Summary: God designed His church to be a family. Not just to act like a family, but to literally be a family.
Did you hear about the guy who was called into his doctor’s office? The doctor sat him down and said, “I’ve got some good news and bad news. Which do you want first?” “Give me the good news first.” “Ok,” the doctor said. “Your tests are back and you only have three days to live.” “That’s the good news?” the guy exclaimed. “For heaven’s sake, what’s the bad news?” “Well,” said the doctor, “my receptionist has been trying to get a hold of you for two days”.
Folks, I have good news and bad news for you this morning.
The good news is that the church is like a family.
Here is the bad news – the church is like a family.
One man described his family this way. “Families are like fudge – mostly sweet with a few nuts.”
Perhaps you feel this way about your biological family. You love them but some of them are tough to like.
God designed His church to be a family. Not just to act like a family, but to literally be a family.
Think about the relational terminology that the bible uses and that we have used for this sermon series.
We talked about being the children of God, the sons and daughters of God, we talked about God being our Abba, Daddy, and we’ve talked about you and I being the Bride of Christ.
These are all family phrases, and it is not by accident that God made it this way.
Family is supposed to be the place where
…we nurture the closest relationships we have with one another.
…we find love and nurture.
…we find refuge, safety and security from an unsafe world.
…we find support and encouragement.
…we can be ourselves and still be accepted and loved.
Unfortunately, most families aren’t perfect, because they aren’t made up of perfect people.
In fact, some of us can be pretty damaged or wounded, and we bring that wounded-ness to our families, which in turn, makes those families less than ideal places for safety, love, comfort, refuge and security.
I have to admit, I love doing funerals and weddings. I get an inside look at people’s families and get to admire their strengths. I did a funeral this week and I grew to admire the Stoltz family and the cohesion that they have. In both the family we know here as well as their wider family, I saw a family that cared for one another. They had built many memories with one another, and shared their memories of a loved one and laughed and cried together. I thought to myself as I ate a sandwich after the funeral with Lynn and Debbie and their 3 boys …this family is blessed!
As we grow up we formulate our perception of family from our own experiences.
Some children are raised with intense conflict, or with anger or hostility in the home.
Some are raised where there is no sense of security, where they wonder if they will be on the streets the next day.
Others are raised in families with addictions or severe emotional troubles.
And if these children never experience anything different, they will believe that that is the norm for a family and reproduce that norm when they start their own family.
The Simpsons’ and our culture. You want to hear a scary thought? Observers say that The Simpsons’, those cartooned caricatures of dysfunction and irreverence may actually reflect the way most American families live and act. They have been on over 22 seasons and still carry a strong following. I wonder why. Is this a statement about the condition of our own families in America…that we need to find a family so utterly dysfunctional, more dysfunctional than our own so we can laugh at it? Aren’t we really laughing at ourselves?
Families are complex organisms…and the reason I say organisms, is that they consist of living beings who interact in a variety of complex ways, each based upon their own expectations, wounding, strengths and weaknesses that they have developed.
So when we talk about church being a family, we bring our own preconceptions into this analogy. Sometimes I wonder why God used “family” to describe His church, because I figure if it’s God’s family, shouldn’t it be “perfect?”
And just like our own families, it is comprised of fallible, weak, hurting and broken people. God’s family, just like our own, is far from perfect, with the exception that we have a perfect Father.
BROTHERS OF CHRIST
Did you know Jesus called you and I His brothers and sisters?
Mark 3:31-35 Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. 32 A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, "Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you." 33 "Who are my mother and my brothers?" he asked. 34 Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother."