Sharing God’s gifts with others
Doxology Hymn no 132: “With harps and with Viols” (verses 1, 4, 5)
Call to worship
God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:31-32)
Grace to you from God our Father, and Jesus Christ our Lord.
Invocation and the Lord’s Prayer
The Lord’s Prayer
Hymn No 321: “Bring to the Lord a glad new song”
Prayer of Adoration and Confession
Declaration of pardoning
“Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” For the mouth of the LORD has spoken. (Isaiah 1:18-20)
Hymn No 507: “O Christ in You my soul has found”
Scripture Reading: Genesis 18:1-8
Offering and Dedication Remaining seated, we sing
Hymn 365 (Tune 435)
Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 4:1-11
Choir will sing “Amazing Grace”
Sermon: Christian Hospitality: Sharing God’s gifts with others
A relatively new word has entered into our vocabulary: 8 xenophobia! It can be described as a dislike of foreigners or strangers. People lock themselves away from the rest of humankind, because they feel uneasy and nervous in the company of people they don’t know. In no way would I try to deny that some people might have some psychological disorder and that they might need help in this regard. But is also a symptom of our modern society that people want to be anonymous. Only recently we read in the pares of a lady who experienced an attack of asthma in a shopping mall; she fell onto the floor in desperate need for help, but no-one stopped to offer help. When asked, a bystander said he didn’t want to get involved.
8 On this day, as we are invited to be guests at the table of the Lord, we enjoy the best imaginable hospitality. The love of our Lord Jesus Christ who stooped into our world to seek and save sinners, invite the lost who find themselves in the dark alleys of loneliness and hopelessness receive the invitation to sit at the banquet feast of the Son of God – now still in preliminary form, yet not less real; one day in all its fullness and completeness to last into all eternity.
At this table we enjoy the pinnacle of hospitality and love as the Son of God bestows unto us his mercies and grace. At this table we also enjoy the climax of unity with one another. In 1Corinthians 10 we read:
Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf. (1 Corinthians 10:17)
It speaks then for itself that we are called to, when we depart from this table, show what this love towards us, and love towards one another mean in practical terms.
The reading from 1 Peter 4 helps us to understand how to show our concern and care for one another as members of the same body of Christ.
The first few verses in this chapter can be summarised like this:
1. Do not be controlled by the past (1–6). People who have been saved through faith in Christ (1:23) should not allow the old life (that is the old nature which allowed us to be selfish) to control them. The past has been buried, and they are new creatures in Christ. Furthermore, life is too short to waste it on godless living, especially when you realize that one day we will all stand before God.
2. Be serious about the present (7–11). No matter how difficult life may be, there is a job to do; and we must be faithful. Take time to pray. Show love to the saints. Use your gifts and talents to serve others. The Lord who gave you the ability will also give you the strength to use it for His glory.
8 A word which is used fairly widely and commonly these days in the church (while some may not understand the Biblical meaning of it), is “fellowship”. Some use this word to express a very superficial “having a yarn” or “spending time in one another company”.
8 Hospitality as Biblical fellowship
8 Romans 12:5: In Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
8 Romans 12:13: Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
8 Hebrews 13:16: And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
8 So Peter writes in 1 Peter 4:8: Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
8 Paul writes in Romans 12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
8 We learn from these paragraphs that our fellowship as brothers and sisters in the Lord is extremely precious and extraordinary different from a humanistic or pure philanthropic do-good. It roots in the love of and for Christ.
Hospitality is a quality of a Christian who loves the Lord. It is to care for one another on more that just a spiritual level. 8 It is to share material gifts your received from God with others. It is therefore a special way in which we make practical our love and care for one another. 8 Hospitality is to not only open your heart and wallet to others, it is to open your home to others.
Christian love and care now becomes very close to your comfort zone. 8 As a matter of fact, it cuts right into your comfort zone.
8 The Greek uses the word philozenos. Not xeno-phobia, but xeno-philos.
1Tim 5:10 spells out the qualities of a caring Christian and lists all these qualities together. It talks of the widows who is an example:
… good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the saints, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds. (1 Timothy 5:10)
Hospitality in the ancient world was ‘receiving’ outsiders and changing them from strangers to guests.
8Hospitality – Why?
8 It is a command
Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. (Romans 12:13)
We ought therefore to show hospitality to such men so that we may work together for the truth. (3 John 8)
8 We are receivers of God’s mercy. What we have don’t belong to us, we need to share our possessions with those in need, because we are only stewards of the good gifts of God. This is so different from what we hear and see around is these days. It’s everyone for himself. What I have is mine. That is not the Bible message. To befriend the stranger, to share with those in need, is a test of my love and devotion to God, as well as to those who cross my road. Hospitality is therefore not to give a hand-out; it is to stretch my hand out. It is not to put my hand in my pocket for a dollar; it is to open my pocket for those who, by God’s decree, need myself, my food, my clothing, my love, my understanding; it is to walk a second mile, to lend the cloak without expecting it back. It is in the deepest sense to open your heart and your person as Christ opened and emptied Himself for you when you were lost and a stranger without hope and direction. Christian hospitality beams and radiates the warm of Christ to my fellow brother and sister. it is to really become family in Christ.
8 Hospitality – to whom?
8 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. (Galatians 6:10)
8 Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. (Hebrews 13:2)
8 Hospitality – how?
8 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. (1 Peter 4:9)
8 As if we receive angels (Hebrew 13:2)
My brother and sister,
How are things with your hospitality? When was the last time your had one of your fellow brothers and sister of this church in your home for dinner? Is your home open to the stranger in the Lord? Is there warmth and love? Have you seen someone in church today who you know might need that encouragement of just a simple meal and fellowship? And may I also ask: when was the last tie you allowed some to show hospitality towards you? It is sometimes a blessed thing to allow others into your life, to allow them to entertain you as the stranger. Or do you shut the door, no only of your life, but also of your house; or not only of your house, but also o your life?
Ask God to teach you hospitality - practiced with a warm heart, glowing with the love of the Saviour Lord who now give you the signs of forgiveness and a new life into all eternity.
Public Profession of Faith
Keith and Shirley Shepherdson
Hymn No 352: “The Lord bless you and keep you”
– Be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray
– love each other deeply
– Offer hospitality to one another
– Use whatever gift you have received to serve others
– If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God
– Serve so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ
(1 Peter 4:7-11)
Hymn No 356: “I am not worthy holy Lord” (Tune 422)
Elders approach after table is prepared