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"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

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  • Rev. David Thommen (URC)
  • John Hendryx
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    We are a community of confessing believers who love the gospel of Jesus Christ, affirm the Biblical and Christ-exalting truths of the Reformation such as the five solas, the doctrines of grace, monergistic regeneration, and the redemptive historical approach to interpreting the Scriptures.

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  • « Martin Luther: Certainty in the Truth by Iain H. Murray | Main | Dispensationalism and the Eclipse of Christ (An Open Correspondence) »

    Hospitality in a Cold World

    Be kindly affectionate to one another . . . , given to hospitality. —Romans 12:10,13

    The word for hospitality in the Scripture means “a love of strangers.” Something that does not really come naturally to me. I know it is my own tendency to avoid taking the initiative to meet and befriend others. My heart naturally can be cold and unreceiving. But by prayer through the word of God, hospitality, I have witnessed, breaks down barriers and build bridges to other people. It can make strangers and stragglers feel welcome.

    Inviting someone to your home is an ideal way to start serving in this way. I have appreciated it when people have done this for me in the past, especially when I was new to an area. And when you invite new friends into your home, use your culinary skill and eat with them (Acts 2:46, 20:11; 1 Cor 16:19) and then take the time to pray with them before they depart. They will appreciate it more than you know. Show appreciation to leaders, hurting families and teachers by inviting them into your home. There are many wandering, isolated persons who need this ministry of hospitality. Consider how much you appreciate it when, perhaps in those rare occassions, others have done this for you. I think human beings all appreciate this and it is a means God uses to minister the gospel through you. When living overseas, I was especially struck with the natural tendency of Chinese people to be hospitible to people. Many Christians could learn from them.

    You would be surprised at how many people have no family close by, and how many have no real friends. Inviting them into your life and home is Christ expressing His love for them through you. Your life and your words can minister the gospel, but you need never fret over actually persuading them ... that is the Lord's work. People in this fragmented world often feel despair, are lonely and many imagine that others hate them. Let them know that you don't by sharing a meal with them and showing your big-heartedness toward them. If you have sound theology and wish to share it, be a friend to people first. You will be surprised at how much more easy their heart will melt before the truth when you are first a friend to them.

    Table fellowship is an outstanding pulpit from which to teach God's truths and disciple others without even consciously knowing it. This is the ideal way God will use you to minister to others through you that they may grow in grace. It is way too easy to live an isolated life in this era. It is a great temptation for me personally. But this is one means that your local church can become a friendly place. This is a word especially to you navel-gazing Presbyterians out there and a way to put your doctrine into practice.

    Pray for us at this ministry that we would be ever increasingly warm-hearted in the truth of the gospel. It is a difficult time we live in and we need your prayer support. Your prayers are the greatest way you can minister to us.

    p.s. we want to extend great thanks to all of you who generously helped us raise $5K last month for the Monergism.com website upgrade (coming soon) By the grace of God we were able to raise the entire amount in less than one month. We thank God for you.

    j.w.h.

    Posted by John on June 2, 2006 07:28 PM

    Comments

    Sir, I thank you very much for these kindly biblical doctrinal words of faith, belief and obedience to them.

    My friend Julie (a Christian in the same church as i, but in different states here in Australia), is having trouble at the moment at home with her older brothers since her father died and was left having to care for her ailing and greiving mother. As they have banded together to rid her of her competency and stedfastness in her faith in Jesus Christ. And this has now spilled over into wanting to help me out when I need it the most when I visit Melbourne for medical specialist treament. It was through me, that by God's grace, we met 20 years ago and then i became a mentor for her for five years, and then three years later she decided God was calling her to attend the same church I was at, at the time (Presbyterian Reformed Church), and a year later she made a confession she needed to be saved and was then soon enough she was descipled and became a member of the body of God's reformed church in Melbourne, just as just like me.

    And we have been great friend ever since anyway. And I have known her sons from when they were very young till, now in their mid twenties.

    And I have been in their home many times over the years and even more recently, I asked her for help in accommadation earlier this year and she was glad to do it.

    But of late, she has withdrawn her support from me, by telling me "It has been on the advice of other christian frends and her previous minister Rev. Alan Hull (retired from office, due to ill health); that there is no biblical grounds for her to do so, and that it is always unwise to put her self in positions of vulnerability like that."

    So she is really mixed up as well.

    PLus the last time I was there, earlier this year, five months ago, she mentioned that her older brother (Urgh), had said, "That I would make a great husband for her, as did her mother."

    Both her brother and mother are suffering from emotional and spiritual conflicts, and so I knew not to pay any attention to those words.

    How ever, her attitude did change toward me after that, as if, there was merit in their words, as if, it was better for her to cultivate that idea in me too.

    So I had to put her straight in these things, and let her know that I have always considered her as a great frend and sister in Christ, and fr nothing else.

    And even today, when I mentioned that I had to go to Melbourne again in September this year, she brought up all of these things to me, as to why it is unwise for her to help me out one more time.

    I have other frends that I can turn to and I have done so before now, as recently as last month in June. And I told her so.

    And so, she wants me to provide her with specific biblical quotes to do with giving help to other christians and for non christians as well, as she is a single mother with one grown up son in residence (in the back flat), and a mother who seldom lives there, as she is being manipulated by her oldest son to live with him to gain a larger interest in the family wealth once the mother die and to try to kick Julie and her remaining son out of the family home so as he can gain an active interest in the sale of it too.

    (he is as crooked as they come, sadly enough).

    And your teaching on Christian Hospitality is exactly what I am looking for. And I have made mention to her of the Westminster Confession of Faith by G.I. Williamson, in chapter 20 "Of Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience," hoping that she will also get the point to there.

    Again my thanks, and if you can help with more advice and wise counsel, please let me know that too.

    Oh! Yes, I am 64 and single and live on ,y own and I have helped many an alcoholic and drug addict with accommadation over the past 20 years, as well as a few christian men and women in need of time out from their home life, so as to get a better perspective to grips with their family life and how to be more reliant on the wisdom of the eldership and through much prayer and supplication to God and much more biblical reading and when ever possible, seek out the older and wiser womenfolk and or men folk, for their support as well, in due time.

    And I have done these things consistently throughout my God granted
    predetermined life, since before the beginning of time, according to all sound doctrine in God's Holy Word.

    And I am hoping, God willing, that He will lead me into the path of that godly righteous woman He has waiting in the back ground, one of these days soon...smiles.

    Again my thanks,
    Tom Seath,
    Mount Gambier, South Australia.

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