The aim of this first sermon is to launch the “Welcome Home” series and to provide a theological background to the issue of hospitality.
Is there something in the nature and character of God which models hospitality?
A useful clarification to make is that hospitality does not only mean welcoming people into your homes. This series will be using the term
in a wider sense of welcoming people.
Four key words to remember:
The marriage supper of the Lamb involves an invitation from God to his church. Of course, the church is united with Christ now, but the marriage supper takes this union a step further – it is a celebration of the church being caught up in the final victory of Christ and never being separated from him.
v. 9 Who is invited? The church. But the church is the bride, how then can the bride be invited? The church corporately is the bride
of Christ. The wedding invitation puts the emphasis on individual believers being welcomed.
With us, wedding invitations can be issued out of a sense of duty, but this is not so with God. His invitation to share the wedding supper of the Lamb shows his total acceptance of us. We can be accepted as those who have been justified (i.e. declared righteous) through the sacrificial death of Christ on our behalf. Justification is total acceptance.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 “… and such were some of you.” Whatever our background, whatever our past sin, God has accepted us in Christ.
The practical application if this for us is found in Romans 15:7 “Therefore accept one another as Christ has accepted you.”
Hospitality goes beyond duty and must involve acceptance. We should accept one another and associate with people who are not like us, even as Christ left heaven to associate with us. We should keep in good relationship with one another and put things right with one another when they go wrong.
The world translated “fellowship” is the Greek word koinonia which is basically untranslatable. It speaks of sharing, of relationship and also can be used of marriage. At the marriage supper of the Lamb, we will have eternal fellowship with Christ.
We can offer hospitality out of position, as paying guests. We do indeed have a position as those who are “in Christ” but we have been given this status in order than we can know God and have fellowship with him every day.
Revelation 3:20 – Christ desires to have fellowship with the local church.
The strongest element of the marriage supper of the Lamb as described in vv 6-9 is celebration. Jesus ate with sinners in celebration of their redemption. Just by sitting and eating together (even if it is just a cup of tea) we too can celebrate.
Celebration is in the very nature of God.
One practical application of this is the way in which we practice the Lord’s Supper. Communion should be a celebration, not a grim
ritual. Yes, we remember the death of Christ, but, through the bread and wine, we celebrate our redemption and look forward to that day when the Lord’s Supper will pass away and be replaced by the marriage supper of the Lamb, to which Christ has invited us, where we are accepted, where we will have fellowship with him and where we will celebrate his victory and our redemption.