19TH JULY 2022
When we think of the church, we most often think of a place like this where we come to worship and to study and be taught God’s Word, but before the church was the institution, as we know it today, the church was a family. It was and is a place of fathers and mothers in the faith, brothers and sisters in Christ, as well as, elderly saints and newborn babies in the faith. John Calvin once said, “The church is the gathering of God’s children, where they can be helped and fed like babies and then, guided by her motherly care, grow up to manhood in maturity of faith.” This I the image that our Today’s Gospel emphasizes. How is the church is like a family?
The church is a place where you find love. (John 13:35) By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. Edmund Clowney once said “Christians in community must again show the world, not merely family values, but the bond of the love of Christ.” There is no place in this world where a person should find more love than within the church. There should be such a love within this church that the lost world is tripping over themselves to come and experience it.
The church is a place of peaceful refuge. For many people, their home is a place of refuge from life’s daily activities. The church should likewise be a place of peaceful refuge. I know some of you are saying, “that’s not the way it is at our house.” Your house may be hectic, but it is still a refuge from the world. The church can be a busy place as well, but it is a refuge. What should we find in this refuge? love.
As a church, we should act like a family. Not a dysfunctional family, not a separated family or one where fighting goes on, but a godly family. Our church should be a place of LOVE. It should be a place of PEACEFUL REFUGE, where we enjoy PEACEFUL ATTITUDES and PEACEFUL ACTIONS. It should be a place of ENCOURAGEMENT, NOURISHMENT, SHARING, and HEALING. Maybe you have not been a positive family member. Maybe there is a family member that you need to express love, encouragement, or something you need to share with someone. Maybe there is some healing that needs to start.
Heavenly Father, you bless us with many relationships and you invite us into the community of your sons and daughters who have been redeemed by your son, Jesus Christ. Help me to love my neighbor with charity, kindness, compassion, and mercy, just as you have loved me. In all of my relationships, and in all that I do and say, may I always seek to bring you honor and glory. Amen.