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The Gift of Hospitality

The Gift of Hospitality

Words of Faith 12-13-19

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2019

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Colossians 4

     [15] Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house.  [16] After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea.

 

      Laodicea was only about ten miles from Colosse.  The people there probably came to Christ at about the same time as those in Colosse during the great outpouring in Ephesus (Acts 19:10).  Today, we might think of them as sister churches planted at the same time.

      Paul’s letters were not intended for a narrow use.  The instruction he gave was helpful to any believer, so he wanted this word from the Lord read to the Laodicean church as well.  They probably made a copy of it to keep for themselves and then sent the original to the Laodiceans.  This same process of sharing the Word, watched over by the Holy Spirit, resulted in our reading of this letter today.

       In return, the Colossians were to read "the letter from Laodicea."  This appears to be a letter Paul wrote to the Laodicean church that has not been preserved.  We can only conclude that if we had needed the Laodicean letter, God would have preserved it for us.  (Note: If you ever find an old parchment at a garage sale addressed in Greek to the church at Laodicea from “Paul, a bondservant of the Lord Jesus” … give me a call, and I will be happy to take it off your hands for a few bucks.)

      Now, who was Nympha?  The name actually means “one given as a bride or bridegroom," and can refer to a daughter or daughter-in-law.  Interestingly, the name can be either masculine or feminine, depending on the accent. This is why Bible versions vary.  For several manuscript reasons, the NIV goes with several modern versions translating that she was a woman who offered her home as a place for the early church to meet.  When we get to heaven, we will know for sure-- just check the accent on her nametag.  The critical point is that Nympha offered her house, and Paul was grateful.

     Nympha probably lived in Laodicea or perhaps Hierapolis, a city nearby.  Paul knew about her generosity and testimony for Christ.  She allowed the use of her home as the meeting place for the church at a time when there were no church buildings.  In the early centuries of Christianity, the "church" was simply the assembly of believers, never the place where they met.  The point here was that Nympha practiced the hospitality of the church in the most practical of ways. 

     Nympha is a good reminder that God calls upon believers to practice such hospitality.  Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. (Romans 12:13). Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. (1 Peter 4:9).  Hospitality isn’t really very hospitable if we grumble about it.  A leader is called to be a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate (Titus 1:8 KJV). Paul knew how important it was that we not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it (Heb. 13:2).

      The gift of hospitality-- the ability to welcome people comfortably-- is a tremendous tool used by God in the church.  Today a "house church" may seem to be a trendy or innovative thing, but in the first century, it was the only way to do church.  God still calls us to hospitality, whether it is in a building or a home, a small group, or a Bible study.  God works through the ministry of kindness and comfort extended in the name of Christ.

      Here is a question.  Are there ways that God might want to use your home for His glory?  Is there a small study or discussion that He may want you to start?  Are there people in your neighborhood who would not go to a formal church but might come to an informal Bible study or prayer group?  Is there a way that God wants you to make your church more hospitable?  Are there gifts that you can put to use in welcoming people and making them feel at home?

 

       God, I thank You for the hospitality of Your grace.  Thank You for generously opening your home to me for eternity.  Thank You for generously providing for me today.  Open my eyes to the way that You desire for me to extend Your hospitality to others.  In Jesus' Name. 

 

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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, and our website, and our church app, excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.  

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