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Summary: When we come to faith in Christ webelong to the family of God...a caring faith community.

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Belonging Part II

Title: Outsiders to Insiders

Text: Ephesians 2:11-22

Thesis: When we come to faith in Christ we belong to the family of God… a caring faith community.

Series: Belonging, Believing and Becoming

Slide 2

I invite you to journey with us as people who value:

• Belonging to a caring faith community. Parts 1 and 2

• Believing the truth of God’s Word.

• Becoming more like Jesus Christ.

Two weeks ago the focus was on our being a people and a faith community that welcomes others... who lovingly open our arms to all-comers and give them a place to belong. This week the focus will be on what it means for us to belong in a caring faith community. We want to be a place where non-believers want to belong and this is why.

Introduction

George Burns rather cynically once quipped, “Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.”

A dictionary definition of family would be: a group of people who are related to each other or a person’s children or a group of related people including people who lived in the past.

Biblically, the human family began when God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” So the Lord caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib and brought her to the man. This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife and the two are united into one.” Genesis 2:18-24

At the very onset of Scripture we read of God at work creating the world and all that is in it, including people. We read of the creation of the first man and woman, Adam and Eve and their union in Genesis 4, resulting in children, Cain and Abel.

So we have it… a family.

It was not only the first family; it was the first dysfunctional family. When Cain and Abel grew up Cain killed his brother, Abel, in a fit of jealousy. The bible says that afterward God showed up and asked Cain,

“Where is your brother? Where is Abel?” “I don’t know,” Cain responded, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Genesis 4:9

The rhetorical answer, “Yes! You are your brother’s keeper.” Inherent in the concept of family is the care for and protection of the members of the family. Belonging to a family means you belong to other people who love, care for and protect each other.

When I got the call that my brother Randy was dead it fell to me to see that my mother was told. It fell to me to call my brothers. I called my aunt Floris to notify the dad’s side of the family and asked my cousin Donna to notify my mother’s side of the family. Word travels fast in a small town so by phone and word of mouth the news got out.

And so it was we came together… my mother, my brothers and our families, aunts, uncles, cousins and Randy’s friends from the community. And then there were the prayers, the cards… people loving and caring for us. I have a wonderful stack of cards expressing loving care and concern and assurances of prayers for my family from you. That is what it means to be my brother’s keeper.

In her book Lock and Key Sarah Dessen asks, “What is family?” And then she answered her own question, “They are the people who claimed you. In good, in bad, in parts or in whole, they were the ones who showed up and stayed there, regardless. It wasn’t just about blood relations or shared chromosomes, but something wider, bigger.”

So we understand family in a much larger context than blood relations… family is the people who show up and stay.

Just as physical family members can become estranged… either drifting apart or driving each other apart, we find ourselves estranged from God. We may have drifted away or rebelled and run away or just never really had any familial connection with God. So we are described in Scripture as being far away from God.

I. From far away people to brought near people, Ephesians 2:11-13

“Don’t forget you used to be outsiders. You lived in this world without God and without hope. But now you have been united with Christ. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near through the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:12-13

Don’t forget… don’t forget what you’ve overcome and what you have become.

: Don’t forget that you have not always been close to God.

A. People have a problem.

“Don’t forget you used to be outsiders. You lived in this world without God and without hope.” 2:11-13

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