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  • Writer's pictureMatt Beaney

#802. FIGHTING FOR FAMILY (27/4/23)


This week, as we take a break from our series on Praying Together, our devotionals are based upon our Sunday message from Dale Barlow about the church being a family.


Summary: Building a healthy church family requires prayer, teaching and planning; we do not drift into becoming a healthy family.


You can watch this devotional at:

The devil loves to destroy the family. He loves family breakdown and the harm this causes. He loves relationships to be full of anger, rage and unforgiveness. The devil is also happy for us to be passive about the family and not consider it as important. In what I’m saying, my focus is on the church family. As much as the devil attacks families, he is also very active in bringing division or passivity into the church. We must fight to defend and build the vital place of the church.

‘Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you. You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.’ (1 Thessalonians 2:7-12)

FIGHT FOR THE LOCAL CHURCH

Devotion to defending and building the church begins with our involvement with our local church family. The Father wants us devoted a local body of believers where we can receive love and correction and also use our gifts to build others.


Do you see the heart that God wants each of us to have from today’s reading? We are to be motherly; how does a good mother treat her family? God wants us to ‘share our lives’. Church is not a Bible-study club, it’s to be like a healthy family. Let’s fight for this.


FIGHT TO BUILD THE WIDER CHURCH FAMILY

God also places local churches into a family of churches. Leaders can feel isolated, discouraged and can become parochial without meaningful relationships with a wider network of churches.


God wants us to be concerned for our universal church family. All believers are our family in Christ. However its meaningless and unworkable to say that I love all the churches in the world. Building the wider church family is worked out in prayer and support for churches in other regions and nations that God has put us in relationship with. For us at CCP, we prioritise the churches that we are linked with through Dave Holden and New Ground (a grouping within New Frontiers).


Without proactivity, we will drift into a take-it-or-leave-it approach to church life. Sports on Sunday morning can become our priority. Zoom (online) ‘church’ can take the place of building sacrificial and deep relationships. Building church family is a value that reflects on our God who is Father, Son and Spirit (Trinity) and deserves our tenacious efforts.


RESPONSE

We do not drift into becoming a healthy family. Like Jesus, let’s love and fight to build a true church family through prayer and sacrificial devotion.


Jesus’ prayer in John 17, reveals that unity is a Spiritual reality that needs to become a lived reality through prayer and devotion; This loving unity, in turn, is something that glorifies God and attracts the world to Jesus. Jesus prayed:

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17:20-23)
 

COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY


1. NOTICES

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.


2. ICEBREAKER

What has God been speaking to you about from His Word this week and how has this helped you / affected your life?

3. STUDY AND PRAY TOGETHER

  • Please read John 1:12-13 & 1 John 3:1

  • Did God speak to you or did anything strike you from Sunday's message?

  • How does one enter God's family?

  • How does, or should, being a child of God affect our prayer life?

  • What are the benefits of being devoted to our church family?

  • What are the benefits of a local church in being part of a family of churches such as New Ground?

  • Let's take time to pray for our church family together.

  • SIV (Serve, Invest and Invite) Why does a healthy church family grow?

  • SIV - Pray for specific people in your community that God wants you to reach.



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