Summary: There's something about families. Our families can be the source of the greatest joy and deepest heartaches. There's more emotion attached to our families than any other unit in society. And Jesus had some revolutionary things to say about family.
Over the years, it’s been my joy to officiate more than 500 weddings. Sometimes funny things happen at weddings. I’ve had a groom who passed out not once, but three times during the ceremony. I’ve had several groomsmen pass out—but never a bride or a bridesmaid. And they call females the weaker sex. I’ve seen brides walking down the aisle crying and laughing at the same time. And once I had a 5-year-old ring bearer who decided he didn’t like his little tux so he started to disrobe in front of everyone. His mother caught him before he could remove his pants.
But I’ve noticed there’s one thing that always happens. After the bride and groom kiss they turn around and I say, “Ladies and gentleman I introduce to you Mr. and Mrs. John Doe.” Everyone breaks out in applause and even cheers the couple. Why are they so happy, but they have just witnessed the creation of a new family.
In 1979, four sisters from Philadelphia, the Sisters Sledge, recorded their only #1 hit, “We are Family.” That same year, the Pittsburg Pirates were down three games to one in the World Series, when they adopted the theme “We are Family.” Willie Stargell led them back to win the next three games and win the series—the last one that Pittsburg has won to date.
There’s something about families. Our families can be the source of the greatest joy and deepest heartaches. There’s more emotion attached to our families than any other unit in society. Jesus has some revolutionary things to say about family in this passage.
Mark 3:20-21. “Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, ‘He is out of his mind.’”
Mark 3:31-35. “Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, ‘Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.’ ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ he asked. Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.’”
I recently read a list of the five most overused words in our American vocabulary. I’ll count them down for you.
(5) Literally. This word is used by literally everyone for literally everything.
(4) Awesome. I’m not sure if everything in life can be totally awesome, dude.
(3) Whatever. It can be as harmless and “whatever you choose” or as a sarcastic “whatever.”
(2) Like. You can use it to say you like ice cream, or misuse by saying that like everything is like totally awesome, dude.
(1) Greatest. Everyone claims to have the greatest hits, the greatest list of this or that. The word “great” should be reserved for a few legendary people, places, and things, which would make the word “greatest” redundant.
To that I just want to say literally, whatever. Because I want to talk to you about three of the greatest things in life: the greatest relationship; the greatest family; and the greatest goal—and I think this is going to be like, awesome.
I. LIFE’S GREATEST RELATIONSHIP: KNOWING JESUS
If there is one truth I have pounded out more than any other over the past 23 years as pastor here it is this: Salvation isn’t about religion. It is about a relationship. It is knowing Jesus.
Religion comes from the Latin word religare, which means “to tie” or “to bind.” Our English word “ligaments” comes from the same word. Our ligaments tie our bones and joints together. Religion is something that binds people to a set of beliefs.
In Romans 6:23 the Bible teaches that salvation is the gift of God, which is eternal life. If I gave you a test sheet and it had only one fill-in-the-blank statement on it, how would you complete this sentence: “Eternal life is ________ ___________.” Some of you might insert the words “Eternal life is living forever.” If you’re miserable now, why would you want to live forever? The correct answer is: “Eternal life is knowing Jesus.” Jesus said, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17:3)
The Apostle Paul was one of the most religious guys in history, but he was lost without Jesus. In Philippians 3 he starts the chapter by quoting his religious pedigree. He wrote that He was born a Jew, circumcised on the eighth day, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews. He meticulously kept the letter of the entire Law, he so zealous he arrested and persecuted Christians who were considered a threat to Judaism. But then he met Jesus on the road to Damascus and he realized his religion was worthless. “What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him…I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.” (Philippians 3:8, 10)