Summary: What does it take, and what does it mean to belong to a Family, especially the Family of God?


by Pastor James May

The greatest institution that God gave to man is the family unit. The family is where we are trained, taught, and learn to know that we belong. Every member of the family, whether there are a few, or many, develops a sense of belonging that gives them a feeling of self-worth. The family is a place where we can feel safe, where we can feel loved, and where we can establish our roots that will guide us through the rest of life.

I’m so glad to be a part of a family this morning. I have a long line of ancestors that have established the identity of our family name. Our family tree has been traced as far back as Ireland and England, prior to the American Revolution, on my father’s side, and to France on my mother’s side. All of them had their own little idiosyncrasies, and their own little problems, and some of them had some mighty big problems, but every one of them, in some manner or another, has contributed to make our family into what it is today. My family, like yours, helped to establish your morals and values. Through their actions, beliefs, likes and dislikes, your life has been set upon a course.

I read some books a few years ago that dealt with how people get the personality that they have. Your mannerisms, your looks, your thought patterns, and even the way that you interact with other people, are often established by the habits of your ancestors. You won’t have to look far in your family tree to find someone there who acted, or looked, a lot like you do right now. If you are a serious minded, quiet type like me, then you will find that your parents or grandparents were probably the same way. If you are the happy go lucky type that is always upbeat and the life of the party, there’s a good chance that someone close to you in your family tree was the same way. We inherit so many traits that establish our characteristics and there is no escaping your family tree.

Some of you come from a large family where you can trace you ancestry back for many years while others can only go back maybe a generation or two. Some of you have such a large family that you can no longer gather in a single home to have a family gathering. Your family reminds me of a little story that I heard that goes like this.


At the annual family-reunion picnic, a young bride led her husband over to an old woman busily crocheting in a rocker. "Granny," she said, touching the old woman’s hand affectionately, "this is my new husband." The woman eyed him critically for a long moment, and then asked abruptly, "Do you desire to have children?" Startled by her bluntness, the young man blushed and stammered, "Well-uh-yes, I do want children very much." "Well," she said, looking critically at the large tribe gathered around the six picnic tables, "try to control your desire!"

Some of you belong to families that seem to get along with each other pretty well while there are some of you that belong to families that just can’t seem to agree upon anything, anytime or anywhere. Your family gatherings often become battlegrounds and they kind of remind me of another story that I heard.


During World War II, in one of the darkest hours of the war when it seemed that the British nation was on the brink of destruction, they needed a boost in moral. It was at this moment in time that the Prime Minister, Sir. Winston Churchill gave a speech on the radio that contained these immortal words: "We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills."

One father, after hearing this, said that it sounded like his own family’s last vacation.

Aren’t you glad for your family? Aren’t you proud to be known by your family name?

I’m so glad that I came from a good family. Because those who went before me were good moral and god-fearing people, they helped to bring me into a family that has made me into the “perfect” man that I am today. If you aren’t “perfect” then maybe you are letting the wrong family influences mold you.

Now some of you don’t seem to believe that I am “perfect”. Maybe you even laughed when I said that, but I want you to know that I am serious this morning. Aren’t you “perfect” too? Don’t you belong to a “perfect” family?

Maybe you haven’t figured out yet that I’m not talking about being perfect in the flesh. There isn’t one of us here that can say we are perfect in the flesh and we will never be able to say that because we are living in a corruptible body that has inherited from our ancestors, all of the power of sin that controls our lives, ultimately bringing death to this body. We are always susceptible to failing God in this body of flesh and anyone who says that he has no sin in the flesh is simply living in denial. We must ever cleanse this body, this mind, this heart from the power of sin and we must always resist the temptations that come against us, ever mortifying this body of flesh and bringing it under subjection to the Word of God and the Law of God.

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