Hospitality: God’s Nature and Our Responsibility

Hospitality: God’s Nature

Hospitality: God’s Nature

Definition of Hospitality: The friendly and generous reception and care for any guest because that is what God does.

Hospitality is not one big thing. Hospitality is a thousand little things[1]… manifested from a welcoming heart.

NOTE: hospitality can be shown by non-Christians because hospitality is part of being created in God’s image.

Hospitality is not so much a systematic teaching in the bible as much as a way of life that is the result of God, the example of hospitality, building hospitality into created order.

Creation – God creates and welcomes image bearers into his creation and makes them partners with himself on mission with him.

Jesus – Feeding 5 thousand / Matthew 11:28 (ESV) Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

The alien – Because God welcomes image bearers to himself, God expects image bearers to welcome other image bearers who are in need.

Deuteronomy 10:18-19 (ESV) He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. 19 Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.

Matthew 25:31-46

CONTEXT: This is the 3rdin a trilogy of parables (10 virgins; Talents; Sheep and Goats) in which the theme, carried over from chapter 24, is being ready (in preparation, stewardship, and hospitality).

Those who are ready were those who believe and are anticipating the master’s return and are ready versus those who did not believe and anticipate the master’s return and are not ready.


  1. Salvation by works (never interpret passages isolated from the rest of the bible)
  2. Social gospel

What does our passage mean?

  1. Our salvation is worked out in justice and mercy and compassion in welcoming and/or serving the outsider.


  1. Serving the outsider is what followers of Jesus and citizens of his kingdom do.
  • It’s not the quality of their spiritual consumption that displays their eternal dwelling. Rather, ministering to the outsider is the indicator of one’s eternal dwelling.


  1. Jesus identifies himself with the outsider because he came as an outsider although Creator of it all. 25:40

John 1:10-13 (ESV) He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

  • In some way, hospitality to outsiders is equated with service to Jesus himself.


  1. Christians showing hospitality to outsiders are surprised to learn they were serving Jesus. 25:37-39
  • Why? Because they were not looking to impress Jesus.
  • They were just working out of a “ready” heart that reflects the image of the God they are created in.


  1. The reward for faithful hospitality is the kingdom of God. 25:34


  1. The penalty for faithless inhospitality to the outsider is eternal punishment. 25:41


  1. Hospitality to the outsider must become a trait of the people who have been transformed.
  • It can never be one person or one team’s job/ministry to be the hospitality show ponies while the rest of us ignore people.
  • We can’t shun biblical hospitality for the sake of any political agenda or ideology.


  1. Hospitality looks like proactive engagement of the outsider. 25:35-36
  • Rather than waiting for the outsider to come to you for help, you go to them having

seen or anticipated their need.

  • Proactive engagement looks to heal the curse of sin not to ignore the curse of sin.


  1. Inhospitality looks like passively ignoringthe outsider.
  • Rather than seeing the need as a primary target of our action, we bypass it for more

“spiritual” activities.


  1. Hospitality and neighborliness are twins.

Matthew 25:31-46 has always smelled like the parable of the “Good Samaritan” to me.

  • Who is my neighbor? Luke 10:25-37
  • Don’t be like the spiritually elite (priest and Levite).
  • Be like the outsider and welcome and serve outsiders.

[1]From Nic Burleson

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