Summary: The passage commands us to treat our church family like family. What are some of the things that get in the way of us doing that well?
WHY TREAT EACH OTHER LIKE FAMILY? We are God’s eternal family.
- Because we are family!
- Why is this so needed today?
a. The prevalence of loneliness in our society.
b. The joy of being “where everybody knows your name.”
c. How hard life is and how much easier it is to have people with you, supporting you.
FOUR THINGS THAT GET IN THE WAY OF THE CHURCH BEING A FAMILY:
- It’s difficult to be a family when you’re hopping from place to place every few years.
- Now, let me acknowledge that there are times when a person may need to find a new church home. But those occasions should be rare. For many, the least of issues is enough to push them out the door.
- The article on the “pokey little church.”
- One of the things about being a healthy family is long-term relationships.
- People know you deeply.
2. Church power politics.
- In many churches, the focus is on who has the power. There is a ton of strife, tension, and division.
- Obviously, in such an environment, it would be nearly impossible to create an atmosphere of family.
- One of the things about being a healthy family is we’re there to support, not win.
3. Polite relationships.
- In many churches, the congregation comes together on Sunday morning and everyone is so friendly and polite with each other. The word “nice” is clearly in play for all involved.
- One of the things about being a healthy family is real relationships.
- This includes being honest with each other when there’s a disagreement.
- This includes sharing our real struggles and not just trying to maintain an outward appearance.
4. Big congregations.
- In a big church, it’s easy to lose the family feeling.
- And by big, I don’t mean mega-churches. It’s very possible in a church of 100 people that there are significant portions of the people that you don’t know anything about. That, of course, is exponentially worse as you get into numbers like 500 or 5,000.
- This is not to say we shouldn't seek to have many people saved. It's just that when we do, we need to make sure have processes in place to move past the congregation size.
- One of the things about being a healthy family is deep friendships.
- You don’t need to have these with everyone, but you do need to have them with some folks. This is why small groups are so important.
FINAL THOUGHT: Blood is thicker than water.
- We normally mean that in terms of our physical family and the blood relations we have. But maybe we should think about the blood of Christ.