12.04.2006

Hospitality in the New Testament

Holy moly!! This is the longest break I've taken from posting in a long time! I guess it's just been a busy week. I'll fill you in on what's been going on another time...

For now, I just want to add a few thoughts in my series on hospitality and incarnation. Today's thoughts: hospitality in the New Testament.

So, first of all, we can see that Jesus puts a lot of emphasis on hospitality. We see it in the story of the Good Samaritan. We see it in the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man. We see it in the story of the Great Banquet. And we see it in Jesus' teachings about the Sheep and the Goats.

Hospitality is huge for Jesus.

In the New Testament, we also start to see hospitality in a lot of different ways.

  1. Jesus as Guest - John 1:10-11 tells us that Jesus came into a world that neither recognized him nor received him. He came as a stranger into our world and our world showed no hospitality. However, "to those who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God" (John 1:12). Those who show Christ hospitality by welcoming him into their midst and into their lives become a part of God's family.
  2. Christians as Guests - As Christians, we know that we were once alienated from God. We were separated from God. And God showed us hospitality by welcoming us (Ephesians 2:12). At the same time, when we are welcomed by God, we become strangers and aliens in the world--a place where we are shown little or no hospitality (1 Peter 2:11).
  3. Christians as Hosts - Because we, as Christians, know what it is, first and foremost, to be aliens in relation to God, and, secondly, to be aliens in relation to the world, it is our calling to welcome into our midst those who are in the world. Romans 12:13 tells us to "Practice hospitality." But not only that, "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink" (Romans 12:20) Christians are to show hospitality to everyone--even our enemies!
Now here's the problem.

How many churches in our country are so inward-focused that new people are completely ignored? Tons, I imagine!

And which churches are these? It's the churches who say things like, "Well, we may be small, but we have great fellowship."

Sure, they have great fellowship--but only with each other. I recently heard of a Methodist church in the Cincinnati area that actually stopped having new member classes because they decided they didn't want anyone else in their church.

That's one of the worst things I've ever heard! In fact, I believe it's sinful.

Our churches must grow in their show of hospitality. Without it, I don't believe the church is truly being the church.

65 comments:

Ted said...

Wow ... I can't possibly imagine what would be going on in the minds of those church members that they would even think to stop having new members classes because they don't want them.

Markus Watson said...

I know... It's unbelievable, isn't it?!

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