14 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, 15 if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth. 16 Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:
He was manifested in the flesh,
vindicated by the Spirit,
seen by angels,
proclaimed among the nations,
believed on in the world,
taken up in glory.
Paul puts his cards on the table. He shows his hand. He tells Timothy (and the church in Ephesus . . . and us) why he is writing the letter.
He writes this so that God’s people will know how to behave. God’s people – the church – execute their lives on a different playing field. The church operates out of a different realm. Our beliefs drive our actions. Doctrine dictates deeds.
But Paul takes it farther than that. He goes deep. He doesn’t just say that the church should behave differently. He says why. It’s why I love the local church.
#1. The local church is a family – “household of God.”
#2. The local church is where God dwells – “church of the living God.”
#3. The local church promotes and protects the Gospel – “pillar and buttress of the truth.”
First, for today, I love the local church because it is compiled of people who are family. We are a household.
– We have the same Father.
– We are brothers and sisters.
– We have the same blood type (think: cross, Lord’s Supper, “washed in the Blood of the Lamb”).
– We look forward to the family reunion that’s coming.
– We have the same older Brother (Jesus, our Substitute, Advocate, “firstborn from among the dead”).
It doesn’t take long – when you think about it this way – to see some radical implications:
a. The family of God is not segregated – not by race, class, age, background, nationality, or past.
b.. The family of God is, well, a family – they love, serve, protect, fight for, defend, nurture, challenge, and encourage each other.
c. The family of God will last longer than our earthly family. . . A LOT longer!
We could go on and on.
But suffice it to say here that behavior matters among God’s people because God’s people are quite literally a family – a “household of God.”
Why love the local church? Well, because a family loves each other.
How do you view the local church? How does seeing it as a family change your perspective? What does it do to some of your thoughts about some of its members? How does your approach to “going to church” change with this mindset? Why is all this really good news?
Any thoughts out there?