This week I’ve been working through a little 4-part mini-series on Belonging to a Family of Families. First, I talked about what Christ’s plan for the Church was. We looked at Ephesians 2:17-3:11, where Paul states he was given the task to preach the gospel to the Gentiles and also, to reveal to everyone what the household order of the church is.
Secondly, we look at passages describing how to live within a believing family. The main text we looked at was Ephesians 5:22-6:9, the “household text.” It takes a right understanding of our roles within the family, to fulfill God’s plan of the local church as a family of families. Families are the life of the church – for the good or the bad. We need strong families for the church to fulfill its mission.
Thirdly, we talked through the different roles within the church and looked at one of my favorite passages of Scripture right now, Titus 2:1-15. The main idea and context for Titus is for the purpose of building up the body and honoring God. In everything we do, we need to think about how we appear to the world.
Setting Life Priorities
I hope through this series I’ve been communicating the importance of living intentionally and belonging to a family of families. When we live balanced, godly, harmonious lives in the church community and in our own homes, we make an impact for the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Today I want to look at the passage of Scripture that is right before the “household text” in Ephesians, that speaks about living within a believing family. To further help motivate you to live intentional lives within your families, I want to look at this context to the “household text”, Ephesians 5:15-21:
“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.”
“Making the most of your time“, verse 16. We can either fill our time with the pursuits of the world (i.e. getting drunk with win), or be filled with the Spirit. In this context, we see that being filled with the Spirit is allowing our lives to be filled with Christ and His purpose for community life.
How we can live within a family of families is demonstrated in this passage – “speaking to one another in psalms and hymns….; always giving thanks for all things…..; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.” And then is goes right into the household text of wives, husbands, children, fathers.
How are you living out these three commands?
- Two out of the three commands above can only be done when living within a community of believers. The first, “speaking to one another…” is part of what is behind my drive to meet regularly with other women, so I can learn from others and shepherd others.
- The second, “always giving thanks for all things” – tis the season to be thankful, right? It is the beginning of November, but we put up our Christmas decorations. I love to think on the past year this month and how God has blessed us. But, we should always be thankful – that is not as easy.
- Finally, “be subject to one another…” It would just be easier not to talk about this one as Christians and avoid the negativity around this command. But, as I have talked about in living within a believing family – each person has a role in leading and submitting and this leads us to have strong families which allow us to live in a balanced community of believers and bring honor to God. This is living out God’s plan for the church.
Big Idea: When individuals are teaching and encouraging one another, giving thanks, and submitting to one another, then the church can flourish.
- If these are our priorities, then what are we spending our time on? Are we being distracted by everyone else’s priorities, or the priorities in this culture: individualism, entertainment (tv, movies, games), seeking pleasure, money?
- What are you talking to other Christians about? The latest tv show? Or are you “speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God?”
I’ve talked a bit in the past about what my priorities are. And I’m going to be writing a few more posts on this topic in the future; because for me, writing it out will help me process it, and help me make the most of my time. We’ve also, as a family made a few commitments to help the church become the center of our lives:
- In order to serve the church more fully, we have first set aside our Saturdays as family days so that we can more focus on church gatherings on Sundays and give our all to God on Sundays.
- We have committed leadership meetings one evening a week.
- We are each (Matt is leading a guys group and I’m leading a women’s group) leading Bible studies so that we might grow ourselves and be able to teach others.
- I make time in the mornings to study the word to be prepared for studies and sharing on Sunday evenings at church to build up the body.
Do you think you and/or your family are living your lives by setting your priorities around Christ?
What one thing can you start doing that will help you in the areas you feel you are lacking?