2021 – The Others
The Elect Lady -
This morning, we are going to talk about hospitality. I want to begin by sharing a brief history of hospitality, before finishing off our last few verses in 2 John.
Let’s begin about 4,000 years ago, give or take a few, in Genesis 18.
One hot afternoon in the land of Canaan, near the oaks of Mamre, Abraham sits in the door of his tent. Abe is old. Abe is rich. Abe sees three guys on the road in front of his tent. This old guy jumps up and runs to intercept these three guys. Abram does not know who the three guys are… YWHW, along with two angels. Abe bows before the three guys, saying…
Genesis 18:3-5 "O Lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree, while I bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on - since you have come to your servant."
Abe not only gets them some water… Sarah fixes cupcakes with cream butter topping. Abe prepares hamburger sliders for his three guests!
Note: Abraham was pro-active in engaging the three guys. He went to them, insisting on them enjoying his hospitably!
Another note: the writer of Hebrews comments on this encounter…
Hebrews 13:2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
Hospitality is at least 4000 years old.
Let’s skip forward about 500 years, give or take a few, to the book of Joshua 2.
Moses has retired. Joshua has taken over as leader of the children of Israel. He is on the verge of conquering the promise land. Joshua needs some intel about the city of Jericho. I’m not sure why he needs the intel… the city is going to be nuked. But Joshua picks two of his best guys and tells them to infiltrate the city.
The two secret spies, their names were redacted, go into Jericho and enter the house of a woman named Rahab. There is some debate to her occupation, but she takes the two into her house. Someone leaks this information to the king of Jericho. A manhunt begins. They search for the two spies at Rahab’s house. But Rahab hides them on the roof under the thatching. Then, she sends the pursuers the other way.
I want to advocate that she did this for two reasons.
--One, she was scared to death of the Israelites and wanted to live.
--But, two, they were under her protection; under the hospitality protection.
Later, James writes of her…
James 2:25 In the same way, was not Rahab, the harlot, also justified by works when she received (hupodechomai) the messengers and sent them out by another way?
The word here for “received” is hupodechomai. Under the roof… It is a word about hospitality. Note: there was protection offered “under the roof”. Well, under the thatch of the roof.
Sidebar: listen to the Gospel of Matthew’s genealogy…
Matthew 1:5-6 …Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king.
Rahab is included in the story of God because of her hospitality!
Move forward another 1,500 years, give or take, and look at two quick stories in the life of Jesus.
Luke 10:38-40 Now as they (Jesus and his cohort) were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed (hupodechomai) Jesus into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord's feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations…
Martha was obligated to prepare food for the traveling party of Jesus because they were hupodechomai…under her roof!
A while later, Jesus is back in Jericho… we have been in Jericho before… coincidence? I think not.
Luke 19:1-6 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. And there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small of stature. So, he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today." So, he hurried and came down and received (hupodechomai) him joyfully.
Zacchaeus fed the crew… but then does something odd. Zacchaeus offers protection to the poor in Jesus’ name.
Luke 19:8 "Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold."
Zacchaeus was the first to offer the hospitality of protection in the name of Jesus!
Skipping 20 years, give or take a few, to Acts 17 and a guy named Jason…
Paul and his posse arrived in Thessalonica… but it didn’t go well
Acts 17:5-7 But the Jews, becoming jealous and taking along some wicked men from the market place, formed a mob and set the city in an uproar; and attacking the house of Jason, they were seeking to bring them out to the people. When they did not find them, they began dragging Jason and some brethren before the city authorities, shouting, "These men who have upset the world have come here also; and Jason has welcomed (hupodechomai) them…
Jason protects Paul and crew and just like Rahab sends them out by night.
Note: Hospitality requires protection!
Just a couple years after this story, give or take a few, Paul writes a letter about hospitality. We know this letter as Romans.
The Christians in Rome had a problem. When the wealthy Roman Christians invited the poorer Jewish Christians into their homes to do church, what were they supposed to eat at the Lord’s Supper? Communion at the time was more than just a bit of cracker and a small cup of juice. It was a fellowship meal. These wealthy Romans wanted to show their hospitality. They wanted to do what Abraham did 2,000 years before… have cupcakes and meat sliders… But these kosher-following Jewish Christians couldn’t eat the meat. They had not been able to accept what Jesus did to the old law. They could not to eat meat.
Hospitality rules were in conflict with these kosher rules. “But the kosher rules were done away with by Jesus! These Jews were being idiots, just get over it! Here just eat the sliders!”
But hospitality does two things… offers food, but hospitality also offers… protection. Paul commands these Roman Christians to protect their weaker siblings in Christ.
Romans 15:1-3 We who are strong have an obligation to bear withthe failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, "The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me."
The strong are to exercise hospitality…
--by bearing with; picking up the problems of the weak.
--by doing what builds up the weaker.
--by being Christ to them in taking on the insults of the weak! These strong Christians were to stand between the insults!
Hospitality offers food to be shared in fellowship. But it is more concerned with protecting the faith of the other! When we share the Lord’s Supper we share in communion and we commit to protecting the weak!
Paul then makes an interesting connection about hospitality…
Romans 15:7-9 Therefore welcome (offer hospitality to) one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God's truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.
Full circle takes us back to Abraham; the Patriarch! Abraham was blessed by YWHW… all the families on earth were to be blessed by a descendent of Abe. As these Roman Christians and Jewish Christians gathered around the table to share in Christ, they were fulfilling the promise to Abraham! We bring glory to God as we share fellowship together in hospitality! In food and protection of the weak.
Another 25 years, give or take a few, we come to 2 John… the point of all this talk about hospitality.
2 John 7-11 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive (hospitality) him into your house or give him any greeting, (hospitality) for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.
Wow! This is amazing. In that culture, with 2,000 years of hospitality heritage, with the examples of Abraham, Rahab, Martha, Zacchaeus, Jason, the Roman Christians… John tells Kyria and her congregation to not do hospitality to these traveling missionaries; these deceivers! Do not feed them. Do not take them in under your roof. Wow! This seems incompatible. John is telling Kyria to violate the rules of hospitality… that seems contradictory to our brief history of hospitality.
I believe Kyria hosts a church in her home. Her “children”, the family of her congregation is under her hospitality; her protection. She is supposed to do hospitality to those under her roof. These false missionaries, if supported; if welcomed, could destroy the bonds of truth that are created in Christ! We saw that last week, core-truths shared creates bonds of love within a congregation. These deceivers were out to blow up these bonds. John says… don’t do it. You have a hospitality obligation to those under your roof… protect them!
Hospitality not only shares fellowship with food. Hospitality shields the weak, protects the innocent, abides together in the bonds of truth!
Let’s bring it 2,000 years, give or take a few, to today…
When we gather under this roof to be church; to share in the Lord’s Supper… two things happen…
1) We eat together in fellowship! We are good at this. At least we were. But I think again. Or summer picnics begin this week at Urban Park. 2ndSunday dogs in two weeks… eating out together… sharing our homes… sharing our truth bonds in love is expressed in sharing meals.
2) When we share communion together under this roof, we commit to protect the weak. We help the hurting. We minister to the marginalized. We cherish our core-theology. We step into the story of God by offering hospitality!
Principle #14 on how to interrelate with the Others…
We offer hospitality of food and protection to the Others under the roof of Christ!
Let’s go back 2,000 years, give or take a few… to 2 John…
The old guy ends his letter with these words of hospitality.
2 John 12-13 Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to come to you and talk face to face, (share hospitality) so that our joy may be complete.
May 30, 2021
Los Alamos Church of Christ
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