Don’t be a stranger brother(sister)!
19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,
20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets.
We became children in a New family when we became a Christian. Though we weren’t born into this family at our physical birth, we were born into it retroactively at our spiritual birth. We are not inferior to any other family members. Nor are we exempt from the responsibilities and discipline and love that all family members share as they submit to the will of the head of the family. This family is the church and the head of this family is Jesus Christ. It has its different meeting places for no building will contain it. We are the MS Temple Baptist clan of the family.
When we were saved and took on the new nature of Jesus Christ (2 Cor 5:17) we became “born again” (John 3:5-7). Though we kept our physical bodies we traded in our sinful, self-will to gain the Spirit of God himself to inhabit our mind with truth, quiet our anxious soul, and fill us with His unimaginable, undeserving love for us. This great love can only be understood fully by the guilty sinner who hears the words “you are forgiven” from the One that actually has the authority from His Father to forgive him.
When we became “born again” we gained a new(church) family. This family is not perfect. It has its problems and quirks for sure. But it is God’s place for us to grow and learn to love unconditionally. A place to learn through study and application the great truths and wisdom that comes with this new Spirit birth. Like how to lose our pride, how to receive and give forgiveness, how to confront a brother(sister) that is in sin, how to share our faith, how to be content in Christ, how to love the unlovable, how to comfort and pray for the sick, hurting and dying among us. The things you can learn in this family are so much more relevant and eternal than what you can learn in the institutions of this world. But mainly it is God’s plan for the redemption of this world. Even Paul and Peter learned to work with God through His church model to fulfill the spread of the gospel across the land at rapid speed back in the early days of Christianity.
Peter seemed fairly presumptuous, Paul seemed like he may have had a little bit of an ego at times. But they both submitted to God’s Way and we have the Church today in tact and ready for us to come and worship and grow and bring others to the Master as a result.
I remember when I first spent time with my wife’s family while we were dating. I had very little in common with her 5 brothers and sisters. The brothers were towering giants compared to me. They were skilled with all things country like raising cattle, horses, tree farming, etc. and I was from the big city of Atlanta and would rather build or fix things than make things grow.
But we did have one major thing in common. I had fallen in love with their sister. I could talk about her all day long. That was enough to get my new relationship with the Dearman family started. They too loved the one I loved. After we married they made me feel like one of them. In turn, I got to help cut firewood, drag the chicken house, run water lines, fix fences, do controlled burns in the woods at night and whatever else needed to be done on our holiday visits home. But it was an honor to be part of the family and to be included in the work as well as the fun. We shared a lot of laughter at their dinner table and in their living room as we saw our kids grow from toddlers to teenagers. I spent time with her brothers and father hunting and fishing when the work was done.
33 years later and the Dearman parents have moved on to their heavenly home. But we still meet as family with the siblings and continue to make new memories together. But what if I had not been accepted by her family? Or what if I had decided that I didn’t fit in and we stayed home and acted like strangers? I can’t even imagine all the love and life experiences my children and I would have missed out on.
Questions to Ponder
Have you ever felt like a stranger in your own church family?
Do you remember that the church is God’s idea?
Have you ever let hurt feelings keep you from being a full participant in the life of our church family?
Do you realize that you are fully accepted as brother and sister in this household of faith?
The people of God make up the church. If you are not present at the assembly, how can it be complete?
Scripture Memory | April | Ephesians 1:7
“He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.”