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Worship Theme: We Are of the Same Family!
- CW 273: Lord of Lords, the Sparkling Heavens
- Change My Heart, Oh God
- O Be Careful - preschool
- CW 343: Christ Is The World's Light
- CW 449: Children of the Heavenly Father
- CW 399: To God Be the Glory
Watch the livestream beginning at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday. After the livestream is finished, the video will be available to watch at any time.
Message: We Are of the Same Family!
Pastor Terry Reich
Little Johnnie was in the playpen, sheepishly sobbing. Grandpa came into the room. “Out! Out!” The little guy was so sad. So grandpa was about to lift him out when mom entered the room. “Leave Johnnie right where he is. He was a bad boy and now he’s being punished; he stays in the playpen.” What’s a grandpa to do? His little tears; his little chubby hands reaching out??? Johnnie was tugging at his heartstrings, but mom’s discipline was no small matter either. Grandpa couldn’t take him out of the playpen… so grandpa climbed INTO the playpen with him. That’s what Jesus did for us, at Christmas and on the cross. He came down and climbed into this mess with us to save us. Now…
We Are of the Same Family!
How did we get to be family? “We see Jesus, Who was made a little lower than the angels.” (“lower than the angels for a little while”) How those angels must have looked down in wonder upon Bethlehem’s manger! He was their Creator. He was the Lord of Lords and King of Kings. He was the Almighty God that they had worshipped from the beginning of time, a whimpering, helpless infant in a feeding trough. If angels had physical bodies that sight would have took their breath away and brought tears to their eyes! We know why He was there. We are members of God’s family because He was there. Our permanent home should have been the fires of hell, but he bought us back with His own life and blood. “Jesus suffered death so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.” When my brothers and I would do something really wrong, Grandpa had and expression for the situation – “there’s gonna be hell to pay.” That’s exactly right. That’s exactly what Jesus took for us. He lowered Himself and became one of us.
Boy, did He lower Himself! He was born to a peasant woman. He grew up in some town up in the sticks. He struggled to make a living as a carpenter, and then became a traveling preacher for three years. He never went to college. He never wrote a book. He never owned a home. He never did any of the things we usually associate with greatness. While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against Him. In His hour of deepest need, all His friends abandoned Him. One of them even betrayed Him for a price. He was mocked and tortured by His enemies, and then ruthlessly executed for crimes He never committed. His body was laid to rest in someone else’s grave.
Yet today, 2,000 years later, He is still the Centerpiece of the human race! All the armies that ever marched, all the navies ever built, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever ruled… all of them put together have not affected the life or death of every human being who’s ever lived like this Man did! And He’s your Brother! He’s the reason we are family forever. “In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for Whom and through Whom everything exists, should make the Author (Pioneer) of their salvation perfect through suffering.” He suffered for you and for me to make us family. How different this is from all the false religions of the world. No founder of any other religion would consider dying for his followers. Buddha shunned death until he was 80. Confucius never contemplated sacrificing himself for others. Mohammed established his religion by killing rather than being killed. Heathen religions may have a few admirable qualities, but none of those religions has a Redeemer from sin. Jesus alone gave His life for a lost world!
He brought God and mankind back together again into one family. “Both the One Who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family.” What family would you like to be a part of? Every year Forbes magazine lists America’s wealthiest people. One of the men on that list is always Bill Gates. No one is even really quite sure, but his worth is estimated to be in the tens of BILLIONS of dollars. Bill Gates has a daughter! Now there’d be a family to marry into. Who wouldn’t want to call Mr. Gates ‘daddy’? You would lack nothing. All the riches of the world and the very best of everything would be yours and you couldn’t even begin to spend the interest in a lifetime! I’ve got a newsflash for you… you and I are far richer. There is nothing in the world that you lack. That’s not because you married Miss Gates, it’s because you have a Brother named Jesus. His Father is YOUR Father and you are set to inherit riches that all the money on earth couldn’t begin to buy.
“So Jesus is not ashamed to call us brothers (and sisters).” I have three brothers; the welder, the garbage man, and the preacher. Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, doesn’t it? I love all three of them. They are all hard-working, Christian men, and I would certainly never be shamed of any of them. Then there’s my fourth Brother. He’s older than me, by about 2,000 years. I could never be ashamed of Him, but He has every reason to be ashamed of me. You see, I killed my older Brother. You did too. In the BIC class that I always used for prospective new members, there is a true/false question – “The Jews were responsible for Jesus’ death.” Is that true or false? Absolutely false! The Jews didn’t kill Jesus; we all did. He died because of you and me and every other sinner who’s ever lived.
Our Brother willingly allowed us to kill Him so that we could be His brothers and sisters, His family, forever. They say that love is ultimately the basis for every family. It certainly is in our family. Our Brother died for us and took the punishment in our place so we could take our place with the rest of the family forever. You might say we have ‘blood ties’ to this family – Jesus’ blood. I can’t wait to see my Brother one day so I can personally thank Him face to face.
Looking forward to that family reunion? Isn’t it going to be something? Seeing people we haven’t seen for years, and then never having to say ‘good bye’ again? I’m looking forward to seeing Martin Luther. The things God accomplished through him; his awesome and earthy sense of humor… wouldn’t it be great to hang out with Luther for an afternoon? I have two grandfathers that I haven’t seen in decades, and they were such a part of my life growing up. Maybe I’ll get to go fishing with them and my dad again??? But it wasn’t dad, or grandpa, or Martin Luther who died for me. It was brother Jesus. The great hymn writer, Fanny Crosby, gave us more than 8,000 gospel hymns and songs, including ‘To God Be the Glory’ and ‘Take the World, but give me Jesus’. What you may not know about her is that she lost her eyesight completely when she was just six weeks old. A visiting pastor once said to her, “I think it is a great pity that the Master, who gave you so many gifts, didn’t give you the gift of sight.” Fanny quickly responded, “If at birth I were given one request for my life, it would have been that I should be born blind.” “Why” the confused preacher asked. Her answer was as profound as her magnificent hymns of praise, “because when I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior!” AMEN.