“A Meal Says More than You Think”

September 5, 2008

Pastor Jeff is not the only one who sees the importance of eating together in Scripture! To read a helpful, brief biblical theology of hospitality, click here. It is by Jonathan Leeman, the director of communications at 9marks.

Here’s a thought-provoking, profound section from this article:  

 

“…hospitality can reveal the unity of those who belong to the kingdom of God, specifically in the context of shared meals. For instance, the disciples on the road to Emmaus recognized Jesus for who he was when Jesus assumed the role of host and broke bread. The clearest example of this, however, occurs in John’s epistles. On the one hand, John commends Gaius for taking in “these brothers, strangers [xenos] as they are” (3 John 5). On the other hand, he commands a church to refuse hospitality to false teachers (2 John 10; cf. 1 Cor. 5:11).

I don’t know that we can say that the incident Paul recounts in Galatians 2, where he opposes Peter “to his face” for refusing to eat with the uncircumcised group, pertains to hospitality, as such. Yet Peter’s temporary unwillingness to share a meal with the Gentiles was the outward picture of a deep problem. Peter was implicitly adding circumcision to faith as the means of justification, dividing the body. Again, the refusal to share a meal pictured this. Applying this to the question of hospitality, then, it’s worth asking whether there is any Christian—in your church or not—with whom you would not eat? If so, are you sure you understand the unity that Christians share in the gospel?”

That’s really a question to ponder, isn’t it?! It’s potentially a very convicting question to ponder… We can’t pick and choose which Christians we’re going to treat as family in Christ. It’s not acceptable to allow issues to remain unresolved between believers, or to avoid those Christians who aren’t like us in every way, who we don’t “click” with as well. Leeman is absolutely right – because of the bond we have in Christ, refusing to fellowship with any Christian is not fitting with the gospel that unites us. Consider Ephesians 4:2-6 (which follows a section explaining that Jews and gentiles, who were formerly alienated from each other, are now one in Christ) :

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

We are united in Christ! And we should be living out that reality… I encourage you, brothers and sisters – if there’s any conflict between you and another Christian, strive to see it resolved as soon as possible, and strive, by God’s enabling, to love every believer as the eternal family they are in Christ… 

~ Donovan

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