Creating a Learning Network for Kingdom Builders!
Galatians 6:10 ESV So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
1 Corinthians 12:26 ESV If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.
Ephesians 2:19-22 ESV So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
When I was a child I was introduced to family I had never known. From the time I was a toddler until I was around 12 or 13 I was not in touch with my father’s part of the family. But when I came to the family reunion, I remember how all my aunts and uncles and my (step) grandmother, and my cousins (who had never met me) instantly accepted me. Indeed, since then, I have myself met family members whom I had never known, and it was always the same- we instantly connected, we had a bond.
This familial bond is a big deal. I’ve felt it for people I was not related to as well. For instance, the bond between former military members or the bond with people who went to boarding schools I attended.
So I got to thinking about Christian unity and I wanted to recapture that sense of a familial bond with fellow Christians, or instill it where it had never been felt or acted on before. I suggested this to my wife and she says “well, I agree with that idea, but when you use that word ‘family’ it just doesn’t mean anything.” Indeed it is a term too easily used and too lightly understood.
So I got to thinking about Christian family, how family is SUPPOSED to treat family,and a real world example struck me.
About a year ago I was asked to consider planting a newspaper in a town. The person who asked me knew that the company I am part owner of actually has a vision to plant local newspapers all over the US, and beyond if possible. But when I went there I discovered that one of my brothers was already running a local newspaper.
This was a surprise to me. So I went and met with him and I discovered that he was doing a lot of what we intend on doing. I offered him any help or mutual support I could provide, and I told the person who asked me about planting a paper there that this was just not going to happen. I could not, I would not, step on my brother’s field of labor. Imagine how awkward family reunions with be if one brother went into a town and basically tried to undercut and take away his own brother’s business?
But here’s the thing. That brother, he isn't the son of my natural father or my mother, our blood ties do however go back around 2,000 years, the blood that binds us is the Blood of Jesus Christ. I had never met this man, but I soon discovered we were related, and, of course, I treated him as any brother would his own flesh and blood. But the flesh is the broken Body of Christ and the blood is the Blood of Christ, and that bond is eternal!
I have seen how Christian brothers and sisters treat one another. I have seen Christians go out and step all over the ministries or businesses of their siblings in Christ as if they were strangers! Of course, they may not have met them, not ever, but they are related, and, as everyone knows, “blood is thicker than water”, and since this Blood is the Blood of Christ, it’s even thicker than any other blood!
This really isn't about whether or not I should have set up a competitive newspaper where my brother was already operating one, and that for the Glory of God and the praise of His Name, this is really going back to what my wife said, “family is a word that is always used and yet people really don’t mean it.” In other words, people preach about us being “the family of God” a lot, but in everyday life, we just don’t see Christians treating fellow Christ like BLOOD RELATIONS, which we most definitely are!
What we really think about being family is seen in how we act when our family ties might inconvenience our plans to start our own ministry or our own business. I am not saying everyone needs to abstain from any competition with their family members, competition is not immoral, but what I am seeing is that Christians often treat their Blood Kin in Christ as if they were distant cousins or even strangers, and they certainly don’t treat them like their natural blood relatives.
It is so obvious it’s painful.
A lot of people talk about the coming of a new era, the Kingdom Era, as opposed the "Church Era", or the "Denominational Era", and they ask "what is the difference between these two eras?" I see the difference as being relational as opposed to organizational. I think one huge difference is going to be that Christians in the Kingdom Era are going to BELIEVE, FEEL, and ACT like they are FAMILY in word and deed.
There is an old saying I like to quote, “the first step towards wisdom is not having the right answers, the first step towards wisdom is knowing the right questions.”
Here then is our question- who are we as the family of God and how does family really treat family?
Bill, Excellent article!
I think in the Kingdom Era we will become more like the family that is taught in Scripture, think about what it says in 2 Cor 6 vs 16-18: "What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, I will make my dwelling among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty". During the Denominational Era, I looked at being "sons and daughters" as being more of a positional standing before God, and not in a practical sense. However, as I have grown in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, I have gained greater insight into this Scripture. There is something that God expects of us, 1 Cor 5 vs 9-11 says: "I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people-not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler- not even to eat with such a one". There is so much of this going on in the Denominational Era, it creates a lot of confusion and Satan is the Author of Confusion. So I think God is calling His sons and daughters out of this mess, so that we can truly be blessed by Him as His children. "Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him"(Mal. 3 vs 18).