Summary: What a healthy church family looks like.
Relationships Are Everything
The Family of God
Did you hear about the guy who was called into his doctor’s office? The doctor sat him down and said, “I’ve got some good news and bad news. Which do you want first?” “Give me the good news first.” “Ok,” the doctor said. “Your tests are back and you only have three days to live.” “That’s the good news?” the guy exclaimed. “For heaven’s sake, what’s the bad news?” “Well,” said the doctor, “my receptionist has been trying to get a hold of you for two days!”
How many of you have been confronted with a good news, bad news conversation before? I think most of you have at one point in your life. Well, this morning is no different. I have good news and bad news for you this morning. The good news is that the church is like a family. Here is the bad news – the church is like a family.
It’s like this other gentleman who went to see his doctor. The doctor came in and said, “You are in terrible shape and you’ve got to do something about it. First, tell your wife to cook more nutritious meals. Then, stop working like a dog. You must also inform your wife you’re going to make a budget, and she has to stick to it. Then, you have her keep the kids off your back so you can relax. Unless there are some changes in your life, you’ll probably be dead in a month.”
“Doc,” the patient said, “this would sound more official coming from you. Could you please call my wife and give her those instructions?” When the fellow got home, his wife rushed to him with tears in her eyes.
“I talked to the doctor,” she wailed. “I’m so sorry you only have 30 days to live.”
This man expected to find comfort and help from his family, but that was not the case. Now, we all know that family should not be selfish like this wife was. We know that families should be there for each other and care for each other. We know that family is to be the closest relationship we can have here on earth. That is good news. The bad news is that this is not always the case. One man described his family this way. “Families are like fudge – mostly sweet with a few nuts!” Sometimes, even our family system gets out of whack, and it distorts our view of what a family should look and act like. Why is this so important? It is important because the body of believers that worship at the Leatherwood church is supposed to be like a family. In order to do that, we must know what a healthy family is intended to look and act like according to Scripture. This morning, I want you to turn with me to 1Timothy 5:1-2 for our key Scripture.
Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters with absolute purity.
Paul is giving these instructions to the young Timothy on how he should treat the people in his church. It is obvious to me by the terms Paul uses that we are to treat others like family. This morning, we are going to take a look at the Scriptures to see what this means as we uncover four pillars of a healthy family and apply it to how we should treat each other in the church. Before we do this, let’s go to the Lord in prayer.
Pillar #1: A Healthy Family Puts God First.
A pastor of a very successful and growing church tells the following story in one of his sermons. He says this: I was in the supermarket one day, and a lady came down the aisle toward me. I could barely see her head over the top of her groceries. I got somewhat frightened because she seemed to be headed straight for me. She screeched to a halt within a few feet of me, peered over her load, wagged her finger and said, “I left your church. I left your church.”
So, I responded by saying, “Well, if it’s my church, I think that was a very wise decision. If it’s my church, I think I am going to leave as well.”
She said, “Don’t you want to know why I left.”
I said, “I think I am going to find out no matter what I say!”
She answered with the following familiar phrase, “You weren’t meeting my needs!”
Now, this pastor had never seen this lady before, and he came to find out that this woman had never even shared her concerns with anyone in leadership. With over 5000 people in his congregation every Sunday, how was this pastor to know what her needs were let alone meet them. I began to feel sorry for this lady who was lost in the crowd until I remembered the Scripture we used the last couple of weeks in Mark 12:30-31. This is what is says. “The most important one is this: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second one is this: Love your neighbor as yourself.”