Stylos is the blog of Jeff Riddle, a Reformed Baptist Pastor in North Garden, Virginia. The title "Stylos" is the Greek word for pillar. In 1 Timothy 3:15 Paul urges his readers to consider "how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar (stylos) and ground of the truth."
Image (left side): Decorative urn with title for the book of Acts in Codex Alexandrinus.
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
How to receive hospitality
Image: Fellowship at the Lynchburg Reformed Baptist Mission (1.12.14)
Note: Below are my notes from the Sunday School lesson last Lord's Day at CRBC on the subject of how to be on the receiving end of hospitality (here also is the audio of the class and some follow-up discussion).
How to receive
Romans 16:23a: “Gaius, mine host, and
the whole church saluteth thee.”
CRBC Sunday School January 12, 2014
Last time we talked about (1) the biblical basis for
hospitality; (2) the spiritual usefulness of hospitality; and (3) how to make
your home a warm and welcoming center of hospitality.
Though the command to be hospitable is explicitly stated in
Scripture (1 Peter 4:9; Rom 12:13; Heb 13:2) what is less explicitly discussed is
that if hospitality is to be graciously offered, it is also to be graciously
I.Biblical basis for how to receive hospitality:
Here, for the Biblical basis, apart from the same passages
cited earlier in which we saw the practice of hospitality (from the OT to Jesus
to the apostles), I think we have to turn in general to the verses that speak
of the general Christian qualities of humility and contentedness, along with
the fruit of the spirit, as guidelines for how we are to receive hospitality.
1.As in all circumstances, we are not to be
demanding or difficult, a prima donna,
but lowly, self-deprecating, and self-effacing.
Ephesians 4:1 I therefore, the
prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith
ye are called, 2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering,
forbearing one another in love; 3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit
in the bond of peace.
Philippians 2:3 Let nothing
be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each
esteem other better than themselves.
also the teaching of Jesus in Luke 14:
Luke 14:7 And he put forth a
parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief
rooms; saying unto them, 8 When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding,
sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be
bidden of him; 9 And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this
man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. 10 But when thou
art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh,
he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the
presence of them that sit at meat with thee. 11 For whosoever exalteth himself
shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
2.As in all
circumstances, we are to be content.
could say in Philippians 4:11 that he had learned the secret of being content
in all situations.The writer of Hebrews
admonishes in Hebrews 13:5:“be content
with such things as ye have.”
3.As in all
circumstances, we are to do our best and to be grateful and thankful to God for
what he provides.
Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever
ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, givingthanks to God and the Father by him.
Summary:Be lowly, be content, and be thankful.
usefulness of receiving hospitality:
1.It can humble us to be in a situation in
which we are served and ministered unto.
of Jesus when he washed the feet of the disciples (John 13).What a humbling experience that must have
been for them.But recall that Peter
protested:“Thou shalt never wash my
feet” (v. 8), but Jesus answered, “If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with
me” (v. 8).
2.It provides an opportunity for us to share in
deeper koinonia with our fellow believers in our local church (if we are in
their homes) or to understand the larger body of Christ beyond our own local
church (if we are in the homes of believers from other churches).
3.It provides a way for us to learn from the
customs and practices of fellow believers.
observe and learn how they arrange their lives, what books they have on the
shelves, what artwork hangs on the walls, how they conduct family worship, etc.
take some of these things perhaps and make use of them in our own home.
Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the
countenance of his friend.
4.It can help us understand better how to pray
for each other (in a local church) and for the church universal (if outside our
Paul’s instructions in Colossians 4:
Colossians 4:7 All my state
shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a
faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord: 8 Whom I have sent unto you
for the same purpose, that he might know your estate, and comfort your hearts;
9 With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They
shall make known unto you all things which are done here. 10 Aristarchus
my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister's son to Barnabas, (touching
whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;)
be a good guest (some practical suggestions):
1.Bring a small gift as a token of thanks and
2.Have an open, gracious, and generous spirit.
3.Take an interest in the persons with whom you
are staying and ask them about themselves.
them questions about themselves not from manipulation or in a merely
perfunctory manner, but with genuine interest in them.
someone asks you a question about yourself, give a forthright response, but then
return the favor and ask them about themselves.
4.Be willing and flexible enough to adapt to
the circumstances and customs of your host, if it does not bring you into some
clear violation of conscience.
5.Do not, however, act hypocritically, as Peter
Galatians 2:11 But when Peter
was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.
12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but
when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were
of the circumcision. 13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him;
insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.
6.Try to eat and drink that which is offered
and do not seek any special or burdensome accommodations.
7.Be helpful and lend a hand as needed.
might help in setting a table, in preparing a meal, in watching children, etc.
have children offer to help with cleanup of toys when you leave.
stay the night, leave the bathroom tidy and make the bed.
8.After your visit, pray for your hosts and, if
appropriate, send a note of thanks.