The Church Family
I love Ephesians because it talks so much about the church as a chosen people (1:4, 14), as a building (2:19-22), as a fellowship (3:9), as a family (3:14-15), as a body (4:15-16), as a bride (5:23-32). Today I want to emphasize our relationship in Christ as a family. We were born into the human race, but also into a family. In the same way, the born-again Christian is born into the universal church, but we also must be involved as members within the local family of believers.
One qualification for a pastor in 1 Timothy 3:5 is that he manages his family well, with the reasoning that if he cannot manage his family, how can he manage the church. Why would that be a condition of a pastor if it was not also true that the church should be like a family? Since our church is a family, we as members should treat one another as brothers and sisters.
What impact does this have on us being interdependent on one another? One of the strongest passages on our relationships as a church family comes from 1 John 4:20, as the beloved Apostle wrote that anyone who hates his brother or sister in Christ is not truly a Christian.
The old saying that “you can pick your friends but you are stuck with your family” is especially true with the family of God. We will be spending eternity with each other and with Christ. So John concludes that we cannot honestly say we love God whom we have never seen if we don’t love His children whom we have seen.
Benefits of the Family
In Galatians 6:10 states that we should do good to all people, especially to those who belong to “the family of believers” (NIV). Ephesians 2:19 says we are no longer strangers to God, but we are now “of God’s household.” We also are related to our spiritual family in order to meet physical (James 2:15), emotional (Mark10:29,30), and spiritual (1 Cor. 8:11-13) needs. Even as we saw the word “edification” earlier, which means to “build up,” is linked to the construction of a home. Members of the local church are to help one another to grow or be built up into a spiritual household or family (1 Pet. 2:5).
Blessings of the Family
In Romans 8:15, we see that we have received a spirit of adoption into God’s family and are now able to cry out to Him as “Abba, Father.” And if we are children of God, then Jesus is our brother and we all have direct access to our Father’s throne to present our requests.
Behavior of the Family
1 Tim. 3:15 says we ought to know how to conduct ourselves “in the household of God, which is the church of the living God.” 1 Peter 4:17 says that judgment begins with the “family of God.” We then are recipients of God’s blessings, benefits but also His disciplining as children. (see Hebrews 12:5-11).