Session 10: Hospitality in an MC

1 timothy 3:2—Elders are to be hospitable; 1 peter 5:3 elders are to set an example to those who are under their care

  • God cares about hospitality

  • Elders are to take the lead in exemplifying hospitality

Gospel Motivated Hospitality is necessary as an a key environment for people to know and experience the love of Christ and be changed by it

  • Disciplemaking requires that we are hospitable

What is hospitality?

  • Believers being together? Not the key—comes from two greek words that mean ‘love for strangers’

  • Treating the stranger as an equal to the host

  • All this helps a stranger to move toward and become a family member.

  • They begin to really belong

Origin and Biblical Theology of Hospitality

  • Genesis 1 & 2—at rest and at work, they are at rest in Him. He has provided for their needs. Trusting in Him, walking with Him. This is the best picture of hospitality. They trust God to provide and love them.

  • Post-Lapsarian—We go from hospitality to hostility. But when we are hospitable, we point to a time with God in the future that will be perfectly with Him and at rest again.

  • Hospitality is giving the love that God gives you to others—love others as God loves you.

  • God Sends a people to bless, to be hospitable, to others, to the nations. The Jews were not cared for in Egypt, they were not considered ‘one of’ in Egypt—so it is hostile. They are truly slaves. This is what it is like to be the outsider, used instead of served.

  • Leviticus 19:9—after they were rescued out of slavery. “When you reap the harvest of your land you shall not reap your field right up to its edge…neither shall you collect all gleanings—but you shall leave them for the poor and the sojourner” Translation—always create space in your budget for the needs of the stranger.

    • People often find that it is difficult to be ok with how much we give to our missional communities…we need to plan and budget for the missional community as a priority.

    • You’ll know that people are on board if they are budgeting

    • Leviticus 33—treat the sojourner who stays with you as the native among you, you shall love him as yourself—for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.

    • Whatever God did to you, He wants to do through you to others

  • Deuteronomy 10:18—He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow…love the sojourner, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.

    • Look at what God did for the Israelites in Egypt, and out of Egypt. Shelter, food, in their midst (tabernacle), means of restoration (sacrifice).

    • The Israelites ask: does anyone care for us while we wonder—God answers with care by treating them like family.

  • Hospitality—Care for strangers like they are family. The Israelites failed at this. They thought that they were entitled to God’s care…so they only treated others the way they think the deserved. God is faithful through everything—Jesus is God’s most important expression of hospitality.

The Culture in which Jesus’ Life Took Place

  • Roman, Hebrew, Greek…The roots of Hospitality

    • Taking a hostile stranger and treating them openly and kindly. ‘love your enemies’

    • EX: The Lone Survivor—A lone survivor is saved by the kindness of an Afghan stranger. Many die just to protect the soldier.

    • Jesus treats us like we belong even though we are strangers—He gives up His life in order for our entry to be assured—He dies so that we are transferred from enemies to family.

  • Greek

    • If you see a stranger pass in front of your house, invite them in. Wash their feet, care for their needs—then you ask their names. They serve people in order to get to know them/serve before knowing them. Invite them in before knowing them. We don’t behave this way. Usually, we say we have to really know someone before we invite them into our home.

    • --can you imagine what it would be like if we started treating people who are outside our family this way? We won’t care what they believe before we serve them. We cannot refuse to serve and love people.

    • Philemon and Baucis—Greek idea that the Gods walk among us and you may be serving a God in your home when you invite them in or turn them away. Certainly not biblical…but we can think about this in context of “whatever you did unto the least of these, you did unto me.” Jesus speaks into this context. When God showed up, you didn’t exercise hospitality

    • Hebrews 13:12—who knows, you might be entertaining angels among you?—God is sending a messenger your way, treat the messenger well—treat everyone at your door as if it is me. Whatever you did unto the least of these…

      • Jeff on feeling convicted about this: I talked to a renter of ours (a stranger) at the threshold of the door. I spoke to him through the door and did not let him in. my wife turned to me after he left and said essentially: what if he had been Jesus, would you have let him in?

      • Be willing to let the threshold go and treat people as Jesus.

    • Ephesians 2:11—remember that you were at that time alienated…you who were once far off are near through the blood of Christ…one new man instead of two so making peace…through him we both have access to the father…both members of the household of God.

What would it look like to really believe this—How do we live it out?

  • Hospitality—a Place to Be

    • Where do you feel most at home? Affection for one another, a greeting, real joy about the presence of others—a greeting

    • A place of rest—hospitality means experiencing rest. Give people a way to kick their feet up.

    • Be their true self—let them be ‘naked’, not literally, but to be truly themselves. They don’t have to be perfect. They don’t have to get themselves cleaned up before they enter in. –freedom to be a mess.

  • Hospitality—a Place to Become

    • Become Whole—we don’t want people to stay in their brokenness. They enter in and then they can begin to change.

      • Serve their real and felt needs

        • Maybe clothes, friends, food, etc

      • Feed them both physically and spiritually

        • Experience the physical love of the body of Christ, before they learn to love the spiritual food of Christ

  • Hospitality—a Place to Do

    • We want to call them to something…we want them to become mature believers, showing them how to do what you have done. Gospel hospitality—something done to you so God can do it through you.

Questions for reflection:

  • 1. How does the story of God’s hospitality change your view of hospitality?

  • 2. What aspects of hospitality do you most struggle with and why?

  • 3. How can we as an MC create a more hospitable environment for others to experience BEING, BECOMING, and DOING?