotence to draw upon! Whatever it is that we really need, wealready have if God is with us, for, "no good thing will he withheld from them that walk uprightly." The best of blessingsare secured to the man or woman to whom God has said, "I will never leave you, nor forsake you."
Then, Beloved friends, this is a promise that only God could give. The husband whispers in the ear of his wife, "I will neverleave you, nor forsake you," but he forgets the hour of death when he must go from all below. The mother, as she presses herchild to her bosom, says, "I will never leave you, nor forsake you," but she knows not how soon that little child may be anorphan to need another's care. Friend says to friend, "I will never leave you, nor forsake you," forgetting how changeablehuman friendships are, for many are the hearts that have been torn asunder by vows, honestly whispered at the time, whichhave been forgotten through the lapse of years, or have been treacherously broken. "I will never leave you, nor forsake you,"is not a promise for mortal lips to utter! Transient beings like ourselves must not venture to say, "I will never do thisor that," for, alas, we know not what we may do, or may not do! Even though we think we shall never prove to be traitors,yet traitors we may prove to be. Or if not traitors, our power may fail so that we shall be unable to do what we have promised.But when Jehovah says, "I will never leave you, nor forsake you," it is a Divine Promise and He who utters it, Divinely keepsit! 'Tis a fit promise for God to speak and 'tis a fit promise for God's servants to hear. You have lost many of those dearto you, but you have not lost your God! They have gone from you, one by one, "as star by star grows dim," but His Light stillshines on-and shall shine on forever!
Further, Beloved, this choice promise provides against all troubles. We do not know what troubles may come upon us. Let usnot think about them. They will come soon enough and it will be quite sufficient for us to trouble ourselves about them whenthey do come. But whatever they may be, "He has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you." There may come to us greatlosses. Our riches may take to themselves wings and fly away-where we had large estates, we may be without a place whereonto lay our head. But "He has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you." We may be the victims of cruel slanders and underthe pressure of those slanders those that used to respect us may avoid us-and former friends may be alienated from us. But"He has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you." We may have to suffer great pain and the earthly physician may beunable to relieve us. But God's promise will still avail us, for, "He has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you."Sore sinking of heart may come upon us and all God's waves and billows may roll over us-but "He has said, I will never leaveyou, nor forsake you."
In the course of our service for God, we may meet with many difficulties. Where we looked for helpers, we may find opponents.But let us still press onward, for, "He has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you." We may have to move to distantlands, but "He has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you." Days of weakness may come to us, when the pillars of thehouse shall tremble, when they that look out of the windows shall be darkened and our teeth shall fail because they are few.The infirmities of old age may tell upon us, but "He has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you." And with old agemay come the loss of children and friends till we seem left, "like the last rose of summer," or the last sere leaf of thewoods in the autumn-yet "He has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you." And then shall come the chill river of deathand the gathering darkness of the night-but "He has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you." And after that shall comeanother world where our spirit shall fly through tracks unknown and where new and wondrous scenes shall burst upon our astonishedview! And, in the fullness of time, Christ shall come and the last great battle shall be fought-but whatever is to be, oris not to be-a Christian has nothing to fear, for, "He has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you." Come forth, youdragon bound with the chain and ravage the world again if so it must be! Rise, Antichrist, from your den amidst the sevenhills! Pollute the Churches once again if you can! Let war and bloodshed, famine and pestilence break loose again with unknownfury-but whatever happens, in time or in eternity, "He has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you." "Therefore willwe not fear, though the earth is removed, and though the mountains are carried into the midst of the sea." If the Lord ofHosts is with us, what grounds can there be for fear? I know of no supposable dangers, no imaginable troubles, no conceivabledifficulties through which, and out of which, and beyond which this text will not carry us-if by faith we grasp it-"He hassaid, I will never leave you, nor forsake you."
III. Now I must pass on to the next point. We have viewed these words as a quotation and as a proverbial saying. Now the practicaloutcome of this subject, according to the text, is that we are to VIEW THESE WORDS AS A MOTIVE FOR CONTENTMENT. "Let yourconversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have. For He has said, I will never leave you,nor forsake you." That is to say, do not be grasping, do not be seeking to rake all the world to yourself, do not stretchout your arms, like seas, to enclose all the shore!
"But," says one, "I have so very little." You have as much as God has been pleased to give you, so be content with such thingsas you have. "I wish I had a great deal laid by," says another. Do you need more than this-"He has said, I will never leaveyou, nor forsake you"? "I wish I had a large regular income," says another. This looks pretty regular, "I will never leaveyou, nor forsake you." Someone asks, "But does that mean temporal things? "Do you think that God will let your body die ofstarvation when He promises to take care of your soul? There is an ancient promise for the man who walks righteously and speaksuprightly-"Bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure." And it shall still be so in this matter, also-the Lord willnot leave you, nor forsake you if you trust in Him. It seems to me that the man who can claim this promise has his fortunemade for him. If he had made large investments, they might turn out badly. If he possessed large estates, they might haveto be sold. If he had wealthy friends, they might all forget him, for memories are not always very strong in the directionin which some people wish they might be. Many a man has fallen from the pinnacle of personal wealth to the pit of personalneed-and many others who were waiting for dead men's shoes, have had to go barefoot to their own graves. It is poor confidencethat trusts in men, but it is blessed confidence that rests in this glorious Truth of God, "He has said, I will never leaveyou, nor forsake you." "Trust in the Lord, and do good: so shall you dwell in the land, and verily you shall be fed."
But I know how it is with many of us-we cannot live by faith! We are so apt to think that something to see and to handle isso much more satisfactory than a promise of God. But is not that a species of blasphemy? Is not God's promise better, moresure, more satisfactory, more ennobling, more Divine than anything that can be seen? O child of God, what more do you needthan this gracious assurance, "I will never leave you, nor forsake you"? What though your wallet holds but little, if yourGod has said that He will fill it every morning and every evening, what more do you need? The children of Israel tried tostore the manna, but it bred worms and stank, for they were to gather their daily supply morning by morning. There is manya man who has not been content to trust in God, so he has asked for something to look at and to handle-and he has had it andit has been a stench in his nostrils all his days! And he has never again been the man he was when he had not given way toan evil spirit of covetousness! I would rather be the poorest Christian in this world and live on this promise, than be therichest man that lives and not have this promise! And in saying this I am sure that I am speaking for every Christian here.Our true treasure is this, "He has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you." That is our bank stock in the Bank of Heaven!All else that we have is but the spending money of a traveler when he stays at an inn. But we are soon to be up and away tothe land where our true treasure lies, where our God and our Father lives who has said, "I will never leave you, nor forsakeyou"!
IV. The last point is that THESE WORDS ARE TO BE VIEWED AS A REASON FOR COURAGE. So that we
may boldly say, The Lord is my helper and I will not fear what man shall do to me."
If God says to me, "I will never leave you, nor forsake you," I never ought to be the victim of fear of man. Yet the fearof man that brings a snare is one of the curses of the lives of many professors. They are afraid of opposition and afraidof persecution-and although persecution is very mild nowadays compared with what it used to be, they are afraid of the publicopinion in their little circle, afraid of the contemptuous remarks that will be made, afraid of the cold shoulder, afraidof the innuendoes and the dark hints, afraid to be thought to be one of those "vulgar people" who believe in the Lord JesusChrist and who desire to follow Him "wherever He goes." That horrible fear of losing the respect of ungodly people still operatesupon thousands and tens of thousands who, if they only realized the Truth of this promise, "I will never leave you, nor forsakeyou," would, each one, say, "Let men think what they like of me. Let them call me a fool or a fanatic. Let them shun me, butwhat does it matter as long as You, my Lord, do not forsake me?"
So, my Brothers and Sisters in Christ, let every one of us, first of all, fling away from our souls, by the power of God'sSpirit, all desire to grasp this world and make that our god! Let us abhor covetousness. If God sends us wealth, let us reckonthat we are only stewards of it and use it for His Glory. If He does not send it to us, let us be quite content to be withoutit, for it brings a heap of trouble with it! Let us always keep the world under our feet and reckon it to be unworthy of aChristian's craving!
Then let us fling away all cowardice and boldly say that the Lord is our Helper, so we will not fear what man may do to us.Accursed be the lips of any minister who dares to say, "I must not utter that unpopular Truth of God for fear I should havethe censure of the public press or public opinion." Shall such fear as that ever stop us from uttering what we believe tobe true? If it does, how shall we be able to give in our account at the Last Great Day? I reckon it to be my business, asa man sent of God, never for a moment to consider how you or anybody else will like what I have to say in my Master's name,nor whether it shall be approved by this man or that, whether he is eminent in rank or eminent as a critic! No, let him bewhat or who he may, if I have done my Master's work faithfully, it matters not to me whether the man praises it to the skiesor condemns it to the bottomless Pit! In the pulpit it does not concern me what man's judgment upon my message shall be-andyou in the pews must never hesitate to take the consequences of doing what is right. Be just in your business, come what mayof it! Be honest in your profession, carry out your principles and if that should involve loss, be content to lose! Whatevercomes of it, be straight-as straight as though God had ruled you with His own Divine hand and there was ne'er a bend or crackin your character! Press onward towards the goal of sincerity and purity-and may God strengthen you to reach it!
Though there are a thousand influences that might make a true man fall and cause a brave man to turn coward and might urgeyou to sell your principles, or at least to take off the sharp angles of them, do not do it-do not do it-by the love of God,do not do it! As "He has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you," do not leave your God, do not forsake his Truth!Your fathers died rather than give up the Gospel. Your ancestors fought for it on many a bloody field. We have cast away thesword of the warrior and we have done well, for we fight not with carnal weapons, but, by the
Grace of God we grasp "the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God"-and with brave hearts and strong we stand steadfastlyfor the faith! And so will we stand until the Truth shall win the day and the victory shall be unto the Captain of our salvation!Stand fast, Brothers and Sisters, in the name of God, and may the Lord bless you, for Jesus Christ's sake! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: HEBREWS 13:1-21.
This is a practical Chapter at the close of this most instructive Epistle.
Verse 1. Let brotherly love continue. The word, "continue," implies that the "brotherly love" exists. There are many thingswhich might put an end to it, so see to it that as far as you are concerned, it continues. Under all provocations and underall disappointments, "let brotherly love continue."
2, 3. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember them that are inbonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the bod}. And being likely, therefore,to take your own turn of suffering and to need the sympathy of your fellow Christians. Show sympathy to others while theyneed it and they will gratefully remember you when you are in bonds or in adversity.
4. Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. And terrible willbe their doom when God does judge them! They may think that because they sin in secret, they shall escape punishment-but itshall not be so. Whether men judge them or not, God wiljudge them.
5. Let your conversation be without covetousness, and be content with such things as you have: for He has said, I will neverleave you, nor forsake you. Therefore you have a grand reserve! What you have in possession is only a little spending moneyto use on the road to Heaven, but "He has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you." You may confidently fall back uponthe Providence of God in all times of straitness and need.
6-8. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. Remember them whichhave the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the Word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today and forever. [See Sermons #170, Volume 4-the immutability of
CHRIST; #848, Volume 15-JESUS CHRIST IS IMMUTABLE and #2358, Volume 40-THE UNCHANGEABLE CHRIST.] It is for your own benefitto remember in your prayers those who preach the Word of God to you, for what can they do without Divine assistance and howcan you be profited by them unless they are first blessed of God? Remember them, therefore.
9. Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. Do not put yourself into every man's hand to let him play withyou as he pleases. The fish that never nibbles at the bait is not likely to be caught by the hook-and he who will not giveheed to "divers and strange doctrines" is not likely to be carried away in the net of heresy!
9. For it is a good thing that the heart is established with Grace, not with meats, which have notprofited them that havebeen occupied therein. Some in the Apostle's day made religion to consist almost entirely in observing certain rules as towhat they ate and what they drank. "Be not so foolish," says Paul, "there is something better than that. Seek to have yourheart established with Divine Grace."
10. We have an altar, of which they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle. Those who cling to the external and ceremonialobservances of religion have no right to the privileges which belong to those who come to the spiritual altar-they cannotshare that secret.
11-14. For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outsidethe camp. Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Let us goforth, therefore, unto Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one tocome. Then, my Brother or Sister, do not look for a continuing city here. Do not build your nest on any one of the trees ofearth, for they are all marked for the axe-and they will all have to come down, and your nest too, if you have built uponthem.
15. By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is the fruit of our lips giving thanks
to His name. [See Sermon #2048, Volume 34-A LIFE-LONG OCCUPATION.] If you are Believers in Christ, you are God's priests andthis is the sacrifice that you are continually to offer-the fruit of your lips, giving thanks to God's name!
16. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well please . We are to do good to others,to communicate [give] of our own good things to those who need them and to do this at some sacrifice to ourselves, "for withsuch sacrifices God is well pleased."
17-19. Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must giveaccount, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. Pray for us: for we trust wehave a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly. But I beseech you the rather to do this, that Imay be restoredto you the sooner.You must have noted how often the Apostle asks for the prayers of those to whom he is writing. So we arefollowing a good example when we ask you to pray for us.
20, 21. Now the God of Peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that Great Shepherd of the sheep, through theblood of the Everlasting Covenant make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is ever pleasingin His sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. [See Sermons #277, Volume
5-THE BLOOD OF THE EVERLASTING COVENANT; #1186, Volume 20-THE BLOOD OF THE COVENANT and #1368, Volume 23-THE GOD OF PEACEAND OUR SANCTIFICATION.]