Summary: God’s plan for the church is that we would be One Big Happy Family. In order to do this, we need to L.A.U.G.H: Love, Acceptance, Unity, Generosity and Helping.
ONE BIG HAPPY FAMILY – GOD’S PLAN FOR THE CHURCH
(September 2009 – Beausejour Church – Pastor Chris Jordan)
MEMBERSHIP SUNDAY – WELCOME & PRAY OVER NEW MEMBERS
INTRO TO TOPIC: “There are many analogies for a Christian disconnected from a church: a football player without a team; a soldier without a platoon; a sheep without a flock. But the most understandable and biblical picture is that of a child without a family. That family is the church. God does not want his children growing up in isolation from each other, so he created a spiritual family on earth for us. A Christian without a church family is an orphan.”
(Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Church).
OPENING TEXT: “Long ago, even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave him great pleasure.” (Eph. 1:4-5).
THE BIG IDEA: God’s plan for the church is that we would be One Big Happy Family. In order to do this, we need to L.A.U.G.H: Love, Acceptance, Unity, Generosity and Helping.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35).
• The first plan that God has for His Big Happy family is that we would be loving.
• PERSONAL TESTIMONY: When I became a Christian, the thing that first attracted me to the church was the loving relationships. They loved me just as I was.
“So accept each other just as Christ has accepted you; then God will be glorified.” (Romans 15:7).
• The second plan that God has for His Big Happy Family is that we would be accepting.
His name was Bill. He had wild hair, wore a T-shirt with holes in it, blue jeans and no shoes. In the entire time I knew him I never once saw Bill wear a pair of shoes. He became a Christian while attending college. Across the street from the campus was a church full of well-dressed, middle-class people. One day, Bill decided to worship there. He walked into the church, complete with his wild hair, T-shirt, blue jeans and bare feet. The church was completely packed, and the service had already begun. Bill started down the aisle to find a place to sit. By now the people were looking a bit uncomfortable, but no one said anything. As Bill moved closer and closer to the pulpit, he realized there were no empty seats. So he sat down on the carpet right up front. By now, the tension in the air was thickening.
Right about the time Bill took his “seat,” a deacon began slowly making his way down the aisle from the back of the sanctuary. The deacon was in his eighties, had silver gray hair, a three-piece suit and a pocket watch. He was a godly man -- very elegant, dignified and courtly. He walked with a cane and, as he neared the boy, church members thought, “You can’t blame him for what he’s going to do. How can you expect a man of his age and background to understand some college kid on the floor?” It took a long time for the man to reach the boy. The church was utterly silent except for the clicking of his cane. All eyes were on the deacon.
But then they saw the elderly man drop his cane on the floor. With great difficulty, he sat down on the floor next to Bill and worshipped with him. Everyone in the congregation choked up with emotion. When the minister gained control, he told the people, “What I am about to preach, you will never remember. What you’ve just seen, you will never forget.”
(Rebecca Manley Pippert, Chicken Soup for the Christian Family Soul).
• Jesus modeled acceptance for us by devoting much of his ministry to the worst sinners.
• He had reputation as a friend of sinners, and we need to accept sinners, too.
• Acceptance also means that we forgive people, just as God forgave us.
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil… For there the Lord commanded the blessing-- Life forevermore.” (Psalm 133:1-3).
• The third plan that God has for His Big Happy Family is that we would walk in unity.
• Unity is so important that when Jesus prayed in John 17:21, he said that if we could become one in unity, the world would know that the Father had sent Him!