18. Joining a Family
This conversation is a relatively easy one. You are discussing how the Church is a family. Far more like a family than joining an organisation or a club. Just like in a family, you start off dependent on the family, but as you grow and mature, you start to contribute into the life of your family. Explain how The Way is now their spiritual family.
When you became a Christian, you joined a family. “What’s the difference?” you say. A lot. You can change your religion, but you can’t change your family. Your family is with you for life: through good and bad, thick or thin. Your family shapes who you are.
"But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God."
Question: What does this scripture tell you about your identity?
This family is called The Church, and it is the most beautiful group of people on earth: God’s own children given the amazing privilege of showing the world who He is.
1 Peter 2:9-10
"But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession."
As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
“Once you had no identity as a people;
now you are God’s people.
Once you received no mercy;
now you have received God’s mercy.”
This family is spread across the whole world and is made up of every culture and language. It is not limited to a building, just as a natural family isn’t limited to their house.
"How wonderful and pleasant it is
when brothers live together in harmony!"
"Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all."
The Local Church
Question: So how do you think you get connected in this family?
As a Christian, you are automatically part of God’s large family, called the Universal Church, but He also has a smaller family for you to be a part of, called a local church. It’s like having relatives all over the world, but living with your immediate family.
"God places the lonely in families;
he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.
But he makes the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land."
A local church is just a group of believers in Jesus who have committed to support each other and follow Jesus together. For you, that local church or local family is "The Way".
Take a moment now and just thank God for adopting you in His family and having a great plan for you.
"All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had." Acts 4:32
Question: Why did God create the Church to be like a family?
Right from the start, Jesus made His followers as special as His own mom and siblings.
"Then he pointed to his disciples and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!”
That is why we can call each other “brothers” and “sisters” in Christ.
"Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near."
What is a Family?
Think about all the benefits of a family.
A family provides a warm, safe place for you to call home.
It gives you your sense of security and identity, and
teaches you the difference between right and wrong.
Your family feeds and clothes you.
It is in a family that you learn how to love your siblings and respect your parents.
And it is in a family that you discover who you are and how you can contribute to the world.
"I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
We Need Each Other
God wants you to have a spiritual family in a local church. A young baby can’t be expected to feed himself, change his diaper, and teach himself all the things he needs to know as an adult.
Just the same, God knows you need:
the guidance of a spiritual leaders,
the care of other Christians,
and the safety and support of a good church home to help you grow as a Christian.
"Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ."
"Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken."
Ask God to speak to you about your spiritual family, The Way, and how you can contribute to that life together.
"And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had."
Question: How has The Way been like family to you? How does it encourage you to know you're God's child, part of His forever Family?
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