The Power Of Hospitality

Use hospitality. You want to get that concept into your own lifestyle? Try it on for size.

Scripture: 1 Peter 4:8


Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends, how in the world are you? You doing alright today? Well, yes, I wait for you to answer, ’cause I know some of you do. It’s kind of a two-way conversation that neither of us can hear on the other side, but we know we’re there, don’t we? Yeah. My father used to say, “We know what we know.” I’m glad you’re there on the listening end. God bless you and I trust things are indeed going well with you. Come with me now to 1 Peter 4. The last time we got together, we were looking at verse 8, “Above all things, have fervent Calvary love among yourselves, for Calvary love shall cover the multitude of sins.”

The purpose of Christian love is not to feel better or make somebody else feel better. The purpose of Christian love is to reflect God’s love as shown at Calvary, John 3:16 kind of love, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son.” Calvary love. He said, “Have fervent Calvary love among yourselves.” See, there’s the love of husband, wife. There’s the love of friends, and then there’s the love of God. Oh, Calvary love. How do you get that? You get it from the Holy Spirit. Romans 5:5, “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost who has given unto us.” You stay with God in prayer over a period of time until your heart is warm and tender with his love, and I can guarantee you it’ll be that kind of love. You’ll love God and you’ll love people with a totally uncompromising with no strings attached, personal regard, that is a reflection of God’s redeeming love as shown at Calvary.

Spend some time with your Lord, just worshipping and praising and confessing your sins and opening your heart before Him, and the blessed faithful, indwelling Holy Spirit will flood your heart with God’s love. I can promise you that anything I tell you, I’ve been there, and I know that this is the way to get a heart full of love. Wait on your Lord in complete honesty and commitment and the Holy Spirit of God will do that for you. So he says, “Love will cover the multitude of sins.” You see, believers still fail because we live in sinful human bodies. Believers will fail. Anybody that you have as your model and your example is going to fail you, at some point or other, because he or she turns out to be just a human being after all.

There used to be a song that excused wrong doing by saying, “I guess I’m only human after all.” Well, that’s true. That doesn’t excuse us, however. And so God provides forgiveness and cleansing, on the basis, for example, of 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse from all unrighteousness.” God forgives you and cleanses you and lets you go on with the business of living once again, clean and free from the stain of that failure. But people do fail. And so, the approach then to Christian interaction is not just to cope with people, but it’s to have a heart full of Calvary love, that covers, covers the multitude of sins.

You wanna think about that in your own life and your own relationships? I think it will make a difference in the way you and I treat people around us. Have fervent Calvary love among yourselves. That word fervent is a word that gives you the picture of a bubbling pot, a boiling pot just boiling over, fervent means boiling over, Calvary love. As a matter of fact, if your heart is full of love it will spill over, isn’t that true? Just no way to hide it. And so that’s the normal atmosphere of the Christian life. The purpose of Calvary love is not just to feel better or get along better, the purpose of Calvary love is gently and lovingly, as our Lord himself would do, to cover and to heal the brokenness of failing human nature around you. It’s a great concept, isn’t it? Now, he says, “Use hospitality one to another without grudging.” It’s interesting that he says “use it,” he doesn’t say, “have it,” he says, “Use it, you have it already, you have the opportunity of being hospitable, if you really want to,” see. Use hospitality. Now, that word use is a Greek verb from “lambano,” the Greek verb meaning reach out and take it. Use it, take it to use it. That’s what it says.

The founder of the YMCA had a saying, they tell me, “Don’t argue with the young man, take him to supper and win him for Christ.” Hospitality opens the door for a Christian witness, in a way that other things might never do. Our friend Bob Pierce, who is now with the Lord several years, leukemia took him, what was it, seven, eight years ago, at least. He used to say to us, when he was active with us in Youth for Christ, you have to deserve a hearing for the gospel. And so it was that he would take a boatload of rice and other foods over to refugee camps in the Orient and help to feed people and then give them the Gospel. So it was that he originated the concept of the orphanages that would take these unwanted children, many of them are the product of our own American GIs in a liaison with oriental girls, and he would take these unwanted babies and bring them in, and rear them in a Christian atmosphere and give them the gospel. He would bring what he called crisis help in needy areas of the world, where people were suffering, and then give them the gospel. That was his entire approach, as some of you remember.

And of course, World Vision, which continued then under the leadership of my good friend, Ted Engstrom, now is continuing, has as its foundational approach the idea of helping people, so that you can give them the gospel. This isn’t social service, this is just Christianity in action. “Use hospitality,” said he, where there’s a need, meet it. If somebody’s hungry, feed him. Jesus evaluated, our blessed Lord Jesus Christ evaluated the service of people on that very basis. “Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you,” and so on. “I was hungry and you fed me, naked and you clothed me, sick and you came to me, in prison and you visited me.” So come on, get the reward, hungry and you fed me. Sick, you came to see me.

See, you meet people’s needs where they are where you can. This is the simple and practical Bible approach to winning people to Christ. You use hospitality, you don’t just have it, you use it. Would you think of your relationship with other people, who from time to time come in your house from that point of view? Someone a few years ago coined the phrase, “coffee klatsch evangelism.” You’ve heard that, haven’t you? And so the concept of gathering friends and neighbors in for a cup of tea or coffee, and some coffee cake or pastry. They’d sit around, and talk and then someone would open the Bible and they would have a Bible lesson and people would be one to Christ thereby. You open the doors of your house, and give them something to eat in a warm friendly atmosphere, and then you open the word of life to them. Coffee klatsch evangelism, it was called. Use hospitality. Have you thought of using your house to bless anybody?

Now, many a home is closed to that concept. I remember hearing someone speak of a lady whom I knew quite well, a charming lady, and her husband was active in Christian work. But someone said, “You don’t go there without being specially invited.” There wasn’t any freedom to be in that house, unless it was an occasion, when everything was spic and span and everything was in his place and the lady was ready to cope with you. Well, God bless her. See, that’s just how some folk are. I guess. And they won’t change until they get to Heaven, but you and I, if we want to can change. Can’t we? He said, “Use hospitality.” Try inviting some friends and neighbors in for just a hospitable time, where their guard is let down, you establish a rapport with them, they feel at home with you and don’t preach to them. But if you have a chance to share your faith in Christ, do it.

One of my friends, who’s a retired minister, but goes out now and again to speak, was speaking for us at the college a few years ago, and he said that in the building where he lived, there was just one other Christian couple, folk whom I knew, as a matter of fact. He said the superintendent for that building was a lady who was really tough, she was tougher than an East London fishwife. Oh, she was tough and her language reflected that inner toughness. She wanted nothing to do with God, she was suspicious of religious people thinking that they were out to cheat her. Now, my friend said… He got in touch with this other Christian couple, and he said, “I’m gonna invite Mrs so-and-so up for for dinner, and I want you to come with me, we’re gonna try to win her for the Lord, but I want you to promise me something, if you come to dinner, I don’t want you to say one single religious thing. Don’t you talk about anything religious, promise me that.” Well, the other folks were a little bit taken aback by that, but finally they said, “Alright.” So the dinner progressed, and it was a friendly, happy, warm occasion, but not a word was said about religion. Toward the end of the evening, you know what the lady said, the superintendent, she said, “I wish I knew more about you Christians. Could you explain to me, [chuckle] could you explain to me what it’s all about?” [chuckle] She opened the door. Use hospitality, use hospitality.

You wanna get that concept into your own lifestyle. You try it on for size, beloved. Some of you are lonely, but you live in a house where you could invite someone in, now and again. Have you ever thought about that? You can use the house you have or the apartment you have, the condominium you have, you could use that to get some Christian hospitality going. You think about it and pray about it, you don’t have to force the situation at all. Just let our blessed Lord lead you in that regard, and I know that he will and I know that then in turn you, beloved, will be of great blessing to others. Now we get back at this verse the next time we get together, alright?

Well, dear Lord, we’re thankful for your blessing and your presence in these moments, be with my dear friends and keep them in your care. Amen.

Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!

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