Spiritual Disciplines (03) - Growing in Fellowship and Hospitality

Date: 3/24/2019
More audio from All Saints Church
Type: Sunday Sermon
Topic: hospitality
Organization: All Saints
Price: FREE

Defining Fellowship - We confess that we “believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic Church; the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins. . .” The well-known term for “communion,” koinonia, is translated in the NT as fellowship (12), contribution (2), participation (2), and sharing (3). Christian fellowship is sharing life together under the terms of the new covenant because of our union in Christ. This involves friendship, sharing of material needs, working together, and the spiritual communion we have with Christ and His Body in worship, and especially the Eucharist.

Doing Fellowship - As is evident above biblical fellowship involves much more than hosting church friends for a meal or holding an ice cream social or a attending a church-wide meal. We have relational responsibilities. We are told to “love one another,” to “encourage one another,” to “pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another,” to “stimulate one another to love and good deeds,”  to “serve one another,” to “admonish one another,” to “be devoted to one another,” to “be of the same mind with one another,” to show “forbearance to one another in love,” and to “be subject to one another in the fear of Christ” (Eph. 5:21).

Defining Hospitality - The biblical concept of hospitality is evident in the NT term: Philoxenia: literally, love for strangers or foreigners. Hospitality is kindness to strangers (Rom. 12:13). Another term, Xenodocheo (verb) means literally to “lodge strangers” (1Tim. 5:10). We are commanded to practice hospitality:

  • Romans 12:13: Contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.?
  • 1 Peter 4:9: Be hospitable to one another without complaint.?
  • Hebrews 13:2: Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers…?
  • 1 Timothy 3:2: An overseer, then, must be . . . hospitable.?
  • Titus 1:8: [Elder must be] hospitable, loving what is good, sensible . . .?
  • Matthew 25:34-46: Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.??

Doing Hospitality - Biblical hospitality is outwardly focused, toward those that are not our close friends, whether believers or not. Hospitality basically means hosting, opening your home for service. Although, we can show the same spirit by paying for meals and lodging for others or visiting those in prison. It is a great means of loving people to Christ. It provides a means of general ministry for you and your family. It provides opportunities through time with guests, neighbors, visiting missionaries, pastors, or Christian workers and a vision of the work of God in others lives.

  • Set a goal (e.g., every family in the church host a meal for a family which they have not yet hosted in the church, in the parish and in your neighborhood).
  • Schedule it. Set a regular time to reach out (those you don’t know well).
  • Practice kindness: Learn to ask meaningful questions; make the conversation about your guests; seek to understand their spiritual journey; focus on knowing Christ, not secondary matters; don’t be negative; look for gifts and graces in guest’s lives; ask for matters that can pray about; then pray for them.
Gregg Strawbridge Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as receive a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more