Sunday Sermon :: Starting with Me [ECC Covington Campus, Lead Pastor Scott Moore]
God's Word to “church people”.
“What binds us together is not common education, common race, common income levels, common politics, common nationality, common accents, common jobs, or anything else of that sort. Christians come together because they have all been loved by Jesus himself. They are a band of natural enemies who love one another for Jesus' sake.” -D.A. Carson
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. (Romans 12:9-13 NIV)
Be sincere..not hypocritical. Do not “act” but instead be real with other believers.
Practice “hospitality” which is helping to meet the needs of other believers.
Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. (1 Peter 4:9 NIV)
- receive people into your homes
- share with one another
- be honest with each other
- and don't complain about it
Sometimes “programs” are created by churches to meet a need that is often a value problem in each of our hearts. We want the church to have a picnic where we can have pseudo-community. Do you know that “community” was not “programmed” by the church in the New Testament?
Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:46, 47 NIV)
Hospitality starts with me but began with God.
When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 19:33, 34 NIV)
Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. (Ephesians 2:11, 12 NIV)
Enemies to hospitality:
- Life cycles (ball season, toddlers, hectic work schedule)
- Entitlement (“it's MY time, or my house”)
- We get out of the habit of meeting together
- Fear (“maybe my house isn't as nice as others”, “I don't have nice stuff”, embarrassment)
Deal with the enemies of hospitality by thinking this way:
- How can. I be sincerely concerned about you and your needs?
- Why should I take the farthest parking spot?
- What if I lose so you can win? (What if I left the safe confines of my Small Group so that someone else can have my spot?)
- What does it mean to consider you more significant than me?
What if..from the heart..all of us:
- Greet and welcome people sincerely
- Invite each other into our homes
- Give heart and time
We can be hospitable..accepting..real..and loving..but only with Christ as the center of our hearts and lives.
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