Thesis: The key to practicing hospitality is to forget yourself and to remember your guest.
1. There's an fascinating story about Abraham in Genesis 18.
a. Illust. He & his family are camped near the Oaks of Mamre. 3 men visit--Abraham "falls over himself" serving them! Turns out these men are divine visitors--good/bad news. Good news: Sarah will have a son. Bad news: Sodom & Gomorrah will be destroyed.
b. Story becomes proverbial in both Judaism & Christianity as an example of ... hospitality (cf. Heb. 13:2).
2. We're not totally unfamiliar with the NT exhortation to practice hospitality.
a. But when we think of obeying Lord's commands--not usually in top 10!
b. MOST ADMIT: We don't practice it as much as we ought to or would like to!
I. "PRACTICE HOSPITALITY!": NOT AN ISOLATED COMMAND.
A. Admonitions to Hospitality: B. Examples of Hospitality:
2. Romans 12:13 2. Philemon (22, 5, 7).
3. 1 Peter 4:9 3. Aquila & Priscilla:
6. Ephesus (1 Cor. 16:19).
II. HINDRANCES TO PRACTICING HOSPITALITY.
A. THE SIMPLE FACT THAT WE ARE ALL SO DIFFERENT.
1. We all live such scattered and diverse lives.
a. Not same ages, don't have same interests, don't live in same neighborhoods, don't know the same people, don't have same
jobs or schedules.
b. Yet we come here 1-2-3x a week and expect ourselves to be something called the family of God!
2. May be too much to expect to happen in just a few hrs each week!
3. Hospitality may be more of an issue for Christians today than in the 1st century (require more effort).
B. LIFE IN THE FASTLANE SYNDROME.
1. One of the greatest hindrances to hospitality is being able to get our schedules to match!
2. Commute, work/overtime, business trips, soccer, swimming, baseball, church 3x per week--NOT MUCH LEFT!
C. FAILURE TO HAVE UNDERSTANDING REGARDING HOSPITALITY.
1. Are you & mate agreed on its importance & how it's to be done?
a. Is it o.k. to bring someone home unannounced?
b. Husbands: willing to share the responsibility?
c. NT calls Christian people, not just women!
2. Unless we have some understanding we may never be able to "practice hospitality."
D. A "MAN'S HOME IS HIS CASTLE" MENTALITY.
1. Home is viewed as a refuge from the world.
a. Home: where we "crash" ("pull drawbridge").
b. Home: where only most familiar are allowed.
c. Illust. Ever notice what's happened to front porches? Old homes have them--but new homes don't! Why is that? It is the prevailing feeling in our society that homes are meant to be private.
2. This mentality can make our home a place where people are not welcome.
a. Mat may say: "Welcome," .....
b. But everything else says: "I wish these people would go away!"
E. THE "DON'T LOOK AT MY HOUSE!" SYNDROME.
1. Ever walk into someone's home & have lady of the house go into hyper-spaz: "Don't look at my house!"
2. This betrays a view of home as a gallery.
a. Therefore hours of work is necessary before anyone comes to visit.
b. Makes us less likely to have guests!
c. Homes are meant to have some clutter--we live there don't we?
3. If we're not careful we'll associate hospitality with hours & hours of hard work--do it less often.
III. PRACTICING HOSPITALITY: A PRACTICAL SUGGESTION.
A. Reflected in two texts on hospitality that we've looked at today: Gen. 18:1-7; 1 Peter 4:9.
B. Forget yourself ..... focus completely on the other person (a very God-like quality!)
C. When you see other people as important it doesn't matter what kind of house you have or what's on the menu ... hospitality will happen!
(From a sermon by James Walters)