Be not forgetful to entertain strangers.” Heb. 13:2
In our travels, I imagine virtually all of us have
stopped at one time or the other to worship with
Christians in other cities. And I am rather sure that
we retain memories of those visits in which we
were strangers, just passers-by, who stopped on the
Lord’s Day to worship with His people.
Generally we remember experiences in other
churches on the basis of their reception of us. We
remember them as being warm, friendly, courteous,
of cold and unfeeling. We left either with a
genuine desire to come again or with the resolve that we
will “never make that mistake again.”
Such causes me to wonder concerning the impressions
we make on those who are our guests, whether they are
present as invited guests of our members or simply Christians
who interrupt their travels to worship the Lord on His
day. Do such people feel that they have truly been among
God’s family, or that we are simply a host of strangers? Are
our meetings pervaded by the warmth of genuine concern
and hospitality or do they leave visitors cold because of forgetfulness
and neglect on our part?
We want to be friendly, warm, and genuine with others!
We think we are—usually—for we smile and greet each
other courteously. But what about the stranger? That fellow
we have never met!That one, who, amid all our ‘visiting’
with each other, is easy to overlook. Do we allow him to
pass unnoticed, neglected, hurt because we ‘forget’ him?
Does he leave the assembly numbed by the slight of Christians?
Does he go away feeling that surely there are friendlier
Part of the responsibility rests with the visitor. One must
be friendly himself if he would find others to be likewise.
He must pause long enough to give others the opportunity
to meet and greet him. But all this does not excuse any degree
of neglect on our part!We ought to seek out the
strangers, make them feel welcome and insure their desire
to return again before we lose ourselves in the enjoyment of
one another. If we do this, we can be sure that others will
delight to worship on our midst!
The greatest natural drive in human beings is the
drive for self-preservation. Man will go to almost
any extreme to secure himself from danger and protect
himself from harm.
The history of mankind could well be the history
of man’s search for safety, security and refuge. Early
man made his abode in caves that he might be sheltered
from the unmerciful elements and protected
from the ravaging attacks of wild beasts.
In an effort to find peace of mind from their enemies,
men have made their homes in trees and
among the cliffs. Others have chosen to live over rivers in
houses held above the water by high stilts.
A few years ago, when men erected their homes, they
often would build storm cellars to which the family might
flee in time of need. Today, man hastens to provide protection
from the devastating effects of the atomic bomb.
Hence, we are told that homes of this day are not modern
and up-to-date without a built-in bomb shelter.
Some years ago, a large newspaper carried a series of articles
entitled, “You Can Survive Atomic Attack.” The third
article in this series presented instructions and information
on how one can build a $30 fallout shelter.
Like a frightened rabbit, man is seeking a place of refuge.
Man is in search of a hiding place. The psalmist of old could
well say, I have found my hiding place; for when he found
the Lord, his search for security came to an end. With confidence
and assurance, he says of the Lord: “Thou are my hiding
place and my shield: I hope in thy word” (Psa. 119:114).
The Lord is the greatest shelter known to man. Having
experienced divine protection, the psalmist gratefully proclaims:
“For thou hast been a shelter for me and a strong
tower from the enemy” (Psa. 61:3).
When one is in Christ, he is free from all danger and
harm. Even in face of death itself, the Christian need not be
afraid. For the Lord has promised, “I will never leave you
nor forsake you.”
Even in these perilous times, God’s child can say with
David, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow
of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod
and thy staff, they comfort me” (Psa. 23:4).
There is safety and security in Christ and His church.
There is doom and destruction without.
Delay no longer!Flee to Lord Jesus Christ, who was
sent by God to be our never-failing shelter in the time of
This question is concerning Matthew 3:11 which
states, “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance,
but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I
am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with
the Holy Spirit and fire”. In this passage John the Baptist
is emphasizing the greatness of the coming Messiah.
Although John was a great godly man, he was
insignificant compared to Jesus. John’s baptism was
“with water for repentance”, but Jesus was going to
baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire.
The term “baptism” is usually used in the New
Testament in reference to the act that takes place at one’s
conversion when they are buried in water symbolizing
Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. The word, however,
is not always in reference to a religious action. “Baptism” in
its most literal sense means to “dip or immerse”. When examining
Matthew 3, the definition “to immerse”, would
make sense with water baptism as well as the Holy Spirit
and fire. This article will explain the last two terms further.
Since the term baptism means “to immerse”, what does it
mean when John said that Jesus would “immerse with the
Holy Spirit”? On the first Pentecost after the death of Jesus,
the Apostles were all together in one place when a rushing
wind filled the house and tongues of fire rested upon them
allowing them to speak in other tongues (Acts 2:1-4). In
Matthew 3, John the Baptist (a prophet) is explaining that
when Jesus comes, He will be able to immerse people with
the Spirit of God. This is what He did to the Apostles and
later with Cornelius and his household in Acts 10 (Acts
11:15-16). Being “baptized with the Holy Spirit” means to
be immersed with the Spirit. This happened to the apostles
What does it mean to be “baptized with fire”?
There are many well-meaning people who ask to be
“baptized with fire”. They make this statement out of confusion
because they were taught that the fire in this passage is
in reference to a “burning in ones heart” that the Spirit produces,
or maybe in reference to the “tongues of fire” in Acts
2. Both of these are misguided.
The term “fire” is used 3 times in (Matthew 3) and in no
less that 12 verses in the entire book. Every single time this
word is used, it is discussing hot, burning fire, as one would
find in a furnace or in Hell. In Matthew 3;10, John says,”
The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore
every tree that does not bear fruit is cut down and thrown in
This passage is stating that Jesus will not only immerse
people with the Spirit, He also has the power to punish by
immersing them in destructive fire. Jesus will judge the world
some day. The “fire” mentioned in Matthew 3:11 is the same
as the fire in Revelation 20:15.
When Moses and Aaron appeared before Pharaoh
with God’s message, “Let my people go…” the king
of Egypt refused. Pharaoh replied, “Who is Jehovah,
that I should hearken unto his voice to let Israel go ?
I know not Jehovah, and moreover I will not let Israel
go” (Ex. 5:2).
Many are the people today who, like Pharaoh of
old, know not Jehovah. Hence, they are asking,
“Who is Jehovah, that I should hearken unto His
voice?” “Who is Jehovah, that He should place demands
on my life?” “Who is Jehovah, that I should
If men knew Jehovah, they would not ask such questions; for
those who know the Lord readily hear his voice and hearken unto his
words. Those who are acquainted with the Lord find joy in serving
Him. Thus we hear the Psalmist say, “I delight to do thy will, O my
God; yea, thy law is within my heart” (Psa. 40:8).
Who is Jehovah? The Almighty declares: “…there is none like me
in all the earth” (Ex. 9:14). Moses proclaimed: “…there is none like
unto Jehovah our God” (EX. 8:10).
Jehovah is the powerful Creator. “In the beginning God created the
heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). “Through faith we understand that
the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that things which are
seen were not made of things which do appear.”
Jehovah is the wealthy Landlord. “The earth is the Lord’s and the
fullness thereof; the people and they that dwell therein” (Psa 23:1).
Jehovah is the Giver of all Blessings. “Every good gift and every
perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of
lights…” (James 1:17).
Moreover, Jehovah, the God of the Bible, is unchangeable. He is
not whimsical, fickle or undependable. Malachi 3:16 records God as
saying: “I am the Lord, I change not.” Jesus Christ, who was God in
the flesh, is described as “the same yesterday, and today, and forever”
(Heb. 13:8). It is this constancy of God that is our basis of hope
and trust. We, like Abraham, can be fully persuaded that, what God
has promised He is able also to perform (Rom. 4:21). With all assurance,
we can have implicit faith in the promises of God and entrust
Him with the most secret and sacred things of life.
Finally, Jehovah is the God who is willing and able to save man. In
2 Peter 3:9, we read, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promises
as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not
will that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
God desires that every one should be saved. Likewise God can save
man, for He is “able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask
or think, according to that power that works in us” (Eph. 3:20).
In view of these wonderful attributes of the Almighty, we can truly
say, “there is none like unto Jehovah, our God.” May we exalt and
honor our God by devoting our lives in loving service to Him.
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