Summary: A study of aspects of a functional family of God
“Finding a Family”
1. The idea of “finding a family” might sound a little funny at first because you know and I know that we don’t get much of a choice as to who our parents are. The doctor picks us up, spanks us, and says, “here you go, mom and dad.” At no time are we, the child, offered an opportunity to choose our parents. And all of our parents’ characteristics and traits, both good and bad, become ours. And there are times we’d like to trade in our parents, or at least there were times I wanted to. I remember more than once telling my parents that I was sure I was adopted because I was so different than they were. But the older I’ve grown, the more I hear my parents, especially my father coming out of my mouth.
2. But as we grew up, our parents taught us how to live in this world, and how to function. They attempted to teach us to be patient, kind, and nice to others. They wanted us to grow up, get an education, and have more than they had. And somewhere in their training, we learned how to function in the real world, and how to play well with others.
3. But when we grew up, we began to look for someone to start a family with. We looked around for a man or a woman we felt we could spend the rest of our lives with, have children with, and grow old together. We began to look for ways to “find a family” and to become a family.
4. The church is often referred to as the “Family of God”. And for the next several weeks, we will be unpacking what it means to be a part of this family, and how we can become patient, and kind and learn to play well with others, even within this group of people, some of whom we have known for many years, and some new ones we are just getting to know, and some we don’t know yet but we will soon be meeting. It’s never too late or too hard to learn how to be a better family.
5. But this morning, we want to talk about “finding a family”. And when we talk about finding a family in this context, the context of worship, we are talking about the initial step it takes to be a part of the family of God. And there are some things I want to say to us this morning to help us understand how this works.
a. For those who are here: As I’ve already said, some of you have been here a long time. Some of you have been a part of this church since the beginning or very close to it. Some of you remember the old building and the move to this one. You have been on the board, Sunday School teachers, musicians, custodians, and a variety of other positions, but I want to remind you that the scripture says, that in order to be a part of the family of God, in order to be called, “children of God”, you must put your trust, not in what you have done, or in how long you have been here, but you must put your confidence in the saving power of Jesus Christ. In order to be a part of the family of God, we must know that we have given our hearts to God. Now I’m not suggesting that you haven’t, just reminding you of what you already know, that the work you have done here, the work you will continue to do here, is in response to the love you have found in Jesus Christ. Not out of duty or obligation because that doesn’t last. Eventually you get tired and quit. But when we do it out of love, we can do what needs to be done and at the right time pass responsibilities on to the next person.
b. For those who are new: I want to say to those who are newer, welcome. But once again, I must remind you that in order to be a part of the family of God, to be able to call God your Father, you must first receive His Son, Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. These who have been here a long time, can’t do it for you. Your parents can’t do it for you. Your friends can’t do it for you. Only you, yourself, can choose to accept Christ and to allow Him to have the authority in your life He needs to have. Simply coming to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to an airport makes you an airplane. It takes a commitment on your part. You need to say, “God, I have sinned against you. I recognize that sin in my life but I want to change and live for you. I welcome your Son Jesus Christ into my heart as my Savior and ask Him to forgive me. I invite the Holy Spirit to come in and guide me as I live for you.” If you pray a prayer such as this, you have made a commitment and you have found a family. You have become a child of God. Also, you need to know that those who have been here a long time have worked hard and they are willing to let others help carry the load. They won’t overburden you or give you too much to do, but they will graciously release responsibilities to you as you are open and available.