The family in the home is one of the basic centres of the Kingdom of God. Before there was a Church there was a family, before there was anything created there was a family, before God was Creator or Saviour He was Father.
The home and the family was instituted by God, it is exalted in the Bible, it is the symbol of something greater, it is one of the main foundations of society and it is the primary influence on character development.
Yet we live today in a society where the family is threatened from all sides. The home is threatened. But the Church is here to restore the family. To not only repair it and stand for it but to become a family for the fatherless and the widow. The sincerity of the Church’s love is seen in its creation of family. “We are family here.” “Come and join the family of God.”
Love must be sincere: “Be devoted to one another in love.” (Romans 12 v 10) Or as the NASB rightly helps us, “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.” The word Paul uses for love is philadelphia and it was used for the love amongst the family, hence, brotherly love. Paul is saying we should have devotion, tender family love towards each other. That is what we find in every Church, right?
I am sure we can all think of examples where we are devoted to that person in brotherly love. We can also think of those people who we struggle to love. They are the people who hurt you, spoken against you and who do not even like you never mind reciprocate any love you might have for them. How do we show brotherly love to these people? “… in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” v1-2.
Make the list. That’s who we are called to offer sincere love to. That’s who we show family love to. We need the Spirit’s help of course for we still have a long way to go to become like Christ.
But this is the battle the Church has to win. We must reveal philadelphia to a world who was robbed of that experience. “It doesn’t matter who you are; or how damaged you are; it doesn’t matter how hurtful or proud you have become; we leave all that to the head of the family, to the Father; our role is to philadephia you; that’s what you get here; welcome.”