Life in Our Father’s House
As members of God's household and His representatives in the world, how should we live together as a church? Pastor Eugene reminds us that we are God's redeemed community, and as such our church life plays a crucial role in our Christian witness.
My family enjoys opening our home to others and having people over, either for a meal or just to talk and hang out. Claire and I started doing this when we got married, relocated to the United States and moved into our first home. When we invited our American friends over, some would be surprised by our request for them to remove their shoes before entering our home. As we learnt, it is acceptable in many American homes to keep your shoes on. But our American friends were always very obliging.
Whenever we visit someone’s home, we have to figure out what the norms are, what’s acceptable behaviour and what’s not, such as whether we should take our shoes off or leave them on. Every home has 'house rules', so to speak. In a similar way, we also have to learn the norms of practice and behaviour in the church.
When I speak of the church, I am not referring to a building. Neither am I just talking about what we do at Sunday worship. I’m using the word 'church' in a biblical sense, to refer to the community of God’s people who have been brought together by our common faith in Jesus Christ. We are the church, and the Scripture refers to us as God’s household (1 Tim 3:15). We share one Father, who has graciously adopted us into His family through the gospel.
Now that we belong to this new family, how should we live in our Father’s house? What are the norms of practice and behaviour? How do we know what’s acceptable and what’s not? How are we meant to live in community? Given that this is God’s household, He has the sovereign right to determine how we should live as His redeemed community. We must look to Him and listen to His word. Sadly, we don’t always do this. We try to figure things out on our own, depending on worldly wisdom and practices, long-time habits and traditions, and personal opinions and preferences. Judges 21:25 becomes our theme verse.
One of the best ways to get to know someone is to spend time in their home and observe how they live. In the same way, this is how people get to know our heavenly Father, by spending time in His household among His people. How we live together as a church says a lot about our Father. And depending on whether we pay heed to His word or not, our life together will either tell the truth about Him or we will lie about Him. For example, we show that God is love when we love one another; but when we divide over personal opinions and preferences, we are actually communicating that God Himself is divided (1 Cor 1:13).
Therefore if we are to rightly represent our Father, we need to go back to His word. This is the goal of the new EQUIP class, The Church. Over the next three Sundays (Jan 14, 21 and 28, 11 am-12.30 pm), we will be looking at how Scripture determines what we believe as a church, and how we live as a church. This class is for everyone: whether you are considering joining GBC as a member, whether you are a new member, or whether you are a long-time member. Come and hear what God has to say about how we ought to live as His household! Our witness in the world depends on it.