Summary: As we conclude our series on our church covenant we need to understand what it means to actually support our church family.
It still amazes me, almost 25% of all marriages will end in divorce. That means one out of four marriage covenants will be broken, tossed to the sidelines and forgotten. Families will be torn apart.
Interesting is the typical reasons given for ignoring the marriage covenant.
changed lifestyle desires
and less common, plain infidelity.
One study said the main reason given was simply that the couple (family) simply “grew apart”.
I have a more direct answer that probably explains the deterioration of covenant relationships. The family members stopped protecting their unity as a family. They slacked off on their responsibilities to their partners. Being served became more important than serving others.
And finally, there was no one or nothing left to actually support the relationship. The foundation, the commitment, the covenant was gone, ignored.
The result: the tragedy of a broken family. It’s witness and testimony is gone.
Over the past weeks we have been talking about what it means to really be a member of the family. Though we have been speaking directly to the issue of our church family I think you can see the striking parallels to your home life.
Together we have laid out the four foundational commitments that make up our church covenant. The very reason these four statements or commitments make up our covenant agreement is that they are the foundation of every long lasting, growing, healthy relationship – especially Christ’s church, FirstFamily.
This morning as we conclude this series on our FirstFamily Covenant I want us to read it together.
I will protect the unity of my church
by acting in love,
refusing to gossip
and following Biblical Church leadership)
I will share the responsibility of my church
by praying for it’s growth,
inviting the unchurched to attend
and warmly welcoming those who do come
I will serve the ministry of my church
by discovering my gifts and talents
being equipped to serve by my pastors
and developing a servant’s heart
I will support the testimony of my church
by attending faithfully,
living a godly life
and giving regularly
Some of you may not yet have come to a place in your commitment to God’s plan for your life where you are willing to make such a covenant with His church. But this morning I want to remind you how important such a commitment is and how beneficial it is to your walk with God and your testimony about God to others.
To protect, share, serve and support…
Imagine with me if you will a man or woman who says they love their family. On top of that they say they really care, they want to see their family succeed. They talk about the wonderful blessings of having a family, but…
they seldom if ever come home
they rarely show up for meals or family times
in fact they don’t even act like their part of a family at all. They certainly don’t act married.
And what would you think of a husband or wife, father or mother who keeps all of his paycheck for himself while the family suffers from neglect. His or her hobbies, desires and interests are always first?
What would you think of a family member who refuses to really support their family? Here’s what the Apostle Paul said, (and these are his words, not mine)
“If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (1 Timothy 5:8)
When someone refuses to support his or her family it is one of the most ungodly thing they can do!
Now, think about your church family. How do you suppose a person who is unwilling to genuinely support their church would be described?
A person who seldom if ever attends his or her church?
A person who lives an ungodly life – that means a life that does not reflect God?
A person who refuses to give to the needs of his or her church?
Don’t ask me as a Pastor…ask any typical person on the street. A person who doesn’t know God or attend church.
Ask that person and they will tell you – a person who refuses to attend, lives ungodly and refuses to give – they would say that person probably isn’t a true believer!
Don’t get me wrong, my point is not to say that those three factors make you a believer – they don’t.
You can attend church every day, live a good life, give all you have and none of those things will get you into heaven. Only a covenant relationship with Jesus Christ can do that. Only by accepting God’s free offer of forgiveness and by making Him the Boss of your life can you gain His eternal life.