Thursday, April 19, 2012

Unified in Hospitality

Scripture: 1 Peter 4:9
Be hospitable to one another without complaint.

Insights:  Today I remind you about the context of this verse.  Peter has just told us that Jesus is going to return any time now and as a result we need to be prepared.  There is intensity in Peter’s words because we do not know how long we have to share the gospel.  Because we don’t know, we ought to live very determined and directed lives for God’s glory.  This week’s passage has pointed us to two very specific characteristics so far that ought to be present in our lives because of Jesus imminent return.  Those were a unity of prayer and a unity of forgiveness.  Today we look at a third characteristic which ought to be present in our lives because Jesus is returning soon—hospitality.  There are many dynamics to hospitality.  The one most think about is actually inviting people to your home.  This aspect is what is being referred to with those who have the gift of hospitality. There is also an aspect in which it means our cordiality toward visitors in our worship services.  This facet is described by Paul and Peter when they told the early church to greet each other with a holy kiss.  Now, it is true, we are Americans.  The custom of greeting each other with a kiss on the cheek is not really present here like it is in other parts of the world.  We instead shake people’s hands or hug people’s necks.  The point is we need to be intentional about reaching out to visitors and especially visitors that may not know the Lord.  We might all say, “Well that is no big deal, we can all do that.”  Yet Peter knows the human heart very well as he concludes the sentence with, “without complaint.”  Believe it or not, but some people begrudgingly show hospitality toward others.  Wayne Grudem wrote about that Greek word translated here as complaint.  He stated, “Some translations use the word ungrudgingly and it literally means ‘without grumbling’ or ‘without murmuring’.  These terms are used to refer to repeated words of compliant, often spoken to others with the result of stirring up rebellion.  Such grumbling is ultimately a complaint against God and His ordering of circumstances, and its result is to drive out faith, thanksgiving, and joy.”  Do you see from Grudem’s words why Satan would desire for someone to fall into the realm of complaining in regards to this issue of hospitality?  Beloved, let us show hospitality toward others.

  1. Is your life characterized as one of a complainer?
  2. Are you intentional about greeting strangers and physically displaying the love of God?                              
Prayer: Lord, in this world of depravity it is so easy to fall into the complaint category.  Protect my mind from thoughts that drag me into this unproductive cycle of negativity.  Help my heart to be externally focused for Your glory and love on those who You have created.  Amen.  

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