Summary: The church is a family – a place of serving together, support and encouragement, spiritual warmth, and standing strong together.
OUR CHURCH FAMILY: A PLACE FOR YOU TO BELONG
INTRO TO TOPIC: What is the church? The church is family. This is a common NT metaphor.
“So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God's holy people. You are members of God's family.” (Ephesians 2:19, NLT).
• What an amazing thought – we have been adopted into God’s family! He’s our Father, and we’re brothers and sisters – a dysfunctional family to be sure!
INTRO TO SPEAKER: Discuss church experiences for the past 20+ years.
Love & acceptance at first church, when my apartment was broken into, when we had a flood.
KEY TEXT: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
“9 Two people can accomplish more than twice as much as one; they get a better return for their labor. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble. 11 And on a cold night, two under the same blanket can gain warmth from each other. But how can one be warm alone? 12 A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” (NLT).
THE BIG IDEA: The church is a family – a place of serving together, support and encouragement, spiritual warmth, and standing strong together.
I. A PLACE OF SERVING TOGETHER:
“Two people can accomplish more than twice as much as one; they get a better return for their labor.” (v.9).
• The first thing we see in this Scripture is that we are called to serve together!
“He is the one who gave these gifts to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God's people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ… 16 Under his direction, the whole body is fitted together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” (Ephesians 4:11-12,16, NLT).
QUOTE: “Getting involved in your church by using your gifts will accelerate your spiritual growth immensely. God designed us that way. Don’t head for the stands when you enter the kingdom of God. Head for the playing field. That’s where the excitement is. That’s where the action is.” (Wayne Cordeiro, Doing Church as a Team).
• Jesus never called anyone to ‘go to church’ – He called them to follow Him – to serve.
• You will never find a bored ‘follower of Jesus.’ Bored church-attenders? Yes.
• QUOTE: “A mistake proves someone stopped talking long enough to do something.”
A STORY FROM THE EARLY CHURCH:
“1 But as the believers rapidly multiplied, there were rumblings of discontent. Those who spoke Greek complained against those who spoke Hebrew, saying that their widows were being discriminated against in the daily distribution of food. 2 So the Twelve called a meeting of all the believers. "We apostles should spend our time preaching and teaching the word of God, not administering a food program," they said. 3 "Now look around among yourselves, brothers, and select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom. We will put them in charge of this business. 4 Then we can spend our time in prayer and preaching and teaching the word." … 6 These seven were presented to the apostles, who prayed for them as they laid their hands on them. 7 God's message was preached in ever-widening circles. The number of believers greatly increased in Jerusalem, and many of the Jewish priests were converted, too.” (Acts 6:1-7, NLT).
CHALLENGE: Where do you want to serve in the church? There are many opportunities…
II. A PLACE OF SUPPORT AND ENCOURAGEMENT:
“If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble.” (v.10).
• The second thing we see here is that we are called to support and encourage one another!
“Share each other's troubles and problems, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” (Gal. 6:2).
• The only way we can support and encourage one another is when we are open and honest about our troubles, problems and struggles.
• CHALLENGE: Who do you have in your life like that? Who are you helping that way?
III. A PLACE OF SPIRITUAL WARMTH:
“And on a cold night, two under the same blanket can gain warmth from each other. But how can one be warm alone?” (v.11).
• The third thing we see here is that we are called to keep each other warm!