Connection – The Family of God
CONNECTION – What is it All About?
The Family of God or the Family Feud – You Choose
- I’m so glad I’m a part of the Family of God,
I’m so glad I’m a part of the Family of God,
- I’ve been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His blood!
- Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod,
- For I’m part of the family,
- The Family of God.
We sing “I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God…”
- · Do we mean it?
- · What makes being “a part of the family of God” so special?
- · What is asked of those who would be “a part of the family of God?”
What is it all about? To start with: IT’S ALL ABOUT LOVE….
13 For you are called to freedom, brothers; only don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in one statement: LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF. 15 But if you BITE and DEVOUR one another, watch out, or you will be CONSUMED by one another.
The Amplified Version:
For you, brethren, were called to freedom; only do not let your freedom be an incentive to your flesh and an opportunity or excuse for selfishness, but through love you should serve one another. For the whole Law concerning human relationships is complied with in the one precept, You shall love your neighbor as you do yourself. But if you bite and devour one another in partisan strife, be careful that you and your whole fellowship are not consumed by one another.
- · Why isn’t anything really productive being done in Washington?
- · Why is there such division racially and otherwise in the nation known as “The United States of America?”
- · Why are so many marriages in our community and culture destroyed, ravaged by divorce and disunity?
- · Why are the churches, the fellowships of followers of the Living Christ, divided in disunity and failing in mission all around us?
The Answer is found in this ancient advice from Paul…if we will listen
Today let’s pick this passage apart a little and look at what it meant then and more importantly what it means for us now.
Galatians 5:13 – We are Called to REAL Freedom
13 For you are called to FREEDOM, brothers; only don’t use this FREEDOM as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love.
“One of the greatest evidences and displays of freedom is the power to choose. We have the freedom of choice – to choose to gratify and feed the flesh or to live in step with the spirit…to serve one another in love, or devour one another in selfishness”
Choices…life is filled with them and we make choice every day.
Christian freedom cannot be defined as permission to do anything we want. Rather, it is the opportunity to do what Christ wants, without fear that our performance will be counted against us. We are free from endless ceremonial laws, sin, and fear. But we are not free in the sense of totally governing ourselves or being totally autonomous from Christ. We are under the restraint of the Holy Spirit and the constraint of the higher law, the law of love. Freedom must be used to glorify Christ and serve others, not just to fulfill our personal desires.
This leads to a commandment: “By love serve one another
” (Gal. 5:13). The key word, of course, is love.
The formula looks something like this:
liberty + love = service to others
liberty – love = license (slavery to sin)
Galatians 5:14 – LOVE is the Overwhelming Choice
14 For the entire law is fulfilled in one statement: Love your neighbor as yourself.
The Greek word translated summed up could also mean “fulfilled.” Thus Paul’s sentence has two meanings: (1) This law sums up all the others, and (2) this law is fulfilled. In fact, the entire law is fulfilled as the Christian community acts in love toward one another through the power of the Holy Spirit.
What Happens When W e Lose our Love Focus? The Family Feud!
When we believers lose the motivation of love, we become critical of others. We stop looking for good in them and see only their faults. Soon we lose our unity.
· Have you talked behind someone’s back?
· Have you focused on others’ shortcomings instead of their strengths?
· Remember Jesus’ command to love others as you love yourself (Matt. 22.39)
· When you begin to feel critical of someone, make a list of that person’s positive qualities.
Galatians 5.15 – We Choose Between Lipstick Marks or Teeth Marks
15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out, or you will be consumed by one another.
– CHOOSE WISELY
We must guard against using destructive criticism. Paul described a church where people were harming one another rather than helping or healing. Criticism can destroy a person’s inner resolve to remain faithful. It can actually weaken physical health, undermine character, and drain personal resources. These unnecessary attacks often occur during times when a person needs strength and support to face real challenges. For example, a family in crisis doesn’t need to be criticized about sporadic church attendance; they need the support and care of the church.
When we are critical toward others, we are not demonstrating our freedom; we are showing that we may be slaves to our feelings. We must find nondestructive ways to deal with these thoughts and feelings. We must be willing to admit wrongdoing when we do leave “teeth marks” on others by our treatment of them. Love, respect, and honor for
other believers work as strong antidotes to the bites of destructive criticism.
Paul used the present tense in these verbs, indicating that these problems were occurring as he wrote. Such conflict threatened to tear the church apart.
The verbs increase in intensity—
- · daknete (biting, or striking like a snake),
- · katesthiete (devouring, destroying)
- · analothete (consuming, annihilating)
In direct and horrible contrast to the command to love their neighbors as themselves, the Galatians were becoming adept at destroying one another’s reputations. Paul’s concern as shown in his figurative description of escalating hostility reminds us of Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount
Matthew 5:22 “everyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment… “
The phrase bite and devour one another probably looks back to “an opportunity for the flesh” (v. 13) and looks forward to parts of the listing of “the works of the flesh” (vv. 19-21). Paul had apparently heard that there was serious dissension in the churches of Galatia. He warned them that such attitudes and behavior would destroy them.
The Holy Spirit within gives us the love that we need. Apparently the Galatian believers were lacking in this kind of love because they were “biting and devouring one another” and were in danger of destroying one another. The picture here is of wild animals attacking each other. This in itself is proof that law cannot force people to get along with each other. No matter how many rules or standards a church may adopt, they are no guarantee of spirituality. Unless the Holy Spirit of God is permitted to fill hearts with His love, selfishness and competition will reign.