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Summary: God is concerned about the treatment of people. He wanted them to feel welcome. Our churches today need to view visitors differently, sharing with them the same concern God has. This message looks at some easy things we can do to chage our perception o

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From Visitor To Guest

Romans 15:7

Romans 15:7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

Lev 19:33 - Lev 19:34 (TMSG) “When a foreigner lives with you in your land, don’t take advantage of him. Treat the foreigner the same as a native. Love him like one of your own. Remember that you were once foreigners in Egypt. I am GOD, your God.

Gen 15:13 (TMSG) GOD said to Abram, “Know this: your descendants will live as outsiders in a land not theirs; they’ll be enslaved and beaten down for 400 years.

Ex 23:9 (TMSG) “Don’t take advantage of a stranger. You know what it’s like to be a stranger; you were strangers in Egypt.

Lk 9:11 (TMSG) But the crowds got wind of it and followed. Jesus graciously welcomed them and talked to them about the kingdom of God. Those who needed healing, he healed.

Acts 28:30 (TMSG) Paul lived for two years in his rented house. He welcomed everyone who came to visit.

INTRODUCTION: Our verses this morning reveal to us, in a compressed fashion, God’s view of welcome. First, God tells Abraham that his descendants will live as outsiders in a land that is not their own and that they will be mistreated. Second God reminds Israel of their treatment when they were in the land of Egypt. Third, God lays down principles for the nation of Israel to abide by when strangers are in their land. Fourth, Jesus modeled this gracious provision of God. And fifth, Paul continued the model of Jesus as He welcomed all to his home.

God is concerned about the treatment of people. He wanted them to feel welcome. With that in mind it would do us well as a church to look at our desire to welcome others and our ability to do so.

Lk 15:1-2 (TMSG) By this time a lot of men and women of doubtful reputation were hanging around Jesus, listening intently. The Pharisees and religion scholars were not pleased, not at all pleased. They growled, “He takes in sinners and eats meals with them, treating them like old friends.”

1. THE ISSUE OF WELCOME IS AFFECTED BY OUR VOCABULARY (A lot can be said in a few words)

a. The Pharisees called the people Jesus Interacted with, "sinners"

b. Words are important

i. They mean things

ii. They communicate information

iii. They set the tone of the situation

1. The words we use reveal our thinking

2. The words we use reveal our real thoughts about the issue

2. God made sure the people of Israel knew what He meant when HE spoke about welcoming and treating strangers correctly.

a. Here are some of the issues God wanted Israel to know about when they dealt with strangers

i. They were allowed to listen to the reading of the Law

ii. They were allowed to celebrate festivals

iii. They were allowed to participate in religious observances

iv. They had freedom from oppression

v. They had access to physical care

vi. They had legal protection

vii. They were allowed to work in the temple

viii. They were allowed to serve in the army

b. When we seek to emulate God’s view of welcome, we need to communicate welcome well, leaving NO room for error or miscommunication.

3. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN VISITOR AND GUEST

a. Guest are expected, visitors are not

b. Guests are prepared for, visitors are not

c. Guests are welcomed, visitors are tolerated

d. Guests are engaged, visitors are amused

e. Guests are expected to return, visitors are expected to leave.

4. WHAT WE CAN DO TO EMULATE THE KIND OF WELCOME GOD WANTS US TO HAVE FOR OTHERS

a. We need to stop using the word visitor and start using the word guest

b. We need to ask God what each of us can do to make sure we really are as friendly a church as we perceive we are

c. We need to be willing to change and make ourselves more friendly to the guest who come to our service.

After all Jesus was willing to change before He ever saw us, ....

Rom 5:8 (TMSG) But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.

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