Church is the family of God
Matthew 12:46-50 | Romans 12:9-16
46 While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. 47 Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.”
48 He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practise hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[a] Do not be conceited.
The new community of believers, those who belong to Christ and who live in him, become a new family – brothers and sisters together. The themes of kinship and family are central to the gospel. Individuals are born again into new relationships where we see each other as siblings, brothers and sisters as part of one family.
Right the way through the New Testament we see the new lines of kinship being redrawn around Christ. Jew and Gentile, slave and free are all adopted into one new family. We are siblings of the same heavenly father and how the other members of our family are, impacts us all. Being incorporated into the family name and the network of family relationships requires us to treat each other in new ways.
This week we want to dig deeper into the metaphor of family together and allow it to shape our ideas for how we ought to live and be a community.
We belong to one another. We are siblings, brothers and sisters of the same heavenly father. All are welcome to join this family but being family together means loving each other deeply.
- What is the impact for us hearing Jesus say, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother”?
- What does it mean to redraw the lines of kinship and familial relationships in this way?
- Is blood thicker than water or vice versa, according to Jesus?
- What does it mean to belong to God’s family together?
- What are the benefits of being part of Jesus’ family and being siblings together?
- What builds up a strong church family life and what erodes it?
- What are the challenges of belonging to our own biological family and also the family of God at the same time?
- Where are the points of conflict or tension?
- What happens when church family relationships go wrong? How do we mend them?
- What does Romans 12.9-16 have to say to us in our particular context?
- In what way is your small group a family together? How could this be developed?