Title:  Family of God

Focus:  Since the Bible tells us we are the family of God, we should strive to have the characterstics of a family.  This means we need to be a safe place to grow and learn.

Function:  To show the need for fellowship so the congregation



1.  This time of year, holidays, families get together

            a.  In Oakdale, get together, play cards, sing, oyster soup, dinner

            b.  Glad to be together

2.  God inteded for church to be  like that - A regular reunion of the saints

3.  We often refer to church as family

            a.  So does the Bible

            b.  1 Tim 3:15; 5:1-2; Mark 3:31-35

4.  What is a family?


I.  A family is a group of people connected by blood

            A.  Common name, ancestors, parents, relatives, address

                        1.  We all have the same genes

                        2.  May even look alike

                        3.  May even sound alike (Jeremy and William sound alike)

            B.  What about Family of God?  How are we related?

                        1.  Do we have a common ancestor?  (Gal 3:7)

                                    a.  Tells us that our faith makes us descendant of Abraham

                                    b.  In this case, not Abraham’s genes passed on, but faith

                        2.  Are we blood relatives?  (Eph 2:11-14)

                                    a.  Yes, we brought together by blood of Christ

                                    b.  We are adopted as blood relatives!!

                        3.  But family is not just about biology

                                    a.  ILL  Mongie when settling inheritance

                                                - Got a lecture

                                                - Concluded with, “there is nothing like family”

                                    b.  She not talking about biology, bujt relationship

                                    c.  Not worth splitting family up over “things”

                        4.  Family is not about biology, but relationships

            C.  ILL:  Cousins and their Dad Bob in Oakdale

                        1.  Moved to Arizona, and Bob dissappeared one day

                        2.  14 years later, he calls cousin

                                    a.  Guess who I am?  I’m you’re Dad

                                    b.  Answer - No youre not

                        3.  She talking about biology?  No, but relationship

                        4.  Father is more than a sperm doner, family more than genes

                                    a.  Related word to family = “familiar”

                                    b.  A family has familiarity, a “relationship”

            D.  So when Bible is talking about family, talking about relationship

                        -  (1 Tim 5:1-2) - We are all family


II.  A family is a safe place to learn and grow

            A.  We grow in the context of family from the day we are born

                        1.  Learn what is right, wrong, to talk, eat, play, manners

                        2.  Does it stop when we turn 18?

                        3.  Does it stop when get married?  When have kids?

                        4.  Grandkids?  (Can’t speak from experience on this one)

            B.  Bible speaks of learning using family analogy

                        1.  (Heb 12:5-11) - Lord disciplines his children

                                    a.  Why?  For their good, he loves them

                                    b.  Do children enjoy discipline?

                                    c.  If you had appropriate discipline, you glad for it now?

                        2.  Discipline is not for hurting, or punishment (Heb 12:12-13)

                                    a.  Sometimes afterwards, parents comfort children

                                    b.  Why?  To show that they still love and accept child

                                    c.  We are to strengthen feeble knees = love

                        3.  So, an ideal home/church is a safe place

                                    a.  Can learn from mistakes

                                    b.  Not the end of the world

            C.  ILL:  I stole a bunch of golf tees from Sears

                        1.  Dad confronted me, and made me confront my wrong doing

                        2.  Had to return it and apologize

                        3.  Did I cease to be a part of the family?  No.

            D.  Family is a place where we learn how to live

                        1.  (Jas 5:16) - We to confess and pray

                        2.  Church is a place of healing, of learning and growing

                        3.  We are related, and don’t stop being related


III.  What Does it Take to be a Family?

            A.  We understand the analogy, but where to start?

                        1.  Life Groups

                        2.  A place to share life

            B.  Acronym for Life Groups:  SHARE

                        1.  Service

                                    a.  In families, we learn this through chores and such

                                    b.  IN the church, they are ministries, not chores

                                    c.  Paul’s practical applications usually included service

                        2.  Healing

                                    a.  Emotional and Spiritual healing

                                    b.  Involves praying & relying on God’s power

                        3.  Apply

                                    a.  We not trying to amass Bible facts

                                    b.  We trying to discover how to use those facts

                        4.  Relationship

                                    a.  Auditorium great for worship and sermons

                                    b.  Not a very good place to build relationships

                                    c.  Gal 6:2 - Bear one another burdens

                                    d.  Heb 10:24-25 - Assemble and encourage

                        5.  Evangelism

                                    a.  Start with marriage, followed by children, grandchildren

                                    b.  The family of God always has room for more

                                    c.  A by-product - Visitors witness Christianity in action

            C.  LIfe Groups to help us be more like a family

                        1.  Purpose:  For 8-12 people to meet in a small group to discuss

                             personal application of the Sunday morning sermon

                        2.  Format

                                    a.  8-12 people in homes weekly

                                    b.  Sign up lists

                                    c.  Once a month special praise service

                                    d.  Break in Oct & Dec, new sign ups

                                    e.  Empty chair

                        3.  Each group led by trained leader

            D.  Why Life Groups?

                        1.  To help us be more like a family

                                    a.  A sick person in family not go unnoticed

                                    b.  A missing person will not go unnoticed

                                    c.  Not lef to fend for self.

                                    d.  In large family, hard to be lonely

                                           - ILL: Asked for little brother.  Wanted playmate

                                           - Unless an only child, families are fun 

                        2.  Better way to learn (Combines Sunday morning & evening)

                        3.  Ministry happens naturally

                        4.  Evangelism happens naturally

            E.  I strongly urge you to sign up for a group



1.  We are the family of God

2.  This is the place to learn from mistakes, for healing, for growing

3.  Are you part of God’s family?