PHBC January 24, 31, 1998
Series: First Peter, Ser. #67~68
PILGRIMS, OF ALL PEOPLE, SHOULD BE HOSPITABLE
TEXT: 1 Peter 4:9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging.
INTRO: When I first began to prepare this message I had a great deal of difficulty in determining how to approach the subject. In fact, I wondered if I could preach a sermon based entirely on this one verse. But, once into the subject I realized there was a great deal of Scripture relating to the subject.
I have called the message, Pilgrims, Of All People, Should Be Hospitable. These folks to whom Peter was writing were pilgrim's and strangers in the lands to which they had been scattered due to persecution. They had found refuge in those lands and should, be given to hospitality.
When they were getting about ready to go into the land of Canaan, God admonished Israel to be kind to strangers who came among them because of they had been strangers and pilgrims in Egypt. Exodus 22:21 Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. As I told you in the very beginning or our study in First Peter, this word stranger has in it the idea of a pilgrim.
While we are citizen's of the United States, it is very true that we are strangers and pilgrims in this world. Our true citizenship is in heaven, and our sojourn here is a pilgrimage in a land that is foreign to our way of life, our thinking, and our outlook.
In this message we will consider The Biblical Admonitions to be Hospitable. Then we will recall The Biblical Examples of Being Hospitable. We will note some things about The Biblical Attitude in Being Hospitable. We will also consider The Biblical Limitations to Hospitality. Finally, we will contemplate The Blessings of Being Hospitable.
However, for this morning's consideration, I will limit our study to the first point, The Biblical Admonitions to be Hospitable. If you will give your attention to these admonitions to be hospitable, I believe the subject will grow on you as it did on me. I pray that God may be pleased to bless these admonitions to your heart as he did to mine as I studied them.
I. THE BIBLICAL ADMONITIONS TO BE HOSPITABLE
A. Consider again the admonitions of God to the nation of Israel to be hospitable to strangers.
1. They were to be hospitable because they had been strangers in Egypt and had been shown hospitality for many years. Exodus 22:21 Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.
2. They were reminded that they knew the heart of a stranger, for they had been strangers. Exodus 23:9 Also thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.
a. They should know the feelings and anxieties of strangers from their own experience.
b. There are things that can only be understood by someone who has experienced the same thing.
c. About 1960 or 1961, I preached a sermon that I called The Language of the Soul.
3. In his instructions to Israel, God commanded them to leave some of their harvest in the fields for the poor and strangers. Leviticus 19:10 And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the LORD your God.
4. Israel was admonished to treat strangers and pilgrims as if they had been born among them and to love the strangers that dwelt among them as they loved themselves. Leviticus 19:33-34 And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him. 34 But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
5. Israel was admonished to give strangers equal treatment under the law and not to make special laws for strangers that did not apply to their own people. Leviticus 24:22 Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country: for I am the LORD your God.
6. Israel was reminded that God, in his general dealings with men, does not show partiality based on ones race or nationality. Deuteronomy 10:17-19 For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward: 18 He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment. 19 Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.
7. Israel was even commanded to set aside a tithe every third year which was to be given to strangers and others whom God designated. Deuteronomy 26:12-13 When thou hast made an end of tithing all the tithes of thine increase the third year, which is the year of tithing, and hast given it unto the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that they may eat within thy gates, and be filled; 13 Then thou shalt say before the LORD thy God, I have brought away the hallowed things out of mine house, and also have given them unto the Levite, and unto the stranger, to the fatherless, and to the widow, according to all thy commandments which thou hast commanded me: I have not transgressed thy commandments, neither have I forgotten them.
8. The mistreatment of a stranger by an Israelite was classified with sins of great magnitude. Deuteronomy 27:14-26 And the Levites shall speak, and say unto all the men of Israel with a loud voice, 15 Cursed be the man that maketh any graven or molten image, an abomination unto the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and putteth it in a secret place. And all the people shall answer and say, Amen. 16 Cursed be he that setteth light by his father or his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen. 17 Cursed be he that removeth his neighbour’s landmark. And all the people shall say, Amen. 18 Cursed be he that maketh the blind to wander out of the way. And all the people shall say, Amen. 19 Cursed be he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, fatherless, and widow. And all the people shall say, Amen. 20 Cursed be he that lieth with his father’s wife; because he uncovereth his father’s skirt. And all the people shall say, Amen. 21 Cursed be he that lieth with any manner of beast. And all the people shall say, Amen. 22 Cursed be he that lieth with his sister, the daughter of his father, or the daughter of his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen. 23 Cursed be he that lieth with his mother in law. And all the people shall say, Amen. 24 Cursed be he that smiteth his neighbour secretly. And all the people shall say, Amen. 25 Cursed be he that taketh reward to slay an innocent person. And all the people shall say, Amen. 26 Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen.
a. The importance of being hospitable grows on one as we study God's admonitions of the Lord to Israel.
b. It takes on added import when we consider that we are pilgrims on this earth.
B. Wisdom calls for and exemplifies being hospitable in one of the Proverbs. Proverbs 9:1-5 Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars: 2 She hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table. 3 She hath sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city, 4 Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, 5 Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled.
C. God, through Isaiah, reminded his people that they were to be kind to strangers and others. Isaiah 58:6-7 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? 7 Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?
D. The hospitality toward strangers will be a consideration of the Lord in judgment. Matthew 25:34-46 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
1. This judgment is not a judgment to determine salvation for there is never such a judgment.
2. This judgment is of nations and has to do with their treatment of God's people.
3. How they treat God's people is taken personally by the Lord Jesus Christ and is a reflection of their true thoughts about Jesus Christ.
E. Hospitality is not truly hospitality when it is based on expectations in return. Luke 14:12-14 Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. 13 But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: 14 And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.
F. In giving a number of admonitions to the saved on how we ought to live, Paul includes this matter of being hospitable. Romans 12:9-15 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. 10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; 11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; 12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; 13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. 14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. 15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
G. Paul admonished the congregation at Rome to be hospitable to Phebe and as an incentive mentioned her treatment of him and his co-workers. Romans 16:1-2 I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea: 2 That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also.
H. One of the qualifications a pastor is that he must be given to hospitality. 1 Timothy 3:1-2 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach. Titus 1:7-8 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; 8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate.
I. When the church began to take care of needy widows, the practice was apparently abused by some, thus, the Holy Spirit caused Paul to write some qualifications for a widow who was to be taken into the care of the church; among those qualifications was that of having been a person given to hospitality. 1 Timothy 5:9-11 Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man, 10 Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints’ feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work.
J. Not long ago, we saw this admonition to be hospitable set forth in our Bible Study. Hebrews 13:2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
K. According to John, walking in truth includes the showing of hospitality to strangers. 3 John 4-8 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. 5 Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers; 6 Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well: 7 Because that for his name’s sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles. 8 We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth.
II. BIBLICAL EXAMPLES OF BEING HOSPITABLE
A. The hospitality of Abraham to the Angels. Genesis 18:1-8 And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; 2 And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, 3 And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: 4 Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: 5 And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said. 6 And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth. 7 And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetcht a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it. 8 And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.
1. It was a hot day and the first thing Abraham sought to do was give them some refreshment from the heat—Water to wash their feet and the shade of a tree.
2. Abraham had Sarah to make cakes to feed them.
3. Abraham got one of his best and most tender calves to dress and prepare to feed them.
4. He provided milk for them to drink and butter for their bread.
5. After they gave him their message and were leaving Abraham went with them a ways. Genesis 18:16 And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way.
B. The hospitality of Lot toward the angels. Genesis 19:1-11 And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground; 2 And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant’s house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night. 3 And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat. 4 But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: 5 And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them. 6 And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, 7 And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. 8 Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof. 9 And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door. 10 But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door. 11 And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door.
1. He greeted these visitors very cordially, inviting them into his home.
2. When they said they would stay in the streets, he pressed upon them greatly to come into his house.
3. He prepared a feast for them.
4. When the wicked Sodomites of the city came and wanted the men brought out, Lot went so far as to offer his virgin daughters to them in their place.
a. I cannot condone this action.
b. But, it does reveal the extent that Lot would go to no allow his guests to be misused by the men of the city.
c. This shows an incredible spirit of hospitality.
C. The amazing hospitality which the sons of Heth showed to Abraham when Sarah died. Genesis 23:1-20 And Sarah was an hundred and seven and twenty years old: these were the years of the life of Sarah. 2 And Sarah died in Kirjatharba; the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan: and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her. 3 And Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spake unto the sons of Heth, saying, 4 I am a stranger and a sojourner with you: give me a possession of a buryingplace with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight. 5 And the children of Heth answered Abraham, saying unto him, 6 Hear us, my lord: thou art a mighty prince among us: in the choice of our sepulchres bury thy dead; none of us shall withhold from thee his sepulchre, but that thou mayest bury thy dead. 7 And Abraham stood up, and bowed himself to the people of the land, even to the children of Heth. 8 And he communed with them, saying, If it be your mind that I should bury my dead out of my sight; hear me, and intreat for me to Ephron the son of Zohar, 9 That he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he hath, which is in the end of his field; for as much money as it is worth he shall give it me for a possession of a buryingplace amongst you. 10 And Ephron dwelt among the children of Heth: and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the audience of the children of Heth, even of all that went in at the gate of his city, saying, 11 Nay, my lord, hear me: the field give I thee, and the cave that is therein, I give it thee; in the presence of the sons of my people give I it thee: bury thy dead. 12 And Abraham bowed down himself before the people of the land. 13 And he spake unto Ephron in the audience of the people of the land, saying, But if thou wilt give it, I pray thee, hear me: I will give thee money for the field; take it of me, and I will bury my dead there. 14 And Ephron answered Abraham, saying unto him, 15 My lord, hearken unto me: the land is worth four hundred shekels of silver; what is that betwixt me and thee? bury therefore thy dead. 16 And Abraham hearkened unto Ephron; and Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver, which he had named in the audience of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, current money with the merchant. 17 And the field of Ephron, which was in Machpelah, which was before Mamre, the field, and the cave which was therein, and all the trees that were in the field, that were in all the borders round about, were made sure 18 Unto Abraham for a possession in the presence of the children of Heth, before all that went in at the gate of his city. 19 And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre: the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan. 20 And the field, and the cave that is therein, were made sure unto Abraham for a possession of a buryingplace by the sons of Heth.
1. When Sarah died Abraham was dwelling among the sons of Heth in Hebron. Genesis 23:4 I am a stranger and a sojourner with you: give me a possession of a buryingplace with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.
2. The children of Heth freely offered him the very best of burying places. Genesis 23:5-6 And the children of Heth answered Abraham, saying unto him, 6 Hear us, my lord: thou art a mighty prince among us: in the choice of our sepulchres bury thy dead; none of us shall withhold from thee his sepulchre, but that thou mayest bury thy dead.
3. When he offered to pay for the cave of Machpelah, Ephron, the Hittite who owned it, was quick to assure Abraham that it was his without pay. Genesis 23:9-11 That he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he hath, which is in the end of his field; for as much money as it is worth he shall give it me for a possession of a buryingplace amongst you. 10 And Ephron dwelt among the children of Heth: and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the audience of the children of Heth, even of all that went in at the gate of his city, saying, 11 Nay, my lord, hear me: the field give I thee, and the cave that is therein, I give it thee; in the presence of the sons of my people give I it thee: bury thy dead.
4. Abraham insisted on paying for the cave and Epron accepted but gave him the field and the trees surrounding the area.
5. Ephron, in the presence of the children of Heth, gave Abraham a clear and guaranteed title to the land with the cave.
6. Though Abraham was a stranger and pilgrim among them, they were very careful to show him hospitality.
D. Another classic account of hospitality is that which David showed to Mephibosheth, the son of Joshua. 2 Samuel 9:1-13 And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan’s sake? 2 And there was of the house of Saul a servant whose name was Ziba. And when they had called him unto David, the king said unto him, Art thou Ziba? And he said, Thy servant is he. 3 And the king said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may shew the kindness of God unto him? And Ziba said unto the king, Jonathan hath yet a son, which is lame on his feet. 4 And the king said unto him, Where is he? And Ziba said unto the king, Behold, he is in the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, in Lodebar. 5 Then king David sent, and fetched him out of the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, from Lodebar. 6 Now when Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, was come unto David, he fell on his face, and did reverence. And David said, Mephibosheth. And he answered, Behold thy servant! 7 And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father’s sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually. 8 And he bowed himself, and said, What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am? 9 Then the king called to Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said unto him, I have given unto thy master’s son all that pertained to Saul and to all his house. 10 Thou therefore, and thy sons, and thy servants, shall till the land for him, and thou shalt bring in the fruits, that thy master’s son may have food to eat: but Mephibosheth thy master’s son shall eat bread alway at my table. Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants. 11 Then said Ziba unto the king, According to all that my lord the king hath commanded his servant, so shall thy servant do. As for Mephibosheth, said the king, he shall eat at my table, as one of the king’s sons. 12 And Mephibosheth had a young son, whose name was Micha. And all that dwelt in the house of Ziba were servants unto Mephibosheth. 13 So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat continually at the king’s table; and was lame on both his feet.
1. David desired to show kindness to any left of the house of Saul.
2. One son of Jonathan remained and he was lame in both feet.
3. Though David was not compelled to do so, he brought Mephibosheth into his own home and he ate at the King's table for the rest of his life.
4. Though they were rightfully his under the practices of those days, David gave all the land that Saul had personally owned to Mephibosheth.
5. David placed Ziba, a servant of Saul and his 15 sons and 20 servants in charge of caring for the land but he did not send Mephibosheth to live there but showed him the hospitality of his own home in Jerusalem for the rest of his life.
E. I can think of many other Old Testament examples of hospitality—Rahab and the spies, the widow of Zarephath and Elijah, Jethro and Moses to name just three—but let us move to the New Testament for other examples.
F. Most of us are familiar with Zacchaeus and the joyful hospitality he showed to Christ. Luke 19:1-7 And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. 2 And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. 3 And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. 4 And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house. 6 And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. 7 And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.
G. Though Martha's zeal to show hospitality to Jesus led her to complain and be rebuked by Jesus, she was hospitable. Luke 10:38-42 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. 40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. 41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: 42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
1. Martha received him into her house as the Biblical record indicates she often did.
2. Martha desired to prepare food and serve him while he was there.
3. Her zeal in this area led Christ to rebuke her but he did not rebuke her for being hospitable, just for being over-wrought about the matter.
H. Lydia was very hospitable to Paul and Silas. Acts 16:15 And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.
I. Phebe had been hospitable to Paul and many others. Acts 16:1-2 Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek: 2 Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium.
III. THERE IS A LIMITATION TO HOSPITALITY
A. Paul's admonition should not be taken in an unlimited sense. Hebrews 13:1-2 Let brotherly love continue. 2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
B. There are scriptures which indicate to me those whom we receive into our homes and to whom we extend the hospitality of our homes, other than family and close friends, should at least give some evidence of being believers. 3 John 5-7 Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers; 6 Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well: 7 Because that for his name’s sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles.
C. We are definitely admonished to not extend the hospitality of our homes to false teachers who may come by and indicate a desire to stay with us awhile. 2 John 10-11 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: 11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.
1. Matthew Henry sheds some good light on this matter. Here, I. Upon due warning given concerning seducers, the apostle gives direction concerning the treatment of such. They are not to be entertained as the ministers of Christ. The Lord Christ will distinguish them from such, and so would he have his disciples. The direction is negative. 1. "Support them not: If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine (concerning Christ as the Son of God, the Messiah and anointed of God for our redemption and salvation), receive him not into your house.’’ Possibly this lady was like Gaius, of whom we read in the next epistle, a generous housekeeper, and hospitable entertainer of travelling ministers and Christians. These deceivers might possibly expect the same reception with others, or with the best who came there (as the blind are often bold enough), but the apostle allows it not: "Do not welcome them into your family.’’ Doubtless such may be relieved in their pressing necessities, but not encouraged for ill service. Deniers of the faith are destroyers of souls; and it is supposed that even ladies themselves should have good understanding in the affairs of religion. 2. "Bless not their enterprises: Neither bid him God speed. Attend not their service with your prayers and good wishes.’’ Bad work should not be consecrated or recommended to the divine benediction. God will be no patron of falsehood, seduction, and sin. We ought to bid God speed to evangelical ministration; but the propagation of fatal error, if we cannot prevent, we must not dare to countenance. Then, II. Here is the reason of such direction, forbidding the support and patronage of the deceiver: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. Favour and affection partake of the sin. We may be sharers in the iniquities of others. How judicious and how cautious should the Christian be! There are many ways of sharing the guilt of other people’s transgressions; it may be done by culpable silence, indolence, unconcernedness, private contribution, public countenance and assistance, inward approbation, open apology and defence. The Lord pardon our guilt of other persons’ sins!
2. Another has written, "To some modern minds these instructions seem unduly rigid and harsh. A great part of the problem, however, lies in the modern inclination to be highly tolerant of religious differences. One must frankly face the fact that the New Testament writers did not share this spirit of toleration. Their commitment to the truth and their consciousness of the dangers of religious error called forth many stern denunciations of false teachers. Not surprisingly, this modern age, having a diminishing sense of the dangers of heresy, has lost its convictions about the truth."
3. If truth is not a part of his baggage, we are not to show him the hospitality of our homes.
4. We are to avoid those who are harbingers and holders of false doctrine. Romans 16:17-18 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. 18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
5. I suggest the Paul, in his first inspired epistle to the Corinthians suggests another limitation. 1 Corinthians 16:22 If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.
6. I doubt we are supposed to be hospitable to such as those described in the first chapter of Paul's epistle to the Galatians. Galatians 1:6-9 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
7. In the days when preachers travelled about and lodged with other believers, there were those who would transform themselves as apostles of Christ and creep into houses and lead astray women who had no spiritual discernment. 2 Timothy 3:5-6 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts.
a. No true believer in Jesus Christ should be embarrassed to turn away from such.
b. The admonition to be hospitable does not include extending hospitality to heretics.
D. Some of the problems of these early Christians and even those who lived in early America, we do not face today because of communications and travel.
1. I have to deal with this matter in one sense on a regular basis.
2. Preachers, missionaries, who have found the name and phone of our church somewhere call and want to visit and speak to the congregation about their mission work.
3. They don't care a lot about what we believe; they are just looking for support.
4. When I find what they believe, I don't offer our hospitality or support because we could not support them even if we were searching for missionaries to support.
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This page last updated Friday, March 04, 2011