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Fighting and the Family

Fighting and the Family

Ephesians 4:1-6

Why are we doing this? I believe we need to be challenged and equipped to live out what we heard last week about the mission of the church as a visible display of God’s wisdom to the principalities and powers. Jesus said that the world will know that we are His disciples by the love we have for one another, the love of God’s adopted, reconciled, expanding family. What does this love look like? I believe it looks like spending time with one another outside the context of Sunday morning worship. Why do I say that? The Bible gives us a picture of church life as family life. The picture the Bible gives is one of close relationships that go deep enough to experience conflict, like the conflict we experience in our families at home. If we only see each other on Sunday morning, we can keep our distance. As a particular church in 21st-century Atlanta, we don’t all live near one another. We don’t see each other naturally throughout the week like most people throughout history did. We are breathing the air of independent individualism everyday that fosters lives of isolation. We have the opportunity to show the world a different way, but we have to learn that different way. This way of family life will bring conflict. Keep in mind that if we’re not currently experiencing conflict with one another in the church, it may not be a sign of maturity and true peace. It may be a sign of mutually accepted isolation. The application in Ephesians 4 to the life of the church presupposes a level of family life together as a church that is close enough to produce conflict in the first place. I don’t know if we’re there yet. The passage also encourages us to fight through that conflict to experience deeper family unity. I believe that the picture of family life as a church that God’s word gives us is something we may not even know we need, but it’s beautiful and powerful and leads to greater flourishing for all of us together and the communities we inhabit. We have to fight for it. We have to fight for a closeness that will produce family fighting, and we have to fight through the fighting to become the mature family that is built up in love and draws the world to Jesus.

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