Summary: God’s plan is to bring us together as part of the same family – His family - A look at some family ties that hold the family of God together.
Intro: What holds a family together? Parents? Blood? Common interests? Love? All of the above? As members of God’s family we have the privilege of sharing our lives together. When something exciting happens to one member of our church family, we can all rejoice together with them. When something terrible happens that causes grief, we weep together, trusting God for the strength to make it through. There is nothing like family! God sure comes up with some great ideas.
-Now sometimes not all members of the family see eye to eye. In fact sometimes there are family feuds that can get pretty ugly. Sometimes there might be a subgroup within the family that has a standoff against another subgroup. The result can be anger, hostility, suspicion, and even hatred amongst the people in these subgroups. This is unfortunate, since such feuding is completely against the wishes of the family leader who started the family. But since He knows human nature, He knew that the fighting could be a big problem. And that’s why He did something about it. He gave equal access and favor to every member of the family so they could come to Him at anytime with any concern. He did away with the old nature filled with pride and selfishness and replaced it with a nature like His own, where unconditional love would be expressed continually.
-In our text today Paul identifies 2 subgroups as Jews and Gentiles. The Jews were God’s chosen people through whom God had revealed Himself for thousands of years. The Gentiles were all non-Jews who knew little or nothing about who God was. But God’s plan was to bring them together as part of the same family – His family.
-So today we’re going to look at some family ties that hold the family of God together.
I. Remember how far you were from God
11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called "uncircumcised" by those who call themselves "the circumcision" (that done in the body by the hands of men)-- 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.
-A few weeks ago we looked at the B.C. life versus the A.D. life. We all have a history of life before Jesus. Even those who grow up in a Christian home and attend church their entire lives come to a point where they have to decide for themselves whom they will serve. I know that was the case with me. In fact, there were several points where I had to decide what direction I was going to take. By God’s grace He brought me through the times when I was directionally challenged and just wanted to do my own thing. God spared me from a lot of the heartache of poor choices. But that doesn’t mean that I was always close to Him.
-My senior year in High School was a good year but a tough year. I had made a commitment to Christ at summer camp after my junior year. In fact, I can look back and remember making a commitment each year of camp to follow Jesus and do all I could to tell my friends about Him. Sometimes it didn’t take very long to forget about that commitment.