Getting To Know God - Part 8 - God’s Family
Please stand as we read our newest memory Scripture together …
“To Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy –
“To the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.”
And our memory refresher verse(s) for today is(are) …
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18
“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
“Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we shall ever be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
Please open your Bibles to Matthew 3:13-17
At one time or another you have probably heard about some man who had two families at the same time. Usually it is a business man who will be away from home days or weeks at a time over many years. When he is away from his first family they think he is “away for business”, and, that is probably true but at that same time he is living with his second family. And, when he is away from his second family they think he is “away for business” and that is probably also true but at that same time he is spending time with his first family.
One such scoundrel even gave two of his daughters from the different marriages the same exact name. He argued in court that being married to two women at the same time was an “honest mistake” because he considered himself to be a bachelor who was just living with two different women.
He was convicted of bigamy.
Now, you may say that that is a strange opening to a sermon and indeed it is. That is the evil end of the spectrum of unfaithfulness.
On the furthest opposite end is the faithfulness of our God and Savior.
This may sound odd to you but I am proposing that the Lord Himself has three families. But unlike the bigamist, God is faithful to all of them and He is righteous in all of them.
His first family is the Holy Trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Let’s take a look at a passage where the Holy Trinity is clearly displayed in Matthew 3:13-17
(prayer asking the Lord for help)
In the past when we have looked at the mystery of the Holy Trinity we have seen it revealed in a way that must have been confusing to the Jews of Old Testament times.
We see Him revealed as a singular AND plural entity in the same Scripture passage. For instance in …
Genesis 1:26-27 where He says:
“Let us make man in Our image, in Our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.
“So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.”
We also see this same sort of confusing singular/plural descriptions of God in
Isaiah 6:8 where the voice of the LORD (Yawheh) is heard saying:
“Whom shall I send? And who will go for Us?” And [Isaiah] replied, “Here am I. Send me!”
So, Yahweh, the God of Heaven says;
“Whom shall I send?” (referring to Himself as singular)
“And who will go for Us?” (referring to Himself as plural)
“Here am I” (referring to himself as singular)
Followed by “Send me” (once again referring to himself as singular)
Is God confused? I don’t think so.
These are just a few examples of the eternal love and cooperation within the Trinity:
The Holy Spirit caused the miraculous conception of Jesus, God the Son who came to earth as God the Man.
“But after (Joseph) had considered (breaking his marriage betrothal with Mary), an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a Son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.’”
Then we see that Jesus, God the Son was sent by God the Father.
Jesus says when speaking to unbelieving Jewish leaders in …
“And the Father who sent Me has Himself testified concerning Me. You have never heard His voice nor seen His form, nor does His word dwell in you, for you do not believe the One He sent.”
Then we see that God the Holy Spirit was sent by God the Father in the name of God the Son John 14:26
“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My Name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
And finally …
“I and the Father are One.”
So we see that God’s first family is the Holy Trinity; One God with three Persons; Yahweh the Father, Yahweh the Son and Yahweh the Holy Spirit.
So then, what is God’s second family?
Jesus, God the Son had an earthly family.
Please turn to Matthew 13:54-58
What are we talking about here? The nuclear family.
This is not a family that is radioactive and about to explode!
As most living cells have a nucleus which contains that DNA that defines the functions of the cell within the body so the traditional nuclear family makes up the basic foundational unit of society.
Jesus had a nuclear family and we see that clearly described in
Now, they are in Nazareth and all of them know the history of Mary becoming pregnant before she was married to Joseph and obviously they believe that Joseph is the father of Jesus since he did not break the betrothal with Mary but married her instead.
We see that Jesus’ brothers are actually named; James, Joseph, Simon and Judas. We also see that Jesus had at least three sisters because it Matthew 13:56 asks the question, “Aren’t all His sisters with us?”
So, we see that Jesus had at least seven half-siblings; four half-brothers and at least three half-sisters. This is the simple nuclear family that the Lord instituted from the very beginning. This is not an extended family but the basic family unit of society.
Wouldn’t you love to know more about that family?
What was it like growing up with Jesus?
Did His half-siblings believe the virgin birth story?
Were they ashamed of Jesus?
How long did Joseph, the dad, live? We know that he lived at least until after Jesus’ twelfth birthday because they were in Jerusalem for the Festival of Passover when Jesus was twelve. This can be found in Luke 2:41-52
It is not known how many of Jesus’ siblings, if any, placed their faith and trust in Him before the crucifixion but we know from John chapter 7 that there was a time during His ministry that, “even His own brothers did not believe in Him.” John 7:5
We also know that Jesus appeared to His half-brother James after His resurrection and James not only believed in Jesus but he became a leader in the church in Jerusalem.
And Jesus’ half brother Judas, who wrote the book of Jude, eventually placed his faith and trust in his big brother, the Messiah!
What must it have been like to live with Jesus and one day realize that He was indeed the Son of God, the promised Messiah!?!
Just try to imagine that!
OK, so, we have seen two of God’s families; the first being the Holy Trinity and the second being Jesus nuclear family of step-father, mother, brothers and sisters here on earth. So, what would be the third family of God?
In this next Scripture reading we will see God’s second family and His third family in the same passage in the Bible as they overlap.
Please turn in your Bibles to Mark 3:31-35
At this time Jesus is in a house that is so packed with people that they cannot even eat a meal and He has been accused by the Jewish leadership of being in league with the devil.
Jesus’ family is on their way to speak to Him but they can’t get into the house because of the crowd.
Let’s see what happens in Mark 3:31-35
Jesus’ second family, His mother and brothers cannot get into the house.
Jesus then goes ahead and introduces His third family to us.
Jesus introduces His third family with
“Whoever does God’s will is My brother and sister and mother.”
Romans 8:14 says
“Those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.”
And Romans 8:17a says
“If we are children [of God], then we are heirs - heirs of God and co - heirs with Christ.”
Are you a member of God’s third family here on earth?
Are you a child of God and a brother or sister of Christ Jesus?
How do you become a member of God’s family?
Once again Jesus says in Mark 3:35
“Whoever does God’s will is My brother and sister and mother.”
What is God’s will?
Specifically, what is God’s will for you?
His first act that He requires from every person who ever becomes a part of the family of God is found in John 3:36
“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”
Another translation says it this way
John 3:36 NRSV
“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but must endure God’s wrath.”
And the NKJV says it like this …
John 3:36 NKJV
“He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
All three of them agree on the last phrase …
God’s wrath remains on him (NIV)
[He] must endure God’s wrath (NRSV)
The wrath of God abides on him (NKJV)
All three of them agree on the first phrase regarding how to avoid God’s eternal wrath …
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life (NIV/NRSV)
He who believes in the Son has everlasting life (NKJV)
It is the middle phrase of the verse where there seems to be a difference …
but whoever rejects the Son will not see life (NIV)
whoever disobeys the Son will not see life (NRSV)
and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life (NKJV)
Now, let’s mash them together …
“Whoever disobeys the Son by rejecting the Son and not believing in the Son will not see life.”
You see, the will of God for every person who ever becomes a child of God is to first and foremost obey Him by accepting the great salvation offered by the Son of God and believing in Him!
The phrase “believe in” is found 66 times in the New Testament
The phrase “faith in” is found 35 times in the New Testament
That is 101 times it is pointed out that belief in and faith in Jesus is the bedrock of salvation.
So, how can a person know for sure if they are a child of God?
How can a person know for sure?
Yes. Yes you can! How?
1 John 5:13
“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may KNOW that you have eternal life.”
Question 1 – Do you believe the Gospel?
Don’t confuse faith with feelings.
Feelings go up and down throughout the phases of life so feelings are not how to know whether you are saved or not.
The Bible never defines our salvation as based on feelings but on faith.
Instead of asking myself how I feel about my salvation I need to be asking, “Do I truly believe in my heart in the Gospel as it is defined in the Scriptures?”
Jesus says in John 5:24
“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life ….”
Question 2 – Do you feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life?
Do you sense that the Holy Spirit is leading you in the decisions in your life?
Do you sense the Holy Spirit is convicting you when you sin?
Do you sense the Holy Spirit reminding you of God’s will for your life from what you have read in the Scriptures?
Do you sense the Holy Spirit comforting you in times of difficulty?
Do you sense the Holy Spirit enabling you to do things that you would not be able or comfortable in doing without His presence in your life?
Do you sense the Holy Spirit producing fruit in your life?
How do we know that these things will be happening in the life of a true child of God?
Romans 8:16 says
“The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.”
If you do not sense the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in your life there may be something that is blocking His presence.
Question 3 – Do you have a sincere desire to live a godly life?”
Do you have a deep desire to:
- Serve God
- Obey God
- Share God’s Word and His truth with people whether they are saved or not?
- Do you have the desire to use your spiritual gifts or even to know what they are?
“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
It is possible to have said the proverbial “sinner’s prayer” and not be saved.
It is possible to be a minister of the Gospel and not be saved.
Do you believe the Gospel? Would you die before denying the Gospel?
Does the Holy Spirit have sovereignty in your life; leading and directing you in all that you say and do?
Do you have a driving passion to please Jesus?
Are you a genuine member of God’s third family; His sons and daughters?
Final comments and closing prayer
Much of the last part containing the "three questions" was taken from a video by Allen Parr called “How to know you’re saved for sure. Guaranteed!”