Sunday Service Sermons

19-April-2020

The Church as The Family of God
Or
The Church is the Family of God
I think I could have had several or’s as to what, who, why the Church is the Family of God.
Maybe it should be: The Church is the Family of God.
Or: The Church is God’s Family.  The Church; God’s Family Gathering.
As long as we understand that “The Church” is the people not the building or the institution.
Have you run into the term: “The Believers Church”?
This is a thread of believers who run continually from the time of Christ to the present time, who are believers in what I like to call, “The Way”.
You might call them the true believers, for a time they were called “Jesus Freaks”.
Or Jesus People but they are the ones who understood and lived what Jesus brought from the Father to the world.
As Jesus left he left two things for His believers to do.
One was: To love as I have loved you.
The other being: Go into the world and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of Father, and of the  Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
Two things go with this: First: All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me, and lastly: Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
Jesus has been crucified and has risen from the grave and he spent time with people to assure them that he was alive and well.
Not a ghost or spirit.
And he is expecting his followers to carry on the work he began.
As we Brethren like to say: Continuing the work of Jesus.
Are we continuing the work of Jesus?
Are you continuing the work of Jesus?
Are you concerned about carrying on the work of Jesus?
Or are you content claiming Jesus as a friend and hoping he will do good things for you?
At this point each year I am reminded that the disciples lacked what it takes to be a strong witness for Jesus, and to continue his work, until the Holy Spirit came upon them.
It is the same for us and every person who calls themselves a Christian.
Nothing for Jesus will get done until we are filled with the Holy Spirit.
In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit comes upon them and they accomplish what God wishes for them to accomplish.
In our time we are baptized into the Family of God and hands are laid upon us for the infilling of the Holy Spirit that we will be able to fulfill the life that God designed us to fulfill.
Are you operating under the power of the Holy Spirit?
Or should I say with the power of the Holy Spirit?
The Holy Spirit is the engine that runs/drives the believer in Christ.

2
Does your engine need a tune up?
Most likely it does.
I think it needs a tune up each day as we begin the day so we can begin the day for Christ.
We need the Holy Spirit, the powerful presence of God in our lives.
And we need the family of God.
Our brothers and sisters to help us discern our talents, gifts, direction and purpose.
It is called: calling out.
We need our gifts called out and we need encouraged to use them for the Glory of God and our Neighbor’s Good.
Our church family has been canceled for a time and we all feel the loss.
Did you hear the call the other day for a change in the way we conduct ourselves from this day forward.
We should keep our distance form each other, never shake hands or be to close to each other.
That will end the human race as we know it and as it was designed to function.
Intimacy, the right kind of intimacy, is the glue that holds us together as a human family.
That is why it is so misused, we all need it to be whole.
The Scripture for today is: Ephesians 2:11-22 where Paul is inviting all believers in Christ to know that they are an equal part of the Family of God.
At first this new faith in the Jew Jesus was thought to be part of the Jewish faith and only for Jews.
But as we know the Apostle Paul was chosen by God to take the message to those who were not Jewish.
As it is written in the text he went to the Gentiles and Greeks.
Personally I believe that the biggest problem was getting the Jews, who did believe, to accept those who were not of their faith.
Sort of like accepting non-Brethren into the Brethren Church.
Some things are hard to change.  It is just natural to want like minded and like heritage.
So Paul is expanding the Family of God.
The Disciples were Commissioned to go into all the world to spread the Good News.
But they were busy getting this new religion accepted among those whom they knew.
So Paul was chosen to take this Good News abroad, so to speak.
The point for today is that Paul promoted the Church of Jesus Christ, that is the new religion of “The Way” to be a family, the family of God.
Not just a group of people who happened to believe the same things.
But a family where you share a common blood line, the shed blood of Jesus.
For Paul the church was a family in the faith.
The faith in Jesus as the Christ the Son of God.
The Church is also called “The People of God” in New Testament writings.
It is compared to a brotherhood that is where the term Brethren came from.

2
Another image for the church was that of Bride and Groom.
Jesus being the one part and the church being the other part of the marriage couple.
The Church is the family, not the building or institution in which it worships or managed.
The church is an immediate family.
Once you have joined you are a full member.
The church is the small community of believers in a particular place, meeting, worshiping and serving God.
Out of the 114 references to the church 93 of them refer to these small families of God living in the various communities of the Roman Empire.
Growth is a part of family life.
As our birth family grows so should our church family grow.
It is the idea of family that holds all families together.
Regular meetings and communications keep the family close.
No matter how widespread the members might be they can still be held together by their common bond.
All believers, world-wide, are held together in a family relationship.
The Church itself is a large family composed of many smaller families.
Even though they might speak a different language, or live in a different country or way, or have a different culture, we are at home in that family due to the bond of  Christ and his shed blood.
When we are born again we are adopted into God’s family as joint heirs with each other and Christ.
It is God who creates His family, not us.
New members are born into the church when people hear the gospel under the power of the Holy Spirit.
They are convicted of their sins and respond by faith in Jesus Christ.
God initiates this even by sending his messenger and his Holy Spirit.
We are merely God’s servants in bearing that witness.
It is God who calls the church into being.
No mater how a church gets started, by missionary efforts or by people moving to a new community, it is God who calls it into being.
It happens only because God is calling people to himself.
There is a response to the Word only as the Holy Spirit works within the hearers.
When a church is born, no matter how individuals may have been involved, it is God who calls his family into being.
And it is God who holds his family together.
God the heavenly Father holds his family together.
Those of us who are members participate in the family because of our faith in God.
Faith in God is the basis for our love for one another.
The church is God’s family from the beginning to end.
The church is a true family.

3
A family unit is composed of various individuals.
Each person is unique and diverse but together make a whole unit.
Members within a family do not always agree, but they are bound together by a bond that is far stronger than human opinion.
We each belong to the family unit.
We belong to God and to each other in the family called His Church.
Being a part of something bigger is belonging.
To our birth families and to our church family.
It is in these relationships that we find our meaning and our gifts for service to others and God.
We derive our meaning in life from belonging to other persons.
We experience this as husbands and wives, as children, and as a church family.
There is a bond that restricts in one sense, yet frees us to become what God created us to be.
The “be all you can be” is found in the relationship of a good family and a good church family.
Love is learned in family bonds.
It is most important to intimately belong to another and to have another belong to you.
This is what it means to belong to a church.
In the church, we learn to love one another to the extent that we give ourselves to others and accept them into meaningful relationships.
Love cannot be known in isolation.
It has meaning only in personal relationships.
We love God because He first loved us.
Families share.
In life there is joy and sorrow.
Families help us celebrate joy and survive sorrow.
It means much to belong to the family of God.
It means we acknowledge that we belong to God.
We have been created and redeemed by God to be a part of his family.
When we come to know God and his family we have come home.
Christians cherish their membership in God’s family.
It is God our Father who holds the family together.
Because the church is God’s family, we belong both to him and to his family.
Only in this family of faith can we grow into the person and people God wants us to be.
The church is the ideal family in which individual Christians grow up.
There we have the blend of challenge and encouragement.
We have approval and correction necessary for healthy growth.
In the family of God we rejoice at the birth of a new member.
The church shares the good news and celebrates when a person responds and joins.

4
Belonging to the family of God is very significant.
This family had its origin in the life and teachings and the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus “The Christ”.
We each participate in the family.
We make our contribution and pass from the scene, but in a sense, we live on through the family.
Take heart!
You are members of God’s family.
Through your participation the family lives on and continues the work that Jesus began in his earthly ministry.
He commissioned us to take it to the world.
Look out world, here we come!






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