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.
Through communion. 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.