1 Peter 1:22

 

Last week we talked about having true Fellowship with one another. If we are to have fellowship we need to be hospitable.

 

1 Peter 4:9 Offer hospitality to ONE ANOTHER without grumbling.

 

When we are in each other’s homes we can know we are safe and cared about and able to really get to know one another and have true fellowship, we will really be able to share life.

 

Do you want to be accepted and loved? So do others, so let’s start by loving each other enough to be hospitable.

 

Hospitality is a character trait that we must all have; it is so important that Hospitality is one of the qualifications for Eldership (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8).

 

Hospitable literally means a friend of strangers. It is easy to love friends but we must love strangers.  As we offer hospitality to strangers they become friends.

We can be hospitable by being foster parents or host a foreign exchange student; maybe even supporting an orphan in another country.

 

Peter added an interesting qualifier to offering hospitality. Did you hear it?

1 Peter 4:9 Offer hospitality to ONE ANOTHER without grumbling.

 

Without grumbling – Some Christians need encouraged in this area, not to grumble about the sacrifice of cleaning the house or the grumbling about the expense of the food or the emotional energy it takes to be hospitable.

 

You may go through the motions of being hospitable but you grumble and complain. If you are going to grumble isn’t it better just not to open your home?

No, it is better that you repent and be hospitable without grumbling.

 

Philippians 2:14 Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15  so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.

 

Complaining is the same Greek word as in 1 Peter 4 where it is translated grumbling.

 

Grumbling has always been a part of the church and even the children of Israel in the wilderness.

The issues change but Satan keeps tempting Christians to sin this way.

Let’s break the cycle of grumbling.

 

Be hospitable without grumbling.

 

Romans 12:13 Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

 

Hospitality in the New Testament time was a real virtue, strangers coming to town needed someone to love them and show them kindness; especially traveling preachers and Christians fleeing persecution.

 

Paul here tells the Christians to “Practice” hospitality. You know how that Greek word is normally translated?

Persecute – “to run after, to chase, to pursue, to strive for.” In other words, we should take the initiative in this matter of hospitality.

 

An old commentator wrote, “Hospitality is literally to be chased after as one hunts an animal”. Another relates the story of a pagan Greek citizen, Gallias of Agrigentum, who in the fourth century B.C. was so hospitable “that he posted his slaves at the city gates to welcome strangers when they presented themselves and ask them to his house”.

 

We need to pursue those we can be hospitable to. We need to be a friend to strangers.  We need to meet the needs of the needy.  Looking for ways to practice hospitality without grumbling.

 

If we are going to be hospitable, loving strangers, then we need to practice loving one another.

 

Romans 12:10 Be devoted to ONE ANOTHER in brotherly love.

 

A SCHOOL TEACHER asked her first graders to draw a picture of something they were thankful for. She thought of how little these children from poor neighborhoods actually had to be thankful for. She reasoned that most of them would no doubt draw pictures of turkeys on tables with lots of other food.

She was surprised with the picture that Douglas handed in. It was the picture of a human hand, poorly drawn. But whose hand? The other children tried to guess. One said it was the hand of God because He brings the food to us. Another said it was the hand of a farmer because he raises and grows the food. Finally, when the others were back at their work, the teacher bent over Douglas’ desk and asked whose hand it was. “Why, it’s your hand, teacher,” he mumbled. Then she recalled that frequently at recess she had taken Douglas, a scrubby, forlorn child, by the hand. She did it with many of the children and never thought much about it. But Douglas did. You see, she refreshed his spirit and he never forgot it.

 

Whose hand are you taking to show your brotherly love?

 

Romans 13:8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love ONE ANOTHER, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.

 

Most of us have debt and the goal is to get out of debt someday, as soon as possible. But there is one bill that will always be due and never paid.  The debt to love one another.  If you use a credit card and receive a monthly statement you see the balance due and you see a minimum payment.  If you only paid the minimum payment and never charged anything else to that card it would take forever to pay off the debt, especially because of the interest.  If you use credit pay it off each month.

 

Do the same with love – we have a debt to pay and we can’t just pay the minimum, because the debt of love continues to grow and if we only love a little we are not following the command of Jesus. We will never be able to claim we have loved enough but we need to continue to express our love to one another.

 

Love is to care for someone’s emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being. Love One Another.

 

A broken woman wrote her old sweetheart.

“Dearest Jimmy, No words could ever express the great unhappiness I’ve felt since breaking our engagement. Please say you’ll take me back. No one could ever take your place in my heart, so please forgive me. I love you, I love you, I love you! Yours forever, Marie… P.S., And congratulations on wining the state lottery.”

 

That’s not love – that is an act of concern out of a selfish motive, she didn’t care about him until he had money.

Love one another – not for what they can give you but for what you can give them. That is Christian love and that is what Jesus commands us to do.

Love is more than an emotion, love is an action.  An action for the benefit of others.  Continue to pay that debt of love you owe.

 

1 Peter 1:22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love ONE ANOTHER deeply, from the heart.

 

If we are going to love one another deeply, we must be purified. Purified by obeying the truth – the Gospel truth – Peter is talking to Christians who have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus.

 

1 Peter 1:18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God. 22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.

 

Because we have been purified, because we have experienced the unconditional love of Jesus we can love one another deeply.

 

Just as Jesus loved us we can love one another. Jesus loved the woman caught in adultery, Jesus loved Zacchaeus, a tax collector who cheated people, Jesus loved the Pharisees enough to tell them they were wrong.

 

Jesus accepted people where they were – He loved them unconditionally – He also wanted them to change and sin no more. But the love came first and then the change.

He loved us and then we had the ability to change, to become a new creation in Him, a Christian who loves.

 

A woman was bitten by a dog with rabies, and it looked like she was going to die. The doctor told her to put her final affairs in order. So the woman took pen and paper, and began writing furiously. In fact she wrote and wrote and wrote. Finally the doctor said, “That sure is a long will you’re making.” She snorted, “Will, nothing! I’m making a list of all the people I’m going to bite!”

That is not love.

 

JACKIE ROBINSON was the first African American to play baseball in the major leagues. Breaking baseball’s color barrier, he faced hostile crowds in every stadium. While playing one day in his home stadium of Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, he committed an error. The fans began to jeer him. He stood at second base, humiliated, while the crowd booed. Then, without saying a word, shortstop Pee Wee Reese went over and stood next to Jackie. He put his arm around him and faced the crowd. Suddenly the fans grew quiet. Robinson later said that that arm around his shoulder saved his career.

 

That is accepting and loving – That kind of love teaches others how to love.

 

Who will you put your arm around and accept?

Accept them just the way they are even when no one else likes them?

Accept them when they do not deserve it.

 

1 John 3:10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother. 11 This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.

 

A Child’s Letter   –     Dear God, I bet it’s very hard for you to love all of everybody in the whole world. There are only 4 people in our family and I can never do it.

 

It is time to really strive to love one another – it will not be easy but it is worth it.

Will you give diligence to love like Christ wants us to love?

 

It was February 1941, Auschwitz, Poland. Maximilian Kolbe was a Franciscan priest put in the infamous death camp for helping Jews escape Nazi terrorism. Months went by and in desperation an escape took place. The camp rule was enforced. Ten people would be rounded up randomly and herded into a cell where they would die of starvation and exposure as a lesson against future escape attempts. Names were called. A Polish Jew Frandishek Gasovnachek was called. He cried, “Wait, I have a wife and children!” Kolbe stepped forward and said, “I will take his place.” Kolbe was marched into the cell with nine others where he managed to live until August 14. This story was chronicled on an NBC news special several years ago. Gasovnachek, by this time 82, was shown telling this story while tears streamed down his cheeks. A mobile camera followed him around his little white house to a marble monument carefully tended with flowers.

The inscription read: IN MEMORY OF MAXIMILIAN KOLBE … HE DIED IN MY PLACE.

 

That is love.

Love is an action that benefits someone else.

 

That is what Jesus did for us by dying on the cross and that is what we should do for others in small ways every day.

 

We don’t always feel loved or even lovable but Jesus loved us enough to come and die. Jesus died for you.

Will you accept His love and share His love with others?

 

If you want to accept the love Jesus offers come as we sing.

Come today – repent of your sins and be immersed into Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the indwelling gift of the God the Holy Spirit.