Passage: Mark 3:31-35
Guide for Group Discussion or Personal Reflection
One of the most precious truths of the gospel is that God is a Father who calls people by grace into a family. This past Sunday, we saw this truth powerfully illustrated through baptism, and we heard a sermon from Pastor Brian Carlson on God’s expansive heart for his spiritual family.
In Mark 3:31-35, Jesus is told that his mother and brothers were seeking to see him. In response, Jesus pointed to those sitting around him listening to his teaching and replied, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother”—expanding their concept of family to include all who obey Jesus as his disciples (Mark 3:34-35).
Several implications arise from this brief episode, but two come to the surface. First, we can learn that God wants to relate to us as children, not merely as servants and worker bees! Anything we “do” in service of God ultimately flows out of our identity as children in his family.
Second, just as children resemble their parents (and their other siblings) in important ways, so Christians, who are children in God’s family, resemble their Father, God, and their older brother, Jesus. Thus, the church should be a family with a culture of self-giving love. This expresses itself in many ways, including our church’s emphasis on Foster Care. When we foster children, by giving them loving homes and families, we are picturing God’s grace in the gospel, as God adopts us into his family.
Group Discussion & Personal Reflection Guide
Re-read the passage (Mark 3:31-35)
Q) INTRO QUESTION: Reflect back on these past 7 months of the pandemic. When has the church felt like a family to you? When has it not?
Q) Re-read Mark 3:31-35. How do you think Jesus’ biological mother and brothers felt when he responded to them the way he did? How did Jesus’ response challenge their assumptions about family?
Q) How might the truth that when a person becomes a disciple they are adopted into a spiritual family change the way you seek to communicate the gospel to someone who is not a Christian?
Q) What aspects of the truth that God calls us into a family are comforting to you? What aspects of this truth are challenging to you?
Q) Spend time talking as a group (or reflecting individually) through several of the implications of the truth that God calls us into a family. Don’t rush this part! How might the truth that God calls us (the church) into a family change:
- The way you use your time
- The way you use your money
- The way you handle conflict
- The way you attend a worship service
- The way you use your spiritual gifts
- Who you talk to at church
Q) How does foster care and adoption uniquely represent the gospel? What do you think the impact would be on our witness to the community if the whole church were involved, in some way, in foster care or adoption?
Q) CASE STUDY: You’re talking to a Christian friend. They share with you that over the pandemic, they’ve gotten out of the habit of attending church, and they haven’t felt like joining a house church because “it’s just not the same worship experience as before.” Instead, they say, “I’ve been enjoying this time where it’s just God and me on a Sunday AM…it’s been a good reminder that he is all I need.” In light of this week’s sermon and theme, how might you gently and encouragingly respond to them?
Additional Application Questions
Q) How else would you like to engage with God this week?
Q) How can you tangibly care for those in your community this week, both inside and
outside of the church?
Spend time praying for yourselves, our church community, the North Shore community, and our nation and world—particularly those most vulnerable.