Summary: God is building a permanent family. God offers you a family of friends and friends who are family. THE CHURCH.
Gary Klahr and Steve Barbin act like brothers.
The two Fairfield, Connecticut, residents look alike, finish each other’s sentences, and speak with the same inflections. Gary served as Steve’s best man. Steve was there for Gary through his father’s death. The two have been inseparable for twenty-five years.
On December 30, 1998, their friendship made sense. A caseworker called Gary with some personal questions. He thought she wanted to know if he was interested in adoption. He was partially correct. Her call concerned adoption—his own.
The news came as a bolt from the blue. For fifty-one years he had assumed he was Benjamin and Marjorie Klahr’s biological child. And that discovery was just the beginning.
Gary happened to mention that his friend Steve Barbin was adopted as well. The caseworker showed instant interest and phoned Steve. "Are you sitting down? . . . You have a brother," she informed. "Your friend Gary Klahr."
Now these two were not just buddies, but brothers! Not just friends, but family!
I. God is building a permanent family.
A. God offers you a family of friends and friends who are family. THE CHURCH.
1. "Having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will" (Ephesians 1:5 NKJV)
2. "In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will." (Ephesians 1:5 NIV)
3. When you obey the gospel, Christ not only pardons you; he places you in his family of friends.
B. The word "family" far outpaces any other biblical term to describe the church.
1. The words "Brothers" or "brothers and sisters" and their variations appear 148 times between Acts and Revelation.
2. "Love the brotherhood." (1 Peter 2:17)
3. "Let brotherly love continue." (Hebrews 13:1)
C. God’s family will outlive the universe.
1. "For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named" (Ephesians 3:14-15)
2. Jesus even defined his family according to faith not flesh. "And a multitude was sitting around Him; and they said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are outside seeking You.” But He answered them, saying, “Who is My mother, or My brothers?” And He looked around in a circle at those who sat about Him, and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother." (Mark 3:32-35)
II. Our Common Bond
A. Common belief identifies members of God’s family and common affection unites them.
B. Paul gives this relationship rule for the church: "Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love" (Romans 12:10).
1. Paul bookends the verse with twin terms. He begins with "philostorgos" ("philos" means friendly; "storgos" means family love) and concludes with "Philadelphia" ("phileo" means tender affection; "adelphia" means brethren).
2. An accurate translation might be "Have a friendly family devotion to each other in a family sort of way."
3. In both Paul reminds us that the church is God’s family.
C. You didn’t pick me. I didn’t pick you. You may not like me and I may not like you. But since God picked and likes us both, we are family.
III. Light Lovers and Root Sharers
A. ILLUSTRATION: Colorado aspens provide a living picture of the church. Aspens grow in groups, often on otherwise bald sides of mountains. They are sun seekers and root sharers. Unlike firs or pines, which prefer shade, aspens prefer warmth. Unlike oaks, whose roots go deep, aspen roots go wide. They intertwine with other roots and share the same nutrients. Light lovers and root sharers. Sounds like a healthy church.
B. Oddly, some people enjoy the shade of the church while refusing to set down any roots.
C. God, yes. Church, no. They like the benefits, but refuse commitment. The worship, the message, the clean conscience, they accept church perks. So they date her, visit her, enjoy an occasional rendezvous. They use the church. But commit to the church? Can’t do that. God to keep options open. Don’t want to miss out on any opportunities.
D. I propose that they already are. Miss the church and miss God’s sanctioned tool for promoting his glory.
E. Scripture calls the church a poem.
1. "We are his workmanship" (Ephesians 2:10).
2. "Workmanship" descends from the Greek word poeo or "poetry." We are God’s poetry!
3. You aren’t God’s poetry. I’m not God’s poetry. We are God’s poetry.
(a) Poetry demands variety. You cannot write a poem with one or two words. It demands a multitude of diverse words.
(b) "Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually." (1 Corinthians 12:27)