Acknowledging Our Brothers and Sisters in Christ

(Sermon Notes) By Warren Zehrung  3/19/2022

What does this Title convey to us?  Acknowledging means that we are to recognize the importance or quality of each and every one of God’s Children.

Do we really consider how important Church people are to God?  How many people do you know in God’s Church?  Do you recognize their importance to God?  Do we recognize how special they are to God?  Do we treat everyone of God’s people with the proper reverence they deserve?

Today’s sermon is about Acknowledging Our Brothers and Sisters in Christ.  Brethren, who do you belong to?

Let’s begin today with some ‘begats’ and some ‘begottens.’  Those are some Bible words that establish who is the daddy and who is the child.  The answer is that we do not belong to ourselves – but, we belong to God.  We are the Children of God.

1John 3:2  Beloved, now are we the Children of God, (Sons and Daughters) and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He (Jesus Christ) shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. 

1Peter 1:3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, according to His abundant mercy, has begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Once begotten by a physical father, we have now been spiritually begotten by God the Father at their baptism.  Peter shows us that we have been begotten twice.  Peter shows us that we have been begotten twice.

Once by our physical dad when he gave us life – and once by God the Father at our baptism, when He gave us of His spiritual Life, His Holy Spirit – when we declared that we believe in His Son, Jesus Christ.  At that moment we became a new creation – literally a spiritual child of God with God’s Spirit.

2Corinthians 5:17  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Brethren, What is the work that God the Father is doing?  Jesus said,

John 6:29  This is the work of God, that ye believe on [Jesus] whom [God the Father] hath sent.

1John 5:1  Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ (ordained by God, anointed or appointed by God to establish His kingdom on earth) is born of God: and every one that loves Him that begat (God the Father), loves Him also that is begotten of Him (Loves Jesus too). 

But, not only Jesus was begotten by His Father.  All of us were also begotten by the Father at our baptism.  Each one of us is also begotten by God – a child of God.  The Church brethren belong to God the Father; therefore, they are the Church of God (possessive).

Peter also adds that each Christian is also begotten again, a second time – first in infancy by a physical father, but then again by God the Father at his commencement of conversion because Jesus makes it possible:  Physical fathers are the ultimate authority in their families on earth.

The Church of God brethren, the Body of Christ, constitute God’s Family on earth.  God the Father is the supreme authority in heaven and on earth – and we each belong to Him.

Paul expounded on the great truth that our Savior does not consider us as minions or underlings – but as brothers and sisters:

Hebrews 2:11  For both He (God) that sanctifies and they (that is us) who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause He (Jesus) is not ashamed to call them brethren – that is, brothers and sisters.

Sanctifies = makes us holy by giving us of His Spirit.

We are all of one = all of the same Spirit – All in the Family of God.

Therefore, Jesus says that we are His brothers and sisters.

2Corinthians 1:20  For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. 

2Corinthians 1:21  Now He who stablishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, is God; 

2Corinthians 1:22  Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. 

Brethren, do you know what that means – sealed us?  In the old days, the King had a signet ring – the signet ring would be dipped into hot wax – one of a kind in which he sealed the letters he wrote.  They were sealed – they could not be opened, changed, read, except by the one to whom the letter was addressed.  The sealed letter was the sure thing – unalterable.   

2Corinthians 1:22  Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. 

God has set his seal of ownership on us, and put His Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.  God has identified us as His own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us.  God has also put his seal on us and given us His Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

God has placed His seal on us, and put His Spirit in our hearts as a pledge of what is to come.  Jesus is the Son of God, and we are Children of God – therefore we are all brothers and sisters of Jesus.

1John 3:2  Beloved, now are we the Children of God, (Sons and Daughters) and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He (Jesus Christ) shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. 

Paul is giving the Ephesians a good picture of God’s Plan for mankind here.  Please follow along:

Ephesians 1:1  Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: 

Ephesians 1:2  Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Ephesians 1:3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 

God’s Plan began before time itself.

Ephesians 1:4  According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 

Ephesians 1:5  Having predestinated us unto the adoption (sonship) of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 

adoption of children = uihos +thesia = Children of God.

In other words, predestinated us to become Children of God.

Ephesians 1:6  To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 

Ephesians 1:7  In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 

Ephesians 1:8  Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 

Ephesians 1:9  Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in Himself: 

mystery of his will = unknown to the world, God is creating us to be in His Eternal Family.  God’s Plan is to bring many sons and daughters to Glory!

Hebrews 2:10  For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons [and daughters] unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

Then, speaking of the Last Great Day:

Ephesians 1:10  That in the dispensation of the fulness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: 

Brethren, we each have a part in this:

Ephesians 1:11  In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who works all things after the counsel of his own will: 

Ephesians 1:12  That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. 

Ephesians 1:13  In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise

Ephesians 1:14  Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. 

The Holy Spirit of promise is the earnest (pledge, security, down payment) of our inheritance.  Our salvation is sealed by God’s Promise.

Brethren, have you ever wondered how utterly impossible it is for the world to understand these Scriptures without a working knowledge of the Plan of God for mankind?

Just think of the myriad of professing Christians who are totally unaware of the meaning of Passover and the Spring Holy days, let alone the Plan of God.

1Corinthians 11:28  But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 

As we prepare for Passover next month, it is expedient that we examine ourselves.  We are told in:

2Corinthians 13:5     Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?  

Examining ourselves is a tremendous responsibility.  How do we go about Examining ourselves?

We can examine ourselves according to the 10 Commandments.  For example:

Exodus 20:15  Thou shalt not steal. 

Check – I haven’t stolen anything.  That was easy.

But, did I withhold something from someone that they should receive – like the Gospel message?

Exodus 20:13  Thou shalt not kill. 

Check – I haven’t murdered anyone – again easy.  But, have I fought with anyone verbally.  Have I been indifferent?  Have I been cruel?  Have I been negligently forgetful – to someone’s hurt?

How do I go about examining myself according to every word of God?  You might think that I’m getting awfully picky about this examination business!!!

Hebrews 6:1  Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection.

Ephesians 4:13  Till we all come … unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: 

We should admit that a thorough examination of ourselves is a particularly difficult task in that there are so many areas of our lives to look into.  The sphere of examination that I am delving into in today’s sermon has to do with acknowledging and recognizing the brethren who are very special to God.  I’ve chosen for my Title to today’s Sermon:

Acknowledging Our Brothers and Sisters in Christ

My specific purpose in this sermon is not simply identifying them, but acknowledging how very special each and every one is to our Father in heaven—and acting accordingly toward them.

Hebrews 10:24  And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 

Let us discern who is a part of Christ’s spiritual body.  Many Christians do not realize that next to loving God Himself, it is His desire that the brethren care deeply for one another.  

1Peter 1:16  [God says], Be ye holy; for I am holy. 

Jesus said – and by the way this was at Passover…

John 13:34  A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another;

Let’s stop right there for a moment.  That ye love one another…  How do we examine ourselves for Passover with regard to “That ye love one another?”  Do I love my Brothers and Sisters in Christ?  Do I love my Brothers and Sisters in Christ as Jesus loves us?  That is a difficult question.

Do I love my Brothers and Sisters in Christ as God the Father loves us?  Again Jesus said:

John 13:34  A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; [just] as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

Brethren, do you realize just how special we are to God?

God has a very special unique relationship with the church brethren that does not extend to the people of the world.

God makes a big distinction between the Church brethren and those in the world.

John 17:9  [Jesus said] I pray for them [His People]: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.

As we saw, the church brethren are possessed by God – they belong to God – they are thine  –  we are the Church of God.

We, the members of God’s Church, the Church of God, are to recognize in one another that very special aspect of divinity that God has imputed to us — His Holy Spirit.  We are His spiritual children! 

We are God’s spiritual children!  We too, are to show and express that loving relationship with the true brethren that God has with us.  We are to show clearly that we have a deep abiding love for every one of the brethren.

You might say, “Some of the people at church are difficult.”  You might say, “I do not like all the people in God’s church.”  You might say, “they do not want to be my friend – but my enemy.”

As we examine ourselves before Passover, let’s ask ourselves, “Does God ever allow me to avoid those brethren who are hard to get along with?”  Let’s ask ourselves, “How can I remain a Child of God – a Child of the High God?”  Here is what Jesus said:

Luke 6:32  For if ye love them which love you, what credit is that to you? for sinners also love those that love them. 

Luke 6:33  And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what credit is that to you?  for sinners also do even the same thing. 

Luke 6:34  And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what credit is that to you?  for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. 

Luke 6:35  But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for He is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. 

In order to have a deep abiding love of the brethren, it is necessary that we determine and make a distinction between those who are converted brethren and those who are of the world.

Each of us, Brethren, is an integral part of the Body of Christ.  We know that we must be one Body by partaking of the Bread of Life, which is Jesus Christ, our Passover.   We see that Christ is our Passover in:

1Corinthians 5:7  Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: 

The Church, the “Lord’s Body” is composed of those whom the Father called, and gave His Spirit to, and whom are now in fellowship with Christ through symbolically sharing in His blood and His body.  The Church brethren are the Lord’s Body.  Brethren, collectively, we are the Body of Christ. 

The Passover service brings out the importance and absolute necessity of the love, affiliation and fellowship required of the brethren most clearly. 

Paul is referring to the Christian believers—the Church brethren—who make up the Church of God—they are the Body of Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23).

1Corinthians 10:16-17 …The bread which we break, is it not the fellowship [verbally conveyed and expressed communication] of the Body of Christ?  For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.

1Corinthians 12:27  You are the Body of Christ, and members in particular.

Ephesians 1:22-23  …[Jesus Christ is] the head over all things to the ChurchWhich is His Body, the fullness of him that fills all in all.  

In examining ourselves before Passover, we should ask if we are adequately letting others within God’s Church know that we regard them highly – the same way that God looks upon each of His children.

If we foolishly take of Passover, while refusing to be reconciled with others, we render the Passover service contemptible in God’s sight.  Our Passover service will not be accepted by God!

All true Christians must be wholeheartedly accepted by us, without exception, counting them as brethren.  Our very salvation is at stake.  Note this severe Passover warning:

1Corinthians 11:27  Therefore, whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.”

That means that we continue to be guilty of killing Jesus Christ—crucifying Him!  That is why Paul said that a Christian must examine himself as to whether or not he is a part of any division among the brethren before taking Passover. 

The saints, and anyone who expects to be the Bride of Christ, is obligated to extend their realm of brotherhood, fellowship, and service to include all who have the earnest of God’s Holy Spirit.

By definition, it is absolutely impossible to have Christian love for only a part of the Body of Christ.  After all, God has set the members every one of them in the body, as it pleases Him (1Corinthians 12:18). 

Who can argue with that?  We must consider the price the Father and Son have already paid for each and every member. 

Our Father GAVE His Son!  Jesus GAVE His life!

It must be understood that all the brethren constitute the Church.  There is a dignity in every one of God’s people—it is a reflection of God’s very nature. 

We need to keep in mind the tremendous value that God places on each of us through His redemptive work and the responsibility and duty we now have to thoroughly appreciate all the members of His Body. 

God wants us to learn how to live with one another now, so that we will know how to live with Him eternally.  We cannot hate, despise, neglect, be cruel, or reject any of God’s saints, as that behavior will disqualify us from the Kingdom of God. 

We must Acknowledge all of Our Brothers and Sisters in Christ.  Thoroughly examining ourselves, especially before Passover, is that important.


End:  Acknowledging Our Brothers and Sisters in Christ