Are You in God’s Family?

Eph. 3:14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name.

It is a basic truth that there are two families in the earth, ie. the World family and God’s family.  We were all firstly born into the world family by natural descent.  However, at some point in each of our lives, we realised our need of a Saviour and were born again into God’s family.

The two families function very differently, yet many Christians try to live like the world family, with their major focus on earning money and then enjoying their money and leisure time doing whatever they feel like, yet expect to enjoy the eternal benefits of being a part of God’s family.

When trouble comes to the World family, as it always does, they suffer without the comfort of the Holy Spirit, and have nothing of substance to give them hope.  No matter how ‘good’ their lives appear to be, the sad truth is that without Christ they will spend eternity cut off from God forever.

The family of God live a life rich in the Father’s love, rich in peace of mind, with many brothers and sisters to help them through the rough patches, and with a confident expectation of a wonderful ‘forever’ in heaven.  When trouble comes, as it always does, the Holy Spirit is our help and comforter, giving us wisdom and grace for every situation of life.

As you know Salvation is a free gift from God, not in any way dependent on ‘works’.  However, once we are born again into God’s family, there is lots of work to be done!  All the sons and daughters have jobs to do as part of the family.  Everyone has gifts and abilities given them by God, which we are meant to use for the good of the family, and also to be a witness and a blessing to the world family, with a view to them becoming part of God’s family.

Generally speaking, I think that many in the family are more intent on leisure, pleasure and earning money than they are on working for the cause of the Kingdom of God.  We are happy enough to get together for a family celebration once a week, but what about all the work that needs doing behind the scenes?

How would you feel in your own family if 30% of the family did all the work, and the rest spent their time watching TV or playing sport?  You’d probably think it was unfair, and the ‘Dad’ wouldn’t be impressed.

In 1 Cor. 3, we see the kind of work that God expects us to do.  We know this passage is speaking to Christians, because verse 15 clearly says the person will be saved.

1 Cor. 3:6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work.14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward.15 If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.

Ephesians 2:19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household,20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

 

So what is it we are building together?  Clearly, it’s the temple of God – the body of Christ, as we read in Eph. 2:21,22.  These verses show that we are building individually, but also corporately, being constructed and joined together as a holy temple – a dwelling place for the Spirit of God.  So we’re a part of it, but we are also building it. Most Christians have the idea that it’s about building a good family, a good business, a good ministry, or else that it’s about how much witnessing we do, how many souls saved, or how many people healed.

Those things are some of the results we will see if we live fruitful and productive Christian lives.  However, the answer goes deeper than that.

If you go back to 1 Cor.3:6 & 7, Paul is saying:  It’s not the gifts that Apollos and I had, or even the results of using those gifts and talents, because it’s God who gave us those gifts and abilities in the first place, and it’s only God who could make those gifts grow and produce fruit.  So we don’t deserve any credit for doing those things.

Besides which, gifts and talents and the things they produce are earthly or temporal things, which are going to pass away.  So they can’t be the gold, silver and costly stones that will last through eternity.

When you read verse 8, you see that ‘the man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose and each will be rewarded according to his own labor’.  So we see that the rewards are related to the purpose, which is an intangible thing.

The building materials that are eternal, and therefore costly in Kingdom terms, are the ones that identify most closely with God’s eternal purpose.  His purpose is firstly that all men should be saved and secondly that His people will be a holy people who honor Him in every part of their lives.

When Paul in verse 10 claims that by the grace of God he laid a foundation as an expert builder, he was talking about his motives, attitudes and heart’s desire with regard to God’s eternal purposes.  Because his life and ministry was so closely attuned to God’s purpose, God was able to produce through his life wonderful fruit of eternal value.

On the other hand, wood, hay and stubble are the building materials produced by Christians whose lives revolve around self.  These Christians are more interested in earthly achievements than heavenly ones.  They take credit for the things THEY achieve, rather than acknowledging the blessings they receive by the Grace of God.  They usually have a great interest in the praise of people, and may have an under-developed regard for the Kingdom of God.

With God, it’s all about the heart.  It’s about love and compassion and encouragement and all those intangible things that have great eternal value.

The tricky thing is that two people can accomplish the same tasks, but it’s the heart attitude that will determine whether they are producing gold, silver and precious stones, or wood, hay and stubble.  The trouble is that we don’t want it to be about the heart.  We want it to be about how much we do and how well we do it, but that’s not the currency of the Kingdom.

About The Author

Kerrie Price

I am a grandmother and a recently retired pastor. On my retirement I decided I needed a new interest in life and wanted to supplement my income. I have chosen to use my skills as a Christian Life Coach, and to learn new skills in the field of Internet Marketing, and though I haven't been on the journey very long, it has been a most interesting one. There is a great deal to learn and many wonderful people to meet via the Internet. I am enjoying this new stage of my life, and hope to help others who want to improve their circumstances and make a change for the better.

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