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Just as children bear the image of their family, God created us as image-bearers to be a part of His family. He also created human families with this goal in mind: we would teach our human families to join – and be supremely loyal to, God’s family -i.e., to embrace “the blood of the covenant [family as] stronger than the water of the womb”. The wonderful gift of family is therefore a deep and divinely constructed part of our DNA. It is what gives us identity and purpose. And it is central to God’s Creation and Christian mandate: we conquer for Christ and His kingdom only as a united family (Mat 28:18-20 w/Phi 1:27-30). Satan and sin have however taken this wonderful gift and perverted it: pitting human families against the family of God (e.g., Gen 11:1-9 = the Tower of Babel: the human families of Noah’s evil son Ham, stand against God and His family, Noah’s righteous son Shem and his descendants including Abraham [11:10-23] who was not only alive at the time of the Tower, but Jewish tradition records him as living at Noah’s house for 39 years and leaving to spread the truth about God after its destruction; Rev 20:7-9 = Satan will unite the human families of earth against the family of God, Rev 20:7-9).

 

What (then) we need to know (beyond this) so that we do not end in eternity w/ the wrong family:

1. Jesus knew His ministry would cause division in human families b/c it would involve calling people back to loyalty to God’s family over their human families (Mat 10:34-37) “Me” = My family (Mat 10:40; Joh 13:34-35). (Luk 1:16-17) “turn the hearts of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God” = “turn the hearts back to the children” (or “restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers” – Mal 4:6). The patriarchs are the “fathers” (e.g., Abraham). In this way the Jews would be “a people prepared for the Lord” – i.e., worthy to receive salvation from Jesus/Messiah. What was the heart of “father” Abraham? He chose God (or God’s family) over his only (beloved = special, miracle, divine promised) son, Isaac, the child gaining honor for his human family (e.g., Luk 1:25; the reason some parents live vicariously thru certain children – they are the child that finally made them feel like a success/gave them the honor their former life had not afforded to them) (Gen 22:1-18: Notice the lack of hesitancy, level of commitment and trust demonstrated by Abraham’s actions in carrying out God’s instructions to kill his son. The lesson no doubt learned by Isaac from his father’s actions: 1) there sb no question as to which family possesses our supreme loyalty/love – Gen 22:1 “tested” w/16, 2) love/loyalty to God’s family should make our love/loyalty for human family look like hate – Luk 14:26).

 

2. When we become Christians we are (therefore) committing to leave behind all loyalties to our human families and cleave (or cling) to God and his family (Mat 19:27-29). This truth is reinforced by the fact that how we join God’s family is through a marriage [God/Jesus becomes our Husband] (Gen 2

 

3. God greatly rewards and holds in high regard those who do not hesitate to demonstrate their loyalty to His family over their human family (again Gen 22:16-18; Exo 32:25-29 w/Deu 33:8-9 = The Levites gained the high honor of leading God’s people bc of their loyalty to God’s family over their human families).

 

4. Jesus saw the church as God’s family and the priority during His time on earth (Mar 3:31-35).

 

5. Jesus’ human family thought He was crazy because of His loyalty to God’s family (Mar 3:20-21 [w/31-35]: Notice what loyalty looks like: our homes are constantly filled w/God’s family – Act 2:42, 46).

 

6. We are expected to separate from human family who refuse to listen to the true gospel (the gospel calling for the complete submission of their entire life to faithfully obeying Jesus as their forever Boss) or God will group us w/them in their damnation (2Co 6:14-17) v17, “Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate” = A common OT theme w/ reference to both unrepentant/wicked outsiders and family members that – as a result of such unrepentant wickedness, have been placed under God’s damning ban/curse (outsiders – Isa 52:11, Jer 50:8, family – Deu 13:12-17; Rev 18:4). Paul’s use of this OT theme further reinforces his strong prohibition against relationship [“bound together”] or “fellowship” w/any persons (family or otherwise) who are unrepentant/wicked. Notice, Paul also makes his prohibition and its accompanying OT support, a condition of our covenant relationship w/God (vv16, 18). (2Jo 1:9-11) = Who more than our human family fits the description of those we would naturally welcome into our homes [i.e., give a greeting to]?). POINT NOT TO MISS: Being set apart as God’s holy people has always required separation from the unrepentant wicked.

 

7. Only those willing to endure the pain of separation from human family for the sake of Jesus will make it to heaven (again Mat 10:21-22 w/32-33 w/37; also Luk 14:25-35).

 

8. Jesus Himself suffered separation from human family b/c of His loyalty to God’s family (Luk 9:58-62) = The context is human family. When Jesus (therefore) speaks of having nowhere to lay His head, He is indicating He was separated from many of His human family and therefore possessed none of the expected places of rest afforded to weary travelers in ancient times (i.e., the homes of their family relatives).

 

9. Jesus’ first disciples suffered separation from human family b/c of their loyalty to God’s family (again, Mat 19:27-29)

 

10. Many among God’s family and greatest saints will be orphans (Mat 19:27; Psa 27:10).

 

11. Being a part of God’s family is performance-based and conditional – the very opposite of most human families and the reason many people choose the latter over the former (i.e., in my human family I don’t have to change or leave my sin behind to remain and receive its benefits) (Joh 10:17, 15:1-11; Jud 1:21; Deu 7:9).

 

CLOSING CONTEMPLATION: Two conclusions can be drawn from the truths above: 1) False gospels (and the world run by Satan) will always preach a Jesus and gospel message that exalts human family and unconditional love and demonizes the ideas of division and separation, 2) One of Satan’s greatest tools and man’s greatest stumbling blocks to getting to heaven wb human family.

 

CLOSING CHALLENGE: 2024 RESOLUTION: Excel in our love/loyalty to God’s family (1Th 4:9-10).