Summary: This message is the intorduction to looking at how God’s Church should operate very similar to a God-centered family.
A Church or A Family Part 1
Scripture: I Corinthians 12:12-27
1 Corinthians 12:12 says “For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ.”
This morning I want to talk to you about Church and family. We use the term very loosely that we are all part of the same Church family; but is that really the truth? In a perfect world the Church should operate like a family. There are things that happen within a family that should also happen with a Church. For example, unfaltering love; forgiveness; assistance; and the recognition and acceptance that someone is not perfect. All of these traits exist within most families, but they do not necessarily carry over into the Church. For us to accomplish what God has called us to be, we must become a family, a real family. So let me ask you this morning, are we a Church or a family? (For everyone reading this sermon and are members of another Church, just read it as if this was coming from your Pastor or Church leader.)
How many of you know the age and favorite food of the person sitting near you who is not part of your immediate family? Now, how many of you know the age and favorite food of your brother or sister whom you grew up with? How many of you sit in the same area of the Church every Sunday, without being told to do so because you have “staked” out that area as your own? How many of you have family members who have a certain place in the family room or at the dinner table where they sit and everyone recognizes it as their place to sit? Both of these are examples of the similarities and differences that exist between a Church and a family. There are things that we know about family members that we do not know about our Church members because we do not wish to be that close to someone else and we do not want others in our business. In order to make this Church a family, we must begin to get to know one another, sincerely care about one another and not participate in any backbiting and divisive behaviors that is very common in some Churches.
It has been several weeks since I have stood up before you and I must tell you that I have missed being here. During the last few weeks of dealing with my father, I had many opportunities to think about the real meaning of a Church family. A Church family should be very similar to our natural family but I have learned that in many situations this is not the case. I have wondered what Christian Churches would be like if they operated like a family versus a Church. Several weeks ago I was talking with a young man who told me that he saw no reason to go to Church in order to be a Christian. I shared with that young man that he probably felt that way because he had not been a part of a Church where he felt like a member of a family. I asked him had he ever attended a Church where he believed that he actually had something to offer the Church besides his finances. I also asked him if ever attended a Church where he was also receiving something from being there. His answer to both questions was “No”. When I asked him if he ever “felt like a family member” at any of the Churches he’d attended and he said “No”, I told him that was why he thought it was not necessary to go to Church. He never felt connected to a place. You see, when people go to church as a function of being religious and they never feel connected, it does not matter to them if they miss Church and they tend to go whenever they feel like it. There is no commitment because there is no sense of shared experience that happens within a family. However, when you feel like you are a part of something and that the role you play is important to the family, you do not mind making the sacrifices for your Church and getting to know the people you worship with weekly. Now understand that when I am speaking of family, I am talking “best case scenario” because there are some messed up families out there. I am talking about a family that stands together, supports one another and is looking out for the good of each member. I am not talking about that family that is made up of members who are looking out for themselves and do not care who they hurt as long as they get what they want. There are many families like that in the world and every family has one or two members like that. We must recognize the best of what family stands for and strive to meet that within this Church despite what we might have experienced in our own families.