Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

EPHESIANS 2:18–22 – For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”

How do we understand the church? Are we lined up in our thinking with God’s definition of His church? He uses words like “family, marriage, and body” to give us pictures of His heart toward the church. Such definitions should cause us to think about our responsibilities to God’s church. Just those pictures alone reveal that the church demands of us love, commitment, investment, communication and care. The obvious application is we must be actively involved with other Christians and that doesn’t mean mere attendance in a building for an hour or two on a Sunday. If that is our understanding of the church, we are missing the Biblical mark. It is not only impossible to practice Biblical Christianity in the limited time we have with other believers on a Sunday but it reveals we don’t understand Biblical Christianity at all.

In today’s scripture, the Apostle Paul informs us God’s people, Christians, are fellows citizens with the saints and members of the household of God. The latter is our emphasis today–members of the household of God. This describes family life. This describes close ties. This describes life-on-life. Do those descriptions match our lives as Christians? Are we a people committed to other believers in relationships of growing spiritual depth and intimacy? Or have we so reduced our Christianity to a private matter when we come to church and may not even know the names of people we see each Lord’s Day? And worse, we are okay with this type of Christianity which isn’t really Christianity. If we are going to be Biblical in our practice of Christianity, we must go beyond the formalities of Sunday church. And to go beyond, let’s consider our physical families, what are some marks of a good physical family life and see their application in our spiritual families.

A healthy family spends time together. A healthy family communicates together. A healthy family shares the highs and lows in life together. A healthy family forgives together. A healthy family encourages together. A healthy family serves together. A healthy family helps together. A healthy family grows together. A healthy family stays together through thick and thin. Now apply that to the spiritual family God has placed us in. Yes, I know about the invisible church or the universal church, but there is also the visible church, the local church, and God makes it clear He demands a sacrificial commitment of love by His family members to His family in the local church. And should some reading today’s nugget feel a little defensive because sacrificial commitment to a local body of believers is lacking, please, be teachable. The Greek word for church in the New Testament is “ecclesia” and it means “local assembly.” In the New Testament, it appears 114 times and 109 of those times refer directly to visible, local congregations of believers! And of the thirteen letters the Apostle Paul wrote in the New Testament, nine are written to visible churches while three to pastors of visible churches. Yes, God makes the local church a big deal. So should we. Remember, we are in this thing called “the Christian life” together. We need each other and we should desire each other to live it out as God directs in His Word.

PRAYER: “Father, help me see I am privileged, responsible, and expected to live Christianity knitted with other believers.”

QUOTE: “Christians are family members in God’s family and must treat each other accordingly–lovingly and patiently.”

Because of Him,

Pastor Jim