Monday, June 14, 2010

Family Of God (part III)

By Odon Bulamba (24 August 2001)

With reference to Ephesians 2:19 we read that we are members of God’s family. If God puts you into His family, He has His reasons and also a goal. Although many people dislike their family, God has a goal and wants you to be part of His family. In God’s family, sometimes people don’t love one another and sometimes people fight against each other. A young man can hate having an insane sister or a sister can hate her brother. I had a cousin that use to beat me up, every time I would see her hate was crouching in my heart. I wished she were dead.

This happens in God’s church today. If Steve preaches and his message speaks about something in my life, I’ll start building a wall against Steve and become his enemy. Man always wants to be pleased, man always wants to be exalted above others, but God is against this. God is righteous and God is just, God also is a God who rebukes. Do you need flattery when you need to be corrected? Why do we flatter people rather than correct them?

The Pharisees were happy when people flattered them, but if you spoke the truth to them they would become your enemy. In God’s church many people think they are holy and other people are sinners. Jesus teaches us about this when He was with His disciples because Jesus’ disciples thought they were holy. One day children came to Jesus; the disciples thought that the children would disturb Jesus so they wanted to take them away. What did Jesus say? Matthew 18:3. Whoever wants to be boss in God’s family, must be the servant, if you think you’re an adult you will be humbled like a child.

A child is happy when they can speak freely, but why do parents play with their children? Steve says, “He likes it”. Why do you play with Nathaniel Michael? “Because I love him”. In God’s family the Bible says it is impossible to love God if you don’t love your neighbour or the one you live with. Many people say they love God but don’t love the one they live with. Many people are servants of God but don’t love their children or wives. We are children of God and must be the light of the world. In God’s church we must be the light. Steve will teach his children how to read the Bible, he will teach them how to pray, he will teach them how to respect God. After ten years Steve’s children will be able to remember what their father has taught them. When we teach our children not to do something, we must also, as parents, control ourselves and ask, “What would be the consequence of doing this”?

We must not be like the Pharisees. Jesus said, “Do what they teach you, but don’t do what they do”. This is a curse if you teach people something but don’t do it yourself because you will never grow spiritually. It is like a sign on the road, the sign reads Fox St so that people know where to pray, the sign that says Fox St can never pray with us. We can have a bell at church that rings every morning to tell Christians, “wake up, it’s time to pray,” but the bell never comes to pray. This is like the Christian in God’s family; this Christian can know the Bible by heart but cannot practice what they have learnt.

Philippians 2:1-5, “If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing for selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Jesus Christ”.

This is how God’s family should live.

Philippians 1:27, “whatever happens, conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel without being frightened”.

Paul gave this message for the family of God. We must control our behaviour. Is our behavior in line with the Word of God? Is how behavior in accordance with what God tells us to do? Many people in God’s family are Christians when they are around Christians, but when they are alone they are unable to show that they are a Christians.

Paul said, “I can be present or absent, but stand firm in what you believe and be careful with what you are doing, control all that you do”. If there is a battle we must fight together with one heart. The very first thing you must know is where is my faith? Is my faith in Jesus Christ or not?” Maybe your faith is in Buddha, maybe your faith is in money, maybe your faith is in your husband or wife, maybe your faith is in man? If your faith is not in Jesus Christ you will not be able to live in God’s family.

Job was a rich man; he was prosperous and had a lot of belongings. If Job put his faith in what he had, what would have happened to him? Maybe he could have killed himself. Unfortunately this is a normal thing to do. Many people kill themselves because of what they have lost.

I know Ethiopians who have hung themselves because of being robbed. These people put their faith in money and would even kill for what they had. Although they say they are Christians and could pray and fast, if you touched their money you’ll see where their faith was.

Many servants of God have Judas sickness. When they fall asleep they dream about their bank account, they dream about how they can invest their money, they dream about how they can prepare for their future. They cannot read or pray for 5 minutes but can waste 2-3 hours working out financials. This sickness led Judas to betray Jesus, this is what it is to be mean! When you love what you have, little by little you will lose faith in Jesus. You will not lose it straight away, but eventually.

A Christian must know, “if I have faith in Jesus Christ, will this faith make me strong or not?” Our unity must bring positive fruit. If I decide not to control my tongue, will it make me strong in Jesus Christ or not, or will it make me weak? Jesus Christ always asks us to be strong. Those who are strong must assist those who are weak. However, those who are weak and accept to live this way influence those who are strong. If we lose faith in Jesus Christ the love we had for Jesus will decrease. What does faith in Jesus Christ mean?

The Bible says that faith in Jesus Christ is to accept what we cannot see. It is to believe that what God tells me is truth and life. It is no longer I that live, but Christ that lives in me. Did Jesus abuse people? Did Jesus mistreat people? So why do you abuse people? Do I do it or does Jesus Christ in me do it. Does the faith in Jesus Christ allow me to do it? Each Christian can behave in a way that is pleasing to God, because the behavior you have does not belong to you. If you misbehave, this behavior belongs to the devil. We are stewards for our own behavior.

It is like an accountant who works for a company. The accountant is there to analyze what may become difficult for the company, and if they see a danger they will warn others. At the end of each year the accountant will make a report to know what’s happening with the financials used. This must be in each Christian’s life. Everyday you must make your own report. An accountant doesn’t do things by chance but before making any decisions they will ask themselves, “will this bear fruit or not? If I do this, will it be any good?”

A doctor will never operate on a person without knowing what’s wrong first. He must first know what sickness the patience has; then know what kind of operation they will perform and also what kind of tools they will use. On top of this the doctor will need helpers, even Jesus Christ needed helpers and that is why the disciples were with him. With a crowd of 5000 people Jesus couldn’t distribute bread to everyone. The faith we have in Jesus Christ needs help also, the faith we have in Jesus Christ needs a report and before doing anything we must ask ourselves, “will this go on my positive side of my report or the negative side?” If it goes on the negative side I must forget it because it doesn’t please God (Unless you chose to work for the devil).

The very first thing we have to do in order to live in God’s family is control our faith. We must know how to control our behavior in Jesus Christ and we must know whether or not our faith is strong or weak. Ask yourself, “does Christ’s love encourage me or not”? If God’s love doesn’t encourage you then what will? Is it my brother’s love? Is it my child’s love that will encourage me?

If the devil was to ask you, “what encourages you to love sin?” How would you answer the devil? Or, “what stops you from loving God, because I, the devil give only death and you know the consequences of death, God gives more than me for He gives life eternal, so why do you come to me, is it because of material things?” When a rich person dies everybody is sad, not because they are dead but because of their money. If we want to live in God’s family we must put aside our own interests and love the interest of others. Do not live with someone so they can support you with material things. If you use people for material things remember this: Judas didn’t eat anything from the money he received. Because we are in the family of God we must avoid this kind of love.

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