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The Christian and the Kingdom of God: Do I Have a Kingdom Family?

The Christian and the Kingdom of God  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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We were made to be a part of God’s Kingdom family.

Notes & Transcripts
Text: "For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering." (Hebrews 2:10, ESV)
and
"God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure." (Ephesians 1:5, NLT)
Theme: We were made to be a part of God’s Kingdom family.
Date: 09/02/2018 File name: TheChristianAndTheKingdomOfGod05.wpd ID Number:
According to Jesus, the Kingdom of God should be the driving force in our lives. God’s Kingdom should be our passion; and the consummation of His coming kingdom should be our hope.
These messages on being a Kingdom Citizen seemed a natural follow-up to our time looking at the Kingdom Parables. Jesus talked a lot about entering the kingdom, but once we do what does it mean to be a kingdom citizen? In a nutshell it means that God has a claim on our life, and every aspect of our life. These message, of which this is the fifth, have revolved around a series of questions that Christians need to ask themselves.
1) Do You Have a Kingdom Identity?
2) Do You Have Kingdom Character?
3) Do You Have Kingdom Priority?
4) Do You Have a Kingdom Perspective?
5) Do You Have a Kingdom Family? and
6) Do You Have a Kingdom Calendar?
These are not unimportant questions. Tonight we’re going to look at the question, Do I have a kingdom family? What does it mean to have a kingdom family, and how do I relate to these people?
Those of us who follow Jesus thus possess a kind of dual citizenship. We live in an external kingdom of family and cities and nationhood, while at the same time belonging to the kingdom of God. In the kingdom of this world the bible describes us as resident aliens, whose true citizenship lies elsewhere. Our true citizenship is in Heaven where our kingdom family resides in heaven. “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.” (Hebrews 11:13, NIV84)
I want us to consider this evening what it means to have a Kingdom family.
God chose you to be a part of His family. The entire Bible is the story of God building a family. It is an eternal family. You were created to live forever, and God’s great desire is that you become an active part of His eternal family

I. IN GOD’S FAMILY WE ARE CALLED INTO FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD & EACH OTHER

“And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” (1 John 4:21, NIV84)
1. God says, “I want you to learn to love the people in your spiritual family.”
a. why?
2. because your physical family will disappear when this world ends
a. but your spiritual family is going to go on forever and ever and ever
1) Christians are going to spend a whole lot more time with their spiritual families than they do with their physical family
3. why does He want us to learn to love our spiritual family? – three reasons . . .
a. 1st it makes us more like God, because God is love and He loves His family
b. 2nd he wants His children to learn to get along together
ILLUS. Those of you who are parents want your kids to get along with each other, don’t you? You like harmony and peace within the family. So does God. How many times as a parent did you tell your children, “Now, play nice!” I think God smiles when His children play nice.
1) the Bible is full of commands to God’s people that essentially say, “Now, play nice!”
c. 3rd learning to love and get along with your spiritual family is practice for eternity
ILLUS. Ya know. I think that God has a sense of humor. One of the ways He’s going to express that humor is by making that fellow believer you really can’t stand your next door neighbor in heaven!
1) so ya better learn to love that person now
4. one of the things you're going to do in heaven is you're going to love God
5. and the other thing you're going to do is you're going to love the other believers that are there
a. learning to love fellow believers here in this world is practice for one of the things you’ll be doing for all eternity

A. FELLOWSHIP IS LOVING GOD'S FAMILY

"Although I hope I can come to you soon, I am writing these things to you now. 15 Then, even if I am delayed, you will know how to live in the family of God. That family is the church of the living God, the support and foundation of the truth." (1 Timothy 3:14-15, NCV)
1. we are to love other believers
2. you’ve heard me say before that the way Baptists spell fellowship is not f-e-l-l-o-w-s-h-i-p, but rather c-h-u-r-c-h
a. the church is a family
1) it is not a building; it is not an institution; it is not an organization; it is not a club – it is a family
b. Church is not a place you go to
1) Church is a family you belong to — there’s a big difference

II. IN GOD'S FAMILY THERE ARE FOUR LEVELS OF FELLOWSHIP

A. THE FIRST LEVEL IS MEMBERSHIP: CHOOSING TO BELONG

1. this is the most basic level
a. that means you find a church family and you choose to get connected to it
"Now you who are not Jewish are not foreigners or strangers any longer, but are citizens together with God’s holy people. You belong to God’s family." (Ephesians 2:19, NCV)
b. let’s be honest this evening — this is where many believers end their fellowship
2. the Christian life is not just a matter of believing, it is also about belonging
a. God wants you to identify with and to make the choice to be a part of His family
b. when you were born physically, you automatically became a part of the human race and an earthly family
1) but when you are born-again, you have to choose to identify with God’s family
c. sometimes, I’ll hear people say, "Well, I'm a Christian, but I don't want to belong to any church."
1) that just doesn't make sense
ILLUS. That's like saying, "I'm a football player, but I don't want to be a part of any team." It doesn't work. It’s tough to be a team of one — although many people try! It's like saying, "I'm a tuba player, but I don't want to be a part of the marching band." A tuba player without a band sounds pretty funny. There isn’t a big demand for tuba soloists. It’s like saying, "I'm a bee, but I don't want to be a part of a hive."
d. the church is where you live out what it means to be a Christian
1) a Christian without a church family is an orphan
3. being a Christian, means being the Body of Christ
"In the same way, we are many, but in Christ we are all one body. Each one is a part of that body, and each part belongs to all the other parts." (Romans 12:5, NCV)
“Some of us are Jews, and some are Greeks. Some of us are slaves, and some are free. But we were all baptized into one body through one Spirit. And we were all made to share in the one Spirit." (1 Corinthians 12:13, NCV)
ILLUS. How well do you think your physical body could operate if every morning when you woke up, one of your eyes said, “I don’t like this body. I’m going to detach myself and go it alone”? How well would you operate during the day, if in the morning when you got up, your legs said, “You go ahead to work. We’re sleeping in this morning?” Those illustrations sound ridiculous to us, but they are no more ridiculous sounding than the professing Christian who says, “I don’t want to be a part of any church.”
4. our bodies are designed to operate as a whole, when any one part ceases to function or ceases to function properly, the whole body is affected
a. folks, that’s that way it is for the Body of Christ as well
1) when any one member ceases to function or ceases to function properly, the whole church is affected
b. one of the tendencies in America today is the growing number of Christians — or at least people who profess to be Christian — who have no church home
1) if they go to church at all, they flit from congregation to congregation
2) we preachers have a name for them — we call them fastfood-Christians
a) these are Christians who go from church to church to church looking for the best full-meal-deal
3) they attend whatever church has the best spiritual menu that week
c. folks, God designed His children to belong to a church family
1) if you want to grow, if you want to see God at work in your life, you have got to join a body
5. The First Level Is Choosing to Belong

B. THE SECOND LEVEL IS FRIENDSHIP: LEARNING TO SHARE

1. God’s children were made for relationships
a. life is not a solo act, and neither is the Christian life — believers need other believers
"All the believers were together and shared everything." (Acts 2:44, NCV)
2. this verse teaches us two things about Christian friendship
a. 1st, you can't develop friendships without meeting together
b. 2nd, you can't develop friendships without sharing
3. the verse says that these first believers met together constantly
a. the more frequently you meet together, the closer you're going to get to other believers
ILLUS. Some of you know the blessing of having really deep friendships that you’ve maintained for 10, 15 or even 20 years. Now, can you maintain a deep and caring friendship when you only see the other person, say once or twice a year? You can’t maintain friendships that way. You choose to develop friendships by making time for them.
1) in the same way, you’ll not develop close Christian friendships when you infrequently meet with other believers
ILLUS. I read an article not long ago about loneliness. The title of the article was simple, “Do you know why you are lonely?” The focus of the article was pretty simply. People are lonely because they don't make time for friendships. They are too busy achieving; they are too busy working; they are too busy doing other things. They are not willing to put time into friendships.
4. how do we go about developing deep and caring friendships?
a. you have to learn how to share
ILLUS. Those of you who are parents know one of the fundamental lessons children have to learn is learning to share.
b. God’s children also need to learn to share
5. so what are we supposed to share?
a. that is where the Bible is full of instructions on things Christians are to share with each other
b. let me just mention just a few
1) the Bible says we're to share our experiences
"As iron sharpens iron, so people can improve each other." (Proverbs 27:17, NCV)
a) it is wise to learn from the experiences of other people because you don't have time to make all the mistakes yourself
b) if everything you learn in life you had to learn personally by trial and error, you're going to experience a lot of unnecessarily problems
c) think of all the wealth of knowledge sitting here right now in this church family, and how much we could learn from each other if we just spend time with each other
2) the Bible says we're to share our homes
"Open your homes to each other, without complaining." (1 Peter 4:9, NCV)
a) it doesn't say if they are really nice homes, open them up
b) it just says open them up
c) why? — because you cannot fellowship in a large crowd — you can only fellowship in a small group
d) it’s in each other’s homes that you really get to know people
3) the Bible Says we’re to share our problems
"By helping each other with your troubles, you truly obey the law of Christ." (Galatians 6:2, NCV)
a) troubles and problems come in all shapes and sizes, don’t they?
b) we can have physical problems, emotional problems, psychological problems and spiritual problems
c) to share each other’s troubles and problems means more than mere toleration
d) it means finding a way of assisting a fellow believer regardless of the oppressing affliction that has come their way
e) sharing the burdens that come to fellow believers is fulfilling the law of Christ
f) it is the principle Jesus explained to his disciple when he said
"I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other as I have loved you. 35 All people will know that you are my followers if you love each other.” (John 13:34-35, NCV)
6. The Second Level Is Friendship: Learning to Share

C. THE THIRD LEVEL IS PARTNERSHIP: DOING MY PART

1. partnership is realizing that you’ve got a contribution to make — that the family of God needs you
a. God did not bring you to this church to sit and soak in some spiritual spa
1) He brought you here to serve
2) He wants to make a difference in our church and in our community through your life
2. in every family there are family responsibilities
a. you divide up the chores with every member of the family doing their part
3. we’re a Christian family and in Christian families there are also responsibilities
a. every one of us has a part
1) the Bible is filled with commands and illustrations that you and I are to work with one another in getting God’s Kingdom Work accomplished in this world
b. some 58 times in the New Testament the Bible says we do it with one another
1) We serve one another
2) We love one another
3) We pray with one another
4) We are even told to “put up” with one another
c. and the list goes on
4. choosing to belong is important, and learning to share is important, but doing your part is also important
a. but in order to be a part, you've got to find your niche — you have got to find out, Where do I fit, and how I do I fit in to the life of my church?
“The whole body depends on Christ, and all the parts of the body are joined and held together. Each part does its own work to make the whole body grow and be strong with love.” (Ephesians 4:16, NCV)
b. each part in that verse refers to you and it refers to me
1) we are a part of God's body
2) and it is by working together that we get things done
ILLUS Many of you are baseball fans? Let me ask you a question: Does a team get to the World Series because each player in the organization plays for himself and his own glory and stats? No, they make it to the World Series because they come together as a team. They play as a team. They work together as a team, and that’s what gets them to the pinnacle of baseball.
c. each believer here this evening has a part to play in the Body of Christ
1) when we cooperate, we get more done together than we could ever get done by ourselves
2) we get involved because we’re part of Christ’s body
"Then the King will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, anything you did for even the least of my people here, you also did for me.’" (Matthew 25:40, NCV)
5. The Third Level Is Partnership: Doing My Part

D. THE FORTH LEVEL IS KINSHIP: LOVING BELIEVERS LIKE FAMILY

1. the deepest level of fellowship in the family of God is what we might call kinship
a. kinship is an old term that we don't use much anymore
1) kinship literally means your closest relationships and refers to your closest family
ILLUS. When somebody has an accident, the para-medics will always look for personal identification so that the police can notify who? That’s right, “the next-of-kin". They don't mean go find great Aunt Ethyl. They need to find the person the victim cares about most, the person who is closest to them, the one they hold most dear. That’s the person they’re referring to when we say next-of-kin.
2. the Bible says that's the kind of attitude we should have toward fellow believers
a. referring to the early church, the Book of Acts says . . .
"They spent their time learning the apostles’ teaching, sharing, breaking bread, and praying together." (Acts 2:42, NCV)
1) these early Christians were like family to each other
b. the Apostle Paul wrote to the Christian at Rome . . .
"Love each other like brothers and sisters. Give each other more honor than you want for yourselves." (Romans 12:10, NCV)
3. the Bible tells us that we are to be as committed to each other as we are committed to Jesus Christ
a. most of you know John 3:16 “For God so loved the world ... ‘
b. but how many of you know 1 John 3:16?
"This is how we know what real love is: Jesus gave his life for us. So we should give our lives for our brothers and sisters." (1 John 3:16, NCV)
c. this is the deepest level of fellowship — sacrificing for each other
1) it's the kind of love Jesus Christ had for you
d. what does it mean to give up our lives?
1) does that mean taking a bullet for a fellow believer? — yep
2) but more than that, I think it means giving up our right to ourselves
Folks, this is what life is all about, loving God and learning to love each other. If you miss this, you have missed the two most important purposes of your life. Life is not about your accomplishments. It is not about your accumulation of stuff. It is not about your rewards and certificates. It is about relationships. You were put on this earth to know God and love Him, and to know His family and love them, because that's whom we're spending eternity with.
As a pastor, I have been at the bedside of people as they were dying. In those situations where I've been there at the side as people were taking their last breath, I have never once had anybody say, "Bring me my diplomas. I want them close to me." Nobody says, "Bring me my trophies." Nobody says, "Bring me the gold watch I got at retirement." Nobody says, "Bring me my iPhone." It is in those final moments they desire to have closest to them what matters most, – family and friends.
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