Family & Community


Author: Leon Gentle Date: Sunday, October 18, 2015 Campus:

Identity Family Community

Matthew 12:46-50 New International Version (NIV)

Jesus’ Mother and Brothers

46 While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. 47 Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.”

48 He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

1 Timothy 5 New International Version (NIV)

Widows, Elders and Slaves

Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.

Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God.

Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

What is Jesus saying here?  At a glance, it looks like Jesus is disowning his own family and saying that His new family are the disciples.  Based on the instruction that Paul gives Timothy though, we know that Jesus isn't really saying that we should disown our families.  So what is Jesus saying?

I believe Jesus is basically saying: "Do God's will and your family and anything else that is dear to you will be sorted".  The bible says that God gives us the desires of our hearts if we delight ourselves in the Lord.  The bible also says that if we seek Gods Kingdom fist, all else will be added.

Knowing our identity in Christ is the biggest factor to a happy family.  In fact, knowing our identity in Christ is an essential part to living a successful Christian life in every area.

There was a time in my life as a Christian when I didn't understand who I was in Christ.  Yes, I knew I was a Christian.  Yes, I knew I was saved and that if I was to die I'd go to heaven, but I didn't take hold of who I am in Christ.  As a member of our church said from the front once - he knew that God loved him, but he didn't know that God liked him.  I've heard of families where there is a member of the family that is loved; because you have to love your family; but not liked. 

The bible says that you are Gods masterpiece and the He takes great delight in you.  He rejoices over you with singing.  He loves you and He likes you - that's who you are in Christ!  When we take hold of that, it has a great transformational effect on the world around us including our family.

What do we mean by family?  I'm aware that we're all in different stages in live.  You may be single, married with kids, married without kids.  You may be a recycled single.  Maybe you have a "previous life" with someone else.  Maybe you're a grandparent or maybe you're still living with your parent / parents.  Maybe you're in a house share?  A church family can be so precious and valuable.   By family , I mean two things - your close relationships and your environment.  These two things are so dear and close to us, no matter what stage in life we're at.

This talk is about family, but to be frank, I'm not going to talk so much about family, but rather about who you (and me) are in Christ.  Living life to my full potential boils down to this: Do I believe I am who God says I am?  Do I believe that I can do what God says I can do?  Am I doing it?

When we know who we are in Christ - steadfastly trusting and believing His words; and when we know who this God is who made us - the Most High, the Almighty; we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

Love your neighbour as yourself, but see, some don't love themselves because they don't see themselves in the same way that God sees them.

It's hard to love your neighbour if you don't love yourself.

What has all this "knowing who we are in Christ" have to do with family?  It's because knowing who we are in Christ is foundational.  There are tons of very good books about family  - read them, but also know that unless you know who you are in Christ, those books won't help you.

Let me tell you a story:

A few weeks ago I was looking for my hat (a strategic move to keep my out of control hair flat :-) ).  I looked in our bedroom.  I looked everywhere in the bedroom, but couldn't find it.  My wife said to me: "we usually keep the hats downstairs in the drawer by the door".  I had an injured knee and walking downstairs was very uncomfortable.  I said to Jill: "It's no use looking downstairs because my knee is too sore to go downstairs, it makes more sense to look for my hat upstairs".

Sometimes we look for solutions to our problems in the wrong place.  We prefer to look for an easy, familiar way of solving our problems rather than looking to the way that could be tougher and require us to change.

Here are a few examples:

I met someone who was going to divorce his wife because they couldn't have children.  He said that a husband and wife need children to bring them close together.  I told him that I had learned in church that even in a household where there are children, the wife should come before children.

Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. 

This means the husband never stops loving the wife - no matter what.

Marriage is not 50/50 it's 100/100.  I Jewish man; who had seemingly come to a conclusion after learning from his mistakes; onnce said to me -  marriage should be a competition to see who can out give the other person.

I heard a saying once - the best gift a father can give his children is to love their mother and the best gift a mother can give her children is to love their father.

Some people look at having children to solve their marriage problems.  Make sure your foundations are right first.

Another example:

When I was in my early twenties, I was engaged to a girl to be married.  We had problems in our relationship, but in my mind I thought that if we could just make it to the wedding day, she'd be my wife and she'd be mine and we'd be happy for evermore. How many of you know; that's not a good foundation for marriage. By God's grace, our marriage counsellor said he wouldn't marry us unless a few things were sorted out first and we ended not getting married - thank God because it would have been an awful marriage.  I'm happy now, but at the time I was broken.

Marriage is meant to be mutual destiny in Christ.  Before you decide that you're ready for marriage, you need to know where you're going so that you may know that the person you choose is going the same way as you.

You may be thinking... If we could just get a bigger house... If I could just get a better job... If I could just move to... then all my problems will be solved.  You're looking in the wrong place for solutions.

An illustration from karate kid (movie from the 80's):

The film karate kid is about a boy - Daniel who wants to learn karate to defend himself against bullies in his neighbourhood (now I'm not condoning violence or martial arts - simply using an illustration).   Daniel asks the Japanese man in his neighbourhood; Mr Miyagi to teach him karate.  Mr Miyagi agrees, but first instructs Daniel to do some chores for him - in a very "painfully" particular way.  Daniel has to wash the car (wax on wax off), then sand the floor, then paint the fence using his left hand for shorter panels and his right hand for longer panels.  Four days later, a very frustrated and angry Daniel told Mr Miyagi that he had enough and that he was tired of being Mr Miyagi's slave.  Mr Miyagi then started throwing punches at Daniel.  To Daniel's surprise, he blocked all the punches that were thrown at him as if it was second nature.  How?  The repetitive motions of all the chores that Daniel had to do in a specific way were strategically thought out by Mr Miyagi to subconsciously imprint the defensive techniques used in karate.

 

Some of us want to be powerful history makers; world changers.  Some of us want house holds that are peaceful and quiet in stead of households that are full of strife.  (Prov 17:1 Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife).  Maybe we need to change a little more ourselves before we try and change our families or the world.

As a Christian, in the past, I've hurt people, I've lied, I've failed.  There was a time when I had no respect for girls because I felt they'd hurt me (men can be hurt in relationships too you know).  But all that stemmed from not fully grasping who I was in Christ.  It's something I still need to remind myself of.

We heard last week that Satan is real, but that our God is much more powerful than satan.  The bible says we have spiritual weapons to fight against the forces of darkness.  Our strongest weapon is Love.  Love never fails.

A word on feelings:

Our God is a God of feelings and emotions.  He wants us to laugh when we're happy and cry all our tears when we're sad.  The problem with feelings however is that they change.  If we react to life purely on our feelings, we can be Christians that are lead be Satanic devices.  What do I mean?  A few weeks ago I was very happy because the world cup rugby tournament had started.  I was exited and so very happy because South Africa were about to play Japan.  An hour and a half later, I was very sad, upset and let down because who would have thought - Japan beat South Africa.  Feelings and emotions change.  You may have the most wonderful encounter with God in the morning at church, but when driving home, someone may cut in front of you and if you're a Christian who is lead by emotions, the devil can steal your joy.

The best way to react to someone cutting in front of you while driving is to speak to God and say:"Lord, thank you for giving me an opportunity to pray for that driver.  Lord, I pray that you would work in heart.  I pray that any other motorists that encounter his reckless driving will assess their short lives on earth and turn to you."  That is Love.  Can you see that Love is a powerful weapon.  If that reaction of retaliating with Love becomes part your character, can you imagine how it will flow through your family, your work situation, the people you come in contact with etc...

Who are you in Christ - who does God say I am?:

Love - we hear the word so often, but what does it really mean?  I love my dog, my mum, I love God, this film... Love love love...  The bible says that God is Love.  There can be no love without giving.  For God so loved the world that He gave...  Jesus died brutally on the cross for you and me.  Why?  Because He loves you and He likes you.  Why does He love me?  Because He made you.  There is nobody else like you.  You have your own finger print, your own DNA.  It's the devil that tells us that we're not capable and that we're not good enough, but God wants you to be just the way you really are.  Just the way He made you.  So stop trying to be someone that you're not and ;I know it's a cliché; but just be the best you that you can possibly be.

Scriptures about who I am in Christ (put your name in):

(your name) is God's masterpiece. Eph 2:10 (NLT)

God takes great delight in (your name) Zeph 3:17

God sings songs about (your name). Zeph 3:17

(your name) is chosen by God. 1 Pet 2:9

(your name) is a royal in the greatest Kingdom. 1 Pet 2:9

(your name) is God's special possession. 1 Pet 2:9

(your name) is God's son / daughter whom he adores. Eph 1:4-5

(your name) has been declared holy and blameless - justified (just as if I'd never sinned). Eph 1:4-5

God is for (your name) , who can be against (your name)? Rom 8:31

1 Peter 2:9New International Version (NIV)

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Ephesians 1:4-5 New International Version (NIV)

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he[a] predestined us for adoption to sonship[b]through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—

A few wise sayings on family:

The best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother and the best thing a mother can do for her children is to love their father.

Marriage is not 50/50, it's 100/100.

Marriage should be a competition to see who can out give the other person.

The definition of marriage is mutual destiny in Christ.

Eph 5:25 - Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.  This means the husband never stops loving the wife.

Wanna know how a man will treat you if he becomes your husband?  Look at the way he treats his Mother and his Sister.

Wanna know how a girl would treat you if she was to become your wife?  Look at the way she treats her father and her brother.

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