Which is the greatest institution of God? The home or the church?
The same things that make marriage work, makes the church work. It takes commitment to make a marriage work and to make a church work.
Adoption is a wonderful thing, a family reaching out and saying, “we want you to be a part of our family.”
Romans 8:15 – None of us are born into the family of God by our biological birth. God uses marriage terms for his church, he talks of the wedding, a bride, etc.
Ephesians 5 – The church and marriage used to describe each other.
All of us are born with a need to “belong.” Family units are God’s plan for humans. Mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters… walking together.
Boys and girls join clubs or gangs, as a way to get a sense of belonging. God wants our homes to be loving, close knit, marriages to be a strong bond of love. Our need to belong needs to be filled firstly in Christ and the family of God.
Leviticus 26:12 – I will be your God. You will be my people.
Matthew 12:47-50 – The church, the followers of Christ, this follows through family lines. It is possible to have a relationship that is deeper with those in the family of God than our biological ones.
Home is where we are to be understood. A safe place where we have people who care.
We need to remind ourselves that first and foremost our belonging needs to be to Christ and his family.
Often we know people are struggling and we care, but we don’t understand. Jesus understands, knows and cares. Jesus gets it right 100% of the time. Even the best father or mother or sister or brother will fail you at some point. Jesus will never fail you.
Luke 13:34, Isaiah 40:11 – God is as a shepherd. He feeds his sheep. He gathers the little ones in his arms and carries them. He’s meeting their needs. He knows their needs.
Philippians 2 – This is a tall order for each of us. Esteeming others as being higher than we are. Putting others first, meeting their needs.
We live in a world where homes are becoming less and less functional. There are more and more people who are not getting at hone what they need, what God intended. As the family of God we need to be reaching out and being there for these people.
How do we make being part of the family of God practical?
It must be only through coming to Christ, having him as Lord as our life. There is no other way but through confession and repentance.
Matthew 6:12 – It should not surprise us, that as a normal family, there are things that God expects of us.
John 13:35 – Love for one another. One of the biggest telling things of the family of God is whether or not we love one another. This is one of the quickest ways to damage our ability to project Jesus to the world.
1 Peter 1:22 – Love one another fervently. The family of God loves one another.
Matthew 20:25 – The family of God serves each other. Whoever will be great among you, let him be your servant. Christ came not to be ministered to but to minister and give his life.
Acts 15 – The early church grappled with what it means to be part of the family of God. We still grapple with that today.
As we look at the book of Acts we don’t see a church that had no problems. There are needs not being met. There was lying. They had to figure out how to deal with things.
There are expectations in the family of God. We learn from each other. We need to walk together, being willing to give or receive correction. This isn’t easy, but it is part of being in the family of God.
To be part of the family of God requires commitment. If we are going to have good marriages or good families or good churches we need to walk in knowledge of this commitment.
Things that really destroy this commitment in marriage are selfishness, independent spirit, deciding the cost of commitment is too high, and others. The same thing occurs in the family of God. It costs all of us something to commit. We make ourselves vulnerable when we commit either in marriages or in our church.
What does it mean to us to be part of the family of God? Are we willing to commit ourselves to learning and walking together?
Are we as a local body living up to God’s high calling? A place where needs are known, understood and cared for?