#181 - BROTHERS/SISTERS (31/8/20)
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‘But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, co-worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety. So then, welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honour people like him, because he almost died for the work of Christ. He risked his life to make up for the help you yourselves could not give me.’ (Philippians 2:25-30)
Please also turn to Mark 3:34-35 and 1 Timothy 5:1-2.
Pauls calls Epaphroditus his brother. In Christ, all Christians are in God’s family. When we receive Jesus as Lord and Saviour, we are not only justified (the guilt of our sins have been removed) we are also adopted into God’s family. J. I. Packer summarises our adoption as,
‘Permanent intimacy with God as one’s heavenly Father.’
This is an identity that we are to cherish. Being children of God affects how we relate to God as Father, how we relate to one another as family and transforms our hope of the future now that we are heirs of eternal life and the Kingdom of God. Paul writes,
‘But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.’ (Galatians 4:4-7)