Summary: God calls His children to be part of a local family of faith.
Nothing can give you a reason to get up in the morning better than a sense of purpose in life. That’s why it’s important to discover why God made us. There are five purposes for which we were all created.
Last week, we looked at purpose number one: You were planned for God’s pleasure. God calls us to know Him and love Him. The Bible calls this worship. Everything we do in life should be done as an act of worship - as an offering of love to God.
Today, we will consider purpose number two: You were formed for God’s family. In our text, we notice how the early believers gave themselves to one another. This is God’s purpose for us as His children - that we involve ourselves with His family.
“God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. - Ephesians 1:5 (NLT)
God wanted a family; and everyone who has responded to His offer of a personal love relationship with Him through faith in Christ, has been born again - born into God’s family. In fact, the entire Bible is the story of God building a family. God is building a family for Himself that is going to last not just here on earth, but forever and ever in eternity.
Now, once you understand and get started on God’s first purpose for your life, getting to know and to love God, God wants you to begin to focus and start practicing on His second purpose for your life.
“Love the family of believers.” - 1 Peter 2:17 (NIV)
That’s the second purpose of your life. God says, “I want you to learn to love the people in your spiritual family.” Why?
First, it makes us more like God, because God is love.
Second, he wants His children to learn to get along together. Parents always want their kids to get along with each other. God wants the same thing for His children.
Third, it’s practice for eternity. One of the things you’re going to do in eternity is you’re going to love God. And the other thing you’re going to do is you’re going to love the other believers that are there. It So God wants us to practice now learning to love other believers.
When I was born naturally, l was born into the family of man. But I identified myself with a particular family within the family of man - the McFadden family. It was through my connection with the McFadden family, that I have experienced love & acceptance, and have been helped to grow up as a human being.
When I was born again, born spiritually, I was born into the family of God. But just like being born into the family of man alone is not enough to help me experience love & acceptance, and grow up as a human being; being born into the family of God alone is not enough for me to experience love & acceptance, and grow up as a Christian. I need to be part of a local family of faith.
The word the Bible uses to describe the second purpose for which God made us is fellowship. Like worship, this word is often misunderstood.
“I am writing this to you now, so that, even if I cannot come soon, you will know how people should live in the family of God.That family is the church of the living God.” - 1 Timothy 3:14-15 (Easy to Read Version)
Note the words “family” and “church.” The church is a family. It’s not a building; not an institution; not an organization; not a denomination; not a club; but a family. Church is a family you belong to. And the truth is, in God’s family there are three levels of fellowship. We’re going to look at them today. Why? Because this is the second purpose of your life. But also because it is impossible to fulfill the other three purposes God has for you apart from fellowship.
1. Kinship Level
This is where fellowship with God’s family begins. You realize that since you share a common connection to Christ, these folks are your spiritual family. You also find that you share common convictions regarding what you believe and seek to practice.
The early church experienced and celebrated this when they gathered at the temple courts together (v. 46); and we experience and celebrate this each Lord’s Day when we gather for worship on Sunday mornings.
Some of you need to grow in fellowship by committing to weekly worship attendance. But for others of you, this is as far as you’ve gone. You attend worship every Sunday; but I want to encourage you to go deeper, and so does God.