Tuesday, October 18, 2016

This Do Ye

We sometimes view communion as a memorial of an action. We do this because Jesus died on the cross for our sins. And this is true. Our words of institution say that as long as we do this we show the Lord’s death till He comes. We are remembering something that is crucial to our faith.

But it is also more than that. Jesus said to do this as His memorial. It is more than just us remembering Him. It is also Him remembering us. There is a real transaction of faith and blessing that occurs at this Table. 

We also know from the text in Corinthians that some people got sick and even died because of the way they took the Lord’s Supper. It is powerful for both blessing and cursing. 

If it is so dangerous, should we then abstain? God forbid! No, rather, we should humble ourselves as suppliants at the throne of Jesus. For all such sinners are received gladly and blessed abundantly. There is no danger for God’s children who partake of the life giving blood of Jesus and the body healing stripes of His body. We show His death because His death is our life.

Thus, we partake of this somber remembrance with great joy as if it is a wedding feast, because it is.

Every Idle Word

Our recent political season has shown us that we are likely to be called up short for every idle word that we have uttered. However, we are not celebrities or politicians. We don’t have microphones stuck in our faces recording our every utterance. Thank God.
         But that does not mean that no one is watching. That does not mean there will be no account for our every idle word. There is Someone watching. There will be an accounting.
         Do you actually believe that your Heavenly Father knows what you say? Even what you think? Then it is imperative that you be transformed from the inside out to think and say what you should. You need to speak those things that are beautiful, true and good. What do your words say about you? God will decide.

         For now, for those words that you know that you should not have spoken, let us kneel before the Lord and ask His forgiveness.

Friday, October 14, 2016



I had a meeting with a friend, or so I thought,
Until he slugged me in the gut.
It wasn’t much of a blow at all.
He hardly raised his voice in squall
Nor coiled his fist into a ball.

His smack was subtle, it seemed to me.
Yet left me breathlessly out to sea.
In all honest recollection
I anticipated blows and consternation
And tightened my gut and clenched my jaw
And spoke sparingly withal,
To save my strength for perseverance
Of gut-crunching interference.

It went about as planned.
Friendships friends be damned.
The Bible makes a claim or two
That should not be forgotten.
If the Bible’s claims are true
Then not all punchings are rotten.

Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
The kisses of an enemy, deceitful.
If friends that wound are faithful,
Then why is my friend hateful?

Thursday, October 13, 2016

At the Mercy of the Host

When you are invited to someone’s home, you are at the mercy of the host, or sometimes the hostess. It is their food, their drink and you must act as if you are grateful, even if the food is not that great and the wine is cheap. We twist that word mercy here a bit. We don’t really mean they grant us mercy. We mean that they might be mean, or miserly, if they wish. But we hope that the host is kind and generous.

Here we are at the mercy of our host, God, the Father. We are thankful that He is both generous and kind. His kindness brought us here when we had no claim on Him at all. In fact, without His mercy, we could never have come to this Table. 

And He is also generous. He might have invited us in and then just given us a little morsel of bread and a little sip of wine. But that is not what He did. Instead, He seated us at His High Table in the seat of honor next to His own dear Son. He gave us all the privileges of His Son, who is the heir to the throne of grace. And He made us joint heirs with Christ that we might receive all the blessings of His Kingdom as His own dear children. What a privilege to be at the mercy of our host.

Belief Ain't That Hard

Belief ain’t that hard. In fact, it is so easy it doesn’t even count as work. It is a gift. God is so gracious and kind that He doesn’t even expect you to believe Him without enabling you to believe Him.

Well, there is only one thing hard for the sinner when it comes to belief and that is humility. A sinner finds it hard to kneel down before the Lord, confess sins and simply receive the Lord’s pardon. He wants to fight for it, or earn it or be proud of it. Give it up already. Just kneel and confess. The Lord has granted you the grace of repentance and the glorious privilege to stand before Him without guilt or shame. Receive His free grace. It ain’t that hard.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Matthew 11:1-30 Sermon Notes

Matthew 11:1-30
Sermon Notes
Worse Than Sodom
October 2, 2016
Lynchburg, Virginia

         In this section we see the passing of the old and in with the new. John has been arrested and will soon be killed by Herod. John is now wondering if Jesus really is the Christ. Various commentators explain John’s sending of these disciples to Jesus as if it was John’s desire to exhort and encourage them by thus doing. These commentators do not like to lay any accusation of doubt upon John at this time.
         That seems inconsistent with the text. Jesus is again making a contrast between belief and unbelief. John has made the good confession about Jesus. He declared Him the Lamb of God. But now John is in prison and it looks like his days will end there. John knows that he must decrease and Jesus must increase. But is it any wonder that John is wavering at this moment? Things look bleak and it is likely that John did not have a clear understanding of the course that Jesus would take.
         Jesus upbraids John at this question before He praises him. It is a danger that we make the good confession for a time but wave when trouble arises. Jesus is blessing those who do not waver in the midst of trouble. Thus, he chides John for his wavering but then bolsters him with words of assurance and praise. We need both.

And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities. 
2 Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, 
John had been arrested for resisting the political authorities. The king had taken his brother’s wife and John Baptist had told him that it was against God’s law. John’s faithfulness cost him his head.
Apparently, John was able to receive his disciples. It is interesting at this point that John still has disciples. This point is the point at which Jesus must increase and John must decrease. John’s disciples must become the disciples of Jesus.

3 And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? 
Why would John doubt? He already confessed that Jesus was the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world. Now, John hears about the good works of Jesus which are a confirmation to John’s own witness of Jesus.
Perhaps even John Baptist was somewhat mistaken about the nature of the kingdom? He is now in prison and not likely to get out. Is Jesus going to save him? Will Jesus take over the kingdom of Israel? Is Jesus the King to sit on David’s throne? Herod, who locked John up and will soon cut off his head, is the one sitting on David’s throne. But not even as free king in Israel. He is a puppet king of the overlord Romans. Will Jesus dethrone Herod and the Roman occupation?

4 Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: 5 The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 6 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.

Quote from Old Testament, Is. 35 and 61 about the promised Messiah. This was said to reassure John, but not without a jibe. Jesus is about to condemn Tyre, Sidon and Capernaum. His own brothers refused to believe in Him. Now, his cousin is having doubts, too.
Blessed is the one who is not offended by knowing Jesus. Are you ashamed of Jesus? Are you despairing because the kingdoms of this world still act worldly? There is an antithesis between God’s kingdom and the kingdom of men. It runs right through every institution and government. Jesus is challenging John, His disciples, the various cities, the very governments of this earth, to take sides. Will you be in the kingdom of light or darkness, good or evil, heaven or hell?

Matt. 11:7   And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? 8 But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. 9 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet.
John must have been a bit of a spectacle. Jesus asks the crowd what they went out to see. Did you seek a reed shake by the wind? That would be a frightened man afraid of the times and the men of the times. John was not shaking reed. Or, did you go out to see a refined fellow in fine clothes with careful words? John was no Eunuch. He was a bold man who spoke the word of God without apology. This is a spectacle and the powerful people came out to see how it would go with him.
John was a prophet and more than a prophet. The prophets all spoke of the one who was to come. They pointed to a distant future. John saw that future with his own eyes.

10 For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
John was more than a prophet because he was the forerunner of Christ. He preached repentance like all the prophets but he was able to point to Jesus in the flesh and declare the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
Jesus and John fulfill this prophecy from Malachi.

11 Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
After taking a brief moment to chastise John Baptist, Jesus then gives him the highest praise. This is not uncommon for Jesus. Remember when Peter gives the good confession that Jesus is the Christ, how Jesus praises Him. Flesh and blood have not revealed this to you but my Father in Heaven. Then immediately afterwards, Peter tells Jesus not to go to Jerusalem to die for the people. And Jesus calls Peter Satan. He gives him the highest praise and the most base rebuke. Peter was not Satan but when he says, No, Lord, he is acting like the devil.
John Baptist has the same temptation. He is a most extraordinary man. He has been faithful, even to the point of blood. And yet, John Baptist doubts whether Jesus is the Christ. Doubt and fear are great enemies of faith. Furthermore, when doubt and fear the driving forces in one’s decision, faith is directly assaulted. Faith grows weak or may even flee. Jesus gives John reassurance and from this is confident that John will remain faithful.
Momentary doubt or weakness of faith is not inconsistent with fidelity to the Lord Jesus. Peter’s denials were egregious. May the Lord grant us grace to never utter such denials of Jesus. But when Jesus looks upon Peter, Peter is broken in repentance and later strengthened in the power of the Holy Spirit. While God wants us to be men and women of great faith, brokenness is the necessary component to such faith. Only then will a man or woman understand their great need for a great Savior.

12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. 13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. 14 And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. 15 He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
This passage has been variously explained. It is commonly understood to mean that Christians strive for heaven, taking heaven by storm. It is with great force of action to enter into heaven.
I have never been able to wrap my mind around that definition. It seems out of accord with the text which is about to pronounce woes on the unbelieving cities and citizens. The violent are those opposed to Christ and His Kingdom. They might even be men who seize the churches power by force, laying claim to the kingdom of heaven. However, Jesus is making the point that this is not the way to enter heaven. Not by force but by faith.

Matt. 11:16   But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, 17 And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented.
This is a childish generation, one that cannot see the truth directly in front of them. They always do the inappropriate thing. When it is time to dance, they mourn. When it is time to mourn, they dance.
Their time of rejoicing is upon them. The Christ has arrived. The crowds line the streets and welcome Jesus crying, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”
But the call for rejoicing is not heeded, not in Chorazin or Bethsaida, not in Capernaum, not in Jerusalem. The wedding song is called for but the chief players prefer a dirge.

18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. 19 The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.
Unbelief will find any excuse to resist God’s ministers.  An unbeliever says that God’s ministers are too austere, too fundamental, too legalistic. Or, if the minister is kind and broad minded and liberally free, then they accuse of him of riotous sin, a glutton and a drunkard. Unbelief resists God’s men not for their particularities but for their bold proclamation of the truth.
But time will tell. Wisdom is justified of her children. This proverb works in reverse. Foolishness is revealed of her children. The wise in heart will be revealed in time and so, too, will fools.

20 Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:  21 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. 23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.
This is a horrendous indictment of the unbelieving cities of Israel. He tells them that they are worse than Sodom. Such a charge could be made to many of our cities. The Lord has blessed this nation beyond belief. And yet, many if not most of the men and women in our country reject Jesus. And this rejection is not mere ignorance. Many know who He claims to be or even Who He really is, and yet they refuse Him anyway. This is worse than Sodomy, worse than rape, worse than all the vile sins in a heap.

Matt. 11:25   At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. 26 Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. 27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.
Are you among the self-proclaimed wise and prudent? Or, are you a wee little babe. Given Jesus’s words here, you would be wise and prudent to take the humble route.
We cannot know God unless Jesus reveals Him to us. We are wholly reliant upon His grace and mercy.

28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Some people act as if they need rest from Jesus. Jesus is a burden to them. His ways constrict. But this is a lie. Jesus is the rest. His ways are not burdensome.
For those of you who have been Christians a long time, you have seen this puzzling fact. The way of the sinner is hard. The way of the Christian is excessively easier and better. And yet men, women and children love their sin. It seems hard to give up earthly vices. It seems hard to deny oneself pleasure. But if you do not apply Christian discipline to your life, you find that things go from bad to worse.

Why not open your eyes? Why not see the truth? Why not take the yoke of Christ?

Rested Souls

Those who will not take the yoke of Christ find no rest for their souls. They are tormented with guilt and shame in this life. They are self-seeking and self-serving and it is no wonder they are tormented souls.
Not so for those who have been clothed in Christ. We are covered up in Him. The Father sees us as He sees His own dearly beloved Son, holy and righteous and without blame. These are glad tidings of Good News. These are words of peace and rest. What a privilege to be gathered here as rested souls.

The Folly of Ingratitude

All of you have seen the great works of God. I have no doubt about this at all. You just have to open your eyes and there are His great works.

Can you see it? Can you see Him? 

But some of you have experienced the extraordinary works of God. His remarkable dealings. Do you remember? Is that remembrance enough to see you through your present trouble? Does that remembrance bring you to your knees to confess ingratitude? Does the reality of God’s kindness lead you to repentance?

If not, it is because you have a stiff neck. You refuse to look up or from side to side to see God’s blessing. Your gaze is fixed forward and and down, like an exhausted marathoner who can only see one foot ahead of him. 

Lift up your eyes. Remember where you have come from. See God’s goodness in His mercy, His kindness, the love of His people. Show gratitude, be humble and cast yourself on the grace of Jesus.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Matthew 10: 24-42 Sermon Notes

Matthew 10:24-42
Sermon Notes 
You can listen here:
Love Jesus Most
Lynchburg, Virginia

         In the last section Jesus sent His disciples out two by two to minister and preach the kingdom of God. The disciples were no doubt excited about this as the kingdom of Jesus was now coming together. As Jesus sent them, He gave them all sorts of dire warnings. He continues in this chapter. The kingdom is definitely shaping up. It is just not shaping up as the disciples had planned.
         They are going to experience great success in the very near future. Remember the day of Pentecost and how 3000 believe and are baptized. But they will also experience great persecution. Remember how those who killed Stephen laid their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul. And after Stephen’s death, many disciples fled from city to city proclaiming the gospel.
         Later, Nero would carry out a great persecution against the Christians. Paul and Peter perished in that persecution in Rome but the faith flourished in the blood of the martyrs. The blessings of serving Jesus are paramount both in this life and the life to come and the cost is high.

24 The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. 25 It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?
Of course, the disciples might think. We will follow our Lord and we expect Him to come into His Kingdom and so we will be His vice-regents.  But Jesus is driving at something different.
The disciples expect servants and flatterers. What they get is opposition and hatred.
If Jesus was perfectly righteous and they called Him a devil, what will they do with His followers who are not so righteous as He? Yes, they will even do worse!

26 Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.
This takes faith and patience. Jesus is telling them that God is taking note and they should be content with this. When wicked men seek to cover up their sins, God will reveal them. Beware your secret sin will find you out.
We have to be willing to let God take care of these kinds of things. At the core of this sort of faith is what happens when false accusations are leveled. False accusations are just the sort of thing that are difficult to defend. If you accuse someone of speaking lies or dealing falsely, then to defend yourself often becomes a lesson in futility. The more you try to explain what really happened, the more guilty you may look. I am not saying that you should not defend yourself, and neither is Jesus saying that. But the truth will win out. You have to know this and believe it in order to withstand false accusation.
Often, the truth wins out even in the human court. If you wait long enough, then fruit shows up. The bad fruit from the bad tree and the good fruit from the good tree. Thus the hidden things, the fruit in the bud, is eventually revealed.  But sometimes only God can deliver justice. Some men die in the midst of false accusations and are never vindicated on earth. Jesus is like that. God vindicated Him at the Resurrection. Are you willing to die and let God reveal the covered things? You can only do this if you are already dead in Jesus Christ. Which is to say, alive in Christ.

27 What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.
Jesus speaks to them in evening and expects them to declare these truths in the light of day. Furthermore, the darkness of the age is upon them, accusing Jesus and His disciples of wickedness. But they are men of the light and should speak these truths boldly to shed light in a dark world.
Furthermore, what Jesus speaks to them in a small circle shall be declared from the housetops to the four corners of the Earth. Do not despise the day of small beginnings.

28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Jesus has been exhorting His disciples to faith in the face of opposition and persecution. He now tells them to not be afraid of those who can kill the body only. If men choose to fear those who can kill the body only, they show by this fear that they do not fear God. To fear God is to put your trust in Him that He not only can destroy a body but He has the power of life and death, heaven and hell. To fear those who control this world is to fail to fear the living and true God.

29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
Furthermore, God is watching over all things, Sparrows are relatively insignificant creatures. They abound and they are of little monetary value. Particularly when compared to the value of a man, a sparrow is nothing. A cat might catch a sparrow and no one would ever notice that the sparrow population has decreased. No one except the God who made the sparrow. He notices. Whenever a sparrow dies, God takes heed.  Then how much more shall He notice one of His children who are in need.
If we believe that God is all knowing and sovereign over His creation, then we must know that He takes not of our plight. The sparrow is also a reminder that in God’s world, hard things happen. Sparrows do fall. God’s children do suffer. But God is neither indifferent to these things nor unfeeling about them. He takes note. He keeps track. All will be revealed and all accounts will be reckoned. If we believe this to be true, then we will not fear those who can only kill the body.

30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.
It is true figuratively and literally. God knows the number of the hairs of your head. The point is that if God knows such an insignificant matter, then He surely knows the more important needs.
Furthermore, He cares. You are of more value than many sparrows. If He notices every single one, then He notices you as well. He is driving home to believe these things to be absolutely true. If you do not believe it, then your faith will wane and you will misplace your fear. If you believe, then your fear will be placed where it should. It is not whether you fear but whom.

32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
The student is not above His master. The master will be condemned and killed. Peter finds this intolerable and fears men, denying the Lord. Had he stayed in that state of denial, then Jesus would have disowned him. But Peter repented.
To our shame, many of us have had the opportunity to shrink from confessing Jesus before men. We were cool shamed into denying the simple truths of our own need for a Savior. Thanks be to God that He is gracious and kind. He grants us a place of repentance, forgives us and owns us in the presence of His Father.
But now comes the hard truth. Do not believe in God’s sovereignty over all things and wax faint to the fear of men. If then, you deny the Lord of Heaven before men that you fear, then Jesus will deny that He knows you.

34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
How did Jesus come to send a sword? This can be taken in two ways. He sends the sword of the Word of God. That sword divides. It divides the truth from the lie. It divides various claimed commitments. It causes men to take up arms to kill Jesus. As the Kingdom of Jesus threatens nations, they, too, take up arms against God and His people.
This is exactly true of what is happening right now with Islamic terrorism. They hate the word of truth and so attack it. Standing for God’s truth causes strife with God’s enemies. So, Jesus, the great peacemaker is also a cause of strife and division.

35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.
This strife and division is not just with the powers that hate Jesus. Some of them are political. Some are religious. But Jesus causes trouble even within homes. He cause division between sons and fathers, daughters and mothers, daughter in laws and mother in laws.
How does a man’s foes end up being those of his own household? Sometimes it is obvious. When a Muslim coverts to Christianity, his family considers him dead to them. The separate and count him as an enemy.
But even within Christian homes, strife can arise over Jesus. Children may rebel against the Lord and expect their families to continue to support them in their rebellion. Many parents cave in to the desire of the rebellious one to get rid of the strife. They choose peace with their loved one over peace with God.
Jesus is calling us to consider these things, to count the cost of discipleship so that when trouble arises, our allegiances are clear. My own children know that if they forsake Jesus, then they are out of favor with their dad. They will always be my children but they will not be my brothers and sisters if they forsake the Lord. They will not be in my will. They will not receive financial support from me. They will be made to suffer the consequences of their rebellion. This does not mean that I don’t love them. But it does mean that I love Jesus most. And that is a very important lesson they need to know now when they are little and if they ever wander or forsake the Lord, it is a lesion that they must see their parents teach.

37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
Folks, this is important. You ought to love your own parents greatly. You ought to love your own children above just about anyone else. But not above your love for Jesus. If you love Jesus most then you are likely to gain your son and daughter for the Kingdom of God. If you love Jesus most, then your parents are likely to come around to the glory that is Christ.
But if you love your children more than Jesus, you will lose both.

38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
Jesus was willing to die for the glory of His Father. He died to save sinners. We Christians are to take up our cross. What does that mean? It means that we love Jesus more than anyone. We follow Him to the cross. We are willing to die to obey the Father, to obey Jesus. If you won’t do this, you are not worthy of Jesus, which is to say that you do not love Him above all else. Your fears are comprised and your loves are compromised.

39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
What is He saying here? If you choose those things that have the promise of earthly blessings, including parents, spouse and children above the choice of Jesus first, then you are not really living. You are dying and will ultimately perish. But if you lose yourself in Christ, you will find that His ways are faithful and true.

40 He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.
This  is still part of Jesus’s admonition to sending the disciples to heal and preach the kingdom. Jesus is now expressly saying that those who receive His people, receive Him and those that receive Him receive the Father.
Think about the negative explanation of this verse. If you refuse Christ’s ministers, you refuse Jesus. And if you refuse Jesus, you refuse His Father. You cannot receive God, the Father without receiving Jesus and His ministers.

41 He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.
God’s people are everywhere. If they receive His ministers for Christ’s sake, they receive Him and are thus blessed accordingly. If you treat a prophet kindly simply because you recognize that he is a prophet, the Lord will bless you as He would bless that prophet.
A modern example of the prophetic office is that of Pastor. If you show kindness and charity towards a pastor simply because you recognize that he is a pastor and thus seeking to fulfill his office, the Lord will reward you just as he would reward a faithful pastor. Is that not a good incentive to hospitality?
This is also true of a righteous man. A righteous man might be a minister or any faithful Christian you seek to bless simply because he is a righteous man. Such a deed is righteous and the Lord will recognize and bless it

42 And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.
The Lord blesses good deeds done to those of a high calling, pastors, ministers, righteous men but His blessing does not end there. If you show kindness to any saint simply because they belong to Christ, the Lord will take note and bless you accordingly. Again, I say, is this not a great incentive to hospitality? It is no shame to look to the reward. Jesus looked to the reward on the other side of suffering and God blessed Him mightily.
We ought not to do our good deeds merely for the reward of blessing. We ought to do them because we love God and His people. But we should expect God to be true to His Word and bless us as we bless others.

         Have you counted the cost to serving Jesus?
         We often speak of the blessings of the Christian life. God promises to provide all of our needs. If we are in  Christ, trusting the Lord, we will suffer no lack. For those of you who have walked long with Jesus, know this to be true. But having our earthly needs met is no guarantee against all sorts of trouble.
         Trouble can come from God’s enemies. In our present culture there are many. At the top of that list are those who consider Christians as simpletons. The intelligentsia of our society despise Christians and their book. Among them, I include most of the highest higher learning institutions. They cannot tolerate the exclusivity of Jesus. They hate the limitations put upon men by God. They hate Thou Shalt Nots. Academia is almost always an enemy of Christ. I say Academia but not deep learning. Christians should be learned. But you need to understand that when you start to rub shoulders with the most learned of the learned, they will despise you and your little book.
         Our modern media hates Jesus. Right now, at the top of that list, I would put ESPN, CNN, CNBC.  I would include most major newspapers. Among the haters of God are all the cool kids with their cool music and their cool movies.
         If you think you can run the course of commitment to Christ without conflict with God haters, you are greatly mistaken. Some of those who oppose the Word of Jesus may be related to you. This should not surprise you.
         Who will you love most? If you love Jesus most, you will be hated by some of the smartest, most well connected, rich erudite people of our land. Are you willing for them to hate you?

         I hope so. Just love Jesus most.