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Since today’s service is a family service I thought we’d break from our series in the book of Revelation and preach a sermon entitled “One Big Happy Family” out of Colossians 3:12-17.
The book of Colossians is one of my favorites because it’s short, practical, focused on Jesus and the way he changes everything.
Not everybody in this room is married or has kids (widowed/divorced/empty nest, etc).
So instead of preaching a sermon on marriage or parenting in particular - I thought we’d do a general message on family.
Everybody has a family.
You didn’t get to choose them.
Some of us love our family.
Some of us hate our family.
Some of us don’t even know our family so God gave you a different family even if they’re not biologically related to you.
Interestingly enough, the Bible refers to Christ’s Church as a family several times.
Christians in general and local churches in particular are family.
Each local church being part of the larger family of God.
Ephesians 2:19 “So, then, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God’s household,”
Galatians 6:10 “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith.”
1 Timothy 5:1-2 “Don’t rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and the younger women as sisters with all purity.”
Jesus himself when being told that his family wanted to speak with him reached his hands to his disciples and said, “whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”
(Matthew 12:50)
The church is a family.
And healthy churches need healthy families.
This was true in the first century and it’s true today.
Household Codes
It’s one of the reasons that the New Testament epistles often contain “household codes.”
The passage we’re looking at in Colossians is followed by household codes.
They weren’t completely uncommon in ancient literature.
Paul includes them in his epistles because he knew the powerful and influence of godly and healthy families.
In other words, if Christians could take the way of Jesus and apply it within the home/local church then we could change the world and advance the mission of Christ to make disciples.
Many things in life can’t just be taught.
They must be seen.
They must be experienced.
And that’s certainly true when it comes to God’s design for the family.
So we’re going to look at Paul’s letter to a church family in Colossae and make application for our own church family in general and our individual families in particular.
The Power of Community
A well ordered life can attract people to Christ.
No doubt about it.
But even more attractive than a well ordered life is a loving Christian community.
This is true of godly marriages, godly homes and Gospel grounded and loving local churches.
There’s an attractiveness of our “life together.”
Colossians 3:12–17 (CSB)
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another.
Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive.
14 Above all, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.
15 And let the peace of Christ, to which you were also called in one body, rule your hearts.
And be thankful.
16 Let the word of Christ dwell richly among you, in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.
17 And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
The passage presents us with multiple for having ONE BIG HAPPY FAMILY through the Lord Jesus Christ.
It’s ONE family.
There are not multiple families of God.
He has ONE family.
One Lord.
One Faith.
One Baptism.
One Gospel.
It’s a BIG family.
There are people in this family from every tribe tongue and nation.
There are people in the local church from every background you can imagine.
Young, old, rich, poor, red, brown, yellow black and white.
Our Christian family is a BIG family.
Finally it’s a HAPPY family.
It’s a family that reflects the joy of the Lord.
A family wherein peace, love and happiness shine.
A family marked by gratitude and contentment.
That’s the kind of family we can have in Jesus.
This is the kind of family we can have in our church.
This is the kind of families we can have in our homes.
In fact, learning to love other people well in your church family can help you love others well in your home.
Learning to love well in your home will make you a better member of your local church.
So how do we arrive at that place?
Paul gives us the framework in this text.
Let the love of Christ lead
Let the peace of Christ rule
Let the Word of Christ dwell
Let Love Lead
The first leg of this framework is to let the love of Christ LEAD in your home.
Paul begins this passage by listing off several different virtues: kindness, compassion, humility, gentleness and patience.
It’s almost easy to just dismiss it because there are so many examples.
But he follows that list of virtues with the statement “above all else...” When you hear a phrase like “above all else” you better pay attention.
He also says that love will hold all of these other things together in perfect harmony!
(literally translated “love which is the bond of perfection…”)
The idea is that love acts as a bonding agent which will enable something to arrive at it’s intended destination.
(SONG: Love will hold us together… all you need is love)
The Bond of Love
Love is the perfect bonding agent.
Love is what holds something together until it arrives at its intended destination.
We have mission and a vision as a church.
It’s important to all of us.
Guess what?
We’ll never arrive at our intended destination if we lose our love for one another.
We all have hopes and dreams for our families.
You have hopes and dreams for your marriage.
You want your kids to become certain kinds of people.
Guess what?
You’ll never arrive at that destination without love.
We have personal dreams and goals.
We strive for greater and greater things.
But the thing we need more than anything else if we’re going to arrive at that destination is LOVE.
Will power is NOT a strong enough glue to get you to that destination.
Discipline and intelligence is not a strong enough glue to get you to that destination.
Money and talent and public recognition - it’ll bond things together - but it’s not strong enough to get you where GOD WANTS US TO BE.
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