The local church as spiritual family with strategic intentional relationships  John 13:34-35

“I will build my church,” – Jesus in Matthew 16:18 (on this rock, confession of Jesus’ identity as Messiah)

What is the church? Who? Why? (What? Where? How?)  Church – New people following Jesus together

Ekklesia – church universal and local (used in Scripture both ways) “called out” of their homes for assembly (regularly assembled for specific purpose with unique identity), this includes a N.T. reference to the Old Testament Hebrew believers, the Jewish Christian congregation in Jerusalem and the primarily Gentile congregation in Antioch. Often referencing the purpose and/or spiritual power of the “called out” people. This group of people is different. The word is most often used to describe a specific congregation.

“for all who will ever believe in me…that they will all be one…so that the world will believe,” – Jesus’ prayer for us John 17:20-23

“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” – John 13:34-35

“Jesus asked, ‘Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?’Then he pointed to his disciples and said, ‘Look, these are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!’” – Matthew 12:48-50

“each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved,” – Acts 2:37

“See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!” – 1 John 3:1

“Love one another with genuine affection (brotherly love), and take delight in honoring each other.” – Romans 12:10

“For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew nor Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.” – Galatians 3:26-29

“So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord.” – Ephesians 2:19-21

“the household of God, the church of the living God, a pillar and support of the truth,” – 1 Timothy 3:15

“Never speak harshly to an older man, but appeal to him respectfully as you would to your own father. Talk to younger men as you would to your own brothers. Treat older women as you would your mother, and treat younger women with all purity as you would your own sisters.” – 1 Timothy 5:1-2

Church – as a spiritual family Matthew 12:48-50  Galatians 3:26-29  1 John 3:1  1 Timothy 5:1-2

Church – a house, and a body are analogies for the church.

 Like a house Ephesians 2:19-21  1 Timothy 3:15 or as parts of a body 1 Corinthians 12:16-17.

Each of these three pictures speaks to the truth of God orchestrating our strategic connections with each other in intentional relationships within the local church.

“God has put each part just where he wants it, this makes for harmony among the members so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.” – 1 Corinthians 12:12-26

What do we learn?

Jesus is building his church and he is the foundation.

Jesus followers are a spiritual family, equal and unique.

Jesus calls his followers to love and respect each other.

God adds people to the church with purpose.

God places us in the church for intentional relationships of mutual benefit.

God has a plan and a purpose for our individual lives and his church.

What should we do?

1. Take time learn more about the church, from the Scriptures. Pray.

2. Pray for your church family.

3. Ask God to help you see what you can do to grow church relationships.

4. Look for ways to show love.

In closing here are a few relevant quotes from Rev Dr John M Perkins Jr:

“There is no reconciliation until you recognize the dignity of the other, until you see their view – you have to enter into the pain of the people. You’ve got to feel their need.”  – Rev Dr John M Perkins Jr

“We live out our call most fully when we are a community of faith with arms wrapped about a community of pain.” – Rev Dr John M Perkins Jr

“We think the power is in us individually. The power is in us collectively. It is in the church.”
                                                                                 – Rev Dr John M Perkins Jr

Here is our closing prayer from Rev Dr John M Perkins Jr:

“Father God, we praise You for the vision of the church – overflowing with Your character, Your purpose, Your love. Please remove the scales from our eyes and help us to see it, to know it, to embrace it, to love it. “Then Lord, overshadow the doubts and fears that so easily war against the vision and help us to be Your Church, overflowing with Your glorious character in this world. By Your awesome power, oh God, make us one that Your Name may be glorified and praised in all the earth!” – Rev Dr John M. Perkins Jr