"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of truth." — (Psalm 60:4)
"Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them." — (Isaiah 13:2)
Devoted To The Defense Of The Church Against All Errors And Innovations
Vol.III No.XII Pg.12-13
July 1941

Forbidden Hospitality

Edd Holt

In this age of machinery and specialization we need to define the word "hospitality." With many it is a lost virtue. With others hospitality knows no restrictions. Since Christians are to be "given to hospitality" we ought to know to what extent and of that which is forbidden. The word is defined as the love of strangers, but we apply it to those whom we know, who are our guests. "Forget not to show love unto strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." (Heb. 13:2). This verse reminds us of Abraham and Lot, both of whom "were given to hospitality." Once Elisha the prophet "passed to Shunem, where was a great woman; and she constrained him to eat bread. And so it was, that as oft as he passed by, he turned in thither to eat bread. And she said unto her husband, Behold now, I perceive that this is a holy man of God, that passeth by us continually. Let us make, I pray thee, a little chamber on the wall; and let us set for him there a bed, and a table, and a seat, and a candlestick: and it shall be, when he cometh to us, that he shall turn in thither." (2 Kings 4)' They were given to hospitality, but they were not blind as to the man for they perceived that he was a holy man of God. They were not harboring a criminal.

The servants of God have often fared more sumptuously than the Son of God. Jesus gave up his home in heaven, where welcome was celestial, and came to this land of sin and sorrow to find that he was unwanted. There was no room for him to be born in the inn. He was without honor in Nazareth they cast him out of the city. The Gaderenes asked Him to leave their country. He had no place to lay his head. "He came unto His own and they that were His own received Him not." They rejected Him and crucified Him. Today He stands at the door of men's hearts and knocks. He would be in our thoughts, conversations and life. This is the hospitality to which we all are to be given. But the world seems to think that it can get along without Jesus. There is no room for Him in the home. His word must not be discussed in the home. We may talk about politics, athletics and business but we must not talk about religion for fear that someone will get angry. If the homes of our country would welcome Christ, divorces would be unwelcome. But there are many Christless churches in the world today. In them He is unwelcome. Men join churches of their choice rather than choosing to be members of His church. His name is unwelcome, so they choose others. They cannot endure His doctrine so they heap to themselves teachers of doctrines after their own lusts. The Jews would not have Him to rule over them. They said, "We have no king but Caesar." Men are making the mistake today of having no one to teach them but a "pleaser." But there is objection to my saying that the denominational churches are Christless churches. Then I will speak in the language of the Bible. Hear these words: "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son." (2 John 9). Christ is not welcome unless His doctrine is welcome. You cannot endure Christ unless you can endure His doctrine. You are not given to hospitality toward Christ unless you abide in the doctrine of Christ. If you are ashamed of the word of Christ you are ashamed of Christ. Of you He will be ashamed when he comes to judge the world. You will be unwelcome before Him.

Now, before your zeal gets ahead of your knowledge, we want to advise you to be careful not to violate some restrictions on hospitality. There are some limitations on both giving and receiving hospitality. It is against the laws of our country to harbor a criminal. It is against the law of God to fellowship an evil-doer. God says, "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: for he that biddeth him God speed is a partaker of his evil deeds." (2 John 10, 11). It is a fearful thing to teach any doctrine other than the New Testament. It is an evil deed. Those who do it are evil-doers. Those who encourage it partake of the evil.

On the other hand, hospitality to the servants of Christ is hospitality to Christ. He said, "He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth Him that sent me. He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward: and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward. And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only, in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you he shall in no wise lose his reward." (Matt. 10:40-42)

Now you ask, "What are we to do? We must not bid the false teacher God speed and we must encourage the righteous man. How are we to know the one from the other?" You have asked for an answer which is as strong an argument that every one must study the Bible for himself, as can be made. 'Your neglect of studying the New Testament invites your participation in an evil by bidding a false teacher God speed. We are not building up a case to favor ourselves. We do not ask for the support of what we preach until the hearers are convinced that it is the word of God— as it is written. Only the false teacher has any fears of your study of the truth. You had better beware of the hospitality which bids God speed to a false doctrine.

The lethargy of this age has left the word of God standing outside, a stranger and unwanted. "Receive with meekness the implanted word which is able to save your soul." That is being given to hospitality to the word. When the word comes in the light comes in. "The entrance of thy word giveth light." When the light shines in you will be able to see the sheep's clothing of false prophets. You will remember that "the ministers of Satan transform themselves into ministers of righteousness." You will "prove all things and hold fast" only "to that which is good." You will try the spirits to see if they are of God. As Jesus cleansed the temple and cried, Take these things hence: and make not my Father's house a house of merchandise" so will you have a house cleaning when you "let the words of Christ dwell in you richly." This will apply to persons, homes, colleges and congregations.

Do not ask that we dull the edges of the sword of the Spirit. It is high time that the hearts of men were pricked. Their indifference has made them partakers of the evil deeds of false teachers. They have been harboring criminal doctrines. They have been lulled to sleep by the fumes of fair speech from the peace pipes of seducing spirits "set on fire by hell." Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall shine upon thee." Like the conquered and demobilized nations by Hitler, you are helpless to resist the onrushes of false doctrines when disarmed of the sword of the Spirit. We want that weapon in your hands. Do not ask the preachers of the gospel to pull their punches that the strongholds of Satan may fall of themselves. There must be some pulling down of those strongholds before there can be the proper rebuilding. There is a negative work to do as well as the constructive. Do not stay the hand that would direct the hammer of God which breaks the rocks of Satan to pieces. Do not try to soothe the burning spot on error that was put there by men of God focusing the rays from the book of the Sun of Righteousness. Do not ask us to tiptoe where we should put our foot down. We are building the temple of God, so do not ask us to come down into the plains of Ono for any compromise. That is forbidden hospitality. How could the unity which might come out of the "unity meetings" of Witty and Murch be acceptable to God when in them the discussion of the word of God is unwelcome? If discussion of the issues is forbidden the unity would be forbidden. The hospitality of such meetings is forbidden. As we would be careful not to accept the hospitality of a family with smallpox, without carrying to them the remedy, so should we beware of the hospitality of that church which has "caught" every sin from the "ear itch to the blind staggers."— unless we can carry the remedy for their maladies.

It is better to be impolite than to accept an invitation to a place of revelings or a house of ill fame. "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful." "Evil companionships corrupt good morals." Do not heed the call of the red lights or the bright lights. They welcome you to your own destruction.

The young prophet accepted the hospitality of the old prophet after God had told him to neither eat bread nor drink water there. He lost his life because he accepted a forbidden hospitality.

"I wrote unto you in an epistle not to keep company with fornicators: yet not altogether with fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is a brother be a fornicator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat." (1 Cor. 5:9-11). Evil doers in the church are to be corrected. If they will not repent they are to be disciplined. If they will not repent without it, from them the church is to withdraw. To accept the hospitality of such evil doers is to counteract the discipline which would be exercised, it is to partake of the evil. We are not to be given to extending hospitality of receiving hospitality in such cases. Thus would we save those in error from their sins that they might be received in full fellowship. Satan would rather that the evil-doers be retained in the hospitality of the church. He knows that it affects the whole congregation as a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. Let us be given to hospitality to that which is good, but let us snatch those in sin from the fire of Satans hospitality.

But we close with a word about a neglected hospitality. "When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, nor thy kinsmen, nor rich neighbors; lest haply they also bid thee again, and a recompense be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, bid the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: and thou shalt be blessed; because they have not wherewith to recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed in the resurrection of the just." (Luke 14:12-14).