Sunday, April 18, 2021

Pastor Carolyn Sissom


In dream Saturday morning, I saw written out in bold letters, ‘BROTHERLY LOVE.”  I had forgotten that I had ever preached a message on “Brotherly Love,” but I found on my computer that I taught on it in 2012 from Hebrews 13.


The book of Hebrews was written to warn Jewish Christians not to turn their backs on Christ and return to Judaism.  Further, that Jesus is superior to the prophets of old, better than the greatest of angels---why He even surpasses Moses!  But the biggest truth of all is to see that our Lord’s single sacrifice takes care of all sin forever!


We do not know what effect this letter had on those for whom it was written.  But we do know it has had a great influence on multitudes since that time.  The author never dreamed, of course, that his letter would one day become part of the New Testament and reach into lives for millenniums, even into eternity.


 However, the human heart remains the same.  Things haven’t changed much since the letter was written.  The circumstances may vary, but human nature and attitudes are the same now as they were then.


If you were a Jewish Christian coming into the truth for the first time, you would be floored by the fact that Jesus’ one sacrifice is greater than all the countless sacrifices made on Jewish altars for 1400 years put together!  That means that never again will any sacrifice have to be made for sin again.  In view of that overwhelming fact, who in his right mind would want to go back to the killing of animals in endless offerings for sin?  Jesus has done it once for all!  It would be ridiculous to trade the real thing for the types and shadows of the Old Testament (Heb. 10:12).


So, after the writer of Hebrews told us all of these wonderful things, he closes the last chapter with:


Heb. 13:1: Let brotherly love continue.


Chapter 13 closes the letter to the Hebrews with a series of exhortations to its readers to live as befits those who have received the Holy Spirit.  Why?  Because with the Holy Spirit living in them, their lives become an extension of God’s own life.  The key element of the Christian life is love.


Heb. 2-3: Be not forgetful to entertain strangers; for thereby some have entertained angels unaware.  Remember them that are in bounds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.


The writer mentions two ways in which this “brotherly-love” was to be shown:


  1. Loving care for the stranger…they were told to keep their hearts and homes open to all in the family of Christ.  Due to the persecution of those days, it was hard for traveling Christians to find a place to stay.  Because of their faith, many believers were forced to leave their homes.  Others had to travel about in the course of handling their affairs.   I am sure he refers to the visitation of angels, but also to the angels of the apostles and prophets as they traveled teaching and preaching.
  2. Loving sympathy for the prisoner…In those days many were imprisoned because of their faith in Christ.  To be put in prison in those days was almost the sentence of death.  Conditions were terrible.  Consequently, believers were always trying to find ways to smuggle food and themselves into the prisons.  Anyone caught supplying food to them was to share the same fate as the one he was trying to help.  Yet that didn’t stop those early Christians.  They bribed guards, paid ransoms, anything to help their brethren.



Romans 12:10: Be kindly affection one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another (N.K.J.V).


Romans 12:10-12: Be devoted to tenderly loving your fellow believers as members of one family.  Try to outdo yourselves in respect and honor of one another.  Be enthusiastic to serve the Lord, keeping your passion toward him boiling hot!  Radiate with the glow of the Holy Spirit and let him fill you with excitement as you serve him.  Let his hope burst forth within you, releasing a continual joy.  Don’t give up in times of trouble, but commune with God at all times.  (P.T.)


In Hebrews, the writer leaves the exhortation for Brotherly Love and instructs Christians on the honor and blessing of marriage.  I continue with this as part of Brotherly Love because without love in the marriage and home, people do not know how to love one another as part of a fellowship of believers. 


Heb. 13:4:  Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled; but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.


In those early days, marriage was not highly regarded.  Women were treated as slaves without respect or rights.  It is only when Christian love is applied to the marital union that marriage is exalted. The union of marriage between a man and a woman continues to be under attack because it is honorable and blessed by God. 


Marriage is a Christian institution ordained of God and its boundaries are sacred.  Christian marriage pictures the relationship between Christ and His church.  Therefore, it is to be preserved in purity, each partner faithful to the other.  This meant no wife-swapping, no sex parties, nor a third-party allowed to intrude.  Christian love makes marriage a holy thing.  This high view of marriage calls the church to stand boldly against the immorality of the world around us.


To encourage purity in the physical intimacy of marriage, the writer of Hebrews announces that God is going to judge all fornicators and adulterers.  Adultery speaks of unfaithfulness by either of the partners, whereas fornications cover the whole range of sexual abnormalities, including sodomy, pornography, immodesty amongst family members and even inappropriate emotional intimacy (Lev. 18). 


The world condones immorality and feels that promiscuity adds spice to life.  God takes no such lighthearted view.  In plain language this verse says that any violation of the marriage bond will bring God’s judgment.  The Word clearly says it is because of these things the “wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.” (Eph. 5:6).  Adultery and fornication bring sickness and premature death to the physical body.


1 Co. 6:18: Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.


Heb. 13: 5-6:  Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have; for he has said, I will never leave 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.


1 Thess. 4:9: But as touching brotherly love you need not that I write unto you: for you are taught of God to love one another.


When you see a Christian coveting and grasping after money, possessions, hoarding, and focused on acquiring more and more, he/she is not walking in the grace of contentment, peace, and security in their present and future.  A Christian’s attitude toward money is a barometer of his/her spiritual maturity.  It shows how real or unreal the promises of God are to him and the trust that Jesus will never leave us or forsake us.  In His sermon on the mount, the Lord taught that our heavenly Father so cares for us that we need be anxious “for nothing(Mt. 6: 30-34).  When it comes to protection, “If God be for us who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31)


With all of a person’s needs in this life guaranteed by the Lord and the wealth of heaven awaiting us, how can we possibly be covetous, fearful or discontented?  We become content in all things.  This is impossible for the world to understand.  It is the peace of God that passes all understanding.


Heb. 13: 7-8: Remember them which have 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.


Leaders come and go.  Each of us have our turn to lead in our generation and our appointed time.  But Jesus Christ is always omnipresent.  The former leaders had passed away, but Jesus remains on the scene.  In the midst of changing times, scenes and ideas, He stands like a rock---for He is the same yesterday, today and forever.   


Verse 8 is breathtaking and beautiful for it speaks of Christ as the unchangeable revelation of God.  Jesus is himself the eternal guarantee that we will always be acceptable to God (7:25).  What this means to the readers is the Lord’s grace and power are permanently at our disposal.  Just as the Lord sustained the early church, he will sustain His church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.



1 Peter 3: 7-10: Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brothers, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that you are called to this, that you should inherit a blessing.  For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:


Guile means cunning manipulation, deceit.  I would add gossip to this and hashing and rehashing negative feelings.  Speaking evil gives power to demons and witches. 


Luke 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.


If we are holding resentment, jealousy, anger, unforgiveness or any other negative emotion in our heart, the mouth will speak this resentment.  If it is being covered over by hypocrisy, it will still come out of the mouth.  Love and respect also come out of the mouth.


Jesus raised the bar very high for us:  


Matthew 5: 22-24: I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. (K.J.V.)


P.T. Matthew 5: 22-24: I am telling you, if you hold anger in your heart toward a fellow believer, you are subject to judgment.  Whoever demeans and insults a fellow believer is answerable to the congregation.  Whoever calls down curses upon a fellow believer is in danger of being sent to a fiery hell. 


I am reminded of the Lord rebuking me recently concerning Vice President Mike Pence.  I started to say something negative about him.  Thankfully before it came out of my mouth, the Lord spoke to me. “Do not put your tongue on Mike Pence.”


People of God our words and actions bring blessings, long life and good life to us.  If our words and actions are not in alignment with the Word of God, they also bring sickness, death, and trouble. 


Hebrews 13: 15-16: …Therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.  but to do good and to communicate forget not; for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.


The O.T. prophet Hosea describes the sacrifice of praise as the “fruit of our lips” (Hosea 14:2).   If we were to dedicate our lips to continual fruit-bearing for the Lord, we would soon learn that it really is a sacrifice.  Also, kindness to others is a sacrifice which pleases God.  For the Christian who lives a life of continual praise, it should come naturally to him to be gracious to others.


1 John 2:8-11: A new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.  He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him.  But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.


No cause for stumbling,” that is a powerful promise to love our family, our friends, and the brethren wherever they may be. 


In prayer on Thursday morning, I heard the LORD say that he was testing the hearts of the folks in our church fellowship.  I protested saying, “O’ Lord, they have been through so many trials and tests, surely they are all pure gold.”  I know from years of going through these tests, they come before promotion and to measure how much glory we can carry.  It is a good thing to be tested by the Lord.  That means we have value and he is measuring us with His measuring stick.


Zech 13:9:  I will bring the one-third through the fire,
Will refine them as silver is refined,
And test them as gold is tested.
They will call on My name,
And I will answer them.
I will say, ‘This is My people';
And each one will say, ‘The LORD is my God.


How do I connect these two seemingly different messages?  As I am led by the Holy Spirit, I follow the Word of God and see where it leads me.



In March 1995, the Lord spoke to me, “Carolyn I want a church like the one at Philippi.”  Needless to say, I studied and ate the Book of Philippians to teach and preach the spirit of that church.


The Church at Philippi has the same Holiness of Spirit as the Church in Philadelphia.  This is the Church the Lord crowned with His Love.  This is a description of those who are His Bride.    Philadelphia = Brotherly Love – His Beloved. Philippians is written by Paul from the realm of Heaven’s joy.


Revelation 3: 7-11: To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things say he that is holy, he that is true, he that has the key of David, he that opens, and no man shuts; and shuts and no man opens; I know your works: behold, I have set before you an open door, and no man can shut it: for you have a little strength, and have kept my word, and have not denied my name. Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. Because thou have kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to test them that dwell upon the earth.  Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which you have, that no man takes your crown. (K.J.V.)



N.K.J.V. Revelation 3:10: Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.


Lord Jesus, we have been faithful to persevere, Lord I pray that you keep our families, and brethren during these days of trial.  I pray you keep our hearts pure and holy before you that we not stumble or walk in darkness.  Teach us O’ Lord to walk humbly before you guarding our hearts.  Deliver us O’ Lord Jesus from pride-filled opinions that cause division and discord.  Lord help us to abandon every display of selfishness or self-promotion.  Let us possess a greater concern for others and not just our own interests.  Lord Jesus give us your mind and heart that we may follow wholly after you.


Carolyn Sissom, Pastor

Eastgate Ministries Church

Scripture from K.J.V.; N.K.J.V.; and P.T.; Hebrews, Chapter 13, Let Brotherly Love Continue by Pastor Carolyn Sissom,, Bible Studies, 3/27/2012

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