Summary: This sermon precedes communion and emphasizes the essential place of community within the Body of Christ.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

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Ephesians 2:19-20

Special Note: The early portions of the introduction to this sermon were harvested from other sources. Special thanks to those who have gone before me!

Sermon Objective: Sermon preceding communion emphasizing the essential place of community within the Body of Christ.

19Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, 20built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.

I like how the New Life Version translates this:

From now on you are not strangers and people who are not citizens. You are citizens together with those who belong to God. You belong in God’s family. This family is built on the teachings of the missionaries and the early preachers. Jesus Christ Himself is the cornerstone, which is the most important part of the building.

I have good news and bad news today. According to the Bible, the church is like a family. That’s the good news. Now the bad news—the church is like a family.

One day Linus and Lucy, the brother and sister of Peanuts cartoon fame, were quietly walking down the sidewalk talking.

Linus says to Lucy, “Charlie Brown says that brothers and sisters can learn to get along.” He pauses to make sure she is listening. “He says that they can get along the same way mature adults get along.” Again he pauses to let the words of wisdom sink in. “Charlie says that adults can get along the same way that nations get along.” This time the pause is a little longer. He begins to think about what he is saying. Finally Linus scratches his head and concludes, “At this point the analogy breaks down.”

I have good news and bad news today. According to the Bible, the church is like a family. That’s the good news. Now the bad news—the church is like a family.

Remember Winston Churchill’s immortal words at the beginning of WWII?—“We shall fight on the beaches. We shall fight on the landing grounds. We shall fight in the fields and in the streets. We shall fight in the hills!”

That sounds like some family vacations I have heard about"

1 Timothy 3:15 says:

15 if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.

According to the Bible, the church is like a family.

We recognize that here at the Naz. That is why your church board has been working on a way to describe us … an image to help us articulate what we understand our mission in the community to be. The image proposed is F*A*M*I*L*Y. It comes from the first community of faith in the New Testament – Acts 2.

Focusing on Christ and His Word

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. (Acts 2:42)

Affirming each other as we grow in grace

Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. (Acts 2:46)

Magnifying God through lives of worship

Praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. (Acts 2:47)

Imagining the nations won for Christ

And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:47)

Loving people

Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. (Acts 2:45)

Yoked together in love

All the believers were together and had everything in common. (Acts 2:44)

It is a beautiful image. It is also a challenging image.

For one thing … we do not entirely embody it. It is our goal. It is worth pursuing. But we are not the perfect image of “God’s household.” Yet.

My objective this morning is to share with you a few over-arching principles that underpin the F*A*M*I*L*Y image. When we take these principles seriously we will begin to embody God’s ideal of a F*A*M*I*L*Y more and more fully.


We all understand the power of family characteristics don’t we? I don’t have to spend much time with any of the families in our congregation to see the family resemblance in the children – even the adult children. There are traits that we pass on … whether we like it or not.

So what sort of traits do we pick up from our Heavenly Father? Colossians 3 says:

12Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

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