About this Study Kit

“We are family!” While this famous song title means one thing for blood relatives, it is even more significant in regard to the believer’s status as a member of God’s family.

Jesus commanded that all of his disciples should be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19), but what is the connection between baptism, union with Christ, and communion with his body? Are believers the church, or is it a place where God’s people gather? Did Jesus get the ball rolling, and now it’s up to Christians to participate with God in redeeming and reconciling the world to himself? Are church attendance and membership necessary, or is it enough to be busy with “kingdom work”?

Jesus states, “For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother” (Matt. 12:50 ESV). The new society that God has created in Jesus reorganizes all of the Christian’s priorities. The world fragments people into small constituent groups, but believers should not be organized by age, gender, ethnicity, or political affiliation; rather, they are a people from every tribe language, and nation who together worship the Lamb who ransomed them with his blood (Rev. 5;9).

Not only does the Christian’s individual life undergo a radical transformation through faith in Jesus, but every relationship he or she has with all believers, including those within the nuclear family – is radically transformed as well.

Selecting a local church today is not just a matter of one’s denominational affiliation or physical location. Many Christians change from one congregation to another if they feel like their “needs aren’t being met” at their current church home. If the old saying holds true, “You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family, ” doesn’t this also apply to a believer’s relationships with his or her brothers and sisters in Christ?

Many churches today have bought into secular views of life and family, catering to individual needs and schedules rather than reorganizing all of the believer’s priorities in light of his or her new relationship to Christ and his body. Jesus was emphatic that the believer’s relationship to him takes precedence over all blood ties: “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matt. 10:37). While most Christians today understand that their allegiance to following Jesus must come before their allegiance to blood relatives, the believer’s duties to – and communion with – the local church body are not emphasized nearly as much.

Union with Christ means communion with his body. The apostle Paul compares the individual members of the body of Christ to the members of the human body, which “have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together, if one member is honored, all rejoice together” (1 Cor. 12:25-26). Since God has elected each member of the body of Christ, the whole body suffers when even one believer doesn’t participate in the church community.

In the Study Kit “Is Water Thicker Than Blood” we will delve into the identity of the church and the believer’s new family in Christ. Additionally, we will explore the church’s mandate and relationship to society and culture and how Christ rules his kingdom now on earth.

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