By Serving Others..., We Serve Him

As we read through the New Testament, we discover that the authors of the epistles often divided their letters into two sections. The first section was often focused on revealing doctrine, and the second half was usually instructions on how to live out this teaching. This style is evident in the writings of the apostle Paul. For example, we can see in the book of Romans and see how most of chapters 1–11 deal with doctrines like sin, sanctification and the sovereignty of God, while chapters 12–16 are filled with practical application about how we should serve. Ephesians is another of Paul’s epistles that is framed up this way.

And look at the Hebrew letter. Here we find that the author of that book employs a similar style. Chapters 1–11, focuses primarily on the supremacy of Christ and the new covenant. Chapters 12–13 inform us as to how we must live considering these great truths. Let’s unpack a bit of the practical instruction from these two chapters. In every case, we see that we must live in a way that reflects the reality of the Gospel, that is putting aside the old and doing things in keeping with our new, spiritual nature. As new creatures in Christ, we now look for peace and for holiness (12:14). Gratitude, not bitterness, must define our way of life (v. 15). We must flee sexual immorality (v. 16) and worship the Lord with reverence and awe (v. 28). As we do these things, we find not only that we are living according to our new nature but also that we are strengthening ourselves for the race ahead (chapters 12–13). This is especially true as we love our brothers and sisters (chapter 13:1). When we show love for them, we encourage them to cling to Jesus and they motivate us to do the same.

Today’s passage gives us a specific way to show love to them. We are told to remember those who are in prison and who are in the body of Christ since, like them, we are also a part of His body (v. 3). The original audience was made up for many who were imprisoned for their confession of faith in Christ. The same is true in the world today where many are imprisoned for their faith. Remembering them means we can pray for their release and for governments to end religious persecution. But we should also remember brothers and sisters who are imprisoned for less noble reasons. Sometimes even Christians commit crimes and end up in prison. Or perhaps while incarcerated they encounter the risen Christ and are converted. Showing brotherly love to them means we visit them, pray for them, and help repentant offenders be restored to the church body.

There are many ministries that help those mentioned above. The Prisoners Hope based in Louisville, KY is one who help those in prison, or exiting prison, to begin their life outside those walls. I know many of those who work there and can vouch for their great work. Perhaps this is time for you to consider serving with them to fulfill God’s call to love one another? I'm sure they'd love to speak with you. You can contact them at:

Jesus said when we serve others, we are serving Him. Matthew (25:34-40).

Volunteer - The Prisoners Hope
Credit: Ron Kelley

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