Summary: The most valuable earthly possession a person can have is a warm, supportive friendship. True friendships are developed within the church community through hospitality. What is Christian Hospitality, what is its basis, and how is it demonstrated?
Introduction: The most valuable earthly possession a person can have is a warm, supportive friendship. People without relationships are miserable people. Recently, I spoke on the fact that everyone needs a friend. True friendships are developed within the church community through hospitality. If we are to be a growing, healthy church we must demonstrate true Christian hospitality. Today, I want you to consider what is Christian Hospitality, what is the basis of Christian Hospitality, and how is Christian Hospitality demonstrated?
I. What is Christian Hospitality?
A. Romans 12:13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. (Share with the saints in their needs; pursue hospitality – HCSB)
B. 1 Peter 4:9 Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.
C. Hebrews 13:2 Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. (Don’t neglect to show hospitality… – HCSB)
D. Hospitality - philoxenia, old word from philoxenos, fond of strangers
E. Hospitality - The act or practice of being hospitable, that is, the reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers, with liberality and goodwill.
F. Hospitality is making others feel at home. Some folks make you feel at home. Others make you wish you were. – Arnold H. Glasow.
G. In 1977, singer John Charles Thomas, at age sixty-six wrote to syndicated columnist Abigail Van Buren: "I am presently completing the second year of a three-year survey on the hospitality or lack of it in churches. To date, of the 195 churches I have visited, I was spoken to in only one by someone other than an official greeter and that was to ask me to move my feet."
H. "People go to the church that is dearest to them and not the church that is nearest to them."
II. What is the Basis of Christian Hospitality?
A. Remember Hospitality is philo – love + xenos – strangers
B. The context of Christian Hospitality is love. Love, first for what Christ has given you with the recognition that everything you have is a gift from Him and belongs to Him. Second it is a love for others.
C. Matthew 22:34 - 40 But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?" Jesus said to him, "’you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ’You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."
D. 1 Peter 4:8 - 9 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins." Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.
E. The basis is fervent love – Fervent – intense stretching, a constant and continual exertion
III. What is the Demonstration of Christian Hospitality?
A. Open Hearts
1. If the basis of Christian Hospitality is love, then we must begin to open our hearts to others.
2. It is extending yourself far beyond that which is normally expected. It is going the extra mile. It is reaching out to others and welcoming them into your heart.
3. Hospitality is allowing God to break through the narrowness of our own fears and opening our hearts. It is learning to genuinely care about people.
4. 1 John 3:17 - 18 But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.
B. Open Hands
1. Open Hands that reach out with a hand of acceptance and friendship.
• Think of the difference between being confronted with a clenched fist and being offered an open hand. The clenched fist signifies threat, rejection, arrogance, exclusion, refusal, anger and violence. The open hand means friendship, help, peace, sharing, communication and connection. - Vivian Boland O.P.
• In Medieval time the extension of an open right hand signified to someone else then that there was no sword or dagger in it. It said, “I will not attempt to hurt you, I accept you.
• We need to accept people as they are because we have been accepted as we are.
• Ephesians 4:32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
2. We need Open Hands that are willing to give to meet the needs of others.
• Deuteronomy 15:11 For the poor will never cease from the land; therefore I command you, saying, ’You shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor and your needy, in your land.’