Saturday, June 12, 2010

Family Of God (Part I)

By Odon Bulamba (17 August 2001)

As Christians we must live like a family. In a family you talk and give each other advice. Mum and dad give advice to their children, and the children give advice to their parents. In my [Odon] country we have a saying, “the child plays the drum and the parents dance.” It means that a child play’s the drum and through that beat everybody can start dancing and singing with praise. This means that parents are not allowed to reject the advice they receive from their children.

As you know, Jesus works with people who are young. The one who seems weaker will be the one you will need the most. I told you once that we prayed for the whole night until 4am, and while we were praying someone came into the church. Everybody was watching him and asking, “Who is this man that comes into our church at 4am, nobody should be here?” So after the prayer had finished which was around 5am everybody left and went home. The way he was dressed was not good, just looking at him you knew he wasn’t educated, so everybody kept on praying, making out he didn’t exist. Before going home we suddenly thought to ourselves, “Where is that man? We looked for him but he was gone. This was a lesson for us. We are not allowed to neglect anyone.

Tonight we are going to talk about God’s family.

Ephesians 2:19 you are no longer strangers or aliens but fellow citizens with the saints and are of God’s household.

We are fellow citizens in God’s Kingdom. Amen! To be a member of a family means to be born from a descendant. To become a member of a family you have to have a bond through blood and body. I cannot say that physically Andrew is a member of Sylvie’s family because Andrew will say that he has his own parents and his descendants are different from Sylvie’s. But when we talk about Gods family, God Himself rejects physical descendants and focuses on His spiritual descendants. Remember what Jesus said? “Who is My sister, brother or mother? My mother, brother and sisters are those whom I share the Word with”. This is how God’s family is different from physical families. The love we have in God’s family is stronger than our physical family. Because of this love you can be cast out from your own family for the name of Jesus Christ.

In God’s family there are requirements. God looks at the one who has the seal of the Holy Spirit. He looks at the one who has accepted salvation and taken advantage of the grace given to them. This person becomes a member of God’s family. If Steve teaches his daughter Amber how to sing and at the age of 15 she starts producing C.Ds, people will say, “Oh this girl really sings for the glory of God”. But when Amber starts making money Steve will say, “Amber, remember that I’m the one who started your success?” Amber will say, “if it were you dad, why don’t you sing yourself so you can be rich as well?” How will you feel Steve? It won’t be easy. When Amber makes a lot of money and decides to spend it at the casino, how will you feel? Very upset. Steve will start thinking about what happened at the beginning. “I taught her how to sing and this is how she repays me?

However the situation might be different, Amber might be right if Steve’s intentions didn’t please God because all he wanted to do was buy a new V8 Holden car, whereas Amber was using the money to spread the gospel in Vietnam. Because of this Steve will think that Amber doesn’t respect him. Why do I say that? We don’t make decisions according to our own will.

In God’s family we are not meant to do what we want. Remember Paul was a prisoner of Jesus Christ. What does it mean to be a prisoner? To be a prisoner is to be given commands. If you are a prisoner you will never do your own will because you have to respect the requirements of that prison, and if you comply with the rules you will be a good prisoner. Do not forget the uniform. If you are arrested with the clothes on your back, you have to leave them and wear a uniform. In my country you can’t wear shoes in prison, and if you kill the head lice, which they put intentionally on your clothes, you’ll be given a longer stay. Sometimes people have their head shaved with glass, which really hurts, but you must accept suffering because you are a prisoner.

Understand that when you become a prisoner of Christ your life is going to be hard. God will force you to do what you don’t want to do. God will not allow you to do your own will, but His will, will be done through you. If you find a Christian doing his own will instead of God’s will, you can pray for this person. I consider these people insane. They can give you the whole Bible and every verse but they don’t put it into practice. They are like Sadducees and Pharisees, they know the law, they talk about the law, but they are the last ones to put it into practice. In God’s family we cannot live like this!

In God’s family and being Jesus’ descendants there is no hatred. Remember what is written in the book of John, if you hate someone you are a murderer.

How do we live in God’s family because a father, mother, brother and sister are all different ages, so how do you come to an agreement? A Christian who doesn’t want to speak the truth or express what is in his or her heart to confess or help a situation to improve is a hypocrite, and hypocrisy is not from God.

Tell me some good points on how to live or what we need to have to live in God’s family. If you have a verse say it. Do not fear. Fear is not from God.

Ephesians 4:32, be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

What does this mean? We always speak of God’s goodness and affection but what does kindness mean? When the Bible speaks about kindness it means to do the opposite of evil. If you are not able to do something kind ask your God to help you. Those who are strong must help those who are weak and show them the right way. We must be compassionate (tender-hearted). It means to have no bitter feelings. To be tenderhearted is not to punish. Sometimes people can react if something has been said or done against them. They’ll try to revenge that person so they can learn their lesson. This is not a tender-heart, but this is from the world of darkness.

We must love each other. If we love each other there will be light and the devil will flee from us. The Bible says we must forgive each other. Remember Mark 11:25, if you don’t forgive you’ll never be forgiven. Many people on this earth don’t know how to forgive. They remember where their scar came from. Even after twenty years they can look at their scar and remember what happened, “Michelle, you did this to me on that day and after twenty years I still remember”. This is not Christian behavior! This is not forgiving! To forgive means to forget completely. If God remembered our sins where would we be today? If your mum or dad could remember all what you did in your childhood, who would you be today?

The great illness for Christians today is unforgiveness. If I have a fight with Steve at work and he asks me forgive to him, I have to but when Steve says “hello brother” and I just turn my back and say “hello” with no smile, it means that I have something hidden in me. Some people grind their teeth with bitterness. Mark 11:25, you must forgive to be forgiven. When you come to pray but haven’t forgiven, you are wasting your time because God will not listen to you. You can pray for twenty years but if you don’t know what forgiveness is, all that you do is in vain. If you are not kind, you will not know how to forgive. If you are not tenderhearted towards your brother or sister, you will never be able to forgive.

If people know you are from Africa or a sick nation and you ask for a glass of water, instead of giving you a glass to drink from they will give you a margarine container. The hate in some people’s hearts is terrible, “why does he come here”! If they do give you a glass to drink from, as soon as you go they’ll dispose of it thinking there might be an infection. However, if Benny Hinn asked for a glass of water they will give him a gold-plated glass because money talks. Where is the Christian affection? Where is the tender-heart? This is what kills Christians. In God’s church we must practice kindness to everyone. Children, young people and the elderly have to be tenderhearted to one another.

Physical life is very different from spiritual life and forgiveness is essential for everyone. Without forgiveness there is no salvation. Another principle about forgiveness is to carry one another’s burdens. If your sister or brother has something they can help you with, it is up to you to accept what they give you. If you see that they make a mistake you can help them. This is Christian life; we are here to help each other in love. When I use to pray with others, we would sometimes forget who the Pastor was. We lived how the early church lived. The early church would live together as brother and sisters. Everything was in order with respect and love.

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