Tags: 1 Timothy 5, church family, church membership, church ministry, Ephesians 2, family obligations, Galatians 6, household of faith, household of God, the local church
Christians should be well aware that they are supposed to love their neighbors as themselves. So, when we see someone hurting or someone with a need, we are to fight our “natural” instinct to look out for number one, and instead make a genuine effort to help the other person (our “neighbor“) even if it means sacrificing our own comfort.
However, it is also true that, in a world where suffering and neediness is so plentiful, we are allowed and encouraged to place a special emphasis and attention on the needs of our family.
As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
Your “household” is your family and those who live under your roof. The “household of faith” refers to those who are related to you as brothers and sisters in Christ, especially the fellow members of the local church to which you belong. We have a relationship of shared faith in Christ. We are to be on the lookout for opportunities to minister to Him by serving those who have like faith and are ministering alongside us.
Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
Not only are we of the same “household” as part of a church family, but we are members of God’s household, having been brought into His family by both “birth” (the second birth of regeneration) and adoption. We willingly and lovingly minister to “strangers” (those who seem alien to us in our everyday experience of life) and to “foreigners” (those we may commonly encounter, but who do not seem to “belong” to the family of faith). We are like ambassadors: hailing from another country (citizens of Heaven), but also representing a benevolent and generous King, Who would have us accurately represent Him in this temporary, and sometimes hostile, world.
But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
I Timothy 5:8
Finally, while we are to care for outsiders, and focus on the needs of our spiritual family members, we must not forget our blood relations. Parents must not use “church ministry” as an excuse for neglecting their children. Children must honor and respect their parents even when they perceive that the parents are lacking in spiritual maturity. Families must care for, and attend to, their elderly family members.
In every sense, the “household of God” is truly a “family of faith.”
Here are the the previous posts in this series:
1. Especially the Family (Galatians 6:10)
2. Becoming Part of the Family
3. Family Responsibilities (Galatians 6:10)
4. Family Privileges (Ephesians 2:12, 19)
5. The Privilege of Patriotism
6. The Privilege of Participation
7. The Privilege of Protection
8. The Privilege of Provision (Philippians 4:19)
Tags: church membership, commentary on Nehemiah, Ezra, joining a church, Nehemiah 7, Nehemiah 8, Sunday School lessons on Nehemiah, the local church, Word of God, work of God
Among other things, the first six chapters of Nehemiah deal with God’s people coming back from exile, doing the work the Lord had assigned to them, and ultimately finishing the work. Chapter 7 deals with protecting the work .
Nehemiah enlisted help in protecting the walls and organizing the city. There is always room in the work of God for Godly helpers.
That I gave my brother Hanani, and Hananiah the ruler of the palace, charge over Jerusalem: for he was a faithful man, and feared God above many.
Can you imagine if all Christians thought we were called to be Nehemiahs, and none thought they were called to be helpers? Nothing would ever get done. Some of us are called to be Hananis, Hananiahs, Rephaiahs, or Shallums: protectors and guards. If the enemy can’t stop the work of God, he will try to come in and take over what has been built. Bright lights draw people who are interested in helping, but they attract bugs, too.
It was important that the people be able to prove their ancestry in order to go back to Jerusalem to work. It was also important to list the names of the citizens (Nehemiah 7:5-65). The assignment of jobs in an organized move of God may require formal acknowledgment of commitment. That is one of the reasons why New Testament churches may require Christians to officially “join the church” before placing them into trusted ministry positions. If God is calling you to attend a certain local church, then you need to be involved. You need to have a commitment to serve God under His ordained pastor. This shows accountability. The Church is a body, and a body is a living organism, but an unorganized organism will die. Church membership has nothing to do with salvation, and, so far as I can tell, it is not a command from the Bible. Neither does the Bible prohibit you from having a sit-down Bible study in the middle of a busy highway, but it is certainly not a good idea. The local church is important in God’s plan for evangelism and for teaching (discipleship).
In Nehemiah Chapter 8, Nehemiah called a Bible conference and invited Ezra.
And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded to Israel. And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month. And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law.
When Ezra preached, the people listened for five or six hours per day and verse 7 tells us they “stood!”
Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place.
Nehemiah 8:7 (emphasis added)
So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.
Nehemiah 8:8 (emphasis added)
1. Nehemiah wanted to make sure the Word was learned. Ezra read from the scroll and then taught.
2. Nehemiah wanted to make sure the Word was loved.
And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them.
Nehemiah 8:12 (emphasis added)
3. Nehemiah wanted to make sure the the Word was lived.
Also day by day, from the first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according unto the manner.
Nehemiah 8:18 (emphasis added)
Tags: 2 Corinthians 11, Christian marriage, Ephesians 5, Gospel marriage, Hosea 2, marriage counseling, marriage ministry, Romans 7, the local church
Marriage is supposed to illustrate the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Obviously God made a good choice when he chose to make marriage Gospel-illustrative, because it is a very pliable analogy. In the Bible it is used at least three different ways to illustrate the relationship between Christians and Christ.
First, it illustrates Christ’s relationship with the capital C “Church” – the “universal” church.
And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies.
God – from the time of Abraham – has been calling out a “bride” for His Son. He has been “saving” a bride: making her righteous and cleaning her up so that she will be beautiful for His Son. If we are to illustrate that accurately in our marriages, we need to be holy and different in a world which is devaluing marriage every day.
Second, marriage illustrates Christ and His relationship to local churches.
For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present [you as] a chaste virgin to Christ.
II Corinthians 11:2
As married couples we need to have “Godly” jealousy, which is a desire that your spouse’s affections are set on you in a way they are set on no one else. This is justifiable if you are a trustworthy recipient of those affections. We also need to be involved in ministry in our local church, holding up the Christian ideal of marriage in a church which calls itself Christian. Stand up for the marriages of your fellow church members, and stand up for Jesus when problems arise.
Third, marriage illustrates Christ and His relationship with individual believers.
Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, [even] to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
We are part of a universal body, and we should minister in a local body, but we must nourish and cherish our individual and personal relationships with Christ as well. Spouses “leave” their old lives as sons and daughters and brothers and sisters, to commit to a higher allegiance to each other. So too do Christians leave our old protections, homes, hopes, tasks, and masters, to be joined unto Christ, Who provides better protection, hope, tasks, and is a better Master.