Family. In many cultures, this is the strongest bond a society knows. Family looks out for each other. Family protects each other. There is safety in the family. When you are hunted, you know you can run to your family. When you are broken, you know your family will always be there to help you put back the pieces. In fact, this bond that is the family has become so important that even pseudo families are born; like the familias of South America, the families of Sicily and the Yakuzas of Japan. Whatever the origins, whatever the form, everyone wants to be a part of a family, because they want to belong, to be provided for and be protected.

Beloved, did you know that for us, we too belong to a family? For us who have put our trust in Jesus, we belong to His family, we belong to His household.

“Therefore you are no longer outsiders (exiles, migrants, and aliens, excluded from the rights of citizens), but you now share citizenship with the saints (God’s own people, consecrated and set apart for Himself); and you belong to God’s [own] household.” Ephesians 2:19 [AMPC]

And with this association, because we are now in His family,

“To you, who were spiritually dead all the time that you drifted along on the stream of this world’s ideas of living, and obeyed its unseen ruler (who is still operating in those who do not respond to the truth of God), to you Christ has given life!” Ephesians 2:1-2 [PHILLIPS]

Now, this life, as we have seen in our other messages, is not some sorry excuse of an existence. No way. Jesus Himself tells us the quality and the substance of the life He came to bring.

“I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).” John 10:10 [AMPC]

And the first and most fundamental of changes that Jesus came to bring, is the ability to say ‘no’ to sin.

For want of an analogy, sin is like the bunch of ‘cool’ kids that you used to hang out with back in school. You remember the kind. They were always up to mischief. But there was just something about them that you found familiar, attractive, that you just could not say ‘no’ to. So even though sin made you get up to no good, literally, you just had no power to turn away. You found yourself a little like this.

“What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise.” Romans 7:15 [MSG]

But unlike that bunch of kids back in school, sin is more surreptitious, its approach more subtle, yet its effects much worse. You see, sin is spawn of the devil, and because Adam chose to believe the devil, he has been the unseen ruler of this world, and is still operating in those who do not respond to the truth of God. And if the devil is the craftsman, then sin is his tool. For when Jesus said that

“…Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.” Luke 22:31

Sin is his sieve and “sin crouches at your door; its desire is for you,” Genesis 4:7 [AMP]

Think about it. Sin never comes in all its glory. It always hides behind some facade, it always comes attached to some excuse. It could be rage, or injustice, or boredom. It may even come wrapped in a perfectly justifiable covering. But once you accept it and open that Trojan gift horse, sin enters your life and takes over.

Have you ever seen children who have yet to learn the merits of self-control? They run around screaming their heads off and wrecking everything in the room, while having a whale of a time. Now, I’m not suggesting that that is sin. But when sin has control of you, you end up looking something like that; just that the effects are much worse. You see, when the child is running around, he has no idea just what dangers lie around the room. He sees but does not understand how the boiling kettle, the sharp table edges, or even the collapsible bookshelf can hurt him. And while I am not trying to make light of sin, when we run around without the ability to discern right from wrong and stay away from what is wrong, we are just like the child, and we put ourselves in harm’s way without even knowing it.

But because we have put our faith in Jesus,

“…God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:4-7

Our Father did not just open our eyes to sin, He pulled us out of sin, gave us the ability to say ‘no’ to sin, and because Jesus died for us and bore the consequence of our sin for us, He made sin become of no consequence to us. And as if that is not enough, because we are now righteous before our Father, because

“…He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

We now sit where Jesus is sitting, occupying the same position of beloved child that Jesus occupies, seated in the same heavenly places that Jesus is, SO THAT, we may be shown the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us. I don’t know about you, but just thinking about that blows my mind.

You see, in the past, we “…followed the impulses and imaginations of our evil nature, being in fact under the wrath of God by nature, like everyone else.” Ephesians 2:3 [PHILLIPS]
Yet, not only does our Father not hold that against us, for us who believe, He charges our sins to Jesus’ account, makes us perfect in His sight, and best of all, blesses us exceedingly, according to the riches of His favor which He pours out, unmerited, upon us, the undeserving ones. It is exactly as how Jesus described it to Peter,

“Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” Luke 22:31-32

Yes, Satan is still out to get you. Yes, sin is still in the world. Yes, you will find it everywhere you go. But hey, Jesus Himself has prayed for you that your faith should not fail, that the ability that you have to say ‘no’ to sin because you now know how much better our Father’s love is, how more comprehensively our Father is able to provide for your needs; that ability will always be with you and will never fail. And when, not ‘if’, but ‘when’ you have returned home to Him, you can strengthen your brethren in the same way that He is strengthening you right now. What a comfort Jesus gives. It is no wonder then that the writer of Hebrews says,

“Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25

And because now through Jesus’ death you belong to God’s family, and because now you have the power to stay away from the very things that will hurt you, you can start enjoying the abundant life that Jesus came to bring. And if ever trouble comes knocking, guess who will be there to stand up for you? Indeed, Paul hit the nail on the head when He said,

“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39

Beloved, because you have put your faith in Jesus, you are already a part of God’s family. You are not a servant. You are not His pawn.

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:12-13

By His will, you are His child.

“And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever.” John 8:35

So your place in the family is forever; your place in our Father’s house is forever; because you are His child.

And friend, if you are looking for a family, if you are looking for a place to belong, if you are looking for shelter and solace, then look no further. Jesus stands, arms open, reaching out for you. His invitation to you, His dear beloved, is extended right here, right now. If you would like to accept His invitation, there is nothing you need to do, except to tell Him this right now.

“Jesus, thank You for loving me. Thank You for loving me so much that even though I was not looking for You, even though I was quite content to wallow in the mud of sin, You were still willing to die on the cross for me so that by dying, I too may die to sin and have the will to say ‘no’ to the very things that hurt me. Jesus, I accept the full remission of sins that Your blood was shed to give me. I accept the new and abundant life that Your rising has purchased for me. And I gratefully take up my new place in our Father’s family knowing that from now on, You have my back, You are watching over me, You are keeping me safe and well provided for. Amen.”

Beloved, you are never alone. To Jesus, you are family, and

“The Lord knows those who are His” 2 Timothy 2:19

So face the days ahead knowing that you are now a part of the best family you could ever belong to and let your Father in Heaven see to each and every issue in your life.

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