Summary: Part 4 of our mission/vision series. How we as a church plan to minister to the whole family.
Sermon-10/1/06-F: Family-Effectively Minister to the entire Family of God
Turn to mark 3
L-Love God, Love Others
I-Impact Our Community
F-Family of God
Part of our vision is that we desire to minister to the entire family of God.
Read mark 3:31-35- “And His mother and His brothers came, and standing outside they went to Him and called Him. And a crowd was sitting around Him, and they said to Him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside seeking you.” And He answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking at those who sat around Him, He said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.” (ESV)
I. Jesus redefined family for His followers
Jesus first mention of the family of God redefined family for those who were His followers.
A. The Jewish concept of family
In the Jewish/Middle eastern culture the family was the basis of social and economic life.
-Not only that, family was the source of your individual identity. You were identified as a member of a family or clan. Your family was your life, the most important relationships that you had.
But X redefined that,
B. Christ’s new family
for X followers their life was no longer defined by their biological family and those relationships, but rather by God and their devotion to Him as the head of the divine family of God.
This would have been a tremendous comfort to those following X at the time, because for many of those believers, following X would have meant losing their earthly families.
Lk. 14:26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.”
But X is assuring them that they are not without a family, they have now become a part of a greater family, a family of faith, the family of God. Their identity is now found in this family.
Still true today, we are the family of God each and every one of us who have trusted X as Lord and Savior.
Forrest Carter, in his book the Education of Little Tree set around the great depression he relays the story of a grandfather’s explanation to his grandson his use of the phrase “I kin you”. It meant to love and understand.
“Grandpa said back before his time ‘kinfolk’ meant any folks that you understood and had an understanding with, so it meant ‘loved folks.’ but people got selfish and brought it down to mean just blood relations; but that actually it was never meant to mean that.”
That is the idea behind what Jesus is saying when he says that those who do the will of God are all His brothers and sisters. We’re kinfolk. Because of our shared relationship with and commitment to loving God and serving Him we have a love and an understanding of each other, a shared bond and sense of community that draws us together. A bond that is stronger than human blood, because it is a bond formed through the blood of X.
Ill. A few years ago a reporter was doing a story on gang violence in the inner city. He found and interviewed 2 cousins who had been raised together in the same home by their grandmother, but had somehow ended up in rival gangs. In their interviews they both said that neither of them would hesitate to hurt or kill the other if the orders of the gang required it. The dedication to the gang family would override the commitment to blood relatives. For them family was defined according to a common purpose rather than according to blood relationships.
The definition of family that Jesus gives us here in Mark is very similar: our shared commitments to God tie us more closely to each other as followers of X than our relations to our earthly families. The difference is our commitment to God and Jesus leads us to further the kingdom of God here on earth, striving always to do good and help others rather than do evil and to hurt.
That is the family of God-that is who we are and as a church that is our goal to minister to that family-all of us together
II. Our Examples
A. From Scripture
Called to reach young and old alike-mark 10:13-15- “And they were bringing children to Him that He might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, He was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” and He took them in His arms and blessed them, laying His hands on them.