Summary: The apostle Paul pointed out 4 major characteristics of healthy families in his writings in the New Testament – affection, unity, sharing and loyalty. In a healthy Kingdom community, these characteristics will be consistently and frequently present.
In the last post, we learned Jesus prioritized God’s family over his physical family, although it wasn’t socially acceptable. A sign of a disciple of His is those who do the same.
But this doesn’t mean you should expect to see a church acting like a family at the beginning. After all, behaving with the characteristics of a healthy family doesn’t happen overnight. It takes knowledge and practice plus time for a group of people to be built together in agape love.
Just ask some of the early churches who motivated most of the letters of the New Testament to be written. OK, I know you can’t ask them, but just pretend you did :). The Corinthians were suing each other, splitting on the basis of social status and dividing based upon their analysis of the Christian worker they liked the best. The Romans were dividing by their race. The list goes on.
How did the apostles respond? By writing letters and doing periodic visits to train them to think (and therefore behave) differently. Specifically, they were out to train them to think and behave like they were loving brothers and sisters that were a part of a healthy spiritual family. He pointed out how people in the world sue each other when they are wronged, but loving brothers would rather be wronged than stay in conflict with their siblings in Christ (I Cor. 6:1-8).
And how did everyone know when a church was starting to act like a family? It was when they started to naturally and consistently show the characteristics that mark healthy families. In his writings, the apostle Paul pointed out 4 of these major characteristics…