The Family of Faith

February 9, 2017 at 4:08 pm | Posted in The Family of Faith | Leave a comment
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Christians should be well aware that they are supposed to love their neighbors as themselves. So, when we see someone hurting or someone with a need, we are to fight our “natural” instinct to look out for number one, and instead make a genuine effort to help the other person (our “neighbor“) even if it means sacrificing our own comfort.

However, it is also true that, in a world where suffering and neediness is so plentiful, we are allowed and encouraged to place a special emphasis and attention on the needs of our family.

As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

Galatians 6:10

Your “household” is your family and those who live under your roof. The “household of faith” refers to those who are related to you as brothers and sisters in Christ, especially the fellow members of the local church to which you belong. We have a relationship of shared faith in Christ. We are to be on the lookout for opportunities to minister to Him by serving those who have like faith and are ministering alongside us.

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

Ephesians 2:19

Not only are we of the same “household” as part of a church family, but we are members of God’s household, having been brought into His family by both “birth” (the second birth of regeneration) and adoption. We willingly and lovingly minister to “strangers” (those who seem alien to us in our everyday experience of life) and to “foreigners” (those we may commonly encounter, but who do not seem to “belong” to the family of faith). We are like ambassadors: hailing from another country (citizens of Heaven), but also representing a benevolent and generous King, Who would have us accurately represent Him in this temporary, and sometimes hostile, world.

But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

I Timothy 5:8

Finally, while we are to care for outsiders, and focus on the needs of our spiritual family members, we must not forget our blood relations. Parents must not use “church ministry” as an excuse for neglecting their children. Children must honor and respect their parents even when they perceive that the parents are lacking in spiritual maturity. Families must care for, and attend to, their elderly family members.

In every sense, the “household of God” is truly a “family of faith.”

Here are the the previous posts in this series:

1. Especially the Family (Galatians 6:10)
2. Becoming Part of the Family
3. Family Responsibilities (Galatians 6:10)
4. Family Privileges (Ephesians 2:12, 19)
5. The Privilege of Patriotism
6. The Privilege of Participation 
7. The Privilege of Protection
8. The Privilege of Provision (Philippians 4:19)

The Privilege of Provision

February 2, 2017 at 4:32 pm | Posted in The Family of Faith | 2 Comments
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Those who belong to the family of faith enjoy the privilege of protection, and the privilege of provision.

The citizens of earthly nations pay taxes so that needs will be met; the citizens of God’s family have their REAL needs provided for by God according to His riches in glory in Christ.

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:19

Citizenship in an earthly nation is supposed to provide safety and acceptance; citizenship in God’s nation and family provides a home and unseverable relationships (although fellowship may be tested, strained, and even broken).

The Privilege of Protection

January 30, 2017 at 5:56 pm | Posted in The Family of Faith | 3 Comments
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Last time, I said that membership in the family of faith includes the privilege of participation. It also includes the privilege of protection.

Citizens of an earthly nation sometimes have to fight for their nation. Citizens of God’s nation and family get to fight in a spiritual war for their nation.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Ephesians 6:12

Why is fighting a privilege? Because we know we’re going to win.

Citizens of an earthly nation must protect the principles on which their nation is founded. Citizens of God’s nation and family get to protect sound doctrine.

Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

Titus 1:9

Why is this a privilege? Because sound doctrine is always profitable (II Timothy 3:16). It is the Word of LIFE.

Next time: the privilege of provision.

The Privilege of Participation

January 27, 2017 at 3:46 pm | Posted in The Family of Faith | 2 Comments
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Previously, we saw that, in the family of faith, we have the privilege of patriotism. Now we will see that we also have the privilege of participation.

Just as citizens of an earthly nation ought to have the privilege of voting, so the citizens of God’s nation and family get to have a say-so (subject to the sovereign commands of Scripture, of course) in the direction and the condition of God’s family.

Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Matthew 18:18

Just as citizens of an earthly nation get the opportunity to serve in government, so the citizens of God’s nation and family get to seek positions of servant leadership.

This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.

I Timothy 3:1

For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

I Timothy 3:13

Just as the citizens of an earthly nation are registered with the government in some type of official record-keeping, so the citizens of God’s nation and family get to keep track of what’s going on in each other’s lives.

And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;

I Thessalonians 5:12

Next time: the privilege of protection.

Family Privileges

December 30, 2016 at 4:23 pm | Posted in The Family of Faith | 2 Comments
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Previously we looked at how people get into the family of faith, and some of the responsibilities that come with being part of the family of faith. Now, as we examine some of the privileges of being part of the family of faith, we will see how God prepares His family.

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

Ephesians 2:19

The “therefore” in Ephesians 2:19 refers back to:

That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

Ephesians 2:12

Before Christ abolished the division between Jews and gentiles, and before He slew the enmity between God and men, men were considered “strangers.” But those who have entered into the family of faith are no longer strangers – no longer people who have no place – no longer complete outsiders without any legal right to be where they are. Nor are they mere “foreigners” – people who are allowed to stay in the space which encompasses the household, but are not really part of the household. In other words, those who truly come to Christ by grace through faith are not mere sojourners or house guests, so we who are already part of the family of faith may tell them to make themselves at home. Perhaps you have told a guest in your house to “make yourself at home,” as a courtesy, without really meaning it. A person who truly “makes himself at home” in your home is liable to go through your underwear drawer, drool on your pillow, ransack your medicine cabinet, drink all your grape soda, and reprogram your DVR! We issue the invitation, but there’s an understanding that we don’t mean it literally. But when God welcomes you into HIS family, He really DOES mean it, and, in Ephesians 2, He is saying that, now, as part of the family of faith, we also have become part of the “nation” of God, and not only one nation “under” God, but the “citizens” of God’s own universal nation (earthly and Heavenly), so that we have the privileges of citizenship, one of which is the idea of a new patriotism that we will develop next time.

Especially the Family

November 7, 2016 at 12:25 pm | Posted in Mark, The Family of Faith | 4 Comments
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We have many relationships in our lives: friends, co-workers, acquaintances. But “family” is a special relationship.

As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

Galatians 6:10

In the original language the word translated as “household” meant family and those who live together under the same roof. It is used three times in the New Testament, and it refers to Christians who are related as brothers and sisters in Christ.

The Bible says we are to do what is good to people in general. Jesus taught His disciples to love their “neighbor,” and he criticized the religious hypocrites for failing to love their neighbors.

And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

Mark 12:28-31

This is essentially what Galatians 6:10 is saying when it says, “let us do good unto all men.” Should we be nice to people that are easy to be nice to, and mean to people who rub us the wrong way? No, of course not – not according to the Bible. Should we be nice to Christians, but ambivalent toward the unsaved? No! We are to love even our enemies, and even those who persecute us! In fact, that is one of the great indicators (to a lost and watching world) that we belong to Jesus. Anybody can be nice to people who are nice to them first, or when there’s a reward at stake. Jesus loved, and died for, those who HATED Him.

We must bless those who hate us and pray for those who despitefully use us. However, Galatians 6:10 does have a warning word – something of a qualifier. It doesn’t say forget about doing good to all people, but it does say to do good ESPECIALLY to those who are part of the household of faith: fellow Christians – brothers and sisters in Christ – and, in the context of Galatians 6, doing “good” (“the good” in the Greek) means bearing one another’s burdens and sowing to the Spirit (which results in reaping everlasting life) instead of sowing to the flesh (which results in reaping corruption). In other words, we are commanded to cultivate the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-24) in dealing with our spiritual family members. So, since the Holy Spirit emphasizes the importance of serving in the household of faith, next time we will look at exactly what it means to be a part of this household/family.

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