A couple of weeks ago, I was preaching on singleness and made a point to show that the church is to be family, a strong family. Husbands and wives will no longer be husbands and wives in heaven (cf. Matthew 22:30). Yet the brotherhood of believers is for all eternity because Christ who makes us brothers and sisters–spiritually speaking–is forever.
Sadly, many of us will have family members who have not believed and have died. Some of us still have family who have not believed, and if they do not believe before death, will be separated from us for all eternity. Yet every one of our believing brothers and sister we will know, have, and love for all eternity. Thus, our spiritual family (which may include biological family) is forever. Ought we not act upon this truth?
Jesus said, “For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother,” (Matthew 12:50, ESV). Jesus has forever changed the way we look at families. Ed Shaw wrote:
“It turns out that Jesus defines his family as those who follow him rather than those related to him. This didn’t mean that his immediate family didn’t matter to him. After all, he made sure his mother was going to be looked after even as he died on the cross. But it shows that talk of church family isn’t just a PR stunt–it’s a spiritual reality.” (Same-Sex Attraction and the Church)
The spiritual family ought to be the closest of all families since we have the same Brother and the same Spirit within all of us. We ought to be able to rely upon one another, call upon one another, encourage one another, admonish one another, eat dinner with one another, go to the movies with one another, pray for one another, just as we would with biological families, but in a deeper way.
Paul described older men as fathers and older women as mothers to the younger. Younger men were to treat younger women as sisters and younger men as brothers and vice versa. The church (at least the American church) is lacking the familial reality. To be a biblical church is to be a familial church; that being said, may we repent of our blindness and turn to Christ our brother for the example of what it means to be family.