We often refer to our church as a family. This is a great description of the relationships God intends for the church to have. God puts us on earth in a physical family, and through faith in Jesus, God puts us in a spiritual family. While we can say that all believers are our spiritual family, our church should be our immediate spiritual family. Our church should be the people with whom we are the closest as we worship and serve God together on a weekly and even a daily basis. In Acts 2:42 and the verses following, we learn about the devotion and togetherness of the believers in Jerusalem. They cared about one another, they prayed together, they cared for the needy, they cared about unbelievers, and they saw many, many people coming to faith in Jesus. All of this devotion and ministry and sharing of the Gospel came as a result of being family. They weren’t perfect. In Acts 6 we see dissention and complaints. In Acts 15 they had to have a church business meeting of sorts to decide on rules for new believers who weren’t Jewish. Paul and Barnabas had a falling out. Family is like that sometimes. But family should ultimately come together because we belong to each other. And church family should love one another, stick together, work together, lift up one another, serve one another, and pray for one another. In doing so we share a message with the world around us that points people to Jesus and invites people into the family of God.
Jesus teaches us about spiritual family. In Mark 3 Jesus was informed that his mother and brothers were calling for him outside the house where Jesus was teaching. As Jesus looked at those sitting around him, he responded to them, “Here are my mother and my brothers!” He wasn’t neglecting his physical family, but he was elevating the value of spiritual family. The people with whom we serve God are to become family to us.
In our church we have been talking about discipleship – a lot! I have been challenged with the thought that discipleship is born out of relationship. When a church is truly a family, all of the things of discipleship flow out of that relationship. I pray that as we love one and serve one another, as we learn God’s Word together and grow together, we can discover how to be the disciples Jesus calls us to be. I pray that through those relationships we will share Jesus and see many coming to faith in him! I am thankful that Marshfield First Baptist is my church family!