Summary: Although the methods to express brotherly love and warmth are often best seen by observing others, the nuts and bolts of creating a warm church family are described for us here in Romans 12. If we are going to aim to be a warm church, we need to get a pi
Warming Up A Church Family
1. When I first came to HPC, I was ignorant of boilers.
2. I grew up with a coal furnace in the basement…..
3. Space heater…
4. But boilers?
Parsonage – steam
5. But boiler heat feels so good; even, steady….at home, we can sit on our radiators and get nice an toasty…it’s a real treat…
6. But there is another kind of warmth that we all crave: relational warmth.
7. In my opinion, we have a warm church because we have many people who are friendly and care about other people. But there are two realities we must face: (1) not all of us are equally warm, nor are we meant to be, and (2) most of us have room to grow.
8. I can say this: I know a few of you who only have a little room to grow. Some of you have taught me (and are teaching me) how to love others.
9. And that leads me to another introductory point. Although our text today admonishes us to create a warm church family and points out some specifics, one great way to grow in this area is to watch others and learn FROM them. There is nothing like seeing it done.
10. To love people, you need to get to know them. To get to know them, you have to participate with them -- or at least talk to them.
11. Barna writes, “People are anxious to make and maintain friendships, and the church has emerged as one of the few places left where they can do so. However, the potential for developing a network of church-based relationships is undermined by the lack of time people devote to church activities, their poor relational skills, and their disinterest in establishing a deeper commitment to the churches they attend.”
(The Second Coming of the Church, p. 19)
12. Romans 12:1-2 urges us to present ourselves as a living sacrifice to God. Part of being that living sacrifice is connecting to a body of believers and loving them. If you want to be a living sacrifice and a loner, forget it. That’s not the kind of living sacrifice God is interested in.
MAIN IDEA: Although the methods to express brotherly love and warmth are often best seen by observing others, the nuts and bolts of creating a warm church family are described for us here in Romans 12. If we are going to aim to be a warm church, we need to get a picture in our minds as to how a warm church looks.
Part of being that living sacrifice is connecting to a body of believers and loving them.
I. Caring for Our Own (13)
A . “Share with God’s people who are in need” (13a)
1. In early church, only one church in a community; although churches could help other churches, the emphasis here is best understood as within a church context…
• The word “share” is the same as the word for fellowship
• To “fellowship” means to partner, to participate
• We deep down want to share with others, but we fear being exploited, making a fool of ourselves, or we doubt whether it is really worth it.
2 The Bible prioritizes our responsibilities as far as sharing goes:
(1) FAMILY before others
1 Timothy 5: 8 If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
(2) CHRISTIAN people we know before people in general
Galatians 6: 10, Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
(3) RESPONSIBLE people and not the irresponsible
2 Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat."
B. Practice Hospitality (13b)
(1) this isn’t true, but it sounds good: “"People go to the church that is dearest to them and not the church that is nearest to them."
(2) hospitality is making people feel at ease and at home: it is relieving the tension of “not knowing anybody” and providing attention and consideration to another.
(3) entertaining people at home; when we open our homes, people see we are like them; that’s why your house not need be immaculate, your meals not gourmet, everything not spotless or organized…
(4) People build protective walls around them; hospitality creates environments where their true selves can emerge from behind those walls…
(5) one reason I enjoy our church fun nights, our Thanksgiving Dinner (or even the women’s banquet) is that it is sort of like one massive dose of hospitality…we are all exerting effort, and we all enjoy the work of others…