Hospitality: The Church
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… manifested from a welcoming heart.
What is a church?
- Local group of Christians
- Regular gathering
- Congregation-wide exercise of affirming membership in Christ and oversight of that membership
- The church represents Christ and his rule on earth, so they gather in his name using preaching, baptism and the Lord’s Supper for these purposes.
We are arguing from the big truth of the church’s identity down to “in the dirt” application.
- The church is the household of God so we make sure God is welcomed.
Ephesians 2:19-22 (ESV) So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
- We make personal preparation with right heart attitudes.
- We make sure we are connected to the head, Jesus, and growing up into him through real live people we are connected to in a fellowship who are also growing up into Christ.
- We make sure we are working out our gifts from the Holy Spirit for others.
- We obey God’s word, repent of sin and seek the Lord’s presence in holy living together on mission.
- We show up and do so on time.
- The church is a place for all nations so we make sure all nations are welcomed.
Mark 11:17 citing Isaiah 56:7
Mark 11:17 (ESV) And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, my house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.”
Psalms 22:27 (ESV) All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you.
- Is there anything in our unseen set of cultural rules that keep other nations and races from being significant in our fellowships?
- The church is the place where God himself is the host appealing through us as his body to welcome allto become insiders through being reconciled back to God through Jesus.
2 Corinthians 5:20 (ESV) Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
Obstacles to Hospitality
- Treating the church like she exists to seek our own needs rather than seeking Jesus’ rule over us through his body, the church.
Matthew 6:33 (ESV) But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
- Not living in the Spirit’s gifting.
1 Peter 4:9-10 (ESV) Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:
- Management of our time so that God gets little and the body gets none.
- Affinity based love for people rather than Christocentric love for all including enemies.
- Creating an excluding culture by valuing peripheral issues as though they were central to the faith. (example: home schooling; family centric church model)
- Fear of being hurt.
- Lack of an “others first” mindset / Me first mindset.
- Failing to understand the hard issues of our day through a Christian worldview and then peacemakers.
- Failure to apply the golden rule.
Matthew 7:12 (ESV) “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
- Failure to imitate God in welcoming sinners to be saved and failure to literallywelcome one another to corporate worship. (2 applications for the price of one in context of Romans 15)
Romans 15:7 (ESV) Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
From Nic Burleson