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27 May, 2018

Today, in this family service, I want to focus on the family, and in so doing I want us to firstly honour God who created the family, and then to consider the responsibilities and blessings that come from being a part of a family.

So today, in this family service, Bradley will bring a note to kids, then later I will bring a note to husbands and wives, and then finally a note to the whole church family.

  1. A Note to Kids – Bradley
  2. A Note to Husbands and Wives

Last weekend we got to see the Royal Wedding. (Well actually, many of us didn’t get to see it because we were too busy answering questions at quiz night, but we got to see plenty of it in reruns.) It was a spectacular wedding.
先週末、英国王室の結婚式をテレビで見ました。 その夜は私たちはクイズナイトのイベントで忙しかったので、私たちの多くは実際には、見ていません。でも再放送でたくさん見ました。 

No-one can do pomp and ceremony like the Brits, so there were all the horses and carriages and hats and soldiers and uniforms and flowers and hats and old chapels and royal family members and celebrities and hats and somewhere in the middle of all that, there was even a bride and a groom.

There was also a bishop called Michael Curry who gave the sermon. They brought him out especially from the U.S. for it, and with all his flowery rhetoric and delivery, he didn’t disappoint. But after listening to his sermon, I was curious. How did it compare to the sermon given by Bishop [vs] Richard Chartres of London at the Royal Wedding in 2011 between Prince William and Kate?

Well, one spoke like this, and the other – are you ready for it? – spoke like this.
今から、一人の司教はこのような話をして、もう一人はこのように話をしましたという風に、 – 比較していきますが、みなさん準備はいいですか?

If there was one difference between the two it’s this: Bishop Curry of the U.S. spoke on love, while Bishop Chartres of England spoke on marriage. Both had valuable words to share and I’d like to share some of those words with the married couples here this morning, and with those who one day intend to marry.
愛 結婚

Bishop Curry said:
There’s power in love, and the source of love is God Himself. Love is to be the essence of our married lives, just as it is the essence of God’s law.

And love is to be demonstrated in our married lives, just as God demonstrated His love for us in giving us His Son. As such, he said, true love is to be sacrificial and redemptive. True love changes lives.

Bishop Chartres said:
Marriage is intended to be a way in which man and woman help each other to become what God meant each one to be.

Marriage should be celebrated, not just on the wedding day, but every day.

There is generosity in marriage. We are married in the sight of a generous God, as we see in God’s giving of Christ. Husbands and wives are to give themselves to each other in the same way.

Here is a key truth, he said: The more we give of ourselves, the richer we become in soul. So marriage provides a platform to foster richness and spiritual health.

Personal relations alone, apart from God, he added, cannot supply all the meaning and happiness that we desire. So excluding God’s role in marriage, as many modern marriages do, places an impossible burden on spouses – one that only God can truly fulfill.

So we need the presence of the Holy Spirit in our marriages. Then God can flow into the whole family, with His gifts and fruits and blessings.

A third minister here, Pastor Andrew of Australia, adds his own thoughts:

He says, loving actions and loving words are important in all human relations. But if the way we speak and act is important ‘out there’, how much more important is it ‘in here’ in the family, in the marriage?

If there’s one thing that is more important than our words and actions, it’s our reactions. Our spouses are not perfect (mine is almost perfect though). They will do and say the wrong things sometimes.

Our reactions to those imperfections will either bring: healing or hostility.

They will increase understanding or increase anger.
 理解  怒り

They will build respect or build resentment.
 尊敬 恨み

They will bring peace or bring problems.
 平安 問題

They will make things better or make things bitter.

I find what the Bible says about our reactions to be very helpful. So if we want to live at peace and have marriages and families that are blessed, we need to listen to what the Bible says about our responsibilities and apply what we’re learning to receive blessing.

Here’s a small sample:

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Proverbs 15:1

箴言 15:1

Those who are kind reward themselves, but the cruel do themselves harm.
Proverbs 11:17

箴言 11:17

Rejoice in the wife of your youth.
Proverbs 5:18

箴言 5:18

Pray for marriages.

  1. A Note to the Church Family

One of the amazing images the Bible paints of a church is that of a family. That’s how close our ties to each other in the church are. One of the reasons for this is that we are an eternal family. Look around you. Those you see around you, if they are in Christ – you will be spending eternity with them.

So when we have a family service, we are really having a family service.
How can we enrich our spiritual family? From a relational point of view (not in terms of ministry today), what are our responsibilities in the church family and what blessings can we expect from fulfilling those responsibilities?

  1. Be a people of praise (loving God)

Of course, this applies mutually – we are to build each other up with our words, but what I’m referring to here is our communal attitude toward God. If we are united and committed to having a spirit of thanks and praise, then we are conforming to the will of God, and we are setting up our church family to receive blessing.
もちろん、これは相手も自分も含めお互いに言えることです。 私たちは言葉を用いてお互いに関係性を気づきあげていますが、私がここで言っているのは、神を前にした時の私たちの共通した態度や気持ちのことです。私たちが団結し、神に感謝と賛美の気持ちを共に持つならば、私たちは神の意志に沿っており、祝福を受けるために教会の家族を作っているということになります。

Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the Lord, and when he heard them his anger was aroused.
Numbers 11:1

民数記 11:1

We all have hardships from time to time. But for all of us – all of us – our blessings outnumber our hardships. So let’s not be a people of complaint. Let’s be a people of praise.
私たちは皆、時として苦悩、試練を感じます。しかし、私たち全員 、もう一度言います。私たち全員が、苦労よりも多くの祝福をもらっているのです。ですから、不平、不満を言う人にならないようにしましょう。賞賛する人になりましょう。

We learnt the right way to go about this last week in our study of Philippians:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Philippians 4:6

ピリピ人への手紙 4:6

This attitude stems from having a passionate love for God. So let’s be a people of praise

  1. Be a people of integrity (making disciples)

That means we are a people who are honest and have strong moral principles. But it’s more than that in the church. It means that we are committed, despite the challenges, to making disciples of one another.

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
Proverbs 27:17


Being a part of the church family isn’t just a matter of saying nice things to one another. That’s what distant relatives do. In the family of God, it’s much richer than that. We’re devoted to sharpening one another.

As we meet on Sundays, in mid-week Bible studies, on weekend activities, and as we work together in outreach efforts, we challenge one another, we encourage one another, we discipline one another, we confess to one another, we rebuke one another, we comfort one another, we protect one another, we instruct one another, we sing to one another, we honour one another, we bring joy to one another, we love one another affectionately (which leads to our final responsibility).

So let’s be a people of integrity.

  1. Be people of affection (blessing all)

Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.
Romans 12:10

ローマ人への手紙 12:10

This applies first of all to the church family and then extends out to the community. Our love is not an academic love, it’s not a timid love, it’s not a shouganai (reluctant) love. It is to be an affectionate love? Why? Because that’s how God loves us.

Do you see what happens when we love the church family as I’ve just described? Do you see what happens when we are people of praise, and people of integrity, and people of affection? We end up loving God, making disciples and blessing all. We end up fulfilling our church mission.

So let’s go out from this family service, with hearts committed to praising God for His goodness, discipling one another in love, and loving one another with an affectionate love.

Pray for the church family.