Summary: My most important ministry is to lead my family into relationship with Jesus Christ and being healthy church members.
Series: I Am a Church Member
(based on and adapted from Thom Rainer’s book of the same name)
“I Will Lead My Family to Be Healthy Church Members”
We’re getting close to the end of our congregational study of Thom Rainer’s book: I Am a Church Member. Today, we’re going to be looking at the fifth chapter called, “I Will Lead My Family to Be Healthy Church Members.”
The church has been under attack for quite some time. A fairly recent incidence occurred when the April 3, 2012 cover of Newsweek announced: “Forget Church and Just Follow Jesus.”
The picture on the cover depicts an image that is recurrent in our society today. This depiction and others like it have been dubbed “Hipster Jesus.” It’s simply an attempt to do something that people have been doing for 2,000 years – remaking Jesus into what they want him to be instead of who he really is.
The basic argument against the church summed in this one statement: I like Jesus but not the church. Basically, they’re saying that Christianity would be fine without the church. What Jesus is teaching is fine but I don’t want to be part of that group called the church. Those church people speak about biblical things but don’t do them all the time. They can be selfish. They can be hypocritical. I’m just going to take the parts about Jesus that I like and forget the rest.
One of our biggest difficulties as families today is helping our children and grandchildren see the importance of church. It’s important that they see a group of people who are flawed, who don’t always get it right and that’s OK. Christ intended the church to be a place where flawed people learn to love God and love others. Then when certain criticisms come up that are justified, they also see that there is something valuable about this group called the church.
You might have a history of family in church. You might have family around you here in church today. For some, when your family gets together, church is part of what you do.
For some of us, this is a tough or touchy subject. It’s difficult to come to church and think of those who are not here. They’ve made a conscious decision not to be in church.
It’s difficult when you think back on conversations you’ve tried to have with family members and they just don’t accept what you’re trying to say to them. Maybe you have family members that were once active in church but something happened – whether it’s something that happened at church that drove them away or it’s something in life that drove them away. Whatever the case may be, they’re not in church anymore.
I hope that you will still pay attention this morning and that God will bless you somehow in this message. I pray that there is something worthwhile for each of us as we look together at this subject. It may just be a reminder that even though things are not always the way we’d like them to be that there are things that we can do to draw ourselves and others closer to God.
Here’s the first blank on your outline: Church is like a family. Paul says in Eph. 1:4-5 (NLT) – Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. 5 God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.
Paul’s uses the picture of the church as family several times in his letters. He refers to the family of God and the household of God. It seems a reasonable image for us to understand the role of the church as it applies to its necessity for our benefit and betterment as followers of Jesus.
Paul even uses an extended passage in Ephesians chapters 5 &6 to illustrate the interaction of church and family. Remember as we read this passage that originally there were no chapter and verse divisions in the original writings. They were added much later to aid in referencing specific passages. We don’t write letters or emails with chapter and verse divisions and neither did the apostle Paul. The end of Ephesians chapter 5 and the beginning of chapter 6 comprise a complete section of thought and purpose.
Eph. 5:21-6:4 –Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.