Summary: God ultimately wants us to become a part of His group—His family—the church.
Remember last week how I mentioned the “Connect the Dots” Activity, where you draw a line from dot #1 to dot #2, then to #3, and so on. And when you’re done, a picture is revealed. And then. I shared how, through our lives, we get “dots” of spiritual information about God, but we sometimes fail to “connect the dots” with God the way He wants us to.
Today I want to talk about “Connecting the Dots with God’s Family.” You see, today, if people are going to attend church, they are going to go either where they already have a connection with someone, or where they can quickly develop a connection, or friendship. And if they don’t develop a connection, they will likely look for another church. And if it happens often enough, they will stop going to church altogether.
So, it’s important to connect the dots with God’s family.
We like to be a part of a group, don’t we? We like to be accepted. How do high schoolers introduce themselves? “I’m so-and-so, and I’m a junior or a senior.” We sometimes introduce ourselves by where we work. “I’m so-and-so, and I work for the electric company, or the phone company.” If you’re at a family reunion, you may say you are part of a certain branch of the family tree.
Spiritually, the same thing is true. Whenever a minister meets people out in the community, do you know how they introduce themselves? “I’m so-and-so, and I belong to the Baptist church, or the Methodist church.”
We like to be known by the groups of people we interact with. God made us that way, and He did so, because He ultimately wants us to become a part of His group—His family—the church.
1. God Made you to become a Part of His Family
Ephesians 1: 5, “His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave Him great pleasure. (NLT)”
Look at some of these phrases:
“his unchanging plan”-This is what God has always wanted.
And then He uses the powerful concept of “adoption.” We understand that through some set of circumstances—maybe death, or rejection or other things which show that the natural parents may be unfit—a child has lost the his or her parents. And yet, someone comes along and takes that child in to be a part of a new family, where this child will be loved, cared for, provided for, protected, taught, even disciplined to train the child. God has always wanted to bring us into His family. So He provided a way—through His Son, Jesus. It brought God “much pleasure,” or joy, that, even through the death of His Son, He was making a way to bring sinful man into His family. You see, it’s through faith in Jesus as our Savior and Lord that we begin to “connect this dot” with God’s family.
Sadly, not everyone will choose to become a part of God’s family, because they refuse to confess their sin, and surrender their lives to Jesus.
But for those who do make this connection, there are some...
2. Benefits of Being Active Part in God’s Family
A. Grow Together
Rick Warren, in his book, The Purpose Driven Life, says this:
You will never grow to [spiritual] maturity just by attending worship services and being a passive spectator. Only participation in the full life of a local church builds spiritual muscle.
The Bible agrees with that. Ephesians 4: 16 says, “Under His [Jesus’] direction, the whole body is fitted together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. (NLT)”
We grow together. Last week I talked about “Connecting the Dots with God,” and I mentioned how we connect with God by talking to Him through prayer and listening to Him by studying His Word. If we are making that connection with God, then God will be teaching us things, and He will be showing us how to apply them into our lives. Well, if we are “Connecting the Dots with God’s family,” one of the ways God will use is to share what He’s teaching us with someone else. This may be the very thing they need to make the next spiritual step in their lives to a deeper commitment to Christ.
We can grow together in our faith when we are connected and active in God’s family.
B. Help One Another
Last Sunday night, I talked about ministering within the church to other believers. One of the verses I used was Galatians 5: 13, “For you have been called to live in freedom—not freedom to satisfy your sinful nature, but freedom to serve one another in love.” Paul even wrote in 1 Corinthians 12: 7, “A spiritual gift is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church. (NLT)”