Gracious hospitality - Bible Studies for Life for September 16, 2018
Bible Studies for Life
September 16, 2018
1 Peter 4:7-11 (HCSB)
Recently, I saw a comic strip depicting a scene in heaven. A man dressed in a robe and wearing a halo was standing behind a counter. Another man was standing in front of the counter wearing a sandwich board with the slogan, “The End Is Near!” The man with the halo said, “You can take that off now.” I am often asked, “Are we living in the end times?” Yes, the church is always living in the end times. Here’s why.
Peter wrote to the church of the diaspora saying, “The end of all things is near” (1 Pet. 4:7). Verses like this provide a framework for what theologians call the doctrine of imminence. Christ’s return is imminent; it could happen at any time. Peter was not a Gnostic. He claimed no secret knowledge. He gave a commentary on this in 2 Peter 3. The Lord’s delay really can’t be understood as we normally understand delay. The Lord wishes none to perish but all to repent (2 Pet. 3:9). His imminent return should create urgency in us to share the gospel more.
The word “therefore” in 1 Peter 4:7 is important. While we are waiting for Christ’s return, there are some things we should be doing. We are to have self-control, be disciplined in prayer, have fervent love, minister through our gifts, be good stewards of God’s grace and God’s Word, serve in the strength of the Lord and always glorify God through Jesus Christ.
I saved one item for last, “Be hospitable.” The word “hospitable” is the Greek word philoxenos. It is a compound word that means “a lover of hospitality.” Christian love is demonstrated in practical ways like hospitality. The subjects of this hospitality are “one another.” Peter’s readers knew the importance of hospitality. They were scattered by persecution and needed places to stay, be assisted and be encouraged. Christians should entertain strangers, assist those in need, open their homes to God’s servants and use hospitality to glorify the Lord.