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Sermon #3325

Fellowship of Saints

A Sermon on Romans 12:13


Romans 12:13 ESV KJV
Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. (ESV)

Sermon Description

In this sermon on Romans 12:13 titled “Fellowship of the Saints,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones challenges the listeners to show hospitality. Preaching from Romans 12:13, one of the first things he clarifies is the true Pauline meaning of hospitality. In the book of Romans (and in other places in Scripture), the biblical meaning for hospitality is “loving strangers.” This means that when the biblical authors command believers to show hospitality, their command is one of evangelism rather than only fellowship with the saints. An important element of the Christian existence paired with hospitality is indeed contributing to the needs of the saints. Separate from hospitality but similar, Dr. Lloyd-Jones preaches that contributing to the needs of the saints shows the love of God within the hearts of Christians. A privilege that God has given His believers is that they may share in their suffering instead of enduring alone. Other Christians should be a welcome and wonderful sight for believers because of the burden and the privilege the saints carry. Dr. Lloyd-Jones exhorts his listeners by saying that Christians submit too much to the needs and expectations of the world. Rather, Christians must be the light of the world and share the good news of Jesus Christ with all those they come in contact with, especially through hospitality.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The sermon focuses on Romans 12:13 which says "Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality."
  2. The verse contains two balanced statements: "distributing to the necessity of saints" and "given to hospitality." The first refers to meeting the needs of fellow Christians and the second refers to showing kindness to strangers.
  3. "Distributing" is too weak of a translation. A better translation is "entering into fellowship with the necessity of the saints." This means truly sharing in their burdens and needs.
  4. "Necessity" refers to bare necessities and essential needs, not desires or luxuries.
  5. "Saints" refers to all Christians, not just certain canonized individuals. All believers have been set apart by God.
  6. Hospitality refers to "loving strangers" or showing affection for strangers. It is more than just being hospitable. It means actively pursuing opportunities to show kindness to strangers.
  7. The early church dealt with persecution, lack of infrastructure, and travel difficulties so hospitality and caring for fellow Christians was extremely important.
  8. The sermon teaches that we should recognize fellow Christians, share in their burdens, and be eager to help meet their needs. We are all part of the same family of God.
  9. The sermon discusses the importance of doctrine and how our conduct should flow from our doctrine. Failure to help others in need shows a lack of understanding of being part of the body of Christ.
  10. The sermon discusses how to put this teaching into practice through discernment, fighting greed, and focusing on the rewards of eternity.
  11. The sermon gives several examples of how the New Testament reinforces this teaching, including Acts 2, Acts 4, 2 Corinthians 8, and 1 Timothy 6.
  12. The sermon distinguishes this teaching from communism. Christianity teaches stewardship, not forced redistribution of wealth. We give voluntarily out of love, not compulsion.
  13. The sermon notes that the primary call of Christians is to fellow Christians, not general philanthropy. We should focus first on the needs within the church.
  14. The sermon discusses difficulties in carrying out this teaching, including dealing with "professional beggars" and the need for discernment. We must be wise stewards.

The Book of Romans

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.