Theme: Old Family, New Family
This week’s lessons focus on the high price of new relationships that must be paid to follow Christ.
Scripture: Luke 14:26
But I think I hear you thinking. “That is all well and good, to be talking about breaking with old social acquaintances or other distant friends. But that is quite a different thing from breaking with one’s parents or, worse yet, one’s husband or wife. Those are relationships that cannot simply be done away with, and any strain along those lines is painful.” That is true. I offer this consolation.
First, it is often the case—indeed, it is generally the case—that God works in families and thus uses one who has become a Christian to draw His relations after Him. It is remarkable how this happens. At first there may be great misunderstanding, even hostility. Parents especially tend to regard a child’s new faith as a rejection of them and their values. But a change often occurs. Hostility is replaced by curiosity and then by respect for the new set of convictions and way of life. Conversations follow, and before long the parent, brother, sister, or others turn to Jesus.
I have been a pastor for many years, and I have noticed something interesting. A generation ago the church was filled with parents who were grieving over an errant son or daughter. The parents were believers, but the children had rejected Christianity and were living the world’s life. Today it is often the reverse. The children, often college students or young career people, have found Christ, and they are now concerned for their parents. I have noticed that through the witness of children many of these parents come to Christ.
If you are having trouble with your family as a result of your attempts to follow Jesus, do not despair. Count it a temporary thing. You must follow Jesus regardless of what your family may say or do, but reason that the very fact that God has called you is encouragement to think that He may also call them. As Charles Haddon Spurgeon once said, you may be the “spiritual decoy” to bring them into “the gospel net.”
Second, do not forget the wonderful new family God has given you through the work of Christ. You have much in common with the members of your natural family—such as similar personalities and shared experiences. But you have much, much more in common with your new family, the family of believers. It is what Jesus spoke of in Mark 10:29, 30 when He declared, “I tell you the truth . . . no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life.”
What a great family this is! It is one family because the members all have one Father, even God. They have one mother, the true, invisible church. They have one elder brother, Jesus Christ. This is a happy family, because the members have all turned from sin and are striving to live to righteousness in obedience to Jesus. Pride is abhorred by this family. All rest their entire hope of salvation on what Jesus Christ has done, and they have no confidence in themselves. They read the same Bible. They go to the same throne of grace in prayer. They strive for the same gifts of grace: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (cf. Gal. 5:22, 23). They feel themselves to be at one with all other Christians. They have the same future expectations, the return of the Lord Jesus Christ and the establishing of His kingdom. They look to be united around His throne at the final resurrection.
What is the first piece of consolation Dr. Boice offers to those who may be facing difficulty with family members over their salvation?
What is the second piece of consolation?
Application: What are some things you can begin to do today in an effort to reach your unsaved family members with the gospel? What are some things you need to stop doing?
For Further Study: Download and listen for free to James Boice’s message, “New Relationships for a New Age.” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)