Hospitality – Gospel in Life


Tim Keller |  June 8, 2008

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  • Christian Living and Obedience
Hebrews 13:1-14
RS 202-10


We’re in a series on Christian practices. We believe certain things, but those beliefs don’t necessarily change our lives unless we instill those beliefs into our hearts through Christian practices, through spiritual disciplines.

Let’s look at a Christian practice, a spiritual discipline, that you probably don’t think of as a spiritual discipline. It’s the practice of hospitality. All through the Scripture, hospitality is extremely important. It’s a sign of spiritual maturity. If you put the word “hospitality” into a search engine right now, almost all the first things that come up will be vacation resorts or Martha Stewart entertaining where everything is perfect. But actually, that’s almost the opposite of what the Bible means by it.

In Hebrews 13, we’re going to look at 1) the principle behind Christian hospitality, 2) the promise of Christian hospitality, and 3) the impetus for Christian hospitality.

Hebrews 13:1–14

Getting closer to God isn’t just about believing; it’s also about living out His teachings. One way we can do this is through hospitality, or welcoming others into our lives. It’s a big deal in the Bible, but it’s often forgotten these days. Our modern idea of hospitality has been shaped by things like fancy hotels and unrealistic expectations, and we’ve lost the true meaning that the Bible teaches.

1. Why hospitality is important in Christianity

Christianity teaches us to stand up for what’s right. For example, early Christians spoke out when one of their own was unfairly jailed. The Bible teaches us that both money and sexuality should be used to build strong relationships with others, not harm them. It also tells us stories like Abraham’s in Genesis 18, where he showed great hospitality. Even though it can be tough in today’s society, we’re encouraged to open our lives to others.

2. What hospitality really means

True hospitality means welcoming those who are often overlooked, taking care of those in need, and seeing everyday interactions as chances to meet God. It’s about including everyone, through the way we think and act. Hospitality can be shown in many ways, like inviting neighbors over or helping out marginalized groups. It’s a way to show God’s love for everyone.

3. Why we should practice hospitality

God has promised never to leave us, and that promise inspires us to be hospitable to others. Jesus Christ, who was rejected and cut off from everyone, took our spiritual loneliness upon himself when he died on the cross. Because of him, we’re now part of God’s family. As we look forward to our forever home in heaven, we should try to be like Jesus in welcoming others. Who knows, we might even be welcoming angels without realizing it.



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