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The Family Likeness ~ Luke 8:16-20! January 26, 2014 ~ New City Church of Calgary ~ Pastor John Ferguson!

Intro: They say that imitation is the sincerest form of attery, but nothing prepared me for some pictures I saw the other day. Did you know that there are some dogs who look like their owners? Exhibit 1 & 2.!

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No doubt, there are some cases where pets look like their owners, but its much more likely that members ! of the same family take on a sort of family likeness. But did you know that the same thing can be true ! ! spiritually? !

Jesus teaches us that there is a certain family likeness by which you can recognize those who belong to his movement, i.e., the kingdom of God. Its not a physical likeness, but rather a spiritual likeness! This is important because the label Christian has come to mean whatever anybody wants it to mean. ! ! ! ! People will claim the name Christian, but they are not intentional in following Christ. ! ! IOW, there is no family likeness. Nothing that they do distinguishes them as being a Christian.! Question: What is the distinguishing feature of a follower of Christ?!

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If you are not yet a Christian, todays study will be helpful to you because, no doubt, one of the obstacles you have had to overcome in your understanding of Christianity is the existence of Christians.! Os Guinness, Long Journey Home, Over the course of 2,000 years, there has consistently been one ! ! unanswerable objection to the Christian faith Christians.! Jesus himself, as we will see, makes a clear assessment and issues a word of caution. Perhaps in ! ! seeing this, you will be able to take another step in your understanding of who Jesus is.! !

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For you who are Christians, you are going to be challenged today to assess your life in light of the words of Jesus, especially in how you hear and apply what he has to say to your own individual life. And in the ! process, well be encouraged to truly display the family likeness.!

! The Family Likeness ~ Luke 8:16-21! ! ! Lookout for: (1) the vital connection b/t hearing and doing; (2) the distinguishing feature of Jesus family.! ! Context: The Parable of the Soil / the seed is the gospel = the message of the kingdom of God ! !
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No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. Light by its very nature wants to shine and illumine the darkness around it. Thats why no one lights a lamp and then covers it or hides it away. Thats contrary to the purpose of lighting the light in the first place. So Jesus says its absurd to hide it away. Mt. 5:14-16, You are the light of the world. Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. When it comes to the way of life in the kingdom of God that Jesus proclaimed, many people hear it his message, but then dont do anything with it. They never put it to use in their lives.
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For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light. Here Jesus reminds us that we will have to give an account of our lives before God, and nothing will remain a secret b/c everything will be brought out into the light of Gods gaze. Heb. 9:27, it has been appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment. Eccl. 12:14, For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil. Rom. 2:16, on the day whenGod judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus. 2 Cor. 5:10, For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. If verse 17 is true, then we ought to take care then how you hear the message of Jesus. Take care then how you hear, for the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away. Take care how you hear Hebrews 2:1, Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift way from it. Jesus speaks of the haves and the have nots. The haves are those who respond to the teaching of Jesus Christ. They are those who, in the words of the Parable of the Sower, hearing the word of God, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience (vs. 15). The have nots are those who take Jesus teaching and hide it away never making use of it. The result, even the little light that they have will be taken away from them. Truth is meant to be put into practice. 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. Hebrews 2:11 (NIV): Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.

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! ! So, why did Luke record these stories in his historical biography of Jesus? ! !
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Because he wanted to let his audience know that its not enough to simply hear the message of Jesus. Or simply call ourselves Christians. We are called to respond to the message of Jesus with our whole lives including taking every thought, word, and deed captive to make it obedient to Christ.

Main Idea: The distinguishing feature of the family of God is obedience to the word of Christ. (Ryken 378)

! Application: ! 1. Join the family of God by faith, not by works. ! ! ! ! ! 2. ! ! ! ! ! ! 3. ! !

Important: Even though Jesus says that his real family are those who hear the word and do it, we must not then think that we become family members by rolling up our sleeves and trying to apply the teachings of Jesus. Membership in the family of God isnt earned; its by grace. We dont do good works in order to gain entrance into Gods family because entrance is a gift. But we do demonstrate that we are a part of Gods family by the way we live. Obedience to God is the unmistakable mark of the family resemblance (Ryken). Watch out for self-deception. James was one of those brothers who may have been their on that day who wanted to see Jesus. In fact, we are told that his family went out to seize him, for they were saying, He is out of his mind (Mark 3:21). But had a radical change of heart and mind (i.e., conversion) when he saw the resurrected Lord Jesus, and went on to become a leader in the Jerusalem church. James 1:22, Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. There is no automatic blessing in the mere hearing of the word of God. Display the family likeness. We display the family likeness by following older brother, Jesus Christ. Your life is the only gospel that some people will read.

Arthur McPhee: The Gospel According to You The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John! Are read by more than a few! But the one that is most read and commented on! Is the gospel according to you You are writing a gospel, a chapter each day! By the things that you do and the words that you say! Men read what you write, whether faithless or true! Say, what is the gospel according to you?
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Do men read His truth and His love in your life,! Or has yours been too full of malice and strife! Does your life speak of evil, or does it ring true! Say, what is the gospel according to you? Conclusion: To rephrase Os Guinness: Over the course of 2000 years, there has likewise consistently been one attractive element to the Christian faithChristians through whom people can see Jesus Christ makes a difference. The mission to our city depends upon it: I have known more people over the years who have become Christians because of the attractive lives of the Christians they have been around.

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