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THE FAMILY OF GOD
By Vernon Dunning

One of the most important parts of the church is its family-like aspect. Being a part of the family of God is a great blessing. We all realize how important a family is. We marry, have children, rear them and cry when they leave. What are some of the elements of the family that make it really work?

I. IN A FAMILY WE FIND EXPECTATIONS.
  A. Jesus has given different talents to different people and He expects those talents to be used.
    1. He wants us to grow. 2 Pet. 3:18, "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever"
    2. He wants us to mature. Col. 1:28, "Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus."
  B. God wants us to realize our potential. He expects us to do our best.

II. IN A FAMILY WE HAVE FORGIVENESS.
  A. Jesus is willing to forgive anyone in the family who repents. Matt. 18:21-22, "Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive Him? Till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, until seven times: but, until seventy times seven."
  B. Jesus expects us to forgive one another.

III. IN A FAMILY THERE IS ENCOURAGEMENT.
  A. Jesus wants us to encourage one another. 1 Thess. 5:11, "Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another even as also ye do."
  B. HOW DO WE ENCOURAGE EACH OTHER?
    1. By properly spoken words. Eph. 4:19, "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers."
    2. By togetherness. Heb. 10:24-25, "And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another, and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching."
    3. Cooperation by working together. 1 Cor. 3:9, "For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building."

IV. IN A FAMILY THERE IS DISCIPLINE.
  A. God's family must be a disciplined family. Heb. 12:7, "If ye endure chastening, God dealing with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?"
    1. If we are not disciplined, we are not God's children.
    2. Discipline helps us to become Christ-like people. 2 Tim. 3:16-17, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."
  B. God expects us to live in a certain way in His family. The way we live will bring either glory or dishonor upon God.

V. IN A FAMILY PROBLEMS ARE WORKED OUT.
  A. Since the church is made up of people, problems are going to arise from time to time.
  B. God wants us to deal with the problems and find the biblical solutions.

VI. IN A FAMILY THERE IS A PLACE OF IDENTITY.
  A. God wants us to know who we are. What makes us different?
    1. The family we belong to.
    2. The name we wear.
    3. The talents we have.
    4. The principles we live by.
  B. God wants us to realize that we are His children; we are Christians. Gal. 3:26-27, "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ."

VII. IN A FAMILY WE FIND SECURITY.
A. God wants us to feel secure in His family. Rom. 8:31, "What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?" Acts 4:12, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
B. Many of the problems that are in the world are there because homes are not providing security.

VIII. IN A FAMILY THERE IS ACCEPTANCE.
  A. We are to accept one another. Rom. 15:7, "Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God."
  B. That does not mean we accept what people do that is wrong. We accept people in matters of judgment, in weakness of faith and in immaturity.
  C. We must have the attitude of acceptance, John 3:17, "For God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved."
  D. We need to want one another.

IX. IN A FAMILY WE FIND COMFORT.
  A. God is a comforting father. 2 Cor. 1:3, "Blessed be God even the father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of mercies, and the God of all comfort."
  B. God's family should be a place where we find comfort. In God's family there is comforting care. God wants us to care for His children.
  C. As the family of God:
    1. Let us be steadfast.
    2. Let us be responsible.
    3. Let us be aware of the family needs.
    4. Let us be encouragers.

GOD'S FAMILY IS THE GREATEST FAMILY

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