We Are Family- A Look At the Church
I. Heavenly Father
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, (Ephesians 3:14-15)
A. The idea and reality that God is Father is something that causes many people to shutter either through their own past history with their father or through their religious upbringing that makes God so distant that he cannot be that relational of a being. Not only is it a present problem, but this has been a millennial problem.
B. Until the advent of Jesus the Jewish people would struggle with the notion of God as Father even though the prophets indicated this reality and an even more uncomfortable reality with God as a lover. Psalm 68:5, Psalm 89:26, Isaiah 9:6, Isaiah 63:16, Jeremiah 3:19, Malachi 2:10
C. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. (John 1:17-18)
D. Over and Over again in the Gospel of John Jesus refers to the Father. Finally declaring “Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?”(John 14:8-9)
E. Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”? Or again, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”? (Hebrews 1:1-5)
F. No matter what your experience has been with your earthly father, you have a Heavenly Father that Loves you as He loves His own Son. Luke 11:13, John 3:16, Psalm 68:6
II. The Father is Head of the Family
A. Ephesians 3:14-15…”Is named – This means substantially the same as is. They are all of one family. They all have one father, and are all of one community. The expression is taken from the custom in a family, where all bear the name of the “head” of the family; and the meaning is, that all in heaven and on earth are united under one head, and constitute one community. It does not mean that all are “called” by the same name, or that the name “Christian” is given to the angels, but that they all pertain to the same community, and constitute the same great and glorious brotherhood. Part are in heaven, near his throne; part in distant worlds; part are angels of light; part redeemed and happy spirits; part are in the church on earth; but they are all united as one family, and have one head and Father.” (Albert Barnes)
B. Not only the family is named, but the individuals of the family are named by the Father. In other words Father declares identity to the children through his naming of them. There is power in a name. Examples of naming and renaming in the scripture. Adam—>Eve, Abram—->Abraham, Sarai—–>Sarah, Jacob—->Israel, Ben-Oni—–>Benjamin, Zacharias—->John, Joseph—–>Jesus
C. As the Head of the Family, He Sets the Agenda, Casts the Vision, Declares the Mission, and Calls and Equips the Members for their work.
III. Community- Common Unity
A. There are many things that can unite people. A common belief, goal, purpose, vision, mission, and enemy have all been reasons for people to come together. Yet in God’s Kingdom our common unity is around a person first and the relationship we have with that person. The Father, Son, and Spirit are the uniting reality of our existence. You can’t choose your parents or your siblings. However, parents help unite their children together even though they have different personalities, gifts, and callings they bring them together to fulfill a greater purpose.
B. We have a greater purpose than just trying to fulfill our personal calling and it is to extend the Kingdom of our Father God with and while enjoying the other family members.
C. There is a tension we live with today. The culture is devolving and the idea of community is being replaced with a more sterile and impersonal substitute. Online communities and social media have become forms of relating that keep us from really having to touch or rub against someone else. Proverbs 27:17
D. We need each other. We need relationship that is genuine and committed. We need to have one heart, mind, and voice, for this pleases the Father. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. (John 15:8-12)