Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Family Church Or Church Family?

Some of Lori's recent posts and responses that speak about constructive criticism and accountability have me thinking. Do you realize how similar the scriptural model is for the church and the family? It is not surprising that the Christian family is to be the basic building block of the church, the body of Christ.

Father: The Elders who are to shepherd their flock with leadership by example, ruling over the sheep without lording it over them, and ultimately growing up the church into Christ Jesus. How are you doing Fathers? Measure yourself against the reciprocal commands below and ask yourself how you are doing as the elder of your home who "is worthy of honor and a double portion."

Mother: The Deacons of the church look a lot like Mom does in a family. The term comes from the word diakonos, which means "servant" or one who ministers to others. The deacons are said to have served lots of food, which may imply they actually cooked it, and they kept the church and its finances well organized. They were looking out for the least of the saints and insuring that all in the family of God were taken care of. Perhaps most of all the deacons saw as their role to do anything and everything they could to free up the time and energy of the Elders so they could do their work.

Children: It is obvious that our church pews are filled with the children of the church, all of varying ages who are using their own talents and gifts to minister to those within the church. Similarly, most children participate in the proper running of the home and add their unique gifts to the family. Each child is at a different stage of life with varying needs and they learn and grow from the Word of God given to them by the Elders and others with the gift of teaching.

The most important point is that all within the church, or family, are responsible for doing three main things:

1. Growing up into the image of Christ by learning God's Word and living it out on a daily basis in the church, and in the family.

2. Creating a body of Christ that looks like Him in how we think and behave, living with all of the fruit of the Spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, meekness, temperance and faith. We are to live out the reciprocal "One Another Commands" to:

Accept one another (Rom. 15:7)
Admonish one another (Col. 3:16)
Bear one another's burdens (Gal. 6:2)
Bear with one another (Eph. 4:2)
Build up one another (Rom. 14:19)
Care for one another (1 Cor. 12:25)
Comfort one another. (1 Thess. 4:18)
Confess faults to one another (James 5:16)
Be Devoted to one another (Rom. 12:10a)
Encourage one another (1 Thess. 5:11)
Fellowship with one another (1 Jn. 1:7)
Forgive one another (Eph. 4:32)
Greet one another (Rom. 16:16)
Be Honest with one another (Col. 3:9)
Honor one another (Rom. 12:10b)
Be Hospitable to one another (1 Pet. 4:9)
Be Kind to one another (Eph. 4:32)
Love one another (Rom. 13:8)
Members one of another (Rom. 12:5)
Pray for one another (James 5:16)
Be of the Same Mind with one another (Rom. 15:5)
Serve one another (Gal. 5:13)
Spur one another on (Heb. 10:24)
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Eph. 5:21)

Developmental social scientists believe that without reciprocity between and among developing persons, normal human development is impossible. If our families are not practicing Reciprocal Living our children will grow up to be dysfunctional in some, or many, areas of life.

3. Making disciples of Jesus Christ! There is no greater or more important role of the Christian family, or the church, than to make as many disciples as possible for Jesus. The whole idea that I will only have two children, and we will all live a fun and enjoyable life, is so foreign to both God’s command to be fruitful and multiply and the Great Commission. We should all be having as many children as God will give us and raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord to go out and start their own families for Jesus… their own little church.

The comparisons between the church and the family are probably endless because the family should be the basic building block of the church. It is no wonder that our churches are so dysfunctional when our families are not providing good building blocks upon which the church can grow up into Christ.

So take a new look at your family and ask yourself how much it emulates the church, as described in the Word of God. You might also ask how your church looks like a family?  The family is to have specific roles for specific persons; Father as Elder and Mother as minister or servant, and children as members, all functioning as one body.  We must teach and practice Christian living and grow up our little disciples to love and serve God, and in turn to make many little disciples of their own.

Don’t leave to your church the responsibility to make your children into disciples, but instead model the church for your children as your family IS the body of Christ. 

“You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; ... You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up. ..., so that your days and the days of your sons may be multiplied on the land ...."
Deuteronomy 11:18-21