I recently came across a sermon with the title ‘He made us family’ and it got me thinking. That’s what happens when we put our faith in Jesus – we become family. One thing I’m guilty of (amongst many other things!) is thinking of that purely in terms of me (I’m a sinner after all!) – that as we believe we each become children of God. That’s completely true by the way and worth spending a lot of time thinking about!
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God
The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Wonderful isn’t it? Jesus not only washes our sin away, forgives us, justifies us and gives us life that lasts forever but he makes us family. We become part of God’s family. Beloved children with a Father in Heaven who loves us more deeply than we can ever imagine. We might call this the vertical (upwards) dimension. But there is also a horizontal aspect – our fellow Christians are now our family. They become our brothers and sisters.
The Church is a family. Joined with a unity closer than even our natural families. The problem is that sometimes we forget this aspect or only pay lip-service to it. Jesus makes us family.
We hope very soon to begin community groups (house groups if you prefer) in the congregation. Here we will discuss the Bible, pray together and, most importantly, foster deeper relationships. We believe these groups will be vital as the congrega- tion continues to grow. I know there is a sense of community already and we ap- preciate very much the practical care and love that the members of Rosskeen show to one another and to the community at large. It is no small part down to this that the congregation has seen growth. After all, there are two essential things that make a Church a Church – that the Gospel is preached and a sense of community.
Community groups provide an environment where a sense of community can be fostered and deepened. A place where those just coming in to the Church can get involved and get to form relationships that go beyond the superficial. Where they can get to know others and get to be known as well as a group that can function as missionaries in the community. It may be much easier to invite people to a house group than Church in the first instance, or at least, our friends may find it easier to go. We would encourage everyone to consider getting involved in a community group – we are excited as a Church leadership and we hope you will be too!
One thing we all long for deep down is a sense of belonging. That’s part of the rea- son people get drawn to other groups. It’s why, for example, gang culture is so com- mon across the world – it gives a sense of belonging and purpose. Maybe you are looking for that. Not a gang (I hope!) but a sense of belonging. Being cared for. Having a purpose. A mission. Jesus offers us that. He makes us family. Somewhere we can be honest and be loved. He gives us a mission and a purpose. What we are longing for is the Church as it’s meant to be and the mission of God.
It is as a community that we will reflect God to the world. God is a community in himself – Father, Son and Spirit living in perfect love and harmony. It is as a community we will be a living, breathing illustration of the Gospel. It is in Jesus we can be part of something special. Will you be a part of it?