Overcoming Sin through Christ: Inhospitable

  Overcoming Sin through Christ

A Comprehensive List of Sins

(Alphabetically Arranged)

Richard Hollerman

The plan of this study is simple.  We will look at a large number of sins, one by one, alphabetically.  We will define the sin, describe it, and comment on it, along with noticing Scripture references on the particular entry.  Some illustrations will be offered along with the description.

Inhospitable, Lack of hospitality

Hospitality is a lost art and a forgotten virtue in our day.  It is true that even in some non-Christian cultures of the world, hospitality continues to be considered an important aspect of society.  We’ve read that in Arab lands, people are happy to open their doors (or their tent doors!) and invite visitors in for tea or a meal.  This is true in other cultures as well.  Our word hospitality means “the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers; an act or show of welcome.”[1]  It is the “cordial and generous reception of or disposition toward guests.”[2]  This quality—even manifested by some unbelievers—is commendable and admirable as well as rare.

In the New Testament, the noun philoxenia means “love of strangers” (from philos, “loving,” and zenos, “a stranger”).  The adjective philozenos means “hospitable.”[3]  Although the words are not found often in the Greek New Testament, we know enough to see that it is important to the Lord.  Paul commands us, “. . . contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality” (Romans 12:13).  The Hebrew writer says, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers” (13:2).  An overseer (a shepherd or an elder) must be “hospitable” (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8).  The Hebrew writer says, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers” (13:2a). Paul says that a woman who has “shown hospitality to strangers” may be put on a certain list of Christian women who serve the Lord (1 Timothy 5:10).  Since showing hospitality may require many sacrifices, Peter urges his readers, “Be hospitable to one another without complaint” (1 Peter 4:7).

Not only are Christians to show hospitality to “strangers,” but also to local fellow-believers.  Scripture says that “many” were “gathered together and were praying” in the house of Mary—John Mark’s mother (Acts 12:12).  She laid open the doors of her house to others for Christian gatherings and prayer.  In Philippi, the open-hearted and gracious Lydia invited Paul, Silas, Timothy, and Luke to stay at her place (Acts 16:15, 40).  In Corinth, Aquila and Priscilla and Paul all stayed together (Acts 18:1-3).  On his way to Jerusalem, Paul and his companions stayed with the saints at Tyre (Acts 21:4-5).  In Caesarea, Paul and companions stayed in the house of Philip the evangelist (Acts 21:8), and further along they stayed in the home of Mnason of Cyprus, whom Luke describes as “a disciple of long standing when whom we were to lodge” (Acts 21:15-16).  It appears that early believers were warm in their hospitality to strangers (the meaning of the term—“love of strangers”).  Since early inns were not really safe and happened to be places of drinking and immorality, we can see the importance for Christians to have reliable, safe, clean, and comfortable lodging when traveling.

Today, in America, hospitality seems to be a lost attitude and practice.  Earlier in its history, surely people were more friendly, open, and willing to provide a meal and a bed to others.  This included country folks who didn’t especially profess Christianity.  Presently, with motels and hotels so plentiful, and with people’s hearts so cold and closed, we fail to see the openness and warmth that seemed to permeate earlier America and the Christians of the Bible.  Even preachers are sent to the local motel instead of offering them a bedroom—so different from a century or even fifty years ago.

When Christ the King returns to judge the world, He will say to those on His right, “Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34).  We know that those who will be saved will be accepted through their faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), but this faith must be expressed in works or deeds (v. 10).  In the case of the judgment scene, Jesus emphasizes how their faith had been expressed in good deeds: “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” (Matthew 25:35-36).  These believers had shown hospitality to their brothers and sisters (the “brothers” of Christ, v. 40). 

While it is important to show outgoing love to all people, there is the special need to manifest good deeds and hospitality to genuine brothers and sisters in Christ (cf. Galatians 6:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:15).  Interestingly, those who will “go away into eternal punishment” will be those who failed to express their faith by means of good deeds and hospitality (cf. Matthew 25:41-46).[4] 

 



[1] Random House Webster’s College Dictionary.

[2] The American Heritage College Dictionary.

[3] W. E. Vine, Expository Dictionary.

[4] See also Alexander Strauch, The Hospitality Commands.

 

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