Scripture: 1 Peter 4:9-11
Lesson Goal: To better understand the importance of using our gift(s) for His glory without complaining or grumbling.
We should remember that the theme of fervent love spoken of in verse eight continues in verses nine through eleven. Also, we should remember that these instructions are given to believers with the inevitable truth that the end draws closer. We are instructed to “be hospitable to one another without grumbling” (verse 9). It will help our understanding of this verse to remember again Peter’s day and the occasion of his writing. Hospitality was one of the marks of the early Christian community and still should be for today’s believers. “Hospitality was particularly crucial for the Christian mission in a day when lodging could not be afforded or found; hence, the advance of the mission depended on the willingness of believers to provide bed and board for those visiting (read Matthew 10:11, 40; Acts 16:15)” (Schreiner).
“hospitality”—Greek word philoxenos, to be friendly to strangers, entertaining and welcoming to strangers.
As Peter writes verse nine: “he embraces the idea of hospitality toward fellow believers who in their travels needed a bed for the night or a meal” (Phillips).
➢ Have you ever opened your home to a fellow believer? If your answer is yes, please explain in detail.
Peter remembers the many times in his own life when the fervent love of hospitality was extended to him. No doubt, he remembered the hospitality of Simon the tanner in the seaport of Joppa. While he was there, God spoke and told him to accept the hospitality of a Roman centurion in Caesarea; and thus, the door was opened to the Gentiles (Acts 10:1-20). Surely memories of how he had personally been blessed by the hospitality of fellow believers flooded his mind (please read Acts 12:12, Galatians 2:11-13). But more important than the example of hospitality that had been extended to him, Peter surely remembered the firm words of Jesus in Matthew 25:34-36 (please read).
➢ In your own words, define hospitality.
➢ Charles Swindoll wrote, “I think most of us are fine with the idea of hospitality, so long as we can define what it looks like.” What boundaries do we usually set upon our hospitality?
(Verse 9b) “without grumbling”—without complaint, without murmuring
True and genuine hospitality can be costly; it can be difficult; it certainly brings inconvenience, and it can become frustrating. Genuine hospitality can be very tiring. The action of hospitality is important, but just
as important is the attitude of hospitality.
➢ How can the action of hospitality be God honoring, while the attitude be dishonoring to God? Explain and list some examples of a dishonoring attitude.
(Verse 10) Peter gives instruction concerning individual believers’ gifts and how those gifts should be used. We (true believers) are to use our gifts as good stewards of God.
“as each one has received a gift”
Each believer has been given a spiritual gift or gifts. The Greek word is charisma meaning “grace gift.” This is a spiritual gift given by the Spirit of God for special purposes. Now Peter instructs that they (true believers) are to use their gifts to help and build up other believers and in witnessing and ministering to the world.
➢ What are some spiritual gifts that you have witnessed through the lives of other believers?
Ask God to help you identify, understand, and use your spiritual gift(s).
(Verse 10b) “as good stewards of the manifold grace of God”
“steward”—Greek word oikonomos. This word denotes a slave who was fully in charge of all the affairs of his master, being responsible for managing the master’s property or household. As believers, we are to use our gifts as faithful stewards, and the responsibility for using our gifts belongs to us only. If a believer fails to use the grace gift that God has given to him, the gift simply lies dormant, never used for the God-intended purpose of building up the church (other believers) and for His glory.
➢ Can you identify your spiritual gift(s)?
➢ As a good steward, how are you using your spiritual gift(s)?
“manifold grace of God”
“manifold”—Greek word poikilos literally meaning “many-colored.” The term implies “the great variety of.” There are many kinds of grace gifts, and each one is to be used for God’s glory. God gives the gift, and we (true believers) are responsible for using the gift so that He alone gets all the glory.
(Verse 11) Peter urges his readers to use responsibly the grace gifts God has given to them. He offers two examples using two different types of gifts. One example is a speaking gift and the other a serving gift. The point he seeks to make is that no matter what the gift, it is a gift of grace to be used relying on God’s strength for God’s glory. Peter closes verse eleven with a word of praise and adoration “to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” In all we are and in all we do, we (true believers) are to glorify God (please read 1 Corinthians 10:31).
The more we, as true believers, realize the certainly of Jesus’ coming, the more readily we hear, receive and obey the Word of God.
“Amen”—“So let it be!”
Focus on Life Thought
When I think of fervent love demonstrated by genuine hospitality, I think of my travels as a missionary pilgrim in other lands. My family and I have personally been blessed on more than one occasion by the hospitality of others. I have known the friendship of their lodging. I have slept in the warmth of their beds. I have witnessed their own sacrifices as they prepared meals for my taste. The greatest of these may seem so simple, but on one occasion as we sat down for an evening meal, at my place was lovingly placed a diet Pepsi® or Pepsi Light®, as it is called. My dear pastor brother had gone out of his way to ensure that I had a diet Pepsi®. I found my response to his hospitality taking me to the story of David found in 2 Samuel 23:13-17. I did not literally pour it out, but in my heart, I offered it to God as a “drink offering.”
I have been blessed with the fervent love of hospitality. Lord, help me to bless others.