Text: Luk 15:20-32; Act 2:44-47
A. Defining our relationship.
Some in the world views the church as an organization.
a. A society where one goes to meet friends.
b. A social club where one goes to be entertained.
c. A corporation where one goes about achieving KPIs.
Jesus viewed the church differently, as a family doing the will of His Father in heaven (Mat 12:46-50).
a. With God as our Father (2Co 6:18).
b. With Christ as our brother (Heb 2:11-12).
c. With fellow Christians as family members (1Ti 5:1-2).
The apostles also referred to the church as a household (Eph 2:19) and a brotherhood (1Pe 2:17).
Do we treat our brethren with the closeness of a family member or with the unfamiliarity of a mere acquaintance?
B. Describing our relationship.
In our care for one other.
a. A family cares.
b. The father was on the lookout for his son and had compassion on him (Luk 15:20).
c. However, the older brother was angry and refused to associate with his younger brother (Luk 15:28).
d. Do we care for our brethren who are weak (Rom 15:1-2), or look upon them as a burden (1Co 8:11-12)?
In our service to one other.
a. A family serves.
b. The father humbled himself and served his son with joy (Luk 15:2223).
c. However, the older brother was proud and jealous of his father’s perceived preferential treatment of his younger brother (Luk 15:29).
d. Do we serve our brethren without partiality (1Ti 5:21), or look upon some with disdain (Jas 2:1-4)?
In our forgiveness of one another.
a. A family forgives.
b. The father rejoiced at his son’s repentance and accepted him eagerly (Luk 15:24).
c. However, the older brother was indignant and refused to accept his younger brother (Luk 15:30).
d. Do we forgive our brethren who have offended us (Col 3:13), or look upon them as an enemy (2Th 3:15)?
In our discipline of one other.
a. A family disciplines.
b. The father allowed his son to be disciplined and suffer the consequences of his actions (Luk 15:17,31).
c. However, the older brother was unsympathetic and overly harsh on his younger brother (Luk 15:30).
d. Do we exercise appropriate discipline on our brethren who are in sin (2Th 3:6), or are we excessive in our correction (2Co 2:6-7)?
C. Developing our relationship.
A. Through communication.
a. “A friend in need is a friend indeed.”
b. The 1st century church shared with one another (Act 2:44-45).
c. As a family, we grow closer by taking care of one another.
a. “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly.” (Pro 18:24).
b. The 1st century church fellowshipped with one another (Act 2:46).
c. As a family, we grow closer by spending time with one another.
C. Through commission.
a. “The family that prays together stays together.”
b. The 1st century church served with one another (Act 2:47).
c. As a family, we grow closer by working with one another.