Read verses 1-4
Q: What is the spiritual blessing being expressed here?
A: The spiritual fellowship of love.
Q: What are the aspects of the fellowship of love that are expressed?
- Love for God’s people, or “love of the brethren”. (v.1)
- Love for others, or “strangers”. (v.2)
- Love for the oppressed, or “prisoners”. (v.3)
- Love in personal relationships, or “marriage”. (v.4)
Q: Why would this be a big deal where life in this world is concerned?
A: For the world’s part it hates Christians (Jn. 15:17-27), but to the world the mark of a true Christian is biblical love (Jn. 13:35; 1 Jn. 3:16; 1 Th. 4:9).
Point: Biblical love as practiced by true Believers is both a personal spiritual blessing in this life while at the same time a visible testimony to the rest of the world. This is a powerful benefit to those who face losing the love of friends and family when making a decision for Christ, those bonds being replaced in the course of their new life in Christ.
Q: What is the greater meaning that “some have entertained angels without knowing it”?
A: The literal biblical examples are Abraham (Gen. 18) and Lot (Gen. 19:1), and there are examples of entertaining Christ Himself without knowing it in the men on the road to Emmaus. (Lk. 24:15). The greater teaching is that love of others is to be taken as seriously and considered just as important as love for Christ Himself.
“Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’
— Matthew 25:37-40
Q: What is the greater meaning of God’s judgment of martial faithfulness?
A: Throughout Scripture a faithful marriage is equated to spiritual faithfulness. Biblical love is not defined by how one feels about someone, but whether or not they uphold the truth of God’s Word in the course of those relationships.
Point: Christ’s new commandment to “love one another, even as I have loved you” (Jn. 13:34) is the fulfillment of the whole Law. One’s love for God under the New Covenant is proven by how one loves others in accordance with God’s Word and ways.
Application: The first benefit of life in Christ in this life is a spiritual fellowship of biblical love as expressed in the course of personal relationships and as a visible testimony to the rest of the world.