Summary: There are things that make a healthy church family and they go a long ways in removing human obstructions that keep people from seeing who Jesus really is! 5 marks of a Biblical Church family from the last half of Romans 15. Expectations of a church famil
Marks of a Biblical Church Family
Intro: We like to refer to ourselves as a family here at CLC. That certainly isn’t unique, seeing that many groups with similar interests refer to themselves as a family. There are all kinds of families (small, large, mixed, nuclear, dysfunctional, balanced, and more). The Bible uses the idea of family to describe believers in Jesus Christ (Bro., Sis., sometimes comparisons of mother or father are made).
-Some of the basic elements required to hold a family together are love, respect, commitment, authenticity (being real), grace to overlook faults, healthy conflict resolution (how to value another family member when you disagree with them), communication, encouragement, humility (the willingness to admit you were wrong and apologize for your offenses), and certainly forgiveness when another family member hurts you with words, attitudes, or actions. Kind of sounds like another of Paul’s writings to the Colossian Christians: Colossians 3:12-17 12 Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
-These are the things that make a healthy church family and they go a long ways in removing human obstructions that keep people from seeing who Jesus really is!
-I’ve identified 5 marks of a Biblical Church family in the last half of Romans 15. I don’t think Paul was necessarily thinking about these as Church family characteristics when he wrote, but they certainly reveal some of His expectations of a church family working together for the sake of God’s kingdom. Let’s go ahead and take a look at these identifying characteristics of believers who are doing life together as God intended.
1. Church Families thrive on loving interaction
Romans 15:23-24; 28-29 23 But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions, and since I have been longing for many years to see you, 24 I plan to do so when I go to Spain. I hope to visit you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while….
28 So after I have completed this task and have made sure that they have received this fruit, I will go to Spain and visit you on the way. 29 I know that when I come to you, I will come in the full measure of the blessing of Christ.
-Paul wanted to come see them and enjoy their company for awhile. Jumping down to v.32, Paul’s expectation is that when he comes and visits them, both he and they will experience joy and be refreshed. And that should be the result of our coming together, whether here at church or when we get together with other believers in other locations.
2. Church Families assist those in ministry
Romans 15:24b I hope to visit you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there…
-I think first of all about missionaries. While we are to show hospitality and generosity to all, there is something special about helping out those who are taking the good news about Jesus and sharing it with others who have not heard. The apostles were sent ones who were doing this effectively. But there were also prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers who were faithfully ministering for Christ.
-While Paul himself often refused to accept money or gifts, he also wrote that the laborer is worthy of his hire. He wasn’t asking for money here either, but certainly wanted to receive encouragement and general support for his ministry.
-I rarely, if ever, say no to a missionary when they want to come to Elgin. We may not be able to support them on a regular basis, but they have something to offer us, part of God’s family here in NE Oregon, and we will do what we can to encourage and strengthen them as they pursue God’s calling.
-We currently support 8 missionaries
Darrell & Sandy Blatchley - ministering to families in the Philippines
John & Carolyn Stewart - winning the lost in Ghana