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Be Our Guest

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Anyone remember the song Be Our Guest from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast? The servants of this castle have been turned into household items. And this girl named Belle is their first guest in 10 years. And they’re excited to finally have someone to serve and so they put on this fantastic dinner for Belle. Listen to a few lines from that song:
Be Our Guest
Anyone remember the song Be Our Guest from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast? The servants of this castle have been turned into household items. And this girl named Belle is their first guest in 10 years. And they’re excited to finally have someone to serve and so they put on this fantastic dinner for Belle. Listen to a few lines from that song:
Be our guest! Be our guest! Put our service to the test Tie your napkin 'round your neck cherie; And we'll provide the rest
Soup du jour; Hot hors d'oeuvres - Why, we only live to serve
Be our guest! Be our guest! Be our guest!
We only live to serve. It should remind us of a certain Rabbi who said, “I came not to be served, but to serve.”
Next Sunday is Palm Sunday and the following is Resurrection Sunday. We will no doubt have a few guests. What kind of guests, no one knows. Perhaps we will encounter the CEO – the Christmas and Easter Only person – the person who attends church once or twice a year. Perhaps we will meet a prodigal child - one who has been running from the Lord. Or perhaps we will meet the one who has tried it all – looking for purpose and a place to belong, yet they’re empty and they’re looking for a place of healing and help. Or we might meet the person who says, “I’m giving God and the church one last chance.”
Or we might even meet the one who has been attending Sunnyside for a while, but has yet to fit in – to feel as if they belong.
We don’t know who will be here, Christian or non-Christian; familiar with church, or unfamiliar; searching, hurting, confused – we don’t know. But this I do know – every person who walks through these doors is a guest and should be treated as such – especially the visitor. Not just on special occasions, but every Sunday. Every person who walks in these doors should receive hospitality and love and kindness and at a minimum, acknowledgement of being here.
Some might wonder who is responsible for welcoming guests and showing hospitality within a church? Does the responsibility fall upon the pastor? The greeters? The church board? Those in leadership? Yes, but not only them, but ...
The responsibility to show hospitality falls upon every Christian.
All followers of Jesus are to be ministers and servants. All Christians are greeters. God expects and even mandates His people to be hospitable, loving and kind – and that should be especially evident on Sunday mornings.
Be our guest! Be our guest! Put our service to the test Why, we only live to serve - Be our guest!
Believe me, when people walk through our doors, they will indeed put our service to the test. Every guest is asking questions: Will they notice me and talk to me or will I be ignored? Will they accept me or reject me? Do these people really welcome strangers? Do they really worship God or is it fake? Is this a place I can come back to? And believe me – every person who attends this church will help guests formulate their answers within the first 5 minutes.
I think we do okay – but there’s always room for improvement – we can always take it up a notch.
So, with guests in mind, let’s look at 1 Peter chapter 3.
The idea that all disciples of Christ are to be servants, that we are called to servanthood begins with Jesus Christ Himself. Remember, He came not to be served but to serve. And that is the expectation He has for us – look at ...
1 Peter 3:8–9 NIV
Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
As Peter encouraged the 1st Century Christians, I encourage us as well, to be like-minded – that every person will ...
As Peter encouraged the 1st Century Christians, I encourage us as well, to be like-minded – that every person will come on Sundays to worship and to serve, not to be served. And that we will treat each person who walks through those doors with intentional sympathy (which really means with understanding), with love, compassion and that we will be humble and hospitable toward everyone.
As Peter encouraged the 1st Century Christians, I encourage us as well, to be like-minded – that every person will come on Sundays to worship and to serve, not to be served. And that we will treat each person who walks through those doors with intentional sympathy (which really means with understanding), with love, compassion and that we will be humble and hospitable toward everyone.
Come on Sundays to worship and to serve, not to be served.
And that we will treat each person who walks through those doors with intentional sympathy (which really means with understanding), with love, compassion and that we will be humble and hospitable toward everyone.
What does humility and hospitality look like on Sunday morning – especially to a guest? It means the other person gets the closest parking space (the better your legs, the farther away you should park. The best parking spots should be reserved for guests and elders and those who have trouble walking).
Humility and hospitality means the other person gets the better seat. It means the other person goes first in the snack line. Humility and hospitality means you before me. It means more listening to their needs and less talking about mine. It means rather than pointing someone in the direction of the restroom or children’s area, hospitality says, “Let me show you.”
Humility and hospitality says, “You are more important than me.” Humility and hospitality says, “I live to serve, so be our guest.”
That’s just a snapshot of humility and hospitality. But the bigger issue is this - what’s the foundation of true humility and hospitality? Look at verse 18.
1 Peter 3:18 NIV
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.”
What Christ did on the cross for every sinner is the foundation of our humility and hospitality. Christ humbled himself to take our shame and our guilt, to suffer for us - for what? To bring us to God! His life, His suffering, His death and His resurrection were all designed to reconcile the undeserving sinner to God. Talk about humility –
What Christ did on the cross for every sinner is the foundation of our humility and hospitality. Christ humbled himself to take our shame and our guilt, to suffer for us - for what? To bring us to God! His life, His suffering, His death and His resurrection were all designed to reconcile the underserving sinner to God. Talk about humility – Jesus proved that our access to God was more important than His life!
Jesus proved that our access to God was more important than His life!
Now, that’s the foundation. Jump to 4:1 and let’s go a little deeper into hospitality and what that really means for us.
“Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin.”
1 Peter 4:1 NIV
Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin.
Because Jesus suffered for the purpose of bringing all people to God, we are to arm ourselves, which means to prepare our minds in advance with the same attitude that Jesus had. And what was His attitude? “I will do or lose whatever it takes, even dying on a cross (the righteous for the unrighteous) to make a way for people to have access to God.” That is to be our attitude.
Because Jesus suffered for the purpose of bringing all people to God, we are to arm ourselves, which means to prepare our minds in advance with the same attitude that Jesus had. And what was His attitude? “I will do or lose whatever it takes, even dying on a cross (the righteous for the unrighteous) to make a way for people to have access to God.” That is to be our attitude.
His attitude? “I will do or lose whatever it takes, even dying on a cross (the righteous for the unrighteous) to make a way for people to have access to God.” That is to be our attitude.
The attitude of Christ - “I will do or lose whatever it takes,
even dying on a cross (the righteous for the unrighteous) to make a way for people to have access to God.” That is to be our attitude.
So we have a question to ask – are we there?
Are we at the point that we will do or lose whatever it takes to bring people to Christ?
That’s a question to take before the Lord this week. But in regards to hospitality and guests – be willing to do or lose whatever to make a way for people to have access to Jesus. (Willing to lose ownership? Place? Time? Energy?)
… arm yourselves also with the same attitude … now jump to verse 7.
“7 The end of all things is near.”
1 Peter 4:7–8 NIV
The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
What Peter is saying is that Christ finished all His work on the cross and all that is left is for His return. When? No one knows. So what does this mean to us and our guests? Tomorrow is not guaranteed, right? So when guests walk through our doors, this may be their first or last opportunity to meet Jesus. And wouldn’t it be a shame if someone who was searching for salvation came to a church, the very place we worship the Savior and never had the opportunity to receive Christ or to pray with someone. What a shame.
What Peter is saying is that Christ finished all His work on the cross and all that is left is for His return. When? No one knows. So what does this mean to us and our guests? Tomorrow is not guaranteed, right? So when guests walk through our doors, this may be their first or last opportunity to meet Jesus. And wouldn’t it be a shame if someone who was searching for salvation came to a church, the very place we worship the Savior and never had the opportunity to receive Christ or to pray with someone. What a shame.
Because the end is near, 8 … be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.” Meaning, be alert so that you know what to pray about.
Are we alert when we come to church? Are we alert to the needs, the wounds, the sins, the struggles of the people around us on Sunday morning? Are we paying attention to one another or is church attendance business as usual?
When you come to church, it should not be “business as usual.” Each of us should begin each Sunday by saying, “Lord, help me to worship you and help me to serve you and be used by you. Lord, may I be a tool in your hands this morning.
I challenge us: let’s pray that prayer for the next four Sundays and see what happens? 1) Pray to worship God, 2) pray to be used of God, 3) be on alert and 4) get in the habit of praying with one another on Sundays.
Peter continues
1 Peter 4:8 NIV
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
“Above all …” It means to rise above! Rise above what? Rise above my discomfort, above my issues, above my problems, above my preferences … and what? “… love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
“Above all …” It means to rise above! Rise above what? Rise above my discomfort, above my issues, above my problems, above my preferences … and what? “… love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
“Hatred (or enmity) stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.”
Proverbs 10:12 NIV
Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.
Authentic Biblical Christian love does not allow the trivial to get in the way of God.
Authentic Biblical Christian love does not allow the trivial to get in the way of God. Christian love doesn’t allow stupid things to get in the way. Authentic Christian love paves the way for forgiveness, grace, reconciliation, salvation and so on. Paves the way for humility and hospitality.
Christian love doesn’t allow stupid things to get in the way. Authentic Christian love paves the way for forgiveness, grace, reconciliation, salvation and so on. Paves the way for humility and hospitality.
The next time you are going to say something or do something that might cause conflict, hurt another person’s feelings or simply is not necessary to say – put a reign on your tongue (i.e. shut the pie hole), and think – is this something I should say. Many guests have been turned off to church because the Church failed to allow love to cover insignificant wrongs.
Continuing:
1 Peter 4:9 NIV
Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.
9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.
Now, hospitality is typically in the context of showing kindness to strangers.
Now, hospitality is typically in the context of showing kindness to strangers. “Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”
Hebrews 13:1–2 NIV
Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.
“Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”
Hebrews 13:1–2 NIV
Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.
Hospitality – kindness to the stranger, the guest, to the unknown person should be one of the hallmarks of Christianity. Rather than saying, “Who’s that person?” Go to them and …. Remember, we live to serve, so be our guest.
Hospitality – kindness to the stranger, the guest, to the unknown person should be one of the hallmarks of Christianity. Rather than saying, “Who’s that person?” Go to them and …. Remember, we live to serve, so be our guest.
anger, the guest, to the unknown person should be one of the hallmarks of Christianity. Rather than saying, “Who’s that person?” Go to them and …. Remember, we live to serve, so be our guest.
1 Peter 4:10–11 NIV
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
10 Each of you should use whatever gift (charisma) you have received to serve (or minister to) others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. 11 If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”
We’re going to be talking about spiritual gifts in the coming months, but let me point out a few things.
We’re going to be talking about spiritual gifts in the coming months, but let me point out a few things.
1) Every Christian has a gift from God for the purpose of serving.
The word serve comes from the Greek word (διακονέω (diakoneō) – it’s also where we get the word minister. Every Christian has a gift from God in order to minister to others. To minister means to perform duties, to render assistance, to wait upon someone else, to attend or to take care of. Not every Christian is a pastor, but every Christian is a minister and therefore, every Christian should be serving someone somewhere.
2) This gift is received.
Which implies this gift is something you did not previously have. It is a spiritually given and spiritually empowered ability (, , and ).
3) God expects us to use this gift.
What does the text say – as faithful stewards, use whatever gift you have received.
4) The greater purpose of the gift is to glorify God.
It is to make much of Him and to point people in His direction.
If you are not using your gift – if you’re not even searching to use your gift – you and others are missing out. And as a result, God is not being glorified and praised - in other words, people are not coming to salvation.
Listen to one more line from the song, Be Our Guest.
Life is so unnerving - for a servant who's not serving. He's not whole without a soul to wait upon.
Every Christian is a minister and every minister has a ministry and no servant is whole without a soul to wait upon.
Over the next several Sundays, what will our guests see and hear and experience and remember? When they drive away, what will they say about the people of Sunnyside church? What will they say about facilities …. Will they say, “I was treated like a guest, I believe I could I could go back to that church.”
Remember,
the responsibility to show hospitality falls upon every Christian
Come on Sundays to worship and to serve
Be willing to do or lose whatever it takes to bring people to Christ
You have a gift – use it
Pray
If you have never received Christ …
Pray for the upcoming special ….
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