I love looking at family portraits, especially as the family members change over the years, growing up, getting more mature and having their own little ones. It’s interesting to look at the changes that occur, often very subtle and unrealized until we look back and have the shock of how we have been transformed over the years. This is sometimes good and sometimes not so good.
The Lord Jesus also has a family portrait and His family is called His church. Do you ever wonder what the family of God should look like? As I was ministering recently on “Where Are You?” I had the thought of “Where is the Church?” and what is the family of God supposed to look like? So, I go to the book of Acts and get a beautiful portrait of the Family of God. Here is the portrait painted by the early church:
- Loved each other in word and deedà Heart of Love
- Devoted to the teaching of the Wordà Doctrine of the Apostles
- Daily attendance in the temple and in fellowship with other believersà Service & Fellowship
- Signs, wonders, miracleà The Supernatural Present
- Cared for needyà Outreach
- Evangelismà Missions
- Persecutedà Endured Persecution from World
- Changed entire cities with Gospel by winning the lost and discipling new converts à Discipleship
- Disrupted the economy of towns àRegional Transformation
Sometimes we do not clearly see what we look like until we see a picture of ourselves. How do we compare today to the portrait of the early church? Where are we in our likeness to Jesus and His family portrait? Have those subtle changes occurred so slowly over the centuries until one day we (the church) look at ourselves and are shocked at how far away from the original portrait we have become?
Or, do we (personally) look at ourselves and begin to thank God for the work He has done in us, adding us to His family portrait as a devoted family member who has changed more into His image over the years?
When it comes times for those family portraits, we will often want to push the date out a little, so we can lose those extra pounds or get that new outfit or new hairdo, just so we can look better. God is transforming us daily into His image and year by year we should become more like His Son as we submit ourselves to Him. Are you ready for the family portrait?