Family in the New Covenant

October 20, 2019


Listen to this Sermon on YouTube

  

A New Covenant 2019

Family

Let’s get started with an interesting idea. 

Family is Covenant.

At first this sounds a bit weird. Then, it sounds pretty obvious. But, I’m going to go with interesting. Follow the logic.

--A couple gets married… that would be obviously covenant… marriages are covenant.

--Then, this couple has four kids… there is covenantal responsibilities. The parents provide blessing to their kids… food, shelter, protection, love… all that makes a home. That’s covenant.

--Then, kids have kids. It gets more interesting.  There are implied connections between grandparents and grandkids.  

--Also, there are uncle/aunt – niece/nephew connections. Which contains cousin blessings.  There are all sorts of covenant relationships in this extended family…

If a son gets Bronco tickets… he shares them with a father. 

If a grandson wants French toast… grandma is obliging.

If uncle needs Christmas lights… nephews climb to the occasion.

If anyone plays in any kind of sport, even rugby, grandparents are supposed to be there.

You get the picture.  A family is an extended interconnected covenant. We all intuitively understand this. Family is Covenant. This interesting.

Because we all get this, the New Testament, uses this intuitive understanding to help us understand the covenantal relationships within the New Covenant.

The New Covenant is Family.

This is also interesting. Watch as I demonstrate how extensively the New Covenant is explained in family language in the New Testament.

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First: God is our Father

Let’s begin with Jesus. Jesus taught us to think of God as our Father. Father is on the lips of Jesus 65 times in Matthew, Mark and Luke and over 100 times in the Gospel of John. Jesus taught us to think of God as Father

Matthew 6:7-13 And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.  Pray then like this: "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

Jesus brought this to us. Before Jesus, God, as Father, is surprisingly rare. The Jews of Jesus’s day did typically think of God this way. Certainly, the pagans of his time did not think this way. The world religions of the first century considered gods as fickle beings who needed to be appeased. But, Jesus brought this new, amazing idea to us, “Our Father in heaven!”

God as Father is the starting point of The New Covenant is Family.

This is just for fun. We have learned the Seven Blessings of the New Covenant.  Notice the seven blessings of the New Covenant found in the Lord’s Prayer! With just a little fudging. 

--Identity – “Our Father.” - We are his children.

--Purpose – “Your will be done. Your kingdom come.”  – We do his will.

--Immunity – “Forgive us our debts.” We have accident forgiveness! 

--Holy Spirit – “Hallowed be your name.”  Hallowed is the same Greek word for Holy. Our connection to God is in the Holy Spirit.

--Protection – “Deliver us from evil.”

--Conformity – “Lead us not into temptation.”

--Life – “Give us our daily bread.” Today and throughout eternity! 

The New Covenant is Family because God is Father. 

Say it… “God is my Father!”

But keep watching…

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Second: Jesus is our Brother

I wonder what it is like to have an older brother. I am the older brother. So, I don’t have an older brother. I image having an older brother could have some benefits…

--The older brother would have gone through stuff before me. He would be able to encourage me on what was just ahead. Sort of a pioneer. “I did it. You can do it!”

--The older brother could be there to set an example. “Just do what I did.”

--The older brother could protect. “Don’t mess with my younger brother.”

--We would share the same story. “It us, together. We are family.”

--The older brother could be proud of me. “Good job.”

Jesus IS that for us. 

Hebrews 2:9-11 But we see Jesus who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder (pioneer) of their salvation perfect through suffering. For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one origin. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers.

--He pioneered death.  Jesus paved the way; opened the frontier; defeated Satan; drove back evil. “I did it. Just follow me!” Death has no power over you!

--Certainly, he set an example to bring his brothers to glory. “Be like me.”

--He Protects – “Don’t mess with my baby brothers.” 

--We have the same origin… We are children of God! 

--He is not ashamed to call me brother… This is transformational. “That’s my older brother. His name is Jesus. We are like this. Wow!

The New Covenant is Family because Jesus is my brother.

Say it. “Jesus is our brother.”

Keep watching… there’s more.

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Third: We are Heirs

I have only one sibling, a brother. We have an expectation that one day when our parents have passed on… not in any hurry… but one day, we expect to receive an inheritance. My parents are nowhere near wealthy, but there is some property, money, savings. If we find out on that day, that our parents have donated all their possessions to the Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter in Corbin, KY… my brother and I are going to be… shocked, confused, upset, maybe angry. “Our parents loved cats more than us.” That would be off-putting. There is an expectation that as children of our parents that there will be an inheritance.

That is the promise of the New Covenant.

Romans 8:14-17 All who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God (First: point). For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs- heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, (Second: Point) provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Because we are family there will be an eternal inheritance. In the next verse…

Romans 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

Take all the sufferings of this life… put it on the scales… the glory of the inheritance is not worth comparing. We don’t know a lot about what the next life is going to be life. But it is glory to be revealed!

The New Covenant is Family because we are heirs!

Say it. “We are heirs of God!”

Watch one more time…

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Fourth: We are Siblings

One of the first things that happened to the early church, as it began to take shape, was the view of each other as siblings. Listen to the sibling flavor of these verses…

Matthew 12:46-50 While Jesus was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. But he replied to the man who told him, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother."

Acts 21:17 When we had come to Jerusalem, the brothers received us gladly.

1 Corinthians 1:10-11 I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it has been reported to me by Chloe's people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers.

1 Corinthians 16:20 All the brothers send you greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss. 

There is no secret handshake among the New Covenant… it was a holy kiss… a sibling kiss; an action metaphor! 

Ephesians 6:23 Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Thessalonians 1:3 We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.

1 Timothy 5:1-2 Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father. Treat younger men like brothers, older women like mothers, younger women like sisters, in all purity.

James 2:1 My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.

1 John 3:16By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.

The entire flavor of the writings of the New Testament is colored towards those in the New Covenant as siblings! Every book in the New Testament, except Titus and Jude, express some form of siblingness

The New Covenant is Family because we are siblings.

Say it, “We are siblings.” 

Let’s put this together and see what we’ve got.

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The New Covenant is Family. So…

1) We can count on God as the perfect Father.

2) We can count on the guidance of our brother, Jesus.

3) We can count on an inheritance; not comparable glory.

4) We can count on each other as siblings; we are here for each other. 

How we view our relationships in the New Covenant is important. Our understanding of relationships in the New Covenant makes an important difference in our behavior towards God and towards each other. Who we view ourselves to be, makes a difference. 

In order to help us understand ourselves I have a test. Over the next few weeks we are going to explore a few different ways the Bible teaches us to view our relationships in the New Covenant. The first… We are family. 

Here is the test to see if you operate with the family understanding of the Covenant. 

This is not scientific… I just made it up. 


We are the family of God. And that is… Interesting.

  

Family Test

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being… NOT ME and 10 being… EXACTLY ME…

1) When I pray, I think of God as my Father.

1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 - 10

2) When I pray, I pray for things that a Father could give.

1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 - 10

3) When I have a choice to make do I think about pleasing my Father.

1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 - 10

4) When I see others who are Christians, I feel a family connection.

1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 - 10

5) I am proud to be a Christian; member of the family of God.

1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 - 10

6) When I do wrong, I am sad that I have embarrassed my family. 

1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 - 10

7) I view those who are not “us” as other families.

1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 - 10

8) I look forward to spending the next life with my “family”.

1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 - 10

9) I want to accomplish God’s will because he is my Father.

1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 - 10

10) This sermon has been meaningful to me.

1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 - 10

Total __________

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Tim Stidham

October 20, 2019

Los Alamos Church of Christ