Preacher's Pulpit by Dr. Joe Tims

Practical Christianity #5: Hospitality

II Corinthians 3:2

INTRODUCTION

Baptists have traditionally been a soul conscious people emphasizing the need of the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world. This is in contrast to the philosophy of those who promote a 'social gospel'. Minimizing or ignoring the spiritual needs, their focus is on taking care of the human or physical needs.

This philosophy reduces the ministry of the local church to little more than a social agency to feed, clothe, and pay the utility bills for anyone who asks. I have had people literally get indignant with me because I wouldn't agree to provide them with money for motel rooms, rent, or any number of other needs.

(Matt 7:12) "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets."

God instructs us to have a ministry of hospitality to others. We are not 'of the world', but we are 'in the world'! So we must be aware of our influence upon others around us.

I want us to think about another area of practical Christianity. How can we be a positive influence for the cause of Christ? We can make an impact by having a ministry of hospitality to others.

I. Definition of Hospitality.

A. Scriptural commands.

1. To Israel in the Old Testament.

(Lev 19:33-34) "And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him. {34} But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God."

2. To the New Testament believer.

(Rom 12:10, 13) "Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another´é╝Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality."

B. Practical definition.

1. Hospitality = "Love of strangers"

2. The word here describes the practice of graciously entertaining strangers.

3. Many in the Bible illustrate this important Christian trait.

a. Mary and Martha practiced hospitality.

(Luke 10:38) "Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house."

b. Lydia, and other early Christians demonstrated this trait.

(Acts 16:14-15) "And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. {15} And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us."

c. Priscilla and Aquila were given to hospitality.

(Acts 18:26) "And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly."

d. Angels unaware?

(Heb 13:2) "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."

(1) This is certainly a reason to be hospitable, but it isn't the only reason.

(2) God has commanded us to have a ministry of hospitality.

II. Three Groups of People in Need of this Ministry.

A. The first group is our neighbors.

1. A neighbor is a friend, a close associate, or one who lives nearby.

2. Jesus included strangers in this definition of who was to be our neighbors.

3. Remember the parable of the Good Samaritan?

(Luke 10:36) "Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?"

4. Are we ministering to our neighbors?

B. The second group is the poor.

1. The Bible has a lot to say about the poor.

2. There will always be those who are considered the 'poor'.

3. Jesus said He was anointed to preach the gospel to the poor.

4. The rich young ruler was instructed to distribute his wealth to the poor.

5. Time and time again we are instructed to care for the poor among us.

6. But we must be discerning in this ministry.

7. There are the 'professional poor' who travel or call from church to church.

8. These people who have been conditioned by our society to believe that churches are obligated to provide for them.

9. They believe that it is 'owed' to them.

10. This growing group of 'free loaders' and 'scam artists' should not dissuade us from ministering to those who are truly needy in our community.

C. The third group is of course our friends and our brethren. (Gal 6:10) "As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith."

1. It is not that we 'have' to do this, but rather that we 'want' to do it

2. Our goal should be to not only meet a need, but to encourage and strengthen the faith of our brethren.

3. We must be ready to do this, because the opportunity may arise at any time.

4. This may be an opportunity to express in very practical ways, the love of Christ.

III. Practical Ways to Minister Hospitality.

A. Be alert at all times to the opportunities to help others.

B. Be really interested in other people.

C. Take an interest in our neighborhood and the others who live there.

D. Do something for those who are less fortunate than we are.

E. Be motivated by the Spirit of God to minister and not by guilt.

F. Do not minimize the value of helping someone else.

CONCLUSION:

(Mat 7:12) "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets."

How is our hospitality towards others? Are we effectively ministering?