The church is not like family!!

Of all the word pictures and metaphors used to describe the church, one stands out above the rest: family. In fact, it is so much of the essence of the church that it cannot even properly be called a metaphor.
Metaphors describe what the church is like or similar to—light, flock, field, building—but family is not metaphorical; it is a literal description of the phenomena we know as church.
The church is not like family; it is family.
God is literally our Father, Jesus is literally our elder brother, and we are literally brothers and sisters in Christ. Family is the primary way the early church identified themselves.
This can be seen by the fact that the word disciple, so prevalent in the early part of the New Testament, disappears after the book of Acts. It is replaced by the term brother in the rest of the Bible.
Family dominates the self-understanding of the early church.
We could argue that this is because of Paul’s letter but it didn’t come from Paul. It is deeply rooted in the revelation of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
The Christian Identity as Family
Our creeds and confessions focus on Trinitarian orthodoxy, but Matthew 3 emphasizes the revelation of God as family. What the revelation of Jesus Christ introduced into the world is that God is more than what we thought, namely that God is family.
In our adoption as sons, we are brought into the experience of what God has always been. In church life we are usually more concerned about orthodox statements that express this reality than we are with living out the experience of family.
What Does Your Church Believe? 
In his book When the Church Was a Family, Joseph Hellerman writes of a time that he was made aware of his error in his own ministry. A friend of his came to pick him up at his office for a lunch appointment and, while he was waiting, picked up a brochure titled What We Believe, and began reading it.
Afterward, the friend made a stinging evaluation. He said, “Joe, a person could read through your statement of faith and conclude that Christianity, as your church teaches and practices it, has everything to do with how an individual relates to God and absolutely nothing to do with how people relate to one another.”
Hellerman later reflected, “… our church’s doctrinal statement wholly ignores God’s design for human relationships, a topic that occupies a great deal of the biblical record.”
Paul consistently threads together the Fatherhood of God and believer’s relationships with one another. He cannot think of God outside of His “Fatherness,” and can’t think of believers outside of their “brotherhood.”
Our problem is semantics. When we say church, we don’t think family. We have to understand that we are not simply planting a church, we are not starting a Bible study, we are not starting a 501-c3; we are establishing a family.


Fight Night Joshua 1:9

This week's Fighter Verse is Joshua 1:9, 
"Have I not commanded you? 
Be strong and courageous.  
Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, 
for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

To help with memorizing and meditating upon this verse consider its three parts
the question, which is marked by a question mark
the commands, which are marked by clear imperative statements.  
the reason, which begins with the word "for."

The question helps set up some context leading up to this verse.
In Deuteronomy 31:6, Moses tells all the people of Israel to be strong and courageous.
In Deuteronomy 31:7, Moses tells Joshua to be strong and courageous.
In Deuteronomy 31:23, God tells Joshua to be strong and courageous.
In Joshua 1:6 and 7, before verse 9, God tells Joshua twice to be strong and couageous.  

The commands are two identity statements and two prohibition statements.
Identity statements:  Be strong and Be courageous.
Prohibition statement:  Do not be frightened.  Do not be dismayed.

The reason to be strong and courageous is theological.
In Deuteronomy 31:6, Moses tell the people to be strong and courageous because "it is the Lord who goes with you.  He will not leave you or forsake you."
In Deuteronomy 31:7, Moses tells Joshua to be strong and courageous because God has promised the Israelites this land.  "It is the Lord who goes before you.  He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you." (Joshua 1:8)
In Deuteronomy 31:23 and Joshua 1:6, God tells Joshua to be strong and courageous because God had promised the Israelites the land

THE REASON we should be strong and courageous is GOD.
Be strong and courageous because of who God is!
Be strong and courageous because of what God has done for you!
Be strong and courageous.

Not from within yourself!

Bible memorizing, meditation and learning should lead to life transformation and this Old Testament command contains a great principle that need to be considered and lived out.

However, before developing this principles into practical, life change, consider the "be strong and courageous" task in the Great Commission and the power behind it.  
Matthew 28:19 and 20 contain some impossible tasks that should cause great fear in us, if it were not for the reality that Jesus is "with you always, to the end of the age."
“…All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
I posted about the Great Commission last week - Impossible Task, Incredible God.

Takeaway: Remember, your story needs to focus on God and what He has done.
Someone who has been saved by God will want to live for God and God’s glory.

In our prayers, we need to remember this life is about God's glory and not our comfort.
In our evangelism, we need to remember it is God who saves. 
In our church life, we need to remember our church family meets together to glorify God and edify/encouragement others to glorify God.  It is not about our entertainment.
In our difficulties, we need to remember who God is and what he has done, is doing and will do during these times.

Additonal resources
Have you seen my dad? video

Look at the Book:  Matthew 28:18-20 video

For more about the Fighter Verses go to www.drodgersjr.com/p/fighter-verses.html


Fearless J-term chapel at Northpointe Christian

Here are the "Do not fear" verses in the stories of Moses and Joshua.

Deuteronomy 31:6      Moses to Israel
Deuteronomy 31:7      Moses to Joshua
Deuteronomy 31:23   God to Joshua
Joshua 1:6                    God to Joshua
Joshua 1:7                    God to Joshua
Joshua 1:9                    God to Joshua
Joshua 1:18                  People to Joshua
Joshua 10:25               Joshua to the People
Joshua 23:6                 Joshua to leaders

These Old Testament accounts have New Testament reminders

Matthew 28:19-20 

Romans 8:31