Friday, January 11, 2019 - Devotional for Day 5
So that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. Ephesians 3:10 (ESV)
The most remarkable contribution of the church to the world is its hospitality. Our welcome to all men and women as equal in the eyes of God is central to the gospel that we proclaim. Before Christ established the church, pure hospitality was not widely understood or practiced. It was, in fact, rarely considered.
God opened the door of relationship between Himself and humanity through Abraham and his descendants. God made them (Israel) His “chosen people,” set apart exclusively to serve Him and to be loved by Him. All others were “outsiders.” Forgiveness of sin and welcome to God’s presence was reserved for those who were part of Israel. Hospitality was offered to a tightly limited community.
Paul explains in Ephesians 3 that God kept a secret through the two-thousand years of Israel’s existence before Christ. Paul describes it as a “mystery” (verses 4-5) which “was not made known to the sons of men in other [previous] generations.” The mystery, he explains, was that “the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise” (verse 6) of God’s covenant made possible through Christ Jesus. In other words, God’s wisdom all along was to welcome all men and women from all nations to enter into His exclusive covenant through Jesus.
God’s gracious hospitality contained in His “manifold (multi-colored) wisdom” was exposed to the world through the church – which reached out and welcomed all people to come to faith in God through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Even the angels, “the rulers and authorities in heavenly places” (verse 10) could not predict God’s full plan of welcoming redemption until the church revealed it.
God’s intent from the beginning was to offer an eternal covenant with you – regardless of your heritage or background – guaranteed by the blood of Christ. He welcomes you into His royal presence. Not to you only, but to your neighbor, your friend, your colleague or co-worker. From the mightiest to the lowliest of people, we – they – are all invited. We, as the church, are commanded to go to all the world and announce God’s hospitality, His welcome, to all who will hear and respond to God’s love through Jesus. We cannot merely say the words, we must live the truth of God’s welcome in our practical daily encounters with others. The most remarkable contribution of the church to the world is its demonstration of God’s compassionate loving hospitality.
God of wisdom and grace, thank You for revealing Yourself to me through Your son, Jesus. I am grateful that Your loving hospitality invited me into Your presence and into eternal covenant with You. Help me to live my life today so that others – no matter our differences – may discover through my words, my attitudes, and my actions an appealing example of Your compassionate and loving hospitality. Amen.
Doyle W. Dunn
Vice President, Christian Union Universities