HOW TO RECOGNIZE FAMILY MEMBERS! Sometimes all people in a family bear the same resemblance and sometimes they don’t. But in God’s family there should be certain characteristics that stand out so that Christians can be recognized in their daily lives. One incident recorded in the gospel of Matthew tells us that one day Jesus was inside a house speaking and, “Someone told him, ‘Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.’ ‘He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” ‘Pointing to his disciples, he said,’ “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother,” (Matthew 12:47-50 NIV). Jesus tells us in those words that those in His family, the family of the Father in heaven, have distinguishing characteristics; a family resemblance if you will. That resemblance is that they do the will of God. In other words their actions reveal their heart and the relationship they claim to have with God.
It appears today that many, way too many, people claim to be Christ-followers, Christians, but there is no resemblance of Jesus in their lives. Very often these professed Christ-followers look more like they belong in the family of the kingdom of this world than they do the kingdom of God. And very often their words and actions reveal they know very little about God or about the Word of God that should be their family guidebook. I know it is possible for any Christian to sin but God has made provision for that and temporary failure should not become a permanent lifestyle. Now lest you think I am too judgmental or harsh or pessimistic let me share what Jesus also said in Matthew 12, “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit,” (v.33 NIV). When Jesus makes a fruit tree it will bear good fruit on a permanent basis and if we see a bad fruit tree that claims to be a good fruit tree I think we should recognize it for what it is. The question is, “How is our family resemblance?” And what kind of fruit are we bearing anyway?