The Family of God
Family of God
Three varieties of apples that look different; a drawing of a tree; leaf cutouts of different shapes and colors with words written on them as listed below.
“The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” I Samuel 16:7, (Also Genesis 1:11)
(Hold up three varieties of apples that are noticeably different.) Raise your hand if you think these three apples all came from the same tree. You’re right. They did not.
This Golden Delicious came from a tree where all the apples looked like this one. This Red Delicious came from a tree where they all look like it, and the same with this little Fuji apple. In nature, you would not find one tree that had all three different kinds of apples. The Bible teaches us in Genesis 1:11 that every seed will bring forth a fruit of its own kind.
Now let’s think about people. Have you ever had someone say to you, “Boy, you look just like your sister, or your brother, or your mom or dad.”? Who thinks they look like someone else in their family? (Call on a couple children) Or maybe you have seen a picture of your mom or dad when they were your age, and they looked back then just like you do right now. I saw a picture of Mrs. Smith’s husband when he was younger, and he looked just like their son John. I have seen Katie Trott’s younger sister here at school, and I knew she was Katie’s sister. Even though they are not twins, they look alike. I could tell that they were sisters.
Just like with the apples, people from the same family tree will have the same looks – the same skin color, eyes, hair, height, shape of the nose, body shape, and many other things. This happens because all these physical characteristics are passed on from one generation to another. You may have red hair and your parents don’t, but maybe your grandmother or grandfather had red hair. Isn’t that cool?
Now as you know, there are exceptions to the families that I have been talking about. There is a wonderful thing called adoption, where parents have a special desire to bring a child into their family who probably doesn’t look physically like the other members of the family. We know that Allison has a sister Abby who was born in China. But we also know that a miracle happened for the Martin family, when they discovered that Abby’s biological sister from China was also adopted and now lives in New Hampshire. How did that happened? They found Abby’s sister when they saw Marie’s picture on the Internet. The two girls looked so much alike, they felt Marie had to be Abby’s sister. And they were right! God has a plan when He makes family members look like each other. It is just one of the ways that helps to bring you together as a family. It makes for a special connection. For Abby and Marie, their similar looks brought them together on the other side of the world from where they were born. Isn’t God wonderful?
But, without being adopted, there is another kind of family tree that we can all belong to no matter what our last name is. In this family we will not all look like each other. Which family am I talking about? -Pause- Yes, God’s family. No matter what your last name is, what you look like, or what country you live in ~ you can be apart of God’s Family Tree.
(Turn around easel w/ a drawing of a tree - “God’s Family Tree.”)
Now, if we all look different, (different skin color, eyes, nose shape, height, and many other things) how will we recognize our brothers and sisters who belong to God’s family? How will I know that someone is my sister or brother through Jesus Christ? - Pause - We will recognize each other by the many God-like characteristics we have. These characteristics are not physical. The Bible tells us in I Samuel 16:7, “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” I am going to put some leaves on God’s Family Tree that will show us how we can recognize each other.
Have a variety of leaf shapes, sizes and colors with one of the following words written on each leaf: loving, caring, sharing, forgiving, love Jesus, help others, humble, praise God, pray, read the Bible, giving, and grateful spirit. Attach each leaf to the tree as you mention them. This is how we will recognize our brothers and sisters in Christ! (point to the tree)
Let’s look at this tree for a minute. Would you ever see a real tree that looks like this? No, because all the leaves are different. On a real tree in nature, it would have all the same kind of leaves; all oak leaves or all maple leaves. On God’s Family Tree, we will all look different on the outside, but we will be the same on the inside.
Here is one more thing to think about this morning. God chooses into which family we will be born and with what physical characteristics we will have. God chose which family I was born into and how I would look, but God cannot make you or me be apart of His family tree. God wants us to be one of His children in His family, but we have to make that choice ourselves to accept Him as our Heavenly Father and be a member on His Family Tree.
Sing the song “Family of God”
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, At this time of Thanksgiving, we are thankful for all the many, many blessings you have given us; for your son Jesus, who came to earth to teach us how to live and to die on the cross for our sins that we may come before You, washed clean in His blood. We thank you for our families where we are cared for by our earthly parents, grandparents, and other family members, and where we can experience the love that family members give to each other. But we are especially grateful that You have called us to be a member of Your Heavenly Family. In Your family, Dear God, we can feel a love that is greater than any earthly love, and we can have an eternal life that will be free of all pain and sadness. I pray for these children that they will hear Your call to be one of Your children. Lord, we praise and adore You now and forever. Amen