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believers?  Over ten million Christians die every year, mostly in either communist or Muslim countries, simply for being Christians. People take 1 John 3:16 very literally in many places. They are laying down their lives for each other, as brothers and sisters in the family of God.

Life is about relationships.  If we miss this, we have missed the purpose of life.  Life is not about accomplishments; it is about relationships.  You were put on this earth first to know God and love him, and second to know his family and love them, because that’s who we’re spending eternity with.  As a pastor, I have been at the bedside of a number of people as they were dying.  I have never once had anybody say as their last request, “Bring me my diplomas. I want them close to me.” Nobody says, “Bring me my Giants’ hat” or “Bring me my Sharks’ jersey.”  It is in those final moments they talk about what matters most, and they say “Bring me my family, bring me my friends.” One day you’re going to figure out that what really matters in life is your relationship with God and your relationships with family and friends. I hope it doesn’t take that long. I hope you don’t discover that at the last moment of your life. I hope you discover it now and begin to fellowship as God intended for us, because life is all about relationships.

By the way, have you ever wondered if you were really a Christian?  How do you really know for sure if you’re in God's family?  Let me read you three verses that will test if you’re really a Christian or not. 1 John 3:10 says, “Anyone who does not love other Christians does not belong to God.” 1 John 3:14 says, “But if we love our Christian brothers, it proves that we have passed from death to eternal life.”  1 John 4:20 says, “Those who do not love their brothers and sisters, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have never seen.”  That’s the proof.  

So let me ask you a couple of questions.  Which of these levels of fellowship are you at?  Have you even made it to the first one, choosing to belong?  Are you still floating around from church to church?  You need to choose a church.  Take the Discovering Cornerstone class next Sunday and decide if this is the church family you want to belong to.  That’s the most basic level.  Then you need to learn to share. And where do you do that?  In a small group.  Then you need to not just share your heart, you need to do your part. That’s partnership.  Find your niche.  Find your place to give back, to make a contribution.  If you’re in the family of God, you have some family responsibilities.  God expects you to do your part in the family.  Then you move to this deepest level.  Are there any other believers that know you are devoted to them, who know you’re going to be there for them in their crisis?  And an even more basic question, the question you want to be sure you get right, is this: “Are you a part of the family of God?”  You say, “Well, isn’t everybody a part of the family of God?”  No. Everybody is created by God, but not everybody is a child of God.  You have to choose to be a part of God’s family.  And you can do that today, right here and right now as we pray.

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