One of the burning questions of Scripture is who is the true family of the one true God? “That’s easy,” you think, “its Israel.” Yes, but how is Israel defined? By blood? That is exactly what many Israelites thought in the first century, just as many of their ancestors had before them. But John, in preparing the people for Jesus, cut directly across that notion: “Bear fruit worthy of repentance, and do not say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.” (Mat 3.8-9.) Many Jews were offended at this, regarding it as a fundamental betrayal of their status as Israelites. But as Jesus, and later Paul, would make clear, the family of God was always founded on faith. (John 8.56; Rom 4.11-12, 16; Gal 3.8-9.) If one didn’t have the faith of Abraham in one’s heart, it did no good to have the blood of Abraham in one’s veins. To make this point, God had in times past reconstituted His people around a deliverer who foreshadowed Christ. Moses and David are prime examples. If you did not believe God’s word and follow Moses (and later David), you were cut out of God’s family. (Acts 7.37-39; Heb 3.16-19.) Now with the coming of Jesus, God is reforming His family one final time. And the criteria is faith in Jesus, the Greater Moses and Greater David, which is the first step in doing the will of the Father. (Mat 12.50; John 6.29; 1John 3.23.) Now we know finally and definitively who is the family of God. (Eph 2.19; 1Tim 3.15; Heb 3.5-6.) I hope you enjoy the sermon. Thanks for listening. –Alan Burrow
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