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Summary: When we think of the church, we most often think of a place like this where we come to worship and to study and be taught God’s Word, but before the church was the institution, as we know it today, the church was a family.

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THE CHURCH – A FAMILY

(Mat 12:47-50) 47, Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee.

48, But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?

49, And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!

50, For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

(1 Tim 5:1, 2) 1, Rebuke not an elder, but entreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;

2, The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.

When we think of the church, we most often think of a place like this where we come to worship and to study and be taught God’s Word, but before the church was the institution, as we know it today, the church was a family. It was and is a place of fathers and mothers in the faith, brothers and sisters in Christ, as well as, elderly saints and newborn babies in the faith.

John Calvin

“The church is the gathering of God’s children, where they can be helped and fed like babies and then, guided by her motherly care, grow up to manhood in maturity of faith.”

HOW IS IT THAT THE CHURCH IS LIKE A FAMILY?

· The church is a place where you find love.

(John 13:35) By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Edmund Clowney

“Christians in community must again show the world, not merely family values, but the bond of the love of Christ.”

There is no place in this world where a person should find more love than within the church.

There should be such a love within this church that the lost world is tripping over themselves to come and experience it.

Remember deputation churches where no love was present.

“Looking for love in all the wrong places.” You didn’t find any love there. They should shut the doors.

We as Baptists are not known for our love, and that is not to our credit.

Most of the arguing done among us is not about things that matter anyway.

· The church is a place of peaceful refuge.

For many people, their home is a place of refuge from life’s daily activities. The church should likewise be a place of peaceful refuge. I know some of you are saying, “that’s not the way it is at our house.”

Your house may be hectic, but it is still a refuge from the world. The church can be a busy place as well, but it is a refuge.

What should we find in this refuge? We’ve already touched on love.

Peaceful attitudes.

(1 John 2:10, 11) 10, He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.

11, But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.

What do people do that dislike or hate each other? They argue and fight.

The church is not a place for arguing or fighting. No church split is a good split, because it shows that someone was acting in the flesh.

Peaceful actions.

(Phil 2:3, 4) 3, Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

4, Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

A godly family will put others in front of themselves.

Not when the bullets start flying.

They don’t blame each other for problems. They don’t criticize each other for shortcomings.

The pastor and deacons are not the complaint department. If you have a complaint, look at yourself first, then see what you can do to improve what you don’t like, and if all else fails out of sincere concern consult the pastor. (Go to the mirror and point your finger at the person you see there. Ask him/her if you are the cause of the problem.)

Many a church member thinks that they have a clause in their membership that says, “I reserve the right to tell the preacher what I don’t like.” No such clause exists.

You want to kill a service? Complain to the pastor just before he preaches. The devil will rejoice.

Do a husband and wife ever accomplish anything when they complain? No, only when they work together.

· The church is a place of encouragement.

(Eph 4:11, 12, 29) 11, And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

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