For CNN reporter Sandra Endos, the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan struck too close to home. Her then ninety-year-old grandmother lived in Fukushima City, one of the hardest hit areas. “We spent restless days and worrisome nights wondering how she was doing,” Endos reported. When she finally received a text message, reporting that everyone in her family was accounted for, it was the most encouraging text in the world to Endos.
Can you imagine getting a similar text from a loved one in a disaster zone? Family accounted for. Safe. Everyone OK. Don’t worry—I’m fine. We may never send a text that dramatic; but through multiple ways, we have the ability to convey our encouragement to our brothers and sisters in Christ. Our lives should signal: Love you! I am here for you! I believe in you! We have a calling to love our brothers and sisters in Christ.
The Definition of God’s Family
What is the family of God? In his book, Systematic Theology, Wayne Grudem defines the Church as “all the people of God for all time.” Merely attending a church, having a Christian background, or belonging to a denomination isn’t sufficient. The Church is a blood-bought family, made up of those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Ephesians 5:23 says, “Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.”
The New Testament is full of metaphors describing the Church as “the temple of the living God” (2 Corinthians 6:16-17), the Body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12), and the Bride of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2).
The Church is a family. God is our Heavenly Father (Matthew 6:9), and we are His children (2 Corinthians 6:18). Once we receive Christ as our Savior, we’re never truly alone. We’re surrounded by the biggest family on earth, and it’s a clan with unending fellowship and an eternal home place. Psalm 68:6 says, “God sets the solitary in families.”
The Deportment of God’s Family
We have a distinctive love and language, a singular purpose, and a distinguishing set of attitudes called the “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23). We ought to be the most encouraging family on earth, for Galatians 6:10 says, “As we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (NIV).
We should treat one another like brothers and sisters, loving them with a special love reserved for kinfolk: Bear one another’s burdens; be kind to one another; comfort one another; exhort one another. Having the family deportment is an essential part of living out our Christian faith.
The Directives to God’s Family
God directs us to be encouragers. In the book of Acts, the apostles considered it essential to encourage the family. Luke writes that Paul and Barnabas went around “strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. ‘We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,’ they said” (Acts 14:22, NIV). Two other New Testament workers, “Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the brothers” (Acts 15:32, NIV). We’re told that the apostle Paul also traveled around “speaking many words of encouragement to the people” (Acts 20:2, NIV).
Our divisions and preferences sometimes work against this. We’re disunited by our preferred mode of worship, Bible translation, or denominational label. There’s nothing wrong with having various opinions about secondary issues, of course. The apostle Paul, speaking to the Romans about various differences of opinion in the Early Church, said, “Let each be fully convinced in his own mind” (Romans 14:5).
But if we know and love the Lord Jesus and share the truth of the Gospel, we shouldn’t be defined by our differences but by our devotion to our family. Jesus said, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). The Bible says, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7).
Today, commit an act of love to your brothers and sisters in Christ by word, note, or text message.
David Jeremiah is the senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church and the founder and host of Turning Point for God. For more information about Dr. Jeremiah or Turning Point, visit www.DavidJeremiah.org.
 Sandra Endos, “Reporter’s family in Fukushima taking nuclear concerns in stride,” CNN, March 16, 2011, http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2011/03/16/reporters-family-in-fukushima-taking-nuclear-concerns-in-stride/.
 Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994), 855.
In Dr. Jeremiah’s latest prophecy book, The Great Disappearance: 31 Ways to be Rapture Ready, he examines the next event on God’s prophetic timetable, the Rapture. This is not a book of doom and gloom or a sensational read about setting dates, but one of hope and joy as we see the promise of God’s plan unfold all around us and grasp the power of the prophetic text surrounding the Rapture. Calling this “prophecy motivation,” these 31 easy-to-read short chapters will inspire you to live boldly and expectantly in today’s world.