Church Family Relationships_Part 2


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Sermon Notes

What a Beautiful ‘Thing’

               The local church family when relating wisely, lovingly, humbly and courageously with each other, is an arresting and inspiring ‘thing’ of relational beauty.  “Make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:3  Ours is to cooperate with him and each other.  That takes humility, courage, persistence, perspective and God’s provisions of wisdom and power along the way.

 

Navigating Church Family Relationships Requires Thinking Wisely and Behaving Maturely in 3 Realms

  1. Remember Who…and Whose You Are:  Ephesians 4:17-24

If you have placed your faith for forgiveness of sins and the possibility of a new kind of life, in Jesus, you are a new person…the ‘old’ ways…values, priorities and pursuits are potentially gone; live with a new and maturing mindset that is guided by the life, teachings and example of Jesus.  Be done with self centered and destructive ways of thinking and living.  

              

  1. Keep Short Accounts Relationally:  Ephesians 4:25-28

This is where navigating moments and circumstances of tension, misunderstanding and conflict can be challenging, unsettling and awkward.  Yet, we must place a high value on addressing relational stress and misunderstanding…with the thoughtful and prayerful desire to experience the discovery of truth and the offer of forgiveness and the prospect of reconciliation.  Friends, this is often where relational beauty that honours God and nourishes the souls of others is protected and enhanced…or not.

               Jesus viewed relational health amongst his own as a high priority.  And he expected people to ‘keep short accounts’ amongst each other.  Listen to his thought provoking words:  Matthew 5:23-24   Jesus is teaching us how to navigate church family relationships that are strained or broken.

               Now, back to Paul’s words in Ephesians 4: 25-28.

  • Traffic in truth…Speak the truth to each other, face to face…not behind the person’s back.

When we are experiencing relational stress…and that is inevitable, let’s choose to do the humble and courageous thing and engage face to face, trafficking as accurately and honestly as we can about the truth of the matter at hand.  Gather the facts as carefully as possible and as promptly as possible.

Let us listen to each other with teachable minds and humble hearts…rejecting accusation, and second and third party comments/opinions etc.  

               Why such a big deal?  “We are all members of one body.”  We are intimately connected and when there is a lack of truth listening and truth seeking and truth telling people get hurt.  You know that to be true, don’t you? 

               And this needs to be face to face as much as possible.  Not through back and forth emails/texting.  So much is lost when face to face is avoided.

  • Express emotions, especially anger honestly, constructively and promptly. Vs. 26

When we are hurt or disappointed by one another, emotions are felt, including anger.  There is no shame to that response.  “In your anger do not sin.”  Seek to be truthful in specifics about why you feel the way you do.  And, for God’s sake and the sake of the church family, face the facts as honestly, accurately, and constructively as possible.  Friends, when we put off addressing relational stresses and strains, everyone in the know is negatively affected…and the toxic effects of procrastination begin to be felt as relational closeness and warmth slowly wanes and fades.  ‘Don’t procrastinate and don’t give the devil a foothold to divide the family. Deal with issues humbly, courageously and constructively.  Bag the excuses, especially the one that say you don’t like confrontation.  No mature person does; but following the lead of Jesus, we do what needs to be done.  Proverbs 27:5-6

  • Live generously today; not selfishly. Vs. 28.
  1. Build others up: with your words, forgiveness, kindness and example of maturity. Vss.29-32

Who of us doesn’t yearn to be a ‘part’ of a healthy church family, not only for us, but our children, grandchildren and those spiritually seeking.  Then, it is on each of us to do our part to navigate wisely, trusting the One who knows the way forward and who guides us in specifics.

  • Speak only words that build others up in ways suited to their needs…not your preferences.

Seriously, are we ready to not only trust the One…Jesus, who knows the way forward, but actually obey him on this point?  No trash talk, or ‘garbage words’ that stain, hurt or crush.  None of that.

               Can you imagine if each of us took this verse to heart and acted on it more consistently and promptly?  

–      Be an example of ongoing maturity; ethically, emotionally and relationally.  Get rid of attitudes and actions that simply are a disgrace to Jesus and hurtful to others.  No more justifying or excusing evidences of immaturity.  Confess to Christ, seek to understand what is behind the immaturity and move forward.

  • Be forgiving and kind to one another…as Jesus has been to you and me and us. Forgiveness.

Illustrate:  refuse to judge and write off; offer mercy and an opportunity for a fresh start, yes, sometimes with consequences that need to be acknowledged, yet with the assurance of a future with hope.

 

               All of this navigating and relating…with God’s strong and wise Spirit.  Vs. 30 May we be quick, in specifics to come clean with God and each other, so that the Spirit’s work is furthered in and amongst us, today.  As we do, the yearning of Jesus will be increasingly fulfilled:  John 13:34-35.

               As we relate to each other in thoughtful love, people looking on are moved to consider the offer of Jesus to be Saviour, liberator and provider in their lives, in large part because of how we navigate church family relationships, beginning again, today.

               Which realm do you need to pay attention to and act upon more consistently?

  • Remember who…and whose you are: 4:17-24
  • Keep Short Accounts Relationally: 4:25-28
  • Build Others Up: 4:29-32

Who ‘cheers you on’ in maturing as a wise and loving person?  _________________________________

Who ‘spurs you on’ when you are struggling or misbehaving?  __________________________________

‘And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—
and all the more as you see the Day approaching.’

Hebrews 10:24-25



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