1. The family of God is built on a foundation
2. The family of God is built with a design
3. The family of God is built for a purpose
One time a pastor had a group of children up in front of the church to give them a children’s sermon. He was trying to make the point that money can’t buy everything. He was trying to drive home his point when he asked them, “What would you do if I said I would give you $1000 to quit loving your Mom and Dad?” Everybody was quiet. Finally one little boy in the back raised his hand. He said, “Preacher, how much do you think I could get to quit loving my sister?” That little boy’s question brought out a good point about families. Families are funny. Lots of times, families bicker and fuss. But don’t let anybody else mess with them. Don’t let anyone from outside the family say anything. When somebody from outside the family says anything, most of the time a family will come together and present a united front. They say that nothing unites like a common enemy. That may be true, but that kind of unity only lasts till the battle is over. True unity is family unity. You see, a healthy family is a united family. A family that works together toward a common purpose. And a family that works together for a common purpose shares certain characteristics. In the passage we’re looking at this morning, Paul starts with the word “therefore.” We’ve talked about this before, but anytime you see the word “therefore”, it’s a good idea to find out what it’s there for. He puts it there to say that because of all the things he’s just talked about, the things coming up are possible. As we’ve looked at over the past few weeks, Paul has constantly reminded the Ephesian Christians who they were before Jesus saved them. They were lost without hope. They were dead in their trespasses and sins. They were separated from God and His covenantal promises. And then Jesus saved them. He brought them to new life in Him. Not because of anything they had done. But solely because of His grace. Now, because of God’s grace, Paul is telling them they are part of the household of God. In verse 19, he tells them they are “fellow citizens with the saints and of the household of God.” They are of the household of God—part of His house. God has brought them into His family—this wonderful new family of God called the church. Now is where the therefore comes in. Because Christ has saved them. Because God has brought them together in His family, the church. Because of that, they are to show certain characteristics of being in His family. That’s what’s neat about being part of a family. When you’re a part of a family, you share certain characteristics. Whether those characteristics are genetic or not, you can’t get away from them. There’s a family resemblance. Every time my kids do something rotten, my wife says they’re just like me. When they do something sweet and wonderful, of course they’re being like her. The point is, do we have a family resemblance? Do we show the characteristics of being in the family of God? I want each of us here this morning to leave this place showing the world that we are part of God’s family. In order to do that we’re going to look in our passage at three characteristics of being in the family of God. The first characteristic is that the family of God is built on a foundation.
When we are part of the family of God, we are built on a foundation. Remember back to the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus told a story about two builders. One built his house on a foundation of rock. The other on a foundation of sand. Of course, when the storms of life came along, the house with the rock foundation stood. The one built on sand came crashing down—the Bible says, “And great was its fall.” Now, why did Jesus tell that story? Was it to let the people know about proper building techniques? No—He used it to illustrate a point. If you just hear His Word and don’t do anything with it, you’re building your life on a sandy foundation. When the storms and trials of life come along, you’re heading for a big crash. And great will be your fall. But on the other hand, if you hear His Word and let it change you—let it mold you and make you into the very image of Christ—if you do that, you’re building your life on a rock-solid foundation. That’s what Paul is talking about here in Ephesians 2:20. He says that when we’re in the family of God, we build our lives on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. Last Wednesday in our study on the Foundations of the Faith, we talked about how the Holy Spirit inspired the writing of Scripture. He inspired the apostles and the prophets and guarded them against error as they wrote this Bible. That’s what Paul is talking about here when he says our foundation is the apostles and prophets. They are the ones who wrote Scripture. And they wrote Scripture with one purpose in mind—to point the way to Jesus Christ. Hebrews 1:1-2 says, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.” Jesus Christ is the focus of the Bible from cover to cover. I heard a preacher named Alistair Begg explain it this way: In the Old Testament, we have Jesus predicted. In the Gospels, we have Jesus revealed. In Acts, we have Jesus preached. In the Epistles, we have Jesus explained. In the Revelation, we have Jesus expected. The apostles and prophets wrote the Bible. And they wrote it to tell us about the chief cornerstone—Jesus Christ. This Bible is the rock-solid foundation we are to build our lives on. Can people look at the foundation you build your life on and tell you’re a child of the King? That’s the first characteristic of a person who is in the family of God. If you’re in the family of God, you will be built on the foundation of the Word of God. The second characteristic is that the family of God is built with a design.
When we are part of the family of God, we are built with a design. It is not an accident that you are here this morning. There are no such things as accidents, nor are there coincidences. God designed each and every one of us here this morning to, as the passage says, “fitly frame together.” When my wife and I first got married, the first place we lived was a little group of Portuguese islands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean called the Azores. One of the unique things about the islands was the rock walls. They were volcanic islands, so the local farmers would gather the volcanic rocks from their fields and build walls with them. Each little parcel of land was bordered by these walls. The thing that made them unique was the fact that they used no mortar. A wall could be anywhere from 5-10 feet tall and only a couple of feet thick, with nothing to hold it together. I got to watch a couple of those walls being built and it was amazing. The builder would carefully select the rocks. When he would stack them on the others, they would fit together like puzzle pieces. Those walls could stand through anything. They could stand through anything because they were chosen to fit together. Every winter we would get winds in excess of 125 mph and they would still stand. That is the way it is when we’re in the family of God. He has created each of us unique. He has given each of us different gifts and talents. When He chooses us in salvation, He fitly frames us together with other Christians so we can grow together. So that together we can stand against the wiles of the devil. So that we can be united against a common enemy. No part is out of place, defective or inappropriate. Each part is individually chosen as building block in the church. God chooses you as a building block in His church. The question is, are you allowing yourself to be used as one? Can people look at your life and see how you fit as an integral part of God’s church? I’m not talking about how well you fit into your pew or how comfortable you feel. I’m talking about if people can see how you fit into the work and ministry of God’s church. If you’re in the family of God, you will be built with a design to fit into His church. You are built on a foundation, you are built with a design, and you are built for a purpose.
When we are part of the family of God, we are built for a purpose. When you drive down the road and pass by this building, there is no mistaking what it’s here for. It’s obvious that this building was built for the purpose of having church meetings. I learned something interesting a while ago. I learned that banks don’t like to loan money to build new churches. There are a few reasons, but one of them is because churches are considered single-use facilities. What that means is, if the church didn’t pay the loan and the bank had to foreclose, the only people interested in buying the building would be other churches. Most of the time, church architecture is so unique that that’s all the building could be used for. In other words, most of the time, church buildings are built for one purpose and one purpose only. But that’s not only the case with church buildings. That’s the case for each and every one of us here this morning, too. Our personal architecture is so unique that we only have one purpose. Every person sitting here this morning was created for one purpose and one purpose only. As a matter of fact, every person who has ever lived was created for one purpose and one purpose only—to bring honor and glory to God Almighty. We can do that one of two ways. Either as a part of His family, or not. The first way is—if we’re part of the family of God, we fulfill our purpose by, as our passage says, being, “an habitation of God through the Spirit.” In other words, God lives in us. When we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ—when we believe He died for our sins so we wouldn’t have to. When we believe that He rose again and is victorious over sin, death, and Hell. When we believe that He lives today, seated at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for us. When we believe that He’s coming again to rule and reign forever. When we believe, we are saved. He adopts us into His family. We become His children and His Spirit lives in us. Paul put it this way in his first letter to the church at Corinth: “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?” That’s how we fulfill our purpose if we’re part of the family of God. If you’re not part of the family of God, it’s a different story. Those who are not part of the family of God still have a purpose. They will bring honor and glory to Him by their destruction. God, through His Son Jesus Christ has provided a way for whosoever will to be saved. But thousands die every day choosing to reject His offer. In order to show Himself faithful, holy and just, God will cast those who have rejected His Son into eternal damnation. So how are you fulfilling God’s purpose for your life? Are you fulfilling it by allowing the Holy Spirit to control your life? Or, if you died right now, would you fulfill it by entering into an eternity apart from God, suffering eternal torment? The question I have for you this morning is, are you part of the family of God? If you are, you will display the characteristics. You’ll show the family resemblance. If you are in the family of God, is your life is built on the foundation of the Word of God? Do you let it mold you into the very image of Christ? Do you show that you are built with a design to fit into His church? Are you allowing yourself to fit into the work and ministry of it? And are you fulfilling His purpose for your life? Do you allow the Holy Spirit to control every aspect of your life? If you are not part of the family of God this morning, you can make it right today. You can make it right and be adopted into the family this morning. If you, like the Philippian jailer are asking the question, “what must I do to be saved?” I’ll give you the same answer Paul gave him. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” Belief recognizes Jesus Christ for Who He is and who you are in His light. It involves confession—agreeing with Him that you are a sinner and there’s nothing you can do to save yourself. It involves repentance—turning from your sin and turning toward Him. If you are not part of the family of God this morning, I beg you to not leave this place lost this morning. If you are part of the family, I beg you to act like it—show the family resemblance.