Saturday, February 18, 2023

Family First - Luke 8:18-21 - February 19. 2023

 Luke 8:19-21 Family First

Good morning and welcome! Turn with me in your Bibles to Luke chapter 8 and verses 19-21, that’s on page 865 in the pew Bibles.

There is an expression that we use a lot around here and we use it as a kind of measuring stick for what we do as a church family. Whatever activity fits within the parameters of the expression will be considered and anything that doesn’t fit doesn’t work and we don’t consider it.

The statement is simply, “Making and maturing disciples together as a family.”

It’s not coincidental then that folks that have been around here for a while don’t simply refer to this group as our church, but more specifically as our church family.

In our text this morning we get a glimpse from the mouth of Jesus just how important the church family truly is and how to be part of it. So let’s look at it together.

19 Then his mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not reach him because of the crowd. 20 And he was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see you.” 21 But he answered them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”

Let’s pray.

So just to give some background, by this time in Jesus’ life and ministry, Joseph, the husband of Mary was most likely dead already. He isn’t mentioned after the time that Jesus got left behind in Jerusalem when His parents found Him in the Temple talking with the teachers in Luke chapter two.

Jesus was part of a large family. He was the oldest of five brothers and some sisters, meaning that after Jesus was born of Mary, being conceived by the Holy Spirit, Mary and Joseph had a bunch more kids that were Jesus’ half-brothers and half-sisters. Mary did not remain a virgin and neither was she sinless as we’ll see as we move along.

At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry his half-siblings did not believe in Him. You can read more about that in John chapter 7, where they actually mocked Jesus and His ministry.

We do know from Acts chapter one, verse fourteen, that at least two of His brothers and possibly His sisters came to believe in Him as well as Mary.

Two of Jesus’ half-brothers went on to write books of the New Testament, James and Jude.

But before that, they thought He was crazy. In Mark 3 after appointing the Twelve Apostles…

20 …he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat. 21 And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.”

Attempting to thwart the plan and purpose of God for and through the Son of God classifies as sin. Jesus’ family, including His mother Mary, was not perfect, they were not without sin.

But even though at the time Jesus said these words His family did not believe in Him, He never disrespected nor disowned them. But He also didn’t venerate them, so that people would hold them up to be worshipped.

John Calvin wrote, “By disparaging the relationship of flesh and blood, our Lord teaches us a very useful doctrine; for He admits all His disciples and all believers to the same honorable rank, as if they were His nearest relatives, or rather He places them in the room of His mother and brothers.”

“My mother and my brothers and sisters are those who hear the Word of God and do it.”

Those who hear the Word of God and do it…

Those who hear the Word of God and do it are like wise builders who build their houses on the rock.

Those who hear the Word of God and do it are like good soil that receives the seed and grows producing fruit.

Those who hear the Word of God and do it are like lamps on a stand giving light to the whole house.

Those who hear the Word of God and do it are my mother and my brothers and sisters.

Are you starting to get the point?

Jesus half-brother James did eventually when he wrote in the first chapter of his letter in verses 22-25.

22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

When I first read this text this week, I thought that it was about putting Jesus before family, to not make our families an idol. An though those are good ideas and Jesus does have things to say about them, that’s not what He is saying here.

Jesus is telling His disciples that day, and reminding us this morning, about His design for His church, that it’s a family.

By hearing His Word and doing it, that’s what faith is, by hearing His Word and doing it we become family, His family, a family united by faith in Jesus.

Those who hear the Word of God and do it… Time for an object lesson.

I need two volunteers who have never interacted with this chair. You’ve never sat on it, maybe even never seen it.

Volunteer number one, I built this chair. It is sturdy, it is strong, and it will bear your weight if you stand on it. Do you believe me? Yes. Good, thank you.

Volunteer number two, I built this chair. It is sturdy, it is strong, and it will bear your weight if you stand on it. Do you believe me? Yes. Good, prove it. Thank you.

Who had faith, who truly believed that the chair would hold them? Hearing the Word of God and doing it is just like that.

We cannot simply stop at hearing the Word of God, even saying that we believe the Word of God if we refuse to obey the Word of God. Warren Wiesbe said, “…it is easy to think we are ‘spiritual’ because we listen to one preacher after another, take notes, mark our Bibles, but never really practice what we learn. We are only fooling ourselves.”

When we hear the Word of God but refuse to do the Word of God we become auditors of the Word of God.

Listening, hearing, trusting, obeying the Word of God, that’s what faith looks like. And by doing that we become wise builders, fruitful soil, a lamp on a stand shining it’s light, and family with Jesus.

Paul wrote in Ephesians 3:14-21:

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 

20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.