2006-05-05 - What is Christianity?
Originally Published 2004-12-11
Greetings to all of you in the name of Jesus Christ.
Today I want to share with you how Christianity, reconciliation, hospitality, and community all connect to each other. I was reading part of a project that a friend did for a World Religion class, and he said something that struck me as being not Biblically-based. In his paper, he said: "When I think of Christianity, I do not think of hospitality or community. Although both of these things are important aspects of the Christian life, they are not essential or fundamental. Christianity's primary concern is our reconciliation to God."
I agree with my friend that the primary concern is our reconciliation to God. However, to say that hospitality and community are only "important aspects" doesn't seem to be Biblically sound. Biblically, when I think of Christianity, I think of hospitality and community, because you can't call Christianity, Christianity without hospitality and community. You might be able to call it Christian. Reconciliation to God requires a relationship. In a relationship, you have respect for God and others.
According to 1 John, you can't have love for God without love for your brother.
1 John 4:20 says "If a man say, I love God, and he hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?" -KJV
When the teacher of the law asked Jesus, in Mark 12:28-31:
And one of the scribes came, and heard them questioning together, and knowing that he had answered them well, asked him, "What commandment is the first of all?" Jesus answered, "The first is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. The second is this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. " - ASV
Jesus could have stopped at the end of verse 30 and and finished verse 31 with "This is the first and greatest commandment." However, Jesus didn't do that; He included loving your neighbor.
Look in the Gospel of Luke 11-1-4 at the model prayer that Jesus gave when the disciples asked Jesus "Lord, teach us to pray:"
Luke 11:1-4 And it came to pass, as he was praying in a certain place, that when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, "Lord, teach us to pray, even as John also taught his disciples. And he said unto them, 'When ye pray, say, Father, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. we ourselves also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And bring us not into temptation.'"
You will notice that it says "us, our, we, ourselves, every one, us." It is never singular; it's all plural and never once says "me or my."
In Matthew 25:34-46, Jesus connected community to himself, saying that whenever you feed the hungry food or drink, give hospitality to a stranger, providing clothes for those in need, visiting those who are sick and in prison, to the least of these, you are doing it unto him.
So Biblical Christianity is about reconciliation, hospitality and community between God and man. Jesus loved us so much that he sacrificed himself to allow us to come into his house. If that is not hospitality, then what is? He died once for all. If that's not about community, what is?
We have to go to the community and reach out to lost souls, that they might repent and be reconciled to God, and bring them into the fellowship of believers. Jesus came to seek and save the lost.
Finally, I leave you with this scripture passage, prayer, and closing remarks to speak to your hearts.
Acts 2:38-2:47 And Peter said unto them, "Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." For to you is the promise, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call unto him. And with many other words he testified, and exhorted them, saying, "Save yourselves from this crooked generation." They then that received his word were baptized. And there were added unto them in that day about three thousand souls. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and the prayers. And fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common. And they sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all, according as any man had need. And day by day, continuing stedfastly with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread at home, they took their food with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to them, day by day, those that were saved."
Dear Heavenly Father, help me to step out of the way, and allow you to speak directly to the hearts of my friends with your love. Draw them to you in a personal relationship, through the repentance of their sin, and give salvation for their souls by faith, through grace in Jesus Christ. We love you, Lord. In Jesus' name, Amen.
If you believe in Jesus and accept him as Lord and savior, I want to exhort you to be in fellowship at a local Bible-believing church where the Word of God is taught.
God Bless You My Friends.
I want my life to just to be for the glory of God in Christ Jesus.