Sermon:  The Family of God

Summary:  According to scripture, we are redeemed by Christ to be the body of 
Christ which are a worshipping, confessing, fellowshipping, serving people that 
reflects the character of our creator

Text:  Heb 10:19-25

Scripture Reading:  Acts 2:42-47

1.  Who are you?  What does that mean?
	a.  How do you find out who you are?
	b.  You go to scripture
	c.  We will go to scripture, it defines who we are
2.  Every year I preach a sermon about Life Groups
	a.  Our Life Groups have transformed people
	b.  As people became transformed, the Life Groups themselves transformed
	c.  It seems the congregation itself has been transformed
3.  This sermon lend itself not only to Life Groups, but to all we are to be and do
4.  Start with…

I.  (2 Tim 3:16-17) We are a people of God's word
	A.  This is the source of our teaching, training, etc. 
	B.  It is not about what man says, but what God says
		1.  Scripture guides us in what we say and do
		2.  Scripture defines what kind of people we are
		3.  Why?  Because it is the word of God
	C.  As a result, we have devoted meeting times to study of the Bible
		1.  Bible classes on Sunday morning
		2.  Also a Bible study on Wednesday evening
	D.  Devoting meeting times to this demonstrates we value scripture
		1.  So, let's look at what scripture says about who we are…
		2.  Text:  Heb 10:19-25
	3.  Context - All about Redemption through Christ, then gets to practical
	  	4.  Tells us what kind of people we are…

II.  (Heb 10:19-21)  We are a redeemed people
	A.  There is a problem that keeps us from God - Sin
	B.  What is sin?
		1.  Simple definition - Not living according to God's desires
		2.  Manifests itself in many different ways
			a.  Violence, hatred, hurting others for self-centered reasons
			b.  Hedonism - Pursuit of pleasure - still a self-centered pursuit
			c.  Pride, ambition, accumulation, - still self-centered
			d.  All of the behaviors that go with this
				- Cheating, lying, stealing, abusive speech, envy, fornication, 
				  drunkenness, gluttony, etc. etc. etc.
		3.  1 Jn 2:16 - Lust of flesh, of eyes, pride of life - From world not God
		4.  (Rom 1:21) - Speaks of sin as refusing to honor God as God
	C.  Result - A great divide, a canyon between us and God
		1. That canyon is caused by sin
		2.  It is bottomless, there is no way for us to cross
	D.  Jesus built a bridge for us to cross - with his blood
		1.  Jn 14 - Jesus is the way, truth, and life
			a.  Reminded of this at baptism
			b.  Our sins washed away
			c.  Baptism is a new birth
			d.  Joy, celebration, addition to the family
		2.  We can be united with God
		3.  Our response?…

III.  (v.21-22)  We are a worshipping people
	A.  v.19 - We enter the "holy place" by his blood
		1.  Old Testament imagery - This is where God symbolically dwelt
		2.  Was a scary thing
			a.  People fell down flat on face when in presence of God himself
			b.  Isaiah 6 - Isaiah saw the Lord, said, "Woe is me, I am a man of 
			     unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips"
			c.  Rev 1 - John saw the glorified and risen Lord, fell at his feet like 
			     a dead man
			d.  Why?  He is God, creator, holy, we are not
	B.  ILL:  No one just entered into the temple willy-nilly
		1.  Those who dishonored God were sometimes struck down
		2.  In 2nd temple period, tied rope around priest on Day of Atonement
			a.  Why?
			b.  What if he died in there?  No one wanted to go in after him
	C.  But now, we can draw near with full assurance
		1.  We have been washed and made clean and holy to the Lord
		2.  Interestingly, the Bible says we are now God's temple
			a.  Eph 2:21 - Says we, the church, the people, are God's temple
			b.  1 Cor 6:19 - Your body is also a temple
			c.  1 Pet 2:5 - We are all living stones in God's house
			d. What purpose?
				- Offer up spiritual sacrifices to God, 1 Pet 2:5
				- Proclaim his excellencies, 1 Pet 2:9
		3.  Part of our purpose is to worship God
	D.  So, one of our meeting times is devoted specifically for worship
		1.  It shows us that worship is a central value
		2.  Sunday morning, we come together to worship
			a.  We sing songs of worship and encouragement
			b.  We remember his redemption in communion
			c.  Hear from God's word, consider it
		3.  Brings us to a point not in this passage, but another

IV.  (v.23)  We are a confessing people
	A.  Didn't just say hold fast our hope, but "confession" of hope
	B.  Christian life is not individual or private
		1.  We confess our hope before men
		2.  Our hope is not grounded in this world
			a.  We look beyond this world to the one who created it
			b.  He is creating a new place for us to live
			c.  He enabled us to go and live there through Jesus
		3.  So, we serve, we love, we are righteous, integrity, merciful, WHY?
			a.  Not merely because someone will return the favor
			b.  But because this is how our Lord is
			c.  Because this is how our Lord has instructed us to be
		4.  If we are faithful, he will come and take us to our new home
	C.  This is our hope, and it is no secret - We are a confessing people
	D.  No matter where we are, we are a confessing people
		1.  Whether among family, friends, neighbors, co-workers
		2.  Our hope in Christ is what shapes how we live
		3.  This is in a sense an evangelistic activity  

IV.  (v.24-25)  We are a fellowshipping people
	A.  Not make a habit of forsaking the assembling together
		1.  Does not say, "not forsake THE assembly"
		2.  Says, not to forsake assembling together 
			a.  Not limited to Sunday worship
			b.  Need to make it a priority to be with other Christians
		3.  Why?
	B.  If we don't, then we cannot do what it says…
		1.  Encourage one another
		2.  Notice what it does not say
			a.  Come to church so the sermon can encourage you
			b.  Wait for someone to come encourage you
			c.  Read a good book to be encouraged
		3.  It says, "one another" 
	C.  Think of a wheel
		1.  If it not a complete circle, flat, it is stuck
		2.  If it is a circle, and can go places, it can progress
		3.  That is "one another" goes around and around - reciprocal
	D.  This is not an option, as Christians, we are to do this
		1.  Just like worship, confession, being in God's word
		2.  Fellowship is an indispensable reality of the Christian faith
		3.  So, we have devoted one of our meeting times to this as well
			- More and more congregations doing this
		4.  Life Groups on Sunday Evening
			1.  Worship is focused on worship, class on class
			2.  Life Group is focused on fellowship and spiritual growth
				a.  8 to 15 people meet weekly to discuss personal and 
				     practical application of the morning sermon
				b.  Place where application is more personal
				c.  More personal, more effectively bear one another's 
				     burdens (this happened even among teens)
				d.  Build more intimate relationships
				e.  Have fun together
			3.  Will have meeting to get feedback on Sunday evening
			4.  But more than just encouragement…

V.  v.24 We are a serving people
	A.  To stimulate one another to love and good deeds
	B.  This happened in our groups
		1.  One group devoted specifically to one of our shut ins
			a.  Each group adopted a shut in
			b.  I have heard stories of other meaningful ministry that has 
		2.  There have been those that grew spiritually and went from being 
		      attenders to being ministers, some teach, encourage, visit, etc.
		3.  I would like to have a group dedicated to outreach, especially to those 
		     not a part of our number here.
	C.  Exciting to see our groups looking for ways to serve, care, and minister
		1.  Want to encourage you to keep looking for ways to do it
		2.  If you have a need, make it known to your group
			a.  Group has at times made needs known to the rest
			b.  I have noted that we have been good at responding to needs as 
			     they arise
		3.  Sometimes we see various needs, and I commend you for responding 
		     to those needs	
	D.  We are not a people to be served, but to serve
		1.  We see this example in Jesus himself
		2.  I know we all want to serve, and I commend you for that
		3.  We as leaders want to help you to see ways that you can and help 
		     facilitate this
		4.  Life Groups can do this, they can also be ministry groups

1.  Everything I have mentioned is to be in the context of fellowship
	a.  When God redeemed us as a people, he created us as a fellowship
	a.  Christianity is not an individualized faith, it is communal
	c.  God did not just redeem individuals, but he redeemed a people
	d.  1 Pet 2:10 - Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God
2.  ILL:  Burning Ember
	a.  Man been disconnected from body for some time - No class, worship, small 
	     group, or other activities
	b.  An elderly member went to go visit him, sat by his fireplace
		- Fire had already burned down to glowing embers
		- Member started to speak, elderly member held up finger in silence
		- Took tongs, and took brightly glowing ember from fireplace, placed it on 
		   the hearth by itself
		- Gradually, the burning ember grew dim, then nearly went out
		- Man took it, put it back in the fireplace with the rest, and soon it was 
		  glowing brightly again
		- Man looked at the elderly member, and nodded, he understood, and 
		  made the decision to reconnect with the body of Christ again
	c.  Our strength comes ultimately from God, but…
		- His strength flows through us to one another
		- It is important for us to be connected together
	d.  This is why we do things such as Life Groups.
3.  Who are you?
	a.  A part of the family of God.
	b.  We are a people of the book, redeemed, worshipping, confessing, 
	     fellowshipping, serving
	c.  Scripture reading is a demonstration of what it means and what sermon said
4.  Are you part of the family of God?  (inv)
	- If you are, take part in meeting times, they devoted to what we looked at here