September 22, 2019

Rev. Bernt P. Tweit



Old Testament Lesson; Proverbs 25:6-7

Gospel Lesson; Luke 14:1

                          Luke 14:7-14                            

Sermon Text; Hebrews 13:1-8


The portion of God's Word that we dig in to a little more deeply today, is taken from Hebrews, chapter thirteen, looking at the first eight verses.  This is God's Word, in our Savior, Jesus' name.


“Continue to show brotherly love.  Do not fail to show love to strangers, for by doing this some have welcomed angels without realizing it.  Remember those in prison, as if you were fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated, as if you yourselves were also suffering bodily.

Marriage is to be held in honor by all, and the marriage bed is to be kept undefiled, for God will judge sexually immoral people and adulterers.  Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have.  For God has said:

I will never leave you,

and I will never forsake you.

So then we say with confidence:

The Lord is my helper, and I will not be afraid.

What will man do to me?

Remember your leaders, who spoke the Word of God to you.  Carefully consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”


This is God's Word.


I have a lot to share with you today.  So, 'put on your seat-belts, and strap in', because there are a number of topics I am going to be talking about today! 

Oftentimes, as we look at a section of scripture, it is important to know, sometimes, who the initial audience that was being written to.  Here, the author of the book of Hebrews was writing to Jewish Christians.  He was writing to some people who were thinking about going back to The Old Testament way things used to be, to The Ceremonial Laws, and to all of the sacrifices that were made in The Old Testament.

The author of our text for today is encouraging the people of his day, and he is encouraging us today, with things like this.  (Here is a summary of the book of Hebrews.)  “Jesus is superior to angels.  Jesus is superior to Moses.  Jesus is superior to The Old Testament High Priest.  Jesus is the once, and for all sacrifice for sin.  So, don't say you are going to reject Jesus, and go back to the way things used to be, with The Old Testament sacrificial system.  Stay away from Judaism.” 

And so, now as we come to the end of the book of Hebrews, we come to a section known as, “Exhortation”.  We first of all may ask ourselves, “What is an exhortation?”  Well, an 'exhortation' simply is 'an address that is meant to encourage'.  And so, that is what the author is going to do for us today.  In rapid fire succession, he is going to share many things to encourage us in our life of faith, and in our walk with our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Here is what you are going to notice, as we go through our text for today.  If a pen is handy, and if you want to do this, I encourage you to circle some things we are going to be talking about today, and list the number of commandments we are going to be focusing on, because here the author is going to be focusing on The Second Table of the Law, which are commandments four through ten.  Commandments four through ten talk about loving your neighbor.  Jesus once said,

“Love your neighbor as yourself.”  

So, that is what the author is going to be focusing on, here.

He says in the first verse.

“Continue to show brotherly love.”

“Keep on loving each other as brothers.  We might say this is simply in keeping with what commandments four through ten are talking about. 

I want to bring a smile to your face, this morning, and I want to tell you that you know Greek.  You do! J If you know the word 'Philadelphia', you know Greek.  The word 'Philadelphia' simply means 'brotherly love'. 

Here, the exhortation is to keep on loving your brothers and sisters in Christ. 

Maybe here was the warning, that with some who were going to be rejecting Jesus, and going back to The Old Testament sacrificial system, maybe their love for one another was about to be severed, and so, the encouragement to keep on loving one another.

Verse two.

“Do not fail to show love to strangers...”

“Do not forget to entertain strangers.”  I will put this in the category of The Fifth Commandment. 

“You shall not kill.” 

What does this mean? 

“You should fear and love God so that we do no bodily harm to our neighbor, but help, and befriend him in every need.”

I can't help but think of Abraham in The Old Testament.  This is in Genesis, chapter eighteen, when three visitors came to him.  Those three visitors were announcing to him that a year from now he was going to have son, who was going to be born.  He was the son of the promise.  One of those strangers was the Lord, Himself.  Two of those strangers were angels.  Abraham entertained those strangers, without even knowing two of them were angels.

A cute story...  A number of years ago, there were two individual people who went to one of the churches of our fellowship, out west.  Those two individuals wanted to find out how warm, and welcoming that congregation was.  So, both of them went to church early that day, and both of them were standing in the Narthex, before anybody else had gotten there.  Before they arrived, both of them said, “I am not going to talk to anybody, unless they come, and talk to me.”
So, here were these two people who were awkwardly standing in this room together, not talking with one another.  Eventually, other people came, and they began to mingle, and talk. 

Then, the worship service took place.  Sometimes in congregations the pastor will say at the end of the service, “If you are a new guest this week, please stand up.” 

Both of these two people stood up, and then they realized they were both guests. 

But, here is the point.  May we always be a warm, and welcoming congregation, when people come, and visit us here at Holy Cross.  It just so happens today we are welcoming a number of new members.  May we be warm, and welcoming to them, not just today, but may we be warm, and welcoming to them, always. 

“Remember those in prison...” 

You might say to yourself, “Boy this would be a really hard one for us to do.  I think I would rather be like the Levite, or the priest in The Parable of The Good Samaritan, walk on the other side of the road, and not necessarily pay attention to what scripture is saying here with this exhortation.”

Just this last week, I was walking down the sidewalk, and down the street.  I heard my name, as somebody yelled out, “Pastor Tweit!”

I saw where the voice was coming from.  I waved, smiled, and kept on walking down the sidewalk, and street.  Then, I heard my name, again. 

The voice said, “Pastor Tweit.  Don't you recognize me?”

He took off his hat.  He took off his sunglasses.  And, he welcomed me, when he said, “Come on over here.”
I came over to visit with him.  He had some fellow workers there, working with him.  He told the guys he was working with, “This is Pastor Tweit from Holy Cross.  I want you to know Pastor Bartels, and Pastor Tweit came, and visited me when I was in jail.”
I was amazed he was that open with those he was working with.  But, he never forgot those visits Pastor Bartels, and I had with him.

We have a member, here at Holy cross, who does prison ministry.  He goes in to jails, and shares God's Word with them.  I know those people will never forget their contact with this member, because he is sharing the Word of God with them.

We may not need to go into prisons with our physical bodies, because Jesus once said this.  “Even if you do one of these insignificant things for other people you do it for me.”

“I was hungry and you gave me something to eat.  I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. 

I was a stranger and you invited me in. 

I needed clothes and you clothed me. 

I was sick, and you looked after me.  

I was in prison and you came to visit me.”  

Then, the righteous will answer Him,

“Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,

or thirsty and give you something to drink? 

When did we see you a stranger and invite you in,

or needing clothes and clothe you? 

When did we see you sick, or in prison,

and go to visit you?” 

Then, Jesus replied,

“I tell you the truth. 

Whatever you did for the least of these brothers of mine,

you also did for me.”

So, we simply can keep this exhortation that is being talked about. 

“Marriage is to be held in honor by all...”

Marriage is to be honored by all.  Sixth Commandment. 

“You shall not commit adultery.”

What does this mean? 

We should fear and love God so that we lead a chaste and decent life in word and deed, and that husband and wife love, and honor the other.”

Marriage is being attacked in our day, and age.  Our society is giving our children mixed messages.  Society says it is ok for people to live together before marriage.  Society says it is ok for our kids to have sex before marriage.  But, God's Word says, “NO.”  God's Word prohibits sex, not only before marriage, but God's Word also prohibits sex outside of marriage, as well.

Keep your life free from the love of money...”  

Seventh Commandment. 

“You shall not steal.” 

What does this mean?  

“We should fear and love God so that we do not take our neighbor's money, or goods, or get them in any dishonest way, but help, and serve him in keeping it.”

Now, notice what scripture says here.  It does not say money in and of itself is wrong, because it is not.  But, it is the LOVE of money that is wrong.  It is greed.  The Apostle Paul, when he was once talking to a young pastor by the name of Timothy said, “Some people eager for money have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

The next exhortation is:

“ content with what you have.”  

I will put that in the category of the Ninth and Tenth Commandment. 

“Do not covet.”

Be content with what you have, because God has said,

“Never will I leave you. 

Never will I forsake you.”

When The Children of Israel were getting ready to enter into The Promised Land, the leader who had been over them for the last forty years was not going to lead them in.  It was going to be a new leader.  It was going to be Joshua. 

I am sure there was some fear, and trepidation on Joshua's behalf that he was going to be the leader.  Here is the word of encouragement God gave to Joshua. 

“Never will I leave you. 

Never will I forsake you.” 

That is the same encouragement, and exhortation God gives to you, today. 

“Never will I leave


Never will I forsake you.” 

The Lord is my helper, so what can man do to me? 

“The Lord is my helper,

and I will not be afraid.

What will man do to me?”

Next month is October.  During the month of October, we can't help but think of The Reformation, and some of the hymns Martin Luther wrote.  Probably the most well known is A Mighty Fortress.  In one of the verses he addresses this.  He says,

“People may take everything in my life away from me,

but if they don't take my faith away from me,

then I still have everything.” 

In different hymnbooks there are different translations.  I wanted to find one that brought this out very clearly.  Here is the verse from A Mighty Fortress.

The word they still shall let remain

nor any thanks have for it.

He is by our side upon the plain

with His good gifts and Spirit.

And take they our life, goods, fame, child and wife

Let these all be gone, They yet have nothing won

the Kingdom ours remains.

“Remember your leaders...” 

It is an exhortation keeping with The Fourth Commandment, to honor your father and your mother.

But, it is not just your father and mother that is being talked about here.  It is also your spiritual leaders, your pastors, and your teachers.  Pastors come, and pastors go.  Teachers come, and teachers go.  But, I know each of you have a special place in your heart for maybe the pastor who baptized you, the pastor who confirmed you, or if you went to a Christian Day School, the teachers who taught you.  Who was the pastor that confirmed you?  Who was your Second Grade Teacher? 

“Remember your leaders...”

Which gets us to the conclusion of our exhortation for today.  To this point, remember what the author of the book of Hebrews was doing.  They were reviewing The Second Table of the Law, commandments four through ten.  But, now he comes to the highlight of the exhortations.  Here is what he reminds us. 

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday,

and today,

and forever.”  

Jesus is His name.  Christ is His title.  Jesus unchanging.  We may change.  People may change.  Seasons change.  But, Jesus doesn't change.  The author of the book of Hebrews, earlier in his writing, reminds us of the two things Jesus has done for us. 

-Jesus was actively obedient for us.  That simply means Jesus lived a perfect life for us.  The author says,

“We have one who is like us in every way,

and yet He was without sin.” 

Jesus lived His life perfectly. 

-The author of the book of Hebrews also reminds us that Jesus took that life of perfection to the cross.  He was the sacrifice.  Jesus is the once, and for all sacrifice for our sins.  So praise be to God that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever, and that Jesus has paid for our sin!  And, through His glorious resurrection, God accepted the payment Jesus made for our sin.  We have everlasting life with Him in Heaven!

Having heard these exhortations today,

“May He who began a good work in you

carry it on to completion,

until the day of Christ Jesus, our Lord.



Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.  As it was in the beginning, shall be now, and forever more.