Summary: Exposition of Acts 28:11-16 about the hospitality shown to the Apostle Paul on his last few weeks of being transported to Rome
Text: Acts 28:11-16, Title: Xenophobia, Date/Place: NRBC, 10/11/09, AM
A. Opening illustration: Clark Griswold’s determination to have a good old fashion family Christmas, the story of Maria with eight children in El Salvador in wartime, and the four eggs
B. Background to passage: After recovering from the shipwreck, ministering to the natives of Malta, the crew decides the time is right to sail on to Rome. It was probably about February in 60 AD. The next five or six verses of the last chapter of Acts are basically a travel log, recording the stops along the home stretch to Rome. So they bounce from shore to shore, all the while the Apostle knowing that Rome, and possibly death, awaits him. And the one thing that sticks out in the whole account is the hospitality shown by the believers in these scattered cities to a virtually unknown missionary.
C. Main thought: So today I want to think about biblical hospitality.
A. Hospitality involves risk (v. 14)
1. In this verse, Luke says that they “found brethren.” And they were invited to stay with them seven days. Biblically, hospitality is defined as: demonstration of God’s love through a voluntary act of kindness or service to an individual or group who is not regarded as extended family or close friend. In fact the Greek word is philoxenos which means literally lover of strangers. These Christians in Puteoli, who never met Paul, invited the mission team to stay with them for a week. In the second and third century, there were many writings about using caution when giving hospitality to “brethren passing through.” There was risk.
3. Illustration: the preparations at my house for 4-5 overnight guests for a week would be great, can you imagine spur of the moment? Conversation we had in our triad just a couple weeks ago about how we all used to pick up hitchhikers and give them a lift, but not anymore. “Give me you tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” but our fear has caused us to give in to a selfish spirit of self-protection and self-preservation, tell about 4-year old Josh, and the guy next door, “but mom, he is not a stranger, that’s Bob.”
4. So things you get paid for don’t count. Things that you do because of obligation don’t count. Things that you do for people who are family or friends don’t count. “The hospitality of today, by which is mean the entertainment of friends and relatives, hardly comes within the biblical use of the term as denoting a special virtue.” Jesus is our example; the friend of sinners. The wretched Samaritan is our example. There is risk that we might be rebuffed, or taken advantage of, or harmed, or inconvenienced. And also be reminded to refuse hospitality because of risk is to refuse Jesus himself; and possibly to miss entertaining an angel. But we are to graciously seek justice on behalf of the downtrodden and provide for them out of our abundance. But most of us are xenophobic.
B. Hospitality requires sacrifice (v. 15)