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The Family of God (Tom Holland)

The Family of God

By the grace of God I’ve been blessed for 66 years of my life to preach the gospel of his son and to be with the best people on his earth my brothers and sisters in the Lord and I happened I had to do something this past week I’ve just come from a meeting at Clearwater Florida the fifth meeting I’ve held for them and I had to say no I’m retiring from meetings they’ll be up to Glenn these young guys to do it now and I’ve this is a new experience for me because normally I would have said well now I couldn’t for a few years I started my meeting work in Wayne County in 1950 and then when I graduated from Lipscomb good days then in 1954 I had 16 meetings scheduled and I was booked three years ahead but those are just memories jack tells me that he’s back and that’s an answer to a lot of prayers my prayers I know jack is a vital he and Eunice or a vital part of something that now this year will be 47 years of my life the Diana singing I don’t know that it would even exist without them so I’m happy the elders have honored me with this invitation I’ve been blessed to be on all the programs here serving today and I do not take that for granted I didn’t realize back in the 50s when I was invited to be the preacher for this congregation how this church was honoring me announ retrospect I know that they were and so when I think about the people with whom I’ve worked through the years meetings these special service days I know it’s been a great joy to my life and I know the time’s running out I understand that fool will but I’m telling you one thing I’m going to enjoy it as much as I possibly can with what’s left you’d say well if you’ve been eight days in Florida you don’t look like you have much of a tan no I was in my motel room working on a book I’m always working on a book and I didn’t even have the television on one time didn’t even know that they’d have tornado in Pensacola where I was headed until I called Paul saying he and I were on the program and John Newbery and I closed it Thursday night and that Paul Thomas said we were under a tornado threat up there and then when I got up there and started out yesterday I could see it was about two miles north of there so I was grateful I escaped that I’m gonna tell you one thing that one phone call I had on my way in yesterday I was down there Montgomery Alabama and John bond called me John was on his way back from India and he called to tell me that is 28-year old son was found dead and that’s why he was coming home early and so I said finally well John you called me because you thought I would care and to tell you the truth about it I really do John sorrows my hurt today evidently from flu complications and some other health issues his 20 year old son succumbed to death a lot of other things I could say today that are on my heart but just suffice it to say I am honored to be here I’m grateful for the invitation and I hope and pray that much good will come from this now I’m going to ask you to go on a journey with me we’re going to go on a journey or maybe 40 minutes if you extend it that long and on this journey we’re going to have two very significant leaders and I’ll tell you upfront they’re gonna be a great apostle and they will be the Holy Spirit and to give you an idea in Ephesians and if you have a Bible feel free to turn that’s where we’re going to the book of Ephesians and the book of Ephesians if you’ll notice in chapter 3 Paul says for this cause i paul the prisoner of jesus christ for you gentiles if you’ve heard the dispensation of the grace of God which was given me how that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery as I wrote afore in few words whereby when you read you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ which another ages was not made known under the sons of men as it has now been revealed under his holy apostles and prophets got that revealed and his holy apostles and prophets that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs and members of the same body and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel now a biblical mystery is not like an English mystery in English mystery you know is something that kind of challenges the intellect ‘men defies explanation a biblical mystery is something that man could never know unless God reveals it but once it’s revealed if you and I can read the revelation because it’s in words that’s what Paul says that the Spirit had given a revelation and word that we could read and understand so that’s why I say on this journey our two leaders will be the Apostle Paul used to write about half of the New Testament scripture and the Holy Spirit of God who revealed the message that was given so with that background I will assure us we’ve already met a concept that’s very important the body the Gentiles and the Jews could be a part of the same body now that body has been identified back in Ephesians 1 the last two verses in these words and he has put all things under his feet and gave him to behave or head over all things to the church which is his body church now you’ve heard it many times the word church used in the New Testament over 100 times translates the word in the original that’s compound the stem of the word means to call and the prefix means out of to call out off and so we’re dealing with people who have been called out of something and the thing out of which they have been called is identified repeatedly as the world when you read the Lord’s Prayer in John 17 just start noting how many times he uses the word world and every time he’s talking about the mass of humanity alienated from God and dominated by a Satan and adversary a Satan who is the devil the slanderer the god of this world the god of this age so the devil is in control of the mass of humanity through his deceptive efforts and also through his dominating spirit but we’ve been called out of that we are the church and when you read the six chapters of Ephesians you will be impressed about the number of times he talks about the church but now that’s the identification we’ve been called out but we’re identified as the body several times in Ephesians he will identify the church the body of Christ when Jesus was upon this earth he had a body similar to the one you now have flesh and blood body and then they nailed that body to the old rugged cross by the power of God it was united again with this spirit and a glorious resurrection and in that body according to acts 1 he left this earth and ascended back to the Ancient of Days but he still has a body on earth and the called out people constitutes that body in other words we are now the people through whom the Lord is accomplishing his work or his mission we are the body of Christ now so far as typable government for these people it’s identified over in chapter 5 after Paul had said in verse 1 being you therefore followers of God as dear children and please hold that in your mind as dear children and he talks about the sacrifice of Christ and then he says that we are not to be practitioners immorality fornication or uncleanness nor covetousness he says if you do these things you have no part in the kingdom of Christ and of God if you do not have some kind of control of people who have anarchy what we saw in Ferguson Missouri and this fella that paid 21 million dollars to bust people down to keep that thing going that that’s anarchy and you don’t have any kind of spiritual government of people what you have if anarchy and that’s not not what God wants so we’re following along that we’ve seen Church we have seen body of Christ we have seen Kingdom and that would come down to the latter part of chapter 2 and Paul says you are no more strangers and foreigners but fellow-citizens with the Saints that it is and on the household of God the household now that is a beautiful idea God has a family that’s why I wanted you to hold that dear children in mind God has a family and there is an interesting and we’ll probably have time to touch this there’s an interesting connection in our earthly families and gods family we get some tremendous insights into both when we study this great book of Ephesians but now who are the strangers and a foreigners well let’s go back up to verse 12 that same chapters that will remember that you’d be in time past Gentiles call them circumcision by that which is called the circumcision and the flesh made with ends that at that time you were without Christ being aliens from the Commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise having no hope and without God in the world you know that world we talked about they don’t have hope over there because they’re without God when they are without God they are without hope now he says you are no more strangers and foreigners but what has happened the Lord Jesus Christ broke down the middle wall of partition between Jew and Gentile through his death on the cross and so you see in verse 16 of chapter 2 that he might reconcile both to God in one body by what the cross the correlation of the Church of Christ and his cross are absolutely inseparable because it’s the cross where he paid the price for the material out of which his church would be built now we are no more strangers and foreigners over there with that world without God and without hope no we are God’s people we are God’s household and if you look at the meaning of word translated household W vine for example an expository dictionary works this it means his family his kindred we are God’s kindred we are God’s family now I’m going to ask you to follow as we let these two leaders the Holy Spirit through Paul’s inspired writings follow if we have time at least in four areas what does this family of God mean to God oh it’s very important to him he’s invested a lot in it he’s invested his mercy in it he’s invested his grace in it if you if you doubt that keep reading adhesions to when you start with verse one about the folks that were dead he’s made alive God who is rich in mercy for the great love wherewith he called us even when we were dead in sins has made us alive in Christ and then in parentheses and first find that beautiful little statement for by grace are you saved God has invested so much in his family and we are special people to God I love the statement back in Ephesians 1 I love the imagery when Paul is praying for these people he says and for us if we internalize this revealed message he says that the eyes of your understanding will be enlightened I love that imagery the eyes of your understanding that you may know what is the hope of his calling and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in his Saints we are important to God we are God’s children we are special in heaven and God forbid we ever forget it because with that is not only a profound honor but it is a significant challenge it’s one thing to become a Christian there’s another thing to be a Christian it’s one thing to become a child of God just another thing to behave like a child of God you remember what Paul told Timothy the first tenderfeet 3:15 if I tarry long but know how the others paid myself and what in the house of God which is the Church of the Living God so how we behave as children of God but I’ll tell you one thing God has an investment in us he has an inheritance in his Saints now I know that I have an inheritance because I am a child of God I’m gonna get to that passage in a minute and Romans 8 but God has an investment he has an investment in me of all the people and they’re billions of people on this earth God is not seeing a mass of humanity I mean we’re his children and so no wonder the Apostle John would say in first John 3 starting with verse 1 behold what manner of love the father hath bestowed upon us that we should be called the children of God you want somebody to honor you that God I’d do it you are my child you are important to me all of you that are parents I will ask you foolish question are your children important to you you say men why would you ask a stupid question like that you know my children are important to me now you can say anything about me you want to just leave my children alone I like any parent in this audience you will die for your children no question about it and God son died for God’s children no question about it if you don’t think that God thought we were worthy to become his children someday by faith just sweep back across the centuries and look on a hill that has a cross has three up there but you look on that middle cross and you see the sinless innocent son of God traumatized by crucifixion baptized in human pain that language would be in poverty to adequately describe they’d already beaten my Savior as you would not dare beat an animal through they beat him through a scourging and now they nail him to a cross and while my Lord and Savior is hanging there dying he has to listen to a mob of people say if you’re the Son of God come down off the cross and we’ll believe you you saved others listen to you save yourself you would have wept if you had been there that day I would have wept when I think about I’ve sung it many times you have to was it for crimes that I have done he groans upon the tree the answer to that is an emphatic yes breeze there a soul so dead that it cannot respond with profound gratitude overwhelming appreciation for the son of the Living God who’s made us God’s children we’re important to God and we had time to explore that a little more but I sweep over next we’re important in God’s family to our brother the Lord Jesus Christ I love that statement in Hebrews 2 after the rider had talked about why Jesus left heaven and came to earth and he said we see Jesus we see Jesus well nine times in the book of Hebrews we’re taught that Jesus is in heaven by the right hand of God he’s no longer here but we see Jesus go back to the eyes of your understanding we see Jesus who was made a little lower than the Angels for the suffering of death crowned with glory and that Heba the grace of God should taste death for every man for it became him for whom are all things and by whom are all things in bringing many sons unto glory to make the captain of their salvation perfect through suffering my Savior left lower II to come here to take me to glory and you keep reading there in Hebrews 2 you go down to verse 12 and you’re gonna read a quotation from the messianic sound that’s Psalm 22 quoted about a hundred and twenty four times in your New Testament twenty second saw the messianic psalm and in it the Messiah would say these are my brethren the Hebrews writer says he that sanctifies and they who are sanctified or all of one part which cause he’s not ashamed to call them brethren do you mean to tell me that the Lord Jesus Christ who suffered as he has suffered is not ashamed to say old Tom Holland down there that’s my brother you doing with that little boy that was raised in a cotton patch in Alabama that’s my brother he’s important to me and you could take a person like a man that one time hated the Lord’s Church with a passion he was a religious fellow and he thought that the greatest service he could render God I’m going to destroy that church you know there are people today that but not only like to destroy the church they’d like to destroy this country they really wouldn’t take it over they want to come in here and take advantage of our freedom of religion to impose upon us a religion that has no freedom go to Saudi Arabia and try to preach the gospel I wouldn’t recommend it if you want to stay healthy now and tell you they come over here and they rape our association to help small businesses small business loans rape that to buy our businesses and every American who didn’t today love these people by their own statements and so this man I’m talking about a long time ago that Haiti the church he in his company today and what he did he had the authority to do it he got the officials to give him the authority he threw folks in jail and he said I even gave consent when they were put to death I had a whole list of things that he admitted that he had done and then he was converted and he was told by a god-sent preacher why do you Terry arise and be baptized and wash away your sins calling on the name of the Lord do you mean to tell me that Jesus would die for a man like that yes I’m telling you and no wonder Paul would say god forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ by whom the world is crucified unto me and I’ll endure the world no wonder he would say it and no wonder he would confess in first Corinthians 15 that he he should not even be deserve to call be called an apostle because he said I persecuted the church but now Paul is a brother to Christ and it matters not how many years you may have wasted in a sinful life like the sad refrain of the man who wrote the song must I go an empty handed all the years in sinning wasted could I bet but recall them now I’d give them to my Savior and to his will I’d gladly bow I have actually heard men say a similar thing man that would say why did I spend so many years of wasting sin I’m telling you we mean something to the Lord Jesus Christ he calls us brethren you talk about and honor one time I was really studying that passage Jesus said in the midst of the church will I sing unto thee because he’s not ashamed to call us brethren the next Sunday I decided I’m going to apply that Jesus said I’ll sing with you in the assembly or in the church youth I imagined Jesus was sitting by me and we were singing you think I had any trouble giving the Lord the best I had within me of my heart and boys none whatsoever get into the second song I’m in it again and then I had to quit I was crying it overwhelmed me to think that I could sing with the Lord but I can and what about the Holy Spirit how important is God’s household to the Holy Spirit I know it’s important to God I know it’s important to the Son of God and what about the Holy Spirit well here I won’t take you to Romans 8 starting in verse 14 the Bible says for as many as are led by the Spirit of God they are the children are sons of God for you have not received the spirit of adoption whereby we cry Abba Father but you have received this spirit of adoption whereby we become he says heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ as many as are led by the Spirit of God they become sons of God you have not that spirit of fear and the bondage you have a spirit of adoption God really wanted you to become his child I heard about a father who overheard his little son making fun of a little boy that was adopted by a family and the day they called his son aside said I heard what you were doing I don’t ever want to hear you do that again those people took that little boy because they wanted him we took you because we had to and so God took us because he wanted us we are his adopted children if I had time I’d take you to feedings one we were predestined to become the adopted children of God and so I will admit to you if you read Romans 8:14 you don’t read how the Holy Spirit leads us to become children of God it’s a fact stated that he does it’s not all that difficult to ascertain it does it all you do just go to passage like Galatians 3:26 and 27 for we’re all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus for some in abuse be baptized into Christ have put on Christ we are God’s children because we have read we have received the revelation we have read the revelation of God’s great mystery is a great scheme or plan for the redemption of the human family and we have internalized it and we have trusted it with all of our hearts and that led us to repent to change our minds about the way we had lived and the way we would live and that was the power that led us to be baptized you know a lot of folks don’t understand that baptism is within itself an act of faith Colossians 2:12 buried with him in Baptism wherein also you’re risen with him through the faith of the operation of God you know why I believe with all of my heart that August the 7th 1943 when I was baptized into Christ it’s just believe it it’s trust it’s a real faith there is real faith demonstrated in a penitent person being baptized Colossians 2:12 declares it so we’re important to the Holy Spirit now we come down in the fourth area of God’s family being important to every other member of gods family and there’s so much in ephesians about this i’ll just have time to touch the hem of the garment so I won’t start with appease and sport third one and 32 he says be kind one to another tender-hearted forgiving one another even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you and so he preface that by saying that all clamor evil speaking be put away from you with all guile and instead of that be kind you like folks that are kind to you I’m going to tell you something that happened to me in Clearwater Florida there spec I have never seen people that could be more kind I’ve stated many hotels and motels and plenty of different states but I have never seen people that were more considerate of me and kind to me that I’ve just come from and here was here’s the one that really dug into my heart a brother told me the last of that meeting he said that Tom I I was telling my dad about your limitation walking so forth he said my daddy does not go to church anywhere but he wanted his son to tell me I’m going to come and drive you it’s about eight nine hours I’m gonna drive you over to Pensacola and I’ll catch me locked back down to Tampa I said you tell you daddy that touched my heart and I’m gonna get this daddy’s address and he’s gonna get a card from me I’ve read a tune appreciation you know I I love to be kind of people I love to be kind to waiters and waitresses and at the place where I stopped I stopped in Calera Alabama at one of the best restaurants they’ve in that town you may have never heard of it it’s called Cracker Barrel but I had I said I want to talk to the manager and I wanted to tell the manager how competent this little lady was that was the waitress I mean everything was just right and I said if you’ve got a little time I won’t tell your story well the manager had a little time and I said now about four years ago I came down to Montgomery to deliver the commencement address at graduation from Orem Rouge University and I said I stopped here to eat and they seated me over I said I’ll show you the picture I showed her the picture they seeded me by the picture of an elderly woman and when the little waitress came back I said this wouldn’t happen in a million years she said what what what I said you see that picture right there that was my great-great-great great-great-great grandmother and her name was many Bowl her husband was general in the Confederate Army and his name was general gunner she didn’t know that the minie ball was the outside outstanding bullet for the Civil War but this little waitress when I told her that story she said are you serious yes and I broke I lost it at that point and when she walked by my table she’d look at me and just burst out laughing well I had a tremendous visit with and I could tell you many stories about what happens when you’re kind to people you know I’ve had a lot of folks will be kind to me I’ve had a lot of people in Pulaski Tennessee for years to be kind to me you think I forget it no you know I take time this I take a pen it’s called brotherly love our friendship I dip that in indelible ink and I put their name in my heart it’s there I want to be kind to people I want to be kind when I preach I’ll stand before the Lord to give them account for this today and everything I’ve preached but I I want the Lord to remember I’ve never tried to take pulpit advantage of people to abuse people from the pulpit or what they believe I hope he remembers it on that day so I think about how sometimes that the family that Glenn is talking about that is so important and I probably understand that more than a whole lot of people so important to your life to your work what you do but how it correlates to the family of God so if you go over to Ephesians chapter 6 well to get the background let’s start with chapter 5 he’s telling the wife starting in verse 21 that she’s means be in subjection to her own husband as and watch this as the church or even as the church is to Christ bar he is the head of the church and he is the savior of the body there we go the body and then for the next several verses he talks to husbands he gets it done in a hurry so far as the responsibility of the wife is concerned a lot more time is devoted to husbands and he finally says husband’s love your wives even as there is as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it gave himself for it got a question you husbands would you die for your wife if you had to you love her that much Jesus loved the church that much and then he says look you’re no longer to your one and then he finally works his way down to say at the latter part of the of that chapter he said this agree this is a great mystery but I speak concerning Christ and the church he’s using the ideal the ideal of the husband wife relationship to say this is what Jesus does for his church he’s the head of it he loves it it’s a part of him and he died for it and we come down to chapter 6 children children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right honor thy father and thy mother that it may be well with thee and that thou mayest live long on the earth Gene Stallings came to Nashville maybe four five years ago and made a speech he said we must start teaching our children respect if there’s ever been a time in my lifetime when this needs to be ingrained in people respect you know many of us came from the old school I was taught you say yes sir to an older man you say yes ma’am to an older lady oh that’s a whole fashion southern whatever you want to call it it I thought it was respect and a thing that I have had trouble doing I’m older than any of the elders in this church but it’s hard to meet say Joe I won’t say something to recognize he’s an elder so it’s brother usually not in a casual way but man I respect the men who serve as the elders of God’s church and I respect older people one of the things that I’m having to get used to now yeah I was taught open the door for ladies now Ken well just recently some somewhere yesterday going into restaurant lady over the door and I I was reluctant to go when I said let me hold it for you no man I’m not I said I’m not accustomed to this respect I was taught if you are seated and an older person comes in can up and give them your seat you know respect the gray-haired well when I think about children today those of you who teach you know what I’m talking about it’s hard to keep order a lot of times because they don’t respect you back in my school days there was a tremendous working together of the home and of the schools I mean if your parents found out back in those days that you had been this disrespectful to a teacher you had to give a count to them and I’ll tell you something else if you got a whipping at school you’re gonna get another one when you got home that’s the way they did it you say well did they have cell phones no but if you had a younger sister you didn’t need a cell phone I mean it was it would be announced before you ever got there we had a reunion right little old elementary school by the way I’m a graduate of Oxford they called it Oxford you don’t think I came from a real hopeful community we had a union reunion of our little Oxford school and one of the fellows whose daddy had been principal Edsel said I got a whipping at school because I pushed the boy off the front porch the bunny boots off happened to be my first cousin one of them he said my daddy whipped me at school would get home he said all right come on down to Barn he sweats too early to feed he said no we’re not gonna be you know the rule you get a whipping at school you get a whip in at home and I’m telling you that was cooperation you respect a teacher you respect a policeman you respect older people and children obey your parents you know implied in that his parents that are worthy of respect and obedience I tell you today there’s some parents that are not they walk away from their children they really do there are parents today I heard a fella tell his daddy I was on the committee at freed-hardeman I heard a fella tell his daddy shut up right now I couldn’t believe that the other members of the committee we just kind of looked at the are we hearing what we think we’re hearing you know I never would have said that to my daddy for two or three reasons if I had one say well you know I look back now and every time that my dad had trimmed that little peach tree down behind the hen house for my benefit he loved me I didn’t understand that until I became a parent and then man it hurts you but I think about children obey your parents and Lord this is right honor your father and your mother and then he says father’s provoke not your children to wrath bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord and that takes a lot of patience that takes a lot of Prayer that takes a tremendous amount of love but when you have a home situation where children are being taught respect generally respect and where you have a congregation of God’s people that need respect for those who assume the leadership role of it and you have that all work together when you have a home situation where there’s kindness and love and appreciation and then you have a family of God where there is love and kindness and appreciation she’s got a beautiful working together and that makes a strong household for God a family that God can look down upon and say those are my children and be grateful for them there we are the very people of God and the greatest day is yet to be when when God yeahthere’s us all to himself forever he lives up from all of the crime and all of the hate all of a killing all of man’s inhumanity to man God says come on home now I’m going to take care of you I’m gonna provide for you the most beautiful environment you could ever possibly imagine I’m going to give you the thrill of being with the best people who ever lived on my earth and you’ll live with them forever and death is not going to ever come and destroy that you are not ever going to know the limitations of an aging process never ever no more pain no more sorrow no more suffering no more disappointment no more heartache no more heartbreak listen to the songs of the redeemed as the roar of many waters and as the beauty of Harper’s with their harps get to meet Abraham and Isaac and Jacob the apostles and the good people that you knew on earth and my family of which you were apart you’re home and you’re safe and secure forever and ever and you will be glad that my son made it all possible and I know you will want to honor him forever and ever so to be in the family of God is the greatest honor and the deepest joy that a human soul will ever experience thank you for your good attention I’ve asked God to help me in this presentation and promised him if he would he gets the glory not Tom

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