CHRISTIAN SERVICEThe Bible, God's inspired word to man (2nd Timothy 3:16), Christian Hospitality 3 John 1:8 "We therefore ought to show hospitality to such men so that we may work together for the truth". Three notes are sounded in the apostle's third letter: exhortation (to hospitality), denunciation (of haughtiness), commendation (of humility). Three characters are also dominant: Gaius (a dear friend), Diotrephes (a lover of preeminence), and Demetrius (a popular church member). br />
The keynote of the letter is hospitality, and the theme: The duty and delight of Christian entertaining..
Mind Little Things
I remember at one time I received an invitation from a young preacher to speak in his church. He said, "I remember when you preached at my father's church many years ago. My mother had worked all night, and after dinner, you did the dishes. I'll never forget that. I forgot your sermon, but I haven't forgotten your doing dishes at my mother's home."
1) The Obligation of HospitalityThe entertaining of other Christians, offering Christian hospitality to visiting ministers, evangelists, and missionaries in particular, is a "must." It is also a form of Christian service available to many who cannot preach, teach, or give some other form of Christian witness. John is in line with his fellow apostle Peter: "Use hospitality to one another without grudging"; and with Paul: "Distributing to the necessity of the saints, given to hospitality."
1 Peter 4:7-10 (NIV)
7 - - - Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.
8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.
10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.
Romans 12:9-13 (NIV)
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.
11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
13 Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
How easy it is to offer excuses for not practicing Christian hospitality. "My house is too small." "It interferes with the children's television viewing, or their school homework." "It's asking too much of my wife, and I like my weekends to myself after a hard week at the office." The answer to these objections: We "ought." That is God's word on the subject. Hospitality has nothing to do with the size of the house. Elijah did not complain of the smallness of the room set aside for his visits. A visiting Christian is looking for fellowship, not a five-star hotel.
1 Kings 17:10-16 (NIV)
10 So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, "Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?"
11 As she was going to get it, he called, "And bring me, please, a piece of bread."
12 "As surely as the LORD your God lives," she replied, "I don't have any bread--only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it--and die."
13 Elijah said to her, "Don't be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small cake of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son.
14 For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the LORD gives rain on the land.'"
15 She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family.
16 For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the LORD spoken by Elijah.
2) The Opportunities of Hospitality
Note how the King James Version emphasizes "and to strangers." Christian hospitality is a means of Defining Christ in your life—the giving of a cup of tea or coffee to the canvassing salesperson, the appliance repairman, etc.
2 Corinthians 8:1-5 (NIV)
1 And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches.
2 Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.
3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own,
4 they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints.
5 And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God's will.
The Hospitality of the Poor
It has been said that the greatest hospitality and helpfulness shown in our cities come from the poor, who divide their insufficient means and share it with someone else who is poorer than they. The hospitable soul is brought into close touch with the God who declares that it is more blessed to give than to receive. The poor widow woman in Zarephath made a good investment when she divided her last handful of meal and oil with Elijah. The meal-barrel and oil-cruse became temples of the Lord, and they were not wasted, but abounded in comfort for many a long day. It will be a neighborly world when that spirit possesses all hearts. The first great practical influence which Christianity has among men is to make them good neighbors.
Bible Illustrations - Bible Illustrations – Practical Bible Illustrations From Yesterday and Today
Jesus describes Types of Hospitality
Matthew 25:34-40 (NIV)
34 "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.
35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,
36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
37 "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?
38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?
39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
40 "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
Often we are far too reserved in the light of Scripture. Our homes should be "the Lord's Guest House." When Matthew wanted his old companions to meet his Savior he invited them to his house.
Luke 19:1-10 (NIV)
1 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through.
2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy.
3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd.
4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.
5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today."
6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.
7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, "He has gone to be the guest of a 'sinner.'"
8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount."
9 Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.
10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost."
Zacchaeus welcomed Jesus into his home and the Savior said: "Salvation is come to this house." Our homes can be an extension of the evangelistic work of the local church as we invite young people from the church who are not committed Christians, and unsaved neighbors and friends.
|Desert Valley Church Of Christ ©||FB YT|