The following is my notes of Garrett Kell’s Sunday Evening Sermon at Capitol Hill Baptist Church on May 27, 2012
In a mission trip to Peru I experienced true, biblical hospitality. It was wonderful to experience this.
For some hospitality is overwhelming because it means we open our lives and that costs us something. Many of us want to be holy hermits.
But what does God’s word say about hospitality?
1. Definition of Hospitality
How would you define it?
The biblical word is very literally translated as a love toward strangers. It is a gospel centered posture of the heart.
Here is my definition:
It is a spirit of service and practical generosity that shows the love of Christ to others.
2. Biblical Survey of Hospitality
In Genesis we see God providing for Adam and Eve. The rest of the Bible shows God bringing people back into fellowship.
All through the Old Testament we see hospitality practiced, but we see this even more in the gospels and the scenes surrounding the life of Jesus. All of this culminates in the great and final meal of the Lord’s Supper when he served and washed the disciples feet. Which was the lowliest of tasks and to men who would soon betray him.
Humanity then would not host the Lord of Hosts and we rejected him. He bore God’a wrath and died so that he could invite us again to join him in his forever home. We who were far off are near. We who were enemies were friends. He is preparing a place for us. There will be the greatest of feasts in that day after he returns.
Until that day he gives us His spirit to live in us and love others. They know we are disciples by our love for one another and one of the most practical ways to love one another is to be hospitable. We are to serve others just as we have been served.
Just read Acts sometime and see how often the Spirit led acts of hospitality. Especially see how they served those who were preaching and missionaries coming through.
Also notice that in both Timothy & Titus being hospitable is a qualification for elders, but we see all Christians are commanded to practice hospitality in Romans 12:13:
Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. (Romans 12:13)
Christian love is peculiar to the world but it makes perfect sense in light of the cross. It is a glimpse to the world of the love of Christ.
See this in 1 Peter 4:
The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. (1 Peter 4:7-9)
Notice he says the end of the world is near and in light of that fact we are to be hospitable. That is because there is this amazing thing God does when his people gather and encourage each other.
Also notice the warning against the common temptation to grumble. All the details and the transparency that is involved means there are plenty of opportunities for grumbling.
3. Applying this Word
First, we must practice hospitality.
This command is not given to those who can cook well or have nice homes or lots of money. We are all to be faithful with what we have. It is easy to look at others gifts and think that we are insufficient, but remember Christ came only for those who see themselves as insufficient. Do not be someone else, just be faithful.
Second, make plans prayerfully and strategically.
Talk with those you live with. Think it through. Make plans and pray for wisdom.
3. Third, practice hospitality in order to edify others.
Ask them how they came to know Christ and how you can pray for them. Not just watching a game or hanging out. Ask these kind of questions.
Fourth, practice hospitality in order to serve.
Serve in a way that is looking to bless others and serve them. Otherwise we will be just serving ourselves.
Fifth, practice hospitality in order to bring unity among our diversity.
Invite people over who are not like you in their life circumstances. Married with singles. Young with old. Republicans with democrats. Different ethnicities.
Sixth, practice hospitality as an act of faith.
Do not underestimate what God might do to bless you in this feeble act of service.
Seventh, practice hospitality with the end in mind.
In all your service keep the great day of Isaiah 25 in view:
O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure. For you have made the city a heap, the fortified city a ruin; the foreigners’ palace is a city no more; it will never be rebuilt. Therefore strong peoples will glorify you; cities of ruthless nations will fear you. For you have been a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat; for the breath of the ruthless is like a storm against a wall, like heat in a dry place. You subdue the noise of the foreigners; as heat by the shade of a cloud, so the song of the ruthless is put down. On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” (Isaiah 25:1-9)