This Sunday we’re beginning a new sermon series on 7 different metaphors of the church in the New Testament. The first metaphor that we’ll be looking at is “the household,” which comes from Ephesians 2:19. In the ancient world, the household was the extended family that included not just the nuclear family, but all those who were under the care and protection of the patriarch of the home-- servants, friends, extended relatives, and all who found solace there. Early Christians took this model of “household” and used it as an image for the church, with God as the Father who has now opened up his household through the work of his Son, Jesus Christ. Now as brothers and sisters of Jesus, we are welcomed into the household of God by grace and called to live out this new family culture within the church.
This metaphor is a powerful challenge to contemporary models of church that emphasize buildings, events and programs. The image of church as household or family is intensely personal and relational, calling Christians beyond a once a week meeting to actually living life with one another as an extended family. It is more about lifestyle than meetings, about relationships more than programs. This image of household is not only challenging, it is also comforting, because if church is really a family, then everyone is invited in as a valuable person with a vital role to play in family life.
As you prepare for worship this week, imagine what it would be like to be a Christian with no church building, no church programs, no church budgets. Instead, church is about 15-30 people that you regularly do life with in a common place. Read the whole chapter of Ephesians 2 from that perspective, and notice what jumps out at you and what you freshly notice in the text.
Let’s pray that the Lord helps us live into the beautiful vision of an extended household on mission with Jesus, our brother, under the care of our good Father God.
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18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.