Relating to God, Relating to Others
Welcoming the Stranger
Recording of talk here for the next 4 weeks
Matthew 25 31-46
1 Chronicles 29 10-17
The welcome of God for us even when we are strangers to him
How we are to welcome the stranger
We are often the stranger to others
We often feel like the stranger
- Last week Robert spoke about Welcoming the Newcomer, if you have not heard it listen to it on the website.
This week I link to it with Welcoming the Stranger.
- What is a Stranger
- person with whom one has had no personal acquaintance:
He is a perfect stranger to me.
- a newcomer in a place or locality:
a stranger in town.
- an outsider:
They want no strangers in on the club meetings.
- a person who is unacquainted with or unaccustomed to something (usually followed by to):
He is no stranger to poverty.
- a person who is not a member of the family, group, community, or the like, as a visitor or guest:
Our town shows hospitality to strangers.
- Law. one not privy or party to an act, proceeding, etc.
I often feel a stranger among others, not having the same interests or interested in talking about the same things.
How do you feel amongst those who are different to you, do you feel the stranger?
- Jesus was seen as strange by his family as well as others, He came as a stranger and was not recognised
Christ welcomed Romans, Tax collectors, Samaritans, prostitutes, all those who where not like Him or the main group those who where Outsiders.
God welcomed the Stranger Abram and Abram welcomed many strangers into his growing family.
Think of Saul 1 Tim 1
12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him,13 even though I used to blaspheme the name of Christ. In my insolence, I persecuted his people. But God had mercy on me because I did it in ignorance and unbelief. 14 Oh, how generous and gracious our Lord was! He filled me with the faith and love that come from Christ Jesus.
He did the same for me, a stranger to God but Jesus came to me.
Moses and the Israelites brought many strangers with them when they left Egypt and more joined them.
Christians are called to welcome the stranger as well as be the stranger in our culture
- How do we welcome the stranger?
Genesis 18 1b – 5
One day Abraham was sitting at the entrance to his tent during the hottest part of the day. 2 He looked up and noticed three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he ran to meet them and welcomed them, bowing low to the ground.
3 “My lord,” he said, “if it pleases you, stop here for a while. 4 Rest in the shade of this tree while water is brought to wash your feet. 5 And since you’ve honored your servant with this visit, let me prepare some food to refresh you before you continue on your journey.”
“All right,” they said. “Do as you have said.”
15 I served as eyes for the blind
and feet for the lame.
16 I was a father to the poor
and assisted strangers who needed help.
31 “My servants have never said,
‘He let others go hungry.’
32 I have never turned away a stranger
but have opened my doors to everyone.
Just as we would want to be welcomed when entering a new group or place.
Just as Jesus welcomes us
Accepted for who we are and our strange idea’s style of dress etc.
Not being made to be like those already there.
Not having to change just to fit in.
35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
Welcomed not matter what, think of the story of the Prodigal Son, or how often God welcomed back his lost children of Israel.
- We also need to remember that God welcomes us even though He is a stranger to us
19 So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. 20 Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself.21 We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. 22 Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit.
He has made us members of the club, of His family we are no longer stranger to Him and should not be to each other.
- Let us pray
13 “O our God, we thank you and praise your glorious name!
14 But who am I, and who are we, that we could give anything to you?
Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us!
15 We are here for only a moment, visitors and strangers in this land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a passing shadow, gone so soon without a trace.
Jesus help us to see others as you see us, not as strangers but as part of your family.
Send your Spirit to enable us to welcome them with the open arms you welcomed us with.
In your name
31 “But when the Son of Man[d] comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. 32 All the nations[e] will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing?39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters,[f] you were doing it to me!’
41 “Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons.[g] 42 For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. 43 I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’
44 “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’
45 “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’
46 “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.”
1 Chronicles 29
10 Then David praised the Lord in the presence of the whole assembly:
“O Lord, the God of our ancestor Israel,[i] may you be praised forever and ever! 11 Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things. 12 Wealth and honor come from you alone, for you rule over everything. Power and might are in your hand, and at your discretion people are made great and given strength.
13 “O our God, we thank you and praise your glorious name! 14 But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us! 15 We are here for only a moment, visitors and strangers in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a passing shadow, gone so soon without a trace.
16 “O Lord our God, even this material we have gathered to build a Temple to honor your holy name comes from you! It all belongs to you! 17 I know, my God, that you examine our hearts and rejoice when you find integrity there. You know I have done all this with good motives, and I have watched your people offer their gifts willingly and joyously.