Summary: If we trace God’s hand back to the book of Genesis and follow it through the OT we see God as the creator of two institutions. (1) The family and (2) the church. And we quickly realize that the two are very closely related.
“God’s Family….Better Together”
“I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God, I’ve been washed in the fountain, cleansed by his blood, joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this side; I’m a part of the family, the family of God.”
Have you heard that before? I certainly hope so. We sang it about 10 minutes ago. Bill Gaither wrote it many years ago. And God began forming his forever family thousands of years ago. We don’t know exactly how long ago it was …the Bible says it was in the beginning. We also don’t know how long he thought about it before He started. If we trace God’s hand back to the book of Genesis and follow it through the OT we see God as the creator of two institutions. (1) The family and (2) the church. And we quickly realize that the two are very closely related.
We see that early in Scripture that the Spirit of God was moving over the water. This refers of course to God’s Holy Spirit beginning to move throughout creation. Later in the first chapter, God speaks and he says, let us make man in our image, according to our likeness. It doesn’t mean of course that we look like God; it means we have been created in such a way that we have the ability to communicate with God. Only man has this ability. So God creates the family and tells us to be fruitful and multiply and that we have done; now with 7.5 billion people on this planet.
We move into the NT and many changes have of course taken place. Jesus has come in the flesh. He was crucified, buried and then resurrected on the third day and the Scripture tells us he then ascended to heaven. But before leaving he left us with a powerful promise. You see, when Jesus was present on earth in his physical body, He could only be present in one place at a time. But when He leaves He tells us that His Holy Spirit will come and will be everywhere, in all places at all times. And that he will never, ever leave us.
Now with that bit of background we come to Act chapter 2 and the Bible says that now with the arrival of the Holy Spirit that all of God’s people are now filled with the Holy Spirit. Peter stands up to preach on the day of Pentecost and when he finishes, 3000 people have given their lives to Jesus. 3000. Look at verse 41. And now the family of God begins to prosper. The family of God begins to grow and the church begins to expand.
Now what do you do with that many new believers, all at once? That could be a great problem actually-not a problem that most churches ever have to face. Really not a problem, it’s an opportunity. But clearly what happened at this point is that God’s family had to get organized. And this is the way I view it. From the beginning, God’s family was organized on purpose, with a purpose, to carry out his purpose.
But many churches have failed in this area. Too many have organized around their traditions. For these churches they simply continue to do what they have already done. The problem is of course that the things we have been doing have not always worked, yet we repeat them over and over and over thinking we are going to get a different result. This has become a popular definition of the word insanity. Doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. And then wondering why we don’t get them.
Others focus on their finances. Everything is about money. And of course many focus on their buildings. But the fact is some of the largest church buildings have been shut down and are now basically museums because they are no longer needed. God’s forever family is much bigger than any tradition, more valuable than any amount of money and will last longer than any building on earth.
So God’s forever family must be focused on discipleship. Seeing people come to Christ and then helping one another to become fully developed followers of Jesus Christ. That is the teaching of the NT. When these 3000 came to Christ and the book of acts tells us that long after that there were another 2000 who were saved —this did not happen by accident. God did it on purpose--for a purpose. God brought the family together in the OT and then brought his forever family together here because God’s people are better together. In the beginning when God created man God immediately said you know it is not good for man to be alone. So he created woman. And the two would come together and become one flesh.