Summary: The Family of God Series: A message on how to accept one another as believers. Adapted from material & outlines on building community.
The Family of God: Accept One Another
READ: Colossians 3:12-17
I’m sure many of you have watched the television show, “Cheers”? For eleven seasons, from 1982 to 1993, Cheers was one of the highest-rated shows on television, and since 1993 its spinoff, Frasier, has also consistently been at the top of the ratings. What accounts for this popularity? Inspired writing, well-drawn characters, talented actors, all played a part. But I think there’s something more. I think that shows like Cheers, or Friends, or even ER or West Wing, tap into a deep human longing for community. They all show us people who care about each other, who accept one another in spite of their many failings and frailties and idiosyncrasies, people who share an emotional bond, who are committed to one another. Just listen to the theme songs:
Making your way in the world today
Takes everything you’ve got;
Taking a break from all your worries
Sure would help a lot.
Wouldn’t you like to get away?
Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name,
And they’re always glad you came;
You want to be where you can see,
Our troubles are all the same;
You want to be where everybody knows your name.
I’ll be there for you (when the rain starts to pour)
I’ll be there for you (like I’ve been there before)
I’ll be there for you (’cause you’re there for me too)
Isn’t that what we all want? People who care about us? People who are glad when we show up? People who will support us and stand by us in the bad times, People who will accept us instead of criticizing and judging us? People we can just be ourselves around? I want that. I need that. And so do you. So do we all.
Well, I’ve got good news for you. Good news and bad news. The bad news is that Cheers, and Friends, Little House on the Prairie and all the other TV versions of community, are pretend. They exist only on a Hollywod sound stage. People love those shows, they tune in very week by the millions, because they desperately want to be a part of that kind of community. They see something in those characters’ relationships with one another that they want. But it’s not real. The good news is that it can be real. The good news is that there is a place where that kind of community can and does exist. And that place is the church.
Or at least it should be. Let me put it another way. That’s the kind of place that the church should be, the kind of place the church can be, the kind of place that Jesus Christ intended His church to be. You and I know that too often, it’s just the opposite. We have to recognize that when many people think of an accepting, loving, supportive, place to be real, to just be themselves, they are more likely to think of a support group or a bar than a church. What a sad state of affairs when a moral black hole such as a bar can be more of the model Christ had in mind that the church.
Last week we studied how to be the Family of God by encouraging one another. First we learned we should ENCOURAGE one another, whether through giving compliments, saying good things about another, or something simple like a card, call or small gift. Today we are studying Colossians 3:12-17 where we find a commandment to ACCEPT ONE ANOTHER to be the Family of God. Look again at the text in verses 12-14.
I. Forgive & Love (Colossians 3:12-14)
The most powerful argument for the truth of the gospel is not the sophistication of our theological statements; it’s not the historical evidence for the fact of the resurrection. The most powerful argument for the truth of the gospel is not our good works, or even our changed lives. The most powerful argument for the truth of the gospel is our love for one another. That is what Jesus said would distinguish us, among all the people on the earth, as His disciples.
Parable: Blind Leading the Blind - Luke 6:39-42
And He spoke a parable to them: "Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch? A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ’Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye.