by Steven Chan
21 November 2010
The Bible refers to us, the church as the family of God. “So then, you Gentiles are not foreigners or strangers any longer; you are now citizens together with God’s people and members of the family of God. (Eph 2:19, GNB; I Pet 4:17). Truly the church is the household of God, God’s family: “I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth”(1 Tim 3:15) For when we obeyed the gospel we “receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”(Gal 4:5-6). Hence in 2 Cor 6:18, God says: “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty.”
It is a wonderful privilege to be members of God’s family: “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!”(1 John 3:1). The Bible declares: “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles,” (1 Peter 2:9-12).
As members of God’s body and God’s family, each member is needed (I Cor 12:12) and members ought to have the same care for one another (I Cor 12:25). Hence, it is the responsibility of each and every member in the church in Klang to help build the church as one that is growing and God-glorifying by being “One in God’s Family”: “that there should be no division in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another”(1 Cor 12:25, NASB; Eph 4:11-16). There’s no clergy or laity in the family of God; neither full-time workers nor part-time workers in God’s family – we are all workers together with God (Matt 28:18-20; 1 Cor 3:5-10) We are all builders of the body of Christ and the Bible warns us: “But let each one take heed how he builds on it”(1 Cor 3:10). We need to be aware that we will have to give an account of how we have been building God’s family: “the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss” (1 Cor 3:13-15). Are we building God’s family in such a way that it will endure and we will have a reward? A lackadaisical way of doing God’s work (i.e. without interest, vigor, or determination; listless; lethargic; slothful; Rom 12:11) is not likely to bring us reward from the Lord because the work may not endure the test.
We urge each member to commit to realizing the vision of a church that is enthusiastic, energetic in evangelism as well as being caring, concerned and committed to one another and to God. This means that instead of passing the responsibility to another person, or waiting to be served or waiting to be asked to serve, each one of us will go beyond teaching or talking, and start engaging with one another and touch the lives of one another and that of the world, by spontaneously demonstrating love and concern for one another, as well as by going out to preach the gospel (Acts 2:42, 44- 47; 5:42; I Cor 12:12-27).
We also urge each member to commit to raise the profile of the church as God’s Family by personal conduct that glorifies God (Matt 5:16), having more effectively promoted and organized services, each committing to attend all the services of the church, wherein the truth is proclaimed as well as practiced so that visitors will want to come to our meetings when invited, and they will want to come again as they hear the distinctive teaching of truth, experience our distinctive worship services as well as feel the fervent love for them and for all: with the objective that when “an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you”(1 Cor 14:24-25).
As God’s family we need to show that we are a transformed people who can be joyful even when faced with challenges, because of our faith and hope in God as we commit all our cares and concerns to the Lord through fervent prayers – and because we have the support of one another as brethren in God’s family (Matt 6:25-34; Rom 12:1,2,12; 15:30; 2 Cor 1:11; Gal 6:1,2; Eph 6:18; Phil 4:4-7; Col 4:2; I Pet 5:7; Heb 2:18; 3:13, 4:16; 10:24).
Each member is needed and needs to work towards being “One in God’s Family” –whether as youths or older brethren – for we are all members of God’s family. The Bible exhorts members of all age groups to conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent with His will: “the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things– that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. Likewise exhort the young men to be sober-minded, in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.(Titus 2:2-8; I Tim 4:11-16).
Husbands, are to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her (Eph 5:25), and “likewise, dwell with them (their wives) with understanding (i.e. be considerate), giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered. (1 Peter 3:7). Husbands who behave inconsiderately or unlovingly or dishonourably by being abusive to their wives whether verbally, emotionally or physically, need to know that their prayers will be hindered (Malachi 2:13-16).
“Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. Do not let your adornment be merely outward–arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel– rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror” (i.e. not afraid of anything, GNB) (1 Peter 3:1-6). “Let the wife see that she respects her husband”(Eph 5:33). Wives need to note that that they are not only to be submissive to their husbands, they are also required to render proper respect their husbands (whether at home or in the church or anywhere else).
It is time for members to honor God by strengthening the family unit as God intends it so that the church as the Family of God may also be strong.
We need to examine our lives and ask ourselves whether we have been conducting ourselves acceptably in God’s family, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Tim 3:15) Let’s be careful with conduct which are dishonourable and unbecoming of a Christian – whether through outbursts of anger/wrath, or unedifying words that are not seasoned with grace, etc. (I Pet 2:12; Col 4:6; Eph 4:29; Gal 5:20)
We encourage each member of the Lord’s body in Klang to join our hands together to fulfil our God-given role in the work of building a growing and God-glorifying church by being One in God’s Family (I Cor 1:10; Phil 1:27) For God intends for the manifold wisdom of God to be made known by the church (Eph 3:10)