Be Hospitable to One Another

Steve Viars August 5, 2018 1 Peter 4:1-9
Outline

3 perspectives through which to view this important character quality

I. The Command of Hospitality

A. What it means

Hospitality – Philozenos

Exodus 22:21 - You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.

Deuteronomy 14:29 - The Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance among you, and the alien, the orphan and the widow who are in your town, shall come and eat and be satisfied, in order that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.

Matthew 25:35-40 - For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me. Then the righteous will answer Him, “Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?” The King will answer and say to them, “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.”

Luke 14:12-14 - And He also went on to say to the one who had invited Him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, otherwise they may also invite you in return and that will be your repayment. But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

B. Where it is practiced

1 Peter 4:9 - Be hospitable to one another…

1. Different ethically

Acts 1:6 - So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”

Acts 1:7-8 - He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

Acts 2:7-8 - They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born?”

2. Different economically

James 2:1-9 - My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, “You sit here in a good place,” and you say to the poor man, “You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives? Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court? Do they not blaspheme the fair name by which you have been called? If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.

C. An instructive “add on”

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

II. The Context of Hospitality

A. The context of suffering

1 Peter 1:1-2 - Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.

1 Peter 2:21 - For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps…

1 Peter 3:17-18 - For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong. For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit…

1 Peter 4:1 - Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin…

B. The context of judgment

1 Peter 4:7 - The end of all things is near…

1 Peter 3:18 - …so that He might bring us to God…

C. The context of fervent love

1 Peter 4:8 - Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.

D. The context of gracious service

1 Peter 4:10-11 - As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

III. The Commitment of Hospitality

A. Be sure you are no longer a stranger to God and His grace

B. Examine your heart

Psalm 139:23 - Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts… 

C. Inventory your actions

Psalm 139:24 - And see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.

James 4:17 - Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

D. Plan your steps

- I’d like to tell you about something that happened to my wife Kris and me on Thursday, August 19th, 1982…

- I’m not all that great at remembering specific dates...especially about things that happened on a Thursday night 36 years ago…

- but the reason I’m confident about this one is that we were married a week and a half previous to that on Saturday, August 7th

- I had just graduated from Bible College and was preparing to start graduate school up the road at Grace Seminary in Winona Lake…

- We were married in August because that gave me another summer to…let’s say it together…build in-ground swimming pools…

- we had purchased a mobile home where we were going to be living and Kris had already moved there because she was able to get a job working at the school…

- so we were married, and went on our honeymoon for a week…

- and then that next Monday morning, August 16th, she had to be back at work and I needed to get started in school and also looking for a part-time job…

- in Winona Lake – for some reason I never figured out…the area churches did not have their midweek prayer meetings on Wednesday night…they had them on Thursday night…

- so we had to decide where we were going to go to church…

- since both of us were going to be around seminary people all week…we didn’t really want to attend the churches that tended to attract lots of seminary people…we wanted to worship and serve with, well…normal people…[that probably didn’t come out right]…

- so our mobile home was southwest of town anyway…so we decided to try First Baptist Church in Mentone, IN…

- anyone ever been to Mentone…the supposed egg capital of the world…

- that’s what they say…they even have a big egg erected along main street…

- it’s a delightful town – I think it had one stop-light…a beautiful drive through the country to get there…

- so we attended our first prayer meeting as a married couple…people were very friendly…of course we stood out because we were all suntanned from our honeymoon, and we were young, and we hadn’t driven to church on a farm tractor…and our shoes didn’t smell like…farm materials…

- what stuck out to us was what happened after the service…

- an older woman came us next to us and asked us to come out to her car…

- where I grew up in Gary – that’s when the bad thing started happening…

- but she took Kris by the hand and led us over to her little hatchback car – opened the hatch – and there was a mobile farmer’s market…

- she had all kinds little bushel type baskets filled with every kind of fresh produce imaginable…

- she even had a little stack of paper grocery sacks [anyone here old enough to remember those]…

- and she said something like – I’m so glad you came to church…I thought you young-uns might enjoy some fresh vegetables…please take all you want…

- and she proceeded to fill up our sacks with all sorts of things from her garden…

- I can’t tell you the impact that had on a couple that had been married about 11-12 days by that point…

- everything was new – new town, new house, new jobs, new school, new church…but all of that melted away when she chose to extend Christian hospitality…

- that’s what we want to talk about this am – the command in God’s Word to Be Hospitable to One Another…

- with that in mind, please open your Bible this am to 1 Peter chapter 4…page 182 of the back section of the Bible under the chair in front of you…

- we’ve been having a great time this summer studying many of the “one-another” passages in the Word of God…

- ideas like serving one another, and praying for one another, and loving one another, and forgiving one another…

- its’ instructive and helpful to think about how many different statements like that there are in the Word of God…

- and that’s because so much of the Christian life is lived out in community with one another…God accomplishes His work in us and through us often times through relationships…

- the word “church” by its very definition means “called out ones”…we’ve been called out from something…together – and we’ve been called out to something…together…

- and if God is seeking to accomplish His plan in this age in the through the local church…it’s not surprising that there is so much information about how we treat one another in the body of Christ…

- all of that is part of this year’s theme Being Careful How We Build

- that’s what that woman was doing at First Baptist in Mentone…

- it may have seemed like an unimportant night in a small little town where nothing of any significance was going on…

- but the Lord knew there was a young couple that was going to attend that church that could really use a large dose of encouragement…

- so that dear saint was being careful how she built…

- for one thing, she got herself to the church-house on a Thursday night whether she wanted to or not…

- then she picked all her vegetables at just the right time…

- and packed them in the back of her car…

- and even checked to be sure she had her grocery sacks all lined up and ready to go…

- and then she didn’t just stand around and talk to her buddies after the service…not that there would have been anything particularly wrong with that…

- but she was intentionally looking for someone new…to whom she could show hospitality…

- there was a carefulness and an intentionality to what she did…and 36 years later, we haven’t stopped thinking about it, or talking about it…

- of course that begs the question you’re going to hear a number of times this morning…how careful are you about building your Christian life, and helping us build our Christian church…on the foundation of intentional hospitality…

- and before you or I start assembling all our reasons (or should we say—excuses) why we can’t do that right now – we might want to look down at our Bibles to a book written to a group of Christians experiencing a period of significant suffering…and guess what Peter tells them…Be Hospitable to One Another

- read 1 Peter 4:1-11

- so we’re talking about Be Hospitable to One Another…and from this passage, let’s think about three perspectives through which to view this important character quality.

I. The Command of Hospitality

- On one level, this is all pretty straightforward in verse 9, isn’t it?...

- be hospitable…

- so every one of us can think back to the last 30 days, or 60, or 90…and just ask how much of a priority we place on being hospitable to one another…

- on a scale of 1-10, how are you doing?...and what would you the Lord think of how you’re doing?...and in the event that you might conclude you have some growing to do in this area, what specific steps should you take to go from where you are to where the Lord wants you to be?...

- now this is where some of us default to either semantics (finding a definition of hospitality that makes us look as good as possible – well, the other night I was petting my cat – that was pretty hospitable of me, don’t you think?)…or as a mentioned ago…excuses…I’m so busy right now, or I’m not mature enough for that yet, or we need to replace the flooring in our kitchen first…or I’m shy…

- well, how about we do this…how about we define what this word literally means and then we can all decide if our hospitality score went up or down…what do you think…it is possible that petting cats could be in the original Greek, right?...or maybe even – petting bears, in case we have any members of our church who especially like…bears…

A. What it means

- Hospitality – Philozenos

- let’s break that down…the word philo, or philew means what?...love…it’s one of the words for love in the Bible…which is why the name Philadelphia means “city of brotherly love”…

- OK, what about zenos?...what does the word zenos mean?....

- cat, bear?...

- the word zenos means – stranger…(oh, man)…which is exactly what that woman at First Baptist in Mentone was doing…

- God’s people are commanded to treat others in this way throughout Scripture

  • Exodus 22:21 - You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.
  • Deuteronomy 14:29 - The Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance among you, and the alien, the orphan and the widow who are in your town, shall come and eat and be satisfied, in order that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.
  • Matthew 25:35–40 - For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me. Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.
  • Luke 14:12–14 - And He also went on to say to the one who had invited Him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, otherwise they may also invite you in return and that will be your repayment. But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.

- some of us might be helped right about now by allowing God’s Word just to wash down over our souls and saying – oh, so that’s what biblical hospitality is…philozenos…

- and then we could re-do the personal hospitality test to see if our score just went up or down…

- so let’s push the verse a little further – it also tells us…

B. Where is practiced

- 4:9 – Be hospitable to one another

- certainly you can be this way at work, you can be this way in your neighborhood, you can and should be this way practically anywhere…

- but Peter’s first concern is the way people function in the church of Jesus Christ…

- the most welcoming place in town shouldn’t be the local bar where everybody knows your name…it ought to be the church of Jesus Christ…a place filled with former strangers who were welcomed into the family of God with open arms because of the powerful, cleansing, life-giving blood of our Savior…

- now, let’s push this a bit further logically…

- when we think about places this came up in the early church, we have to add this important aspect of defining a stranger – it’s not “someone just like you whom you don’t yet know”….

- so it’s going to be a natural fit…a comfortable friendship…you’ve just not met yet…

- no, this could be somebody radically different than you…the dear woman in Mentone was at least 40 years older than Kris and me…

- she obviously knew a lot about farming and gardening…I grew up in Gary…

- I had just spent the day parsing Greek verbs…she had just spent the day hoeing rows of corn…[or whatever you do to it…]…

- practicing philozenos in the early church…and the contemporary church…means learning to love and welcome those who are different…

1. Different ethically

- you remember what happened the day the church was born, right?...

- practically everything about that was shocking…

- after the resurrection in Acts 1, do you remember the question the disciples had?...

- Acts 1:6 - So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”

- which is amazingly disappointing on so many levels…

- which is why He said…Acts 1:7–8 - He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

- that was a powerful statement about ethnic diversity…you better get happy about Samaritans and every other nationality being part of the church…polish off your philozenos, cuz you’re going to need it…

- so when was that promise fulfilled?...in the very next chapter…and what happens?...the Holy Spirit descends on them…

- and what were they able to do?...to speak in tongues?...and what was that?...gibberish that no one else could understand…

- no, the text is clear…Acts 2:7–8 - They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born?

- why as that so important?...it was both blessing and judgment simultaneously…

- judgment on unbelieving Israel because as a nation they formally rejected Christ and so now God’s Word was going to be proclaimed by and through the nations…other languages…

- which is why by the way the apostle Paul would later write – though he knew the gift of tongues would die out, he hoped it never would because that would be the sign of complete judgment on His people in this age

- but also great blessing because it screamed the message that the church of Jesus Christ was to be welcoming to people regardless of their ethnicity…

- which is why as you trace this topic through the book of Acts…you find that as a new people group is being grafted into the church, there was a corresponding ability to speak in tongues as an affirmation that they were as welcome as anyone else in the family of God…

- and who especially struggled with that in the book of Acts and even had to have a dream of eating one of the most unusual meals filled with more unclean animals than you’ve ever seen at one time on the supper table?...Peter – the guy who later commanded the church of Jesus Christ to practice…philozenos…

- [by the way – if you’re just starting to learn to memorize Scripture verses – you might want to start right there – do you remember what the Lord said to Peter in that vison in Acts 10:13 – Peter, arise and eat. – that one might serve you well later today – Harold, what are doing in the refrigerator again – just obeying the word of God sweetheart…]

- we could do an entire series tracing this theme throughout the NT…but the evaluative question for each one of us is – what evidence is there that we [and by we, I mean, you] practice hospitality with men and women of other ethnicities?]…

- and while we’re letting that sink in…what was the other area of “strangerly difference” that often came up in the early church?...

2. Different economically

- loving strangers…even if they have far more than us financially, or far less…

- James spoke of that – in what may have been the earliest book of the NT written…

- James 2:1–9 - My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, “You sit here in a good place,” and you say to the poor man, “You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives? Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court? Do they not blaspheme the fair name by which you have been called? If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.

- so let’s go back to our key question – [and by the way – aren’t we thankful for the Word of God which has the ability to challenge us, and cleanse us, and change our minds and direct our steps…]

- when is the last time you can remember specifically showing hospitality – philozenos – to someone of a different nationality or a different economic condition than you…

- now see I see everyone’s face – even those listening right now from FW…do you know the absolute worst way to respond to what we’re studying right now?...grumbling…googosmos…do you know why I say that?...because there is…

C. An instructive “add on”

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

- isn’t that amazing…of everything Peter could have said after this command…

- he warned us about googosmos…complaining about what God has instructed us to do…

- I wonder how many people are here today and they would exercise hospitality more if their kids wouldn’t complain about it so much…or their spouse wouldn’t grump about it…

- in just a minute we’re going to go through an entire list of specific, practical ways we can apply this principle…this is the ideal time in our history, and our year to dust off our “philozenos” skills…but ultimately this is a question of the heart…

- have we been, should we be, and are we willing to be careful how we build in this crucial aspect of local church ministry?...

- now, that’s the command of hospitality – let’s take a minute or two and talk about…

II. The Context of Hospitality

- what we are studying is embedded in a very important, and very fascinating passage of Scripture…that fuels, and enables, and enriches this command…

A. The context of suffering

- Peter is writing to people who have been scattered because of the growing persecution of followers of Jesus Christ…

- you see that at the very outset…1 Peter 1:1–2 - Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.

- every one of those words is power packed…

- and you see threaded throughout the book…so much so that Peter even says…1 Peter 2:21 - For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,

- in other words – suffering always has a purifying purpose…demonstrated most supremely by the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ…

- it comes up prominently again in chapter 3 - 1 Peter 3:17–18 - For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong. For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;

- it’s with that understanding that we have the beginning of our passage…1 Peter 4:1 - Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,

- what purpose?...suffering is intended to eradicate sin and draw us closer to the Savior…

- and when we respond properly to suffering, we are in a far better position to practice biblical hospitality…

- that is true for far more reasons that time allows us to discuss – it would a good – let’s talk about this while our banana cream pie digests (because after all – the Bible said – arise and eat]…

- but the question is – how does rightly responding to suffering put us in a better position to practice biblical hospitality?...

- look down over the argument of verses 2-3…what’s that all about?...selfishness, and material pleasures and sinful pursuits…

- but what happens when there’s a fire or a flood or a job loss or whatever?...

- you find those material things aren’t that important anyway…your grip is released from them and you are far more likely to share with those in need through biblical hospitality…

- that suffering is also crucifying your self-centered approach to life so caring about others becomes more natural…

- and as you suffer – the Lord often brings someone across your path…maybe even a complete stranger…who serves you, or ministers to you…and a light bulb goes off in your heart…I want to do to someone else what that person just did for me…

- see, please don’t say – when this period of suffering is over, then I’ll show hospitality…often it’s in the crucible of suffering that the best philozenos is practiced…

B. The context of judgment

- Peter speaks in verse 5 about those who are persecuting Christians and how they will have to answer for that someday…

- then in verse 6 he speaks about those who will be judged for their response to the gospel message…

- then in verse 7 he says -- 1 Peter 4:7 - The end of all things is near…

- and when you bring that all the way back around to what we’ve been studying all year – we understand as Christians that someday we will stand before the Lord and give an account for the way we chose to live…not as a determinant of our salvation…but a determinant for the rewards we will earn and then cast at our Savior’s feet…

- and did you see that powerful phrase in verse 3:18 – so that He might bring us to God…that’s one of the reasons we ought to show hospitality…because that is part of what could be used by the Lord to draw another person to Himself…

C. The context of fervent love

- 1 Peter 4:8 - Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.

- what do we want to be known for on the east side, on the west side, on the north end, at the Hartford Hub, out at Restoration at Bethany Farms…people who practice fervent love even for, and perhaps especially for, the stranger…

D. The context of gracious service

- 1 Peter 4:10–11 - As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

- so, what do we do with all of this?...let’s think about:

III. The Commitment of Hospitality

A. Be sure you are no longer a stranger to God and His grace

- it’s impossible to do what this passage of Scripture is calling us to do…at least for the purpose that is ultimately given…apart form a personal relationship with Jesus Christ…

- so if you don’t know that you know that you know that you’re on your way to heaven – why not admit your sin and place your faith and trust in the finished work of Christ on the cross right now…let the God of heaven show you what hospitality looks like…

B. Examine your heart

- I would encourage every person in our church family to honestly go before the Lord as ask Him to help you evaluate the nature of your thoughts and attitudes and desires regarding those who are strangers…who don’t yet know the Lord or who are dramatically different than you ethnically or economically or the dozens and dozens of other ways we could mention…

- Psalm 139:23 - Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; 

C. Inventory your actions

- Psalm 139:24 - And see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.

- in Scripture – there’s two broad categories of sin – sins of commission, doing what’s wrong…and sins of omission, failing to do what’s right…

- James 4:17 - Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

D. Plan your steps

- what specific step could you take in the next week, the next month, to grow at practicing the art of biblical hospitality?...

- to be more careful about the way you build in this particular area of ministry?...

1. by attending CFN [develop how as we move to 3 campuses, this is going to even be more important]…

2. by inviting someone to FCI [develop brochure]

3. by volunteering at the NCC or one of our other community centers – [develop – care teams]

4. by planning now to attend the NCC Grand Opening on 9/16 and inviting everyone you know…

 


Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and three grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video