So after a second lectio continua, if you’re familiar with the Christmas season, one of the movies in the playlist or played during this Christmas season is the movie titled Home Alone. It tells a story of a boy named Kevin who was mistakenly left home alone by his family who planned to spend Christmas in Paris. At first, it was like a paradise because he had the house left to himself. But when two robbers tried to break in into the McAllister’s home, it’s not paradise anymore but a tower defense. So it played like a tower defense. The robbers tried multiple times to break in but they were stopped many times by young Kevin with his traps. They were unwelcome to enter.
In light of the Gospel, we are like the robbers— enemies of the Master of the house and rebels against Him. And because of our sins, we are not welcome to come to Him into His house and enjoy His presence. Yet by His mercy and grace, we are welcomed not only to His house enjoying His presence, but also to His family through the merits of our devoted and hospitable King. Turn with me to our text this afternoon that is the continuation of Matthew chapter 10. I’ll be reading from Matthew chapter 10 verses 34-42. Chapter 10: 34-42. I’ll be reading from the English Standard Version. Hear now the word of God. “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”
This is the word of the Lord. Let us tremble before it. So we are now on the tail end of the missionary discourse found in chapter 10. Chapter 9 ends with Christ showing compassion to the crowd because they were harassed and helpless like a sheep without a shepherd. He then commands His disciples to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into the harvest field. And as a response to this prayer, Christ commissioned the 12 to do His work namely healing the sick, cleansing the lepers, casting out demons and proclaiming that the Kingdom of Heaven is near or at hand. In a sense, it was the beginning of a new Exodus of the new Israel. We see the church in seed form, the 12 representing a restored Israel. In commissioning the 12, Jesus gave instructions on where they need to go and what they need to bring on this journey. They were instructed not to go among the Gentiles nor to enter any Samaritan cities for the scope of their mission is the lost sheep of the house of Israel. In other words, in fulfillment of Ezekiel CH 34, Christ was sending the 12 disciples as under shepherds of the great Shepherd and also harvesters of His vineyard. They are not to bring any personal belongings for they will be dependent upon God for provision, for a host will be given to them it’ll be provided for them who will provide food, water or clothing for them and as well protection as they carry no extra sandals or staff. Again, this is an allusion to Exodus. God sustained the Israelites in the wilderness by giving them manna and He allowed their clothes and sandals not to be worn out. Deuteronomy 29:5. So the same God that sustained the Israelites before, will sustain the disciples in their mission now. The reason for this as Christ stated is the labourer is worthy of His food.
Albert Barnes comments that this implies that they were to expect a proper supply for their needs from those who were benefited. They were not to make bargain in sale like a peddler, bargain in sale of the power of working miracles.
But they were to expect competent support from the preaching of the gospel and not merely as a gift but because they are worthy of it and had a right to it. Now if they entered a house or town and they are welcome the the house or town as the passage said ‘is worthy’ or ‘appropriate for them to stay in’ they are to stay there until they depart. However, if they are rejected, they are to shake off the dust from their feet when they leave that house or town signifying that that house or town is not inhabited by God’s people but by unrepentant idolators.
Christ states that these people will receive greater judgment than what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah. And if you’re familiar with the Old Testament, the judgment in Sodom and Gomorrah is the epitome of God’s judgment. But greater judgment will be given at Christ’s end time judgment. He then lays out the rejection that they will face and gives instruction and how they will endure it. He sets their expectations that they are being sent a sheep in the midst of the wolves. Their persecutors are strong and they are weak. So they must be wise as serpents in engaging them but also not being consumed by their ways that they may remain pure or innocent like doves. They will not only be persecuted by Jews, but some will even bring them to Gentile courts before governors and kings because of Christ. Yet amidst persecution, they will be given sufficient provision. God’s sovereignty expressed by His providence is their foremost encouragement not to be afraid and to persevere till the end. In light of the betrayal of brothers with each other, fathers to their sons, Christ promised that the Spirit of the Father will not betray them. The Spirit of the Father will speak on their behalf and they were instructed not to be afraid. Why? Because fear will make them silent. Mananahimik sila kung sila’y takot. And instead of boldly proclaiming the gospel, they will just be cowards. Additionally, if we say that we have faith in God, fear is inconsistent with that faith. And here, they are being led to have a right fear. That is to fear God alone. They’re not to be afraid for their persecutors may be able able to kill the body, but God is the only one to be feared because He can destroy both body and soul in hell. And for this reason, they must not be afraid of failing of men, uncertainty or even death. And in the face of persecution which may lead to death, Christ assures them of God’s sovereignty and care by comparing them to sparrows. If God cares for the sparrows, how much more His people who are worth more than sparrows.
Suffering then because of obeying the commission is not a sign that God has forgotten or has left His people. Nothing happens without His knowledge for He already ordains everything. So in light of that, they must persevere till the end as they confess Christ before men. Then, comes our passage this afternoon. After going through how God will sustain them, He addresses a common misconception of their time. He tells them not to think that He has come to bring peace on Earth for He did not come to bring peace on Earth, but a sword. The Jews and even His disciples thought that when the Messiah comes, He will bring a time of great peace and prosperity to Israel. However, we understood through the past sermons that this is not true, this is a misconception. They were wrong in their understanding because Christ came indeed to bring peace and prosperity but not the way they understood. He saves them from a greater oppression, from a greater oppressor by assuming a form of a man living a sinless life and dying on behalf of sinners being their representative. He, Christ, gives sinners peace with God and prosperity by being reconciled with God and enjoying fellowship with Him. What then did Jesus mean when He said He came to bring a sword? Does this mean that He did not come to the world to bring peace at all? Certainly not. He is the Prince of Peace as we know in the book of Isaiah. What He meant was that His coming will bring a great division to the world and Jesus’ message will create a division, dividing the world into those who believe in Him and those who do not believe in Him. And in light of the division and the conflicts that are consequence of proclaiming His truth and obeying His commission, I would like to bring you my message this afternoon. Simply put that God Rewards Those Who Faithfully Love And Serve Him. That God rewards those who faithfully love and serves Him. Ginagantimpalaan ng Diyos ang mga taong tapat na nagmamahal at naglilingkod sa Kaniya. And in light of this message, I have two points: in light of God’s devotion to us our devoted King, we are to be Devoted Slaves, tapat na alipin. And in light of God’s hospitality extended towards us, we are Undeserving Strangers. Hindi karapat- dapat na mga estranghero.
Let’s consider the first point. Upon reading the passage, we can observe that Christ demands that He must be the Supreme love of His disciples. Inuutos ni Kristo na dapat Siya ang pinaka-iniibig ng Kaniyang mga taga-sunod. In light of a dividing truth, Christ demands that He must be loved more than any human relationship or more than anything in this world. Because of their commitment to Christ, their family may become their enemy. Christ quotes from Micah 7:6 which describes the moral corruption of Israel, which led to betrayal between close friends, spouse mag-asawa and even family members. And here, He was not only giving a warning that as the end comes closer, there will be more conflicts between relationships because of sin. He is also telling His disciples that commitment to Him and His kingdom will also be the cost of conflict: friends, spouse even family members who do not believe in Christ will hate those who believe in Him. The reason being God’s truth divides implying that commitment to Christ and His teachings is indeed divisive. Because they were being hated by those whom they love, the disciples may be tempted to cower and compromise their belief. Christ however stresses that if your love for your family is greater than your love for Christ, then you are not worthy of Him. He must be the Supreme love of His disciples, of His people. Loyalty to our God and King must be prioritised above all. Following Christ also demands sacrificing our comfort or safety even to the point of death. We are to love Him more than life itself.
Kumbaga, mas mahal mo Siya kesa sa buhay mo. He stresses that suffering will be a common thing as it is a necessary consequence of following Christ. suffering may also lead to death as those who are close to them would turn them over to their persecutors. There may come a time that is disciples will be forced to deny Christ to save their life or to confess Christ as Lord at the cost of their life. And if this happens, they must choose loyalty to Christ over self preservation.
Sabi ni Dietrich Bonhoeffer sa kaniyang book Cost Of Discipleship: “The cross is laid on every Christian. The first Christ suffering which every man must experience is the call to abandon the attachments of this world. It is that dying of the old man which is the result of his encounter with Christ. And as we embark upon discipleship, we surrender ourselves to Christ in union with His death. We give over our lives to death. Thus, it begins… the cross is not the terrible end to an otherwise God-fearing and happy life, but it meets us at the beginning of our communion with Christ. When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die. It may be a death like that of the first disciples who had to leave home and work to follow Him, or it may be a death like Luther who had to leave the monastery and go out into the world. But it is the same death every time. Death in Jesus Christ, the death of the old man at His call.”
His disciples must take up their cross and follow Him to die at times literally, and at times figuratively by self-denial. If they would find life by denying their Lord, then they have already lost their life because they will be denied by the King. But if they lose their life by clinging to their Lord and Saviour until the end despite pain, despite suffering, despite every challenge; in that challenge, pain and suffering, they will find true life. This is to point out that believers are to demonstrate their love for God by their loyalty to Him. Ang mga tagapag-mana ng kaharian at dapat ipakita ang kanilang pag-ibig sa Diyos sa pamamagitan ng kanilang katapatan sa Kaniya. You see, kingdom heirs, yung mga tagapag-mana ng kaharian are likened to a slave who has no right, no will of his own, and his only purpose is to serve his master. And in the case of those who are redeemed by Christ’s blood, they submit to their Master out of love because of who He is and what He has done for them. Because Christ has been devoted in redeeming us to the point of suffering and dying on our behalf. We are redeemed by His blood are to devote ourselves to Him. This unbending, unswerving loyalty is demonstrated by making Him the ultimate priority of our life and sticking with Him thru thick and thin. As Kingdom heirs, we are to love God wholeheartedly, buong-puso. The sermon of the mount in Matthew 6: 19-23, Christ already thought that those who follow Him cannot serve two masters. To serve one meant loving one and hating the other. Being devoted to one and despising the other. One is either a slave to his desires, being a slave of sin or a slave to sin or he is a slave of God through the gospel of Christ. That context is repeated here. There must be one ultimate priority in the believer’s life and every loyalty must give way to loyalty to God even to our parents, even to our spouse, even to our friends. Whatever we love more than God, becomes our idol which makes our light grow dim making us unprofitable slaves to serve our God and King. In the same breath, loving God wholeheartedly means also serving Him unconditionally. We must serve the King not only when it is convenient to us but even when it is inconvenient. We are called to deny ourselves, to carry our cross and follow Him in His suffering, that we may gain the promised glory, the promised glory we have in the day we rise with Christ. At times, this means letting go of our dreams, letting go of our ambitions, being persecuted for His Name’s sake being betrayed by closest friends, family, spouse yet still loving them, forgiving them, ministering the gospel to them. Standing for God’s truth may cause harm to ourselves, because those who desire to live a Godly life will be persecuted by the world just as how they mocked Christ, just as how they ridiculed Christ. Sometimes it means literally dying for the sake of the truth we profess. Some have been martyred for the faith and have been commanded to deny our God and Master, but their love for God inflamed them with love. Never to betray the love that had embraced them at their lowest, at knowing that they are sinners that are deserving of His wrath, knowing that they don’t deserve any grace or mercy, knowing that truth they embrace Christ and His truth to the end.
They suffered and died for the faith but not in vain, for their life speaks to us, encouraging us to follow our Master in His suffering.
Sabi ni Steve Lawson sa kaniyang book na it will cost you everything, be assured that religion that costs nothing is worth nothing and accomplishes nothing. Religion that costs you neither time nor thought, nor self-denial, nor sacrifice, nor prayer, nor suffering, nor opposition, nor persecution, nor conflict will be a religion that will never save your soul. It is a religion that will give you no comfort in the day of adversity, in the day of judgment. It is a religion that will give you no peace in the day of your death. But in light of that cost, having this caution, sabi ni Lawson, let me remind you that what you gain far outweighs the losses. You gave up your guilt and receives God’s grace. You exchange your misery for His mercy. You substitute perishing in sin for His pardon from sin. You sacrifice the applause of men for the approval of God. In reality, you gave up nothing and you receive everything in Christ. You do not know where following Jesus will take you? Neither do you know the specifics of what will be required of you. But you know who you are following, and you can trust Him through every circumstance, you can be fully confident in the Lord.”
What does this truth compel us then to do? How does this devotion or this demand compel us? The challenge for us is this: we are to demonstrate our love for God by devoting all to the one who gave His life for us. Isuko natin ang lahat sa Nag-alay ng Kaniyang buhay para sa atin. We know all too well that Christians who… believers who follow God will always be persecuted. And one of the missionaries that I have read about, termed by John Piper as the wheat who died in Burma again and again. His name is Adoniram and Ann Judson were missionaries to Burma, which is now modern day Myanmar. And like many missionaries, they had their own share of suffering for their Master. Their firstborn baby, yung una nilang anak was born dead on the way to Burma in 1813. Their second child, Roger died before his second birthday. Hindi lang sila namatayan, nawalan ng anak, meron pang mga sakit. There sickness that endanger them. Terrible sickness like dysentery, malaria, cholera, often endangered this missionaries. And other missionaries would come and join Adoniram and Ann Judson, but many of them got sick and they died. Imagine working for God and seeing your colleagues dying one by one. This did not discourage the Judsons and eventually God began to change the heart of the people of Burma. The first Burmese man to respond was Moung Hau. He was a poor man with a teachable heart and he professed faith in God. So, siya yung first convert nila. Slowly, more Burmese turned to Jesus but then a war between the Burmese, the people of Myanmar and the British broke out. Foreigners like adoniram were seen as spies. And on June 8, 1824, the spotted faces burst in Adoniram’s house to arrest them. Yung mga spotted faces, they were criminals who were spared execution in order for them to serve as cruel prison guards. So they were slaves to the Burmese government. To prevent their escape, their faces were tattooed with large spot on each cheek and those spotted faces beat Adoniram to the ground and bound him with tight cords that cut unto his skin.
And he was also not issued a due process or fair trial. Adoniram Judson was pronounced guilty and sent to death prison. And at night, the prisoners bound bound feet were hooked to a bamboo pole that was lifted in the air. They were they were hung with only their heads and shoulders touching the filthy floor with a smell of rotting food and human waste and the sound of scurrying rats. Talk about living in hell. Left alone and expecting their third child, Ann worked desperately for her husband’s release and to bring him food as. none was provided in the prison. So one day, she brought a pillow. Inside the pillow, Ann put the translation of the Bible in Burmese inside it. And it was so lumpy and dirty that even the spotted faces wouldn’t snatch it. She had carefully sewn the pillow with the translation of the Bible that at Judson. Adoniram Judson laboured over for nine years. And in January 1825, Adoniram received a note through the cell door, Maria Elizabeth Butterworth Judson was born today. Thank God we are both alive, love Ann. But after 11 months of the death prison, Adoniram and the foreign prisoners were taken to march in a 100 degree heat to a village prison.
Ann, weakened by the stress of her husband’s imprisonment trying to work, she eventually died October 24, 1826. 6 months after that, after her mother’s death, little Maria Elizabeth died also. Adoniram fell into a deep sadness. He couldn’t stop questioning his reason for becoming a missionary. Tinatanong niya yung sarili niya kung pride lang ba para ma-praise siya ng man. Is it he just being prideful, seeking the praises of men? And what he did was he went to the jungle.
He built the hut for himself and stayed there. He wrote my tears flow at the same time over the forsaken grave of my dear love. And over the loathsome sepulchre of my own heart. But God in His goodness and grace brought him out of this form of suffering. Adoniram Judson returned translating the Old Testament from Hebrew into Burmese. And during a festival in 1831, missionaries gave out almost 10,000 tracks. About 6,000 Burmese people came to the mission, to the Mission House to find out more. And when Adoniram Judson died in 1850, Burma had about 100 churches and 8,000 Christians. Where the gains worth the cost the pain, the disease, the torture, the death, the torture of the mind, anxiety. Think twice, surely what they lost was worth more than what they have received.
Pwedeng hindi tayo maging katulad ni Adoniram Judson, maybe we’re not called to be missionaries, maybe we are called to be missionaries at our home, at our office, at a community. What have we given up for Christ? Maybe our time, maybe our energy, the resources that we have, maybe even our life. And at times, it will be so tiring, it will be so painful, it will be so hard to move forward.
But the question is do we believe that all those things will never be in vain because they were done for the sake of Christ? Because Christ was so devoted in saving us? How is our life then? Is there any area which we should surrender to God? Maybe our finances, how we spend our time in leisure, our work, our family, our friends, our pride in our knowledge. Do we love God more than all these things? We must think of how devoted Christ was in saving us. And in light of who He is and what He has done, we are to devote our lives to Him. We are to love Him wholeheartedly and serve Him unconditionally. Wherever He sends us, at whatever the cost.
We have learned of Christ’s demands and rewards and in light of our attitude towards having a love that is supremely for Christ. Let us consider then how we can reflect what He has done for us by tackling the last point:
Undeserving Strangers. Christ also declares that those who receive His disciples and extends hospitality to them will receive the reward reserved for His disciples. Pinahayag ni Kristo na ang mga tatanggap sa Kaniyang mga taga- sunod at magiliw na nakikitungo sa kanila ay tatanggap ng gantimpala na nakalaan para sa mga taga-sunod Niya. Those who received His disciples receive Christ and whoever receives Christ, also received the one who sent Him, that is the Father. To receive the Father through Christ meant receiving His message through the messenger. And to reject the messengers, meant rejecting their message too, which meant rejecting Christ and the Father as well. And the next verses illustrate what Christ meant by this. It can be interpreted as a reward reserved for the prophet or a righteous person. Or a reward granted by the prophet or a righteous person. Yung isa, yung reward para sa propeta, yung isa reward na binibigay ng isang propeta. In this context, it is the reward reserved for the prophet or righteous person that is granted to that one who extends hospitality and accepts the message of the Gospel. Christ adds that serving them even with just as simple as offering a cup of cold water…..gaano ba kaliit yun? Ganito lang yun (showing with his hands), is an act of proclaiming allegiance to Him and building up His kingdom. Both the messenger and the one who accepts will obtain a reward, both will have God as their portion forever through Christ.
One may recall the second lectio continua you read earlier.. one may recall Elijah who received hospitality from a widow with her son at Zarephath and this woman was a Gentile. It says there that God has commanded a widow for Elijah. But it also stated there, if you’re going to read it, that Elijah needed to talk to the woman. In the time of famine drought, the woman and her son were ready to die. But God rewarded them when they received Elijah. Elijah commanded the widow to make a cake of bread of whatever was left and promised that the jug of oil and jar of flour will not be empty until the Lord sends rain again. Huling pagkain na nila yun, tapos ibibigay pa nila kay Elijah. Not only were they provided food, but her son was also revived when he died of illness. That is an illustration there. This is to point out that believers are to be hospitable to others because God has been hospitable to them. Ang mga taga-sunod ni Kristo ay dapat maging mapagpatuloy sa iba dahil ang Diyos ay naging mapagpa-tuloy sa kanila. By direct context, the purpose of this section is to encourage and comfort the disciples who may have only expected betrayal and persecution while doing their mission. Christ told them that there would be some who will believe and will receive the message of the gospel and will treat them with kindness and hospitality. Additionally, this is an encouragement to those who will believe or those who are believers right now to be hospitable not only to other believers but also to people they do not know well. People who are strangers to them. You see, in proclaiming the gospel of the Kingdom to the lost, believers are extending the hospitality of God. Yet, that hospitality is made even more tangible, more real, when we believers invite strangers to our home intentionally to serve them, to know them, to minister to them. If one may look up, the word used in Hebrews 13:2 for His hospitality is literally love of strangers. Fellowship happens between friends and family, people we do know already. But hospitality is directed to those who we do not know much or maybe we do not know at all. The common comment when foreigners visit the Philippines is that we are very hospitable or welcoming to them. Hindi mawawala yung offer ng mga Pinoy kapag kakain sila. If a Filipino is eating, that person will say: “Tara! Kain tayo.” I know you’re familiar with that. Or they would offer yung ulam or yung inumin. They would offer the viand or the drink. And if they see that that foreigner is getting lost in his way, the Filipinos would kahit tricycle driver nga heh, they will point that stranger to the place where he needs to go. And we also know that Filipinos love stories and even if hirap nang mag-english kahit carabao-english na, they will still try to converse with foreigners. But you see, God does more than this for sinners like you and me. Salvation is hospitality to strangers. We are sinners, tayo yung mga makasalanan na dapat Niyang parusahan pero Siya mismo ang lumapit sa atin, at tayo nakatanggap ng awa at grasya mula sa Kaniya. We are sinners deserving of His punishment, but God through Christ, draws near to us and proclaims the gospel to us, extending mercy and grace. Di lang Niya tayo pinatawad sa ating kasalanan, tayo’y pinagkasundo sa Diyos, tinatakan ng Kaniyang Banal sa Espiritu at inampon sa Kaniyang pamilya. Anong kabayaran para mangyari ito? Ang Kaniyang Bugtong na Anak na si Hesukristo; ganap na tao at ganap na Diyos. Nagkatawang tao Siya at namuhay ng walang kasalanan upang mamatay para sa mga makasalanan.
Sabi sa Ephesians 2: 17-19: And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then, you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.
If you are not yet in Christ, the Gospel is being proclaimed today if you are still a stranger to God and a rebel against Him, God is saying to you extending His hospitality to you through the gospel of Christ… repent now and believe in Him. For this reason also, hospitality is not just something that we do because we are commanded to do it. It is also a reflection of our of the reality of our salvation in Christ. As a response to God’s hospitality,. we are to contribute to the need of the saints and not to neglect to show hospitality in Hebrews 13:2 or we are to seek to show hospitality Romans 12:13 specifying I’m specifying that because it is really a command. Magbigay sa pangangailangan ng mga banal at sikaping mapatuloy sa iba, gaya ng pagpapatuloy sa atin ng Diyos. We know hospitality is hard. It is something that is not organic or natural to us. That’s why we are to do it prayerfully and at the times, we are to do it creatively. Is being generous, selfless in giving and extending hospitality something that is easy? something that is innate? Certainly not. You must ask God to give us selfless and generous hearts filled with love for God and also love for others. We can also pray if we are inviting guests, habang papunta pa lang sila. Baka di natin alam, mag pinagdadaanaan pala sila. Or maybe nasabi na sa iyo yung pinagdadaanan nila and parang nahihirapan ka na i-comfort siya, na I-encourage siya. Maybe they are not believers. We are to pray that God will illuminate the truth of the Gospel that they may repent and believe. Maybe they are believers who had suffered loss, who had suffered a death of a loved one, a loss of a job, currently maybe enduring a painful disease. How can we pray for their comfort? How can we pray for their provision for their need? Ngayon, alam natin na di lahat naman sa atin merong bahay na malaki na pwedeng magpatuloy ng mga tao kaya kailangan natin siyang gawin sometimes creatively. Kung hindi natin kayang i- host ang mga bisita sa ating bahay, sa UP, malaki ang field, malapit sa CHC.
Pwede kayong mag-picnic, pwede kayong magdala ng snacks. Or baka matatanda na sila, hindi nila kayang maghagdan, maybe go somewhere na hindi kailangan ng hagdan. Or kung maliit yung space or madumi pa yung bahay, go somewhere where you can bond; cafes, ano ba yung kay Elijah, yung super jump, super park, yung jump park. Host a picnic, bring snacks, play board games, know them, serve them, contribute to their need. At the same time, we are to do it sacrificially and also expectant of the blessing that God will give.
Baka may dumating… maybe may dumating na bisita at di sila nasayahan sa luto mo, akala nila yung adobo ay menudo, yung sinigang, tinola kasi matabang.
Maybe you get discouraged because of that one. But you see, there’s a sacrifice in doing hospitality. Pwedeng tinanggihan ng batang mapili sa ulam yung pagkain na ilang oras mo ring hinanda..na “I don’t want egg, I want hotdog, ganun or I don’t want..ano ba yung matagal na lutuin…relyenong bangus, ganun, I want crab!” Pwedeng ganun. But God sees that effort. God sees that sacrifice, that care that you have put to extend hospitality to your guest. What we need is to prepare our hearts, to prepare our hearts to sacrificially serve, to selflessly serve, to give our time, resources, energy. We are to remember what God sacrificed to welcome us to His family. Ano ba naman yung sabihan ka na tinola yung sinigang kung alam mo naman in Christ the gospel is true, a reality for you. And considering all these, we are to be expectant of the blessing that God will give. Maybe, when you see there is blessing in obedience, right. Maybe it’s not just blessing pertaining to skill in showing hospitality because it’s also a skill.
Maybe it’s blessing in growing in grace and self-sacrifice, in service, in planning, in compassion, because often we are self-centred, often we’re not planners… sabog sabog yung plano natin. Naalala ko kasi yung The Office eh; kung gaano siya ka-sabog. Anyway.. and compassion. Are we really mindful towards other people’s needs? Are we mindful about our covenant members’ situations? sa Rebecca VanDoodewaard sa How Should I Exercise Hospitality, sabi niya dun: “Hospitality also brings the blessing of a stronger local church. If we are in each other’s homes, tag-teaming on hosting new people, reaching out to folks on the fringe. Ang sinasabi nila sa fringe is maybe andiyan sila sa church, maybe part sila, umaattend sila ng church pero strangers sila sa church; hindi nila kilala kung sino kayo, or baka kayo, hindi niyo sila kilala. Inviting strangers into God’s family of course we will grow closer. So, ang direct application nito, welcome newcomers. Work as a team, listen, support and encourage one another in Christ. Look around you, there’s so many people you can extend hospitality to.
You see Jonathan and Rosalind Goforth (Goforth yung apelyido nila eh…go forth!). Jonathan and Rosalind Goforth faced two questions in Inland China. As missionaries, they were praying for ways to reach people for Christ. God made that part easy by bringing the people to them, hindi lang isa-isa, by thousands o them. They wanted to see how the Goforths lived. Quickly, the Goforths decided to use their home as an evangelism tool. And each day, as people came to see their home, the Goforths would divide them into groups; shared the gospel with them and take them on a tour of the house. Despite that fact that many of their possessions were regularly missing, regardless of the fact that they often lost their voices after speaking to so many people all day long, Jonathan and Rosalind continued to view their home as a place of ministry, a way they could reach the world for Christ. Often in the months and years that followed, when they would go into a village or town to share the gospel, people would listen to them intently and invite them into their homes to share more. Bakit? Why?
Because they said they had been so welcomed at the Goforth’s home before.
And in the flyleaf of Goforth’s Bible, Mr. Goforth’s Bible, nakasulat dun yung seven rules for daily living niya. And rule number one, he stated there: “rule number one: seek to give much, expect nothing.”
In light of God’s devotion in saving us, we are to be so devoted to Him that we are to love Him supremely. But that great love and devotion can also be channeled through our hospitality to one another. We are undeserving strangers in light of the Gospel. Kung minsan nga naiisip ko yung mga kausap ko lalo na yung kagabi, ang dami nilang pinagdaanan pero by the providence of God, na- encourage ko sila and na-encourage din nila ako. In conclusion: Our King And Reward Awaits Those Who Devote Their Lives To Him And Extend Hospitality To Others. So brothers and sisters, men, women, those who are redeemed by the devoted and hospitable King, devote your lives to Christ. Offer your hearts to Christ and extend hospitality to others.
Let us pray. Lord, Heavenly Father, our gracious God and Father, we thank you Lord God that you have extended your mercy and grace to us through the person and work of Christ. Indeed we know that salvation is a united work of the Trinity and in doing so, Your love is magnified, Your devotion to save sinners is magnified in the gospel, in the Cross of Christ. But at the same time, Your unity in extending hospitality to sinners Lord, You’re so great. Lord, help us to have the same kind of devotion, the same kind of heart of His hospitality that we may really become a stronger local church evangelising here inside and on the outside also, united and proclaiming the truth of your gospel. Guide us Lord, God in Jesus’ Name we pray, amen and amen.