Volume. XXVI, No. 28
Sunday, 08 January 2012


Hospitality and Visitation


The Christmas – New Year period is a time of year which many people see as a good time to get together. Some people organise dinners, BBQs and lunches while others go visiting friends and family to give gifts. These are examples of hospitality and visitation but these can be ministries rather than just social activities.

Hospitality in the Bible

Romans 12:13b tells us that we should be “given to hospitality” and it is listed in the qualifications for bishops (overseers/elders) in 1 Timothy (3:2) and Titus (1:7-8) so it is definitely a desirable characteristic. So what is it? Hospitality is the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers.

There are many examples of hospitality in the Bible.  In Genesis 18:1-8 we read of Abraham looking out of his tent door in the heat of the day, seeing three men and going to meet them and inviting them to refresh themselves and have a meal with him. These men turned out to be angels. We have the example of the Shunammite woman in 2 Kings 4:8-10 who regularly invited Elisha to eat in her house whenever he passed by and then asked her husband to set up a room for Elisha to stay in. She wanted it to be a place of rest, asking for it to be furnished with a bed, table, stool and candlestick.  Acts 16:14-15 tells us of Lydia inviting Paul and his companions to her home.

Who should we show hospitality to?

Abraham showed hospitality to strangers. The author of Hebrews encourages us to “entertain strangers” as a way of continuing brotherly love (Hebrews 13:1-2). How does showing hospitality continue brotherly love?  Well, firstly it gives an opportunity to show kindness to someone else.  Then it will often enable you to get to know them better, thus enabling you to know their needs and to pray for them better.  Sharing a meal can help people to “open up” and share more. It may also encourage them to show hospitality to others and so brotherly love continues. 

Lydia and the Shunammite woman showed hospitality to servants of the Lord. Occasionally we have visiting pastors, speakers or missionaries.  Having fellowship with different people allows us to share about our different ministries and to learn from each other.  In this way we are all blessed.

In the Gospel of Luke Jesus tells us to show hospitality to the poor. “Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompense be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.”

Proverbs 25:21-22 says, “If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the Lord shall reward thee.” So we should even be hospitable to our enemies.  Now, this isn’t for the purpose of bringing destruction upon them, but to show love to them. Matthew 5:44 says, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” Then verse 45 gives the reason why, “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” There’s an example of showing hospitality to enemies in 2 Kings 6. The Syrian army got blinded and ended up captive in Samaria. The King of Israel asked the prophet Elisha if he should smite them and Elisha told him not to. Instead he was instructed to give them bread and water and send them back to their master. They never came back to bother Israel. 

How can we show hospitality?

1 Peter 4:9-10. “Use hospitality one to another without grudging. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”

Those who are able can invite people over or out for a meal. We have international students and others in our church with no family or extended family who would appreciate such a kindness. Sometimes we have people visiting from overseas or interstate who require help with accommodation. Not everyone has their own house with room for guests or spare money to take people out but we all have an opportunity to show hospitality each week when there are visitors in church. If you say hello and introduce yourself, invite them to join us for lunch and sit with them you can make them feel more welcome. 

Visitation

Visitation is another way to show brotherly kindness to our brethren and God’s love to the lost.  Visitation is not just a work for pastors.  It is for everyone, even children.  Visiting people shows that they are thought about and cared for.  Like showing hospitality it is a way to get know people better, it can open the door for evangelism and it can be a mutual blessing.  I know quite often the person doing the visiting feels that they are the one who has been blessed.

Who needs visiting?

James 1: 27 says “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” We do have widows, widowers and fatherless in our congregation. We also have others who are grieving or lonely and could do with some company and encouragement. Matthew 25:36 talks about visiting the sick. James advises the sick to call the elders to come and pray over them (5:14) and we are all encouraged to pray for one another (5:16). The sick may be in hospital, nursing home or their own home.  If you aren’t sure who to visit, you can ask Pastor for suggestions.

What should we do when visiting?

What you do and how long you stay will depend upon who you are visiting and why. In any case, it is good to pray before going.  If you can, then pray while you are there and read some scripture. It can be a time to talk but also to listen. Sometimes it is appropriate to bring something you can leave behind, for example: flowers, a card, food, Lively Hope or a tract. For those who can sing you can bring a hymnal to sing songs which will encourage the person you are visiting.

Being sick helps us to see our frailty. It can make people take stock of their life and think of heaven (or at least the end of their life) more.  For those who are saved it is good to encourage them by reminding them of God’s grace, sovereignty, power and care. For the lost who have never thought about God or eternity before, sickness may make them more inclined to do so or more open to hearing God’s Word. We should make use of these opportunities.

When should we visit?

Visitation requires a time commitment. You can’t go if you aren’t free but these days our lives are often so filled with things that we feel we don’t have any free time.  You need to set aside a time, it can be day time, night time, weekend and find out when the person is free too. Maybe you can go once a week or maybe just once a month or once every few months, but I would encourage you to make some time to go on visitation. Often it is good to go with someone else or a few other people.  Sometimes there are visitations organised by different fellowship groups in church.  Keep a look out for them and join in.

Let me conclude with some words from Christ.

Matthew 25:31-40 “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

What can you do for Christ?

Deaconess Purdee Yeo


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

*Kitchen Roster: Team Leader: Bro Daniel Volvricht. Next Lord’s Day: Sis Yvone Kam.

*Hope Bookstore - Open from 12:30—1:45pm. New music CDs are now available.

*Flower Roster for 2012: if able to serve the Lord in this area, please see Sis Peng Ha Yeo. There are a few vacant spots in the last half of the year.

*Please note: Bro Youwen Yeap will be leaving Adelaide for Singapore after completing his internship on Mon, 16 Jan.

*No Adult Sunday School till Mid-Feb.

*RPGs (Jan-Mar QTR) available on literature table. Donation $1:00.

 Praise & Thanksgiving

 1. Journey mercies: Dn Wai Kin & Sis Mavis Wong & family (S’pore); Dns Joyce Gong; Bro Ngie Joo & Sis Sooi Chin Gong (Adl); Bro Augustino & Sis Henny Wibowo & family (Melb/Adl); Bro John & Sis Josephine Wong & Stephen (Bris); Bros Raymond Ang (Pinnaroo/Adl), Raphael Ng (Pt Aug/Adl), Pirun Pech & Daniel Volvricht; Sisters Shu Ai Cho (Adl) & Serene Wong (S’pore)  & others who have arrived at their destinations.  

2. Church Activities - over the past week.

3. Sunday School children - presented musical items at Resthaven Nursing Home, Leabrook.

4. God’s daily provision, mercy, guidance & blessings.

5. Job - Bro Raymond Ang (Pinnaroo Hospital)

6. Ebenezer BPC’s Missions trip to Batam.

7. Visitors & new worshippers.

 Prayer Items

1. Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev George van Buuren; Rev Luke Kim (Post-cardiac surgery, S Korea); Rev & Mrs James White; Preacher Zhang (Sihanoukville); Dn Edwin D’Mello’s mother (Mumbai); Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser; Bro Len & Sis Margaret Pearson; Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Auntie Oei; Bro Elton Law; Sisters Lynette Booth, Mabella Booth, Margaret Hooper, Lai Kheng Chiong (KL), Myung Ki, Irena Kurek-Braden (NSW), Choon Fong Lee (KL), Lehia Paauwe (Per), & Susan Varadi; Mr Swee Liang Ng (Bro Raphael’s father); Mr Tony Wong (Bro John’s father); Mrs. Chuilin Yap (Malacca); & others in affliction.

2. Sis Sarah Carpenter’s mother, Mrs Cathy Carpenter, in Wakefield Hospital - recovery & healing. 

3. Cambodia Missions - Rev Stephen Choi & Ministry; Bro Paul Sun Sokha & Ministry (Phnom Penh).

4. Ministry in New Life BPC (London): Ps & Sis Ki.

5. Batam Missions - Sis Ang Liang Phoa & Ministry; Sis Sonya of Filidelfia Church in critical condition in ICU in Johor.

6. iSketch&Tell Studio, YouTube Ministry - Pr HS Lim (Melb).

7. IBPFM (USA) - Rev Keith Coleman, Board & missionaries in India, South America & USA.

8. Ps & Sis Weng - Ministry in Hope BPC; Missions work in Batam.

9. Presbyterian Missionary Union - Missionaries; Pastor Mark Baldwin’s wife, Mrs Wiwin, post-op recovery (Cambodia).

10. Hopefuls in S’pore; In Kuching: Teo family.

11. House of Hope, Cebu, Philippines - drug addicts: for their salvation & healing from drug addiction.

12. Journey mercies: Bro Cong Pham (Vietnam); Sis Catherine Teng (Malaysia); others who are travelling.

13. God’s comfort: Those in mourning.

14. Logos International School (Phnom Penh) - Bro Peter Koo.

15. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin & Korean.

16. Sisters Clara Sim & Melissa Chong - God’s guidance, job & direction in S’pore or elsewhere.

17.  Believers under persecution in Islamic countries.

18.  Unity & fellowship of Australian B-P Churches.

19.  God’s guidance: Bro Youwen Yeap in S’pore as he pursues further medical training.

 

 

© Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church
PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063