Pastor Tim Pianta 65 Main Street, Tolga, Phone 0418882605 Email tolgacommunitychurch@gmail.com ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Sunday, December 16, 2018

How We Walk Matters

Bible Reference:  1 Peter 5:10; Ephesians 1:6

Living in a land like Australia,  we have a pretty good life.  We don't experience suffering as other countries have.  Each day Praise God.   Sing praise,  speak praise together or when you are alone.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.   The spirit of grace.  Christianity is not a religion,  it's a way of life.   God loves us and forgives us.  He wants us to overcome sin and live with Him.  If we want to find this grace, we must relate rightly to the God of grace.  He created us to live with and in us.  Developing a personal relationship with God.

John 17:3 - eternal life.   Developing a personal relationship with God.   It's about knowing God not just knowing about Him.  Like marriage,  get to know each other more.  Time and communication.   Knowing the Lord is our greatest treasure.  Everything else that competes is considered a loss.
Philippians 3:7-8

Getting increasingly acquainted with the Lord increases our relationship with him.

2 Peter 1:2
Two strategic,  rational realities:  humility and faith.  Jesus was faithful to everything that the Father wanted.  He was humble and came to earth from heaven.

1 Peter 5:5
God's grace is given to those who walk humily with your God. When you walk in humility and serving, when you get old you can walk with respect.   Proudness will leave you in a mess.

How we walk matters.  For example we look at the centoph where we hold ANZAC ceremonies we are reminded of the sacrifice our soldiers have made and still make.  1 Peter 2:3-11.  We are a living stone,  that is to show people the story of God.  When Israel had memorable events happen, they put up stones to remind them of the stories that happened on their lives.   If a nation wants to take God out of the nation, remove the Christians.
We are to lay the foundation - that is Christ Jesus!  To us, He is precious,  but to those who reject him, they hate him.

How We Live, walk, and act matters.   God gives each of us a mission in life - to show the world is Jesus!  When I get to Heaven will there be people in heaven because I obeyed him instead of doing the worldly things.

The Message of restored relationships.
Our ministry?  Reconciliation.   Bringing people back to being restored to God   That's how we change our nation.  2 Corinthians 5. Am I prepared to be a living stone for Jesus.   2 Chronicles 6:9

Are we fully committed to the Lord?  Psalm 96:2.  Seek first God's Kingdom.  We do what God wants- we love him when he gives, we love him when he takes. 

Acts 13:6 - David  served God's purpose in his own generation.  Psalm 51 is David's psalm of repentance.   Keep yourself pure, walk with the Lord.   The more you walk with the Lord, the more you will be ready to do what the Lord calls you to.

Acts 20:24 - we are to be in the race of life to complete it and win.  To testify to the gospel of God's grace.

We are to be a living stone.   Jesus was a living stone; rejected by people as worthless,  but precious to God.  We are precious to God.   God will make a way for you to do what he calls you to do.

God sees you - precious child whom He loves.  He is fitting you ready for heaven.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Shaken Up

Are we ready to be shaken up?

Bible reference:  Nehemiah 2

Nehemiah went to Jerusalem and rebuilt the wall.  The Lord wants to take our life, rebuild it and put our lives right.

There has been much that has happened in Australia that may appear that people are against God, but there are lots of wonderful things happening in our country.  Music, preaching, mission out reaches, etc. The Lord is bringing back the church in Australia.  

Nehemiah was called to assist in the restoration of Jerusalem.   He faced tremendous opposition .

Bible reference: Nehemiah 2:9-11.  Sanballat - a deceiver in hiding
Tobiah - one who did deceive instead of blessing the Lord. He was an ammonite.

The spirit of ammonite deceives.   The Ammonites came from Lot.  Lot lost everything in the world; Abraham gained everything because he walked with the Lord.   It's not about how good you walk; it's that you walk with the Lord.

The spirit of ammonite rose up to try and block the Lord's work.  Nehemiah 2:19-20.  Nehemiah was the one you phoned to fix the wall; Ezra was the one you phoned for prayer.  Those who oppose us have no place in the kingdom of God.   They have no heritage,  right or claim in Jerusalem.   When Nehemiah had to return to his job with the king, Tobiah tried to deceive the levites (the church leadership).  Nehemiah returns to find Tobiah working to break down Gods people.

Nehemiah 3:1 - sheep gate (where the water came into the town) Tobiah had married into the High Priest's family and he had secured a place that he should never have had.   By having access to what was not his, he was able to bring disunity into the priesthood.   He caused strife and confusion.

In the Old Testament,  Ammonites and Moabites were not to be in the congregation of God.  They had hired Balaam to curse Israel.   We should  be careful who we mix with, marry, be in relationship with.   Deceivers, those who cause disunity come in and break down the family of God. Reference: Nehemiah 13:1-8; 11-13

Nehemiah finds out what had been going on.  He had to sort out the problem of Tobiah.  Trouble starts when we don't allow good judgement and allow the  'Nehemiah's' in our church to clean out the problems.  Nehemiah 13:9-10

5 fold ministry- to equip the saints.  In Australia,  the enemy has come in and caused problems as they are not the ones who should be on leadership.   It's important that the right people are put in place. The levites had to leave their positions and tend their lands to provide food instead of doing their work at the temple. The levites were to be looked after, so they could teach the people how to live Gods ways.  Reference:  Joshua 21:1-3

The spirit of ammon promotes self-advancement.  Nehemiah had to throw out the evil,  he then restored the levites. 

Which spirit rules over the storehouses of our church?  It's about edifying the body of Christ.  We are servants to people.   We are to equip the saints accurately.  Through Jesus we are connected back to God.  In church we are all the Lord's flock, but he will use certain people to do certain roles.  God never calls one man to do all the work,  he calls a flock.

Reference: Luke 22:24-27.  We are to be servants. The world will see it that the one who sits at the table will receive accolades; Jesus sees that person as the one who serves.  It's very important we follow Gods example.   He gives us the ability to teach and edify God's people.   Acts 3 - the money raised was to help those in need.

If there is a spirit of Tobiah in our church and storehouse,  then we need bring this to the Lord and have the fortitude to deal with it.  Then be ready to be shaken up.  

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Read The Word!

Bible References: Acts 14:21-22;Acts 20:32; Jude 1:3.

We find the word of grace by reading God's Word.  The Word is the Word of Life (Holy Bible). The Lord desires us to continue to grow with Him, continue with Him, Read the Word.   We were created in God's image.  When we read God's Word,  we get the real picture.   God keeps us in His grace.  

One vital aspect of the process is to continue to read the Word.   Continue in the Faith - revealed truth of God. 
Saints- Those who are born again in Christ Jesus!  Faith - Word of God!  We're putting our faith in Jesus; in what God has to say.  We are built up in The Word of God.   Jesus dealt with all our sin; we deal in victory.

Paul entrusted the Ephesian elders to care for the Word of God.   God extended his grace to us to be saved.  Grace flows from the word of God.   It's the Lord's undeserved riches poured out in justification; sanctification,  edification.

We learn from the Word our great need for grace.   We access glory through our humble dependence on God.  We completely depend on God to bring us through.   I can't do it.  Pastors can't do it.   We must continue in the Word of His grace.  Daily, prayerfully,  study it.  We study to build ourselves up so we can help others.  

We will want to be in the Word so we can to KNOW  Jesus.

Ezekiel 3:18 - when we don't read God's Word right, we don't realise we have a responsibility to tell others so that they can hear the Gospel.  All Christians need to read God's Word and do what it says. There are consequences for our inaction. 
1 Corinthians 9:16 - Your mission is not optional.   Part of what we do is to tell the world about Jesus!  It's not as an option.  

Romans 1:16 - The Good news has the power to save those who believe.
In the past you were without Christ,  no hope, no future,  but with Christ, peace.

Roman's 1:14 - my God is greater than all those gods.  Paul doesn't want us to run the race to miss out; we are part of the winning team.

2 Corinthians 5
Jesus is the only one who can save.
Acts 4:12; Roman's 10:13-14.

When the Good news is preached to all the world,  then the end will come.
Acts 1:6-11: commission.  We are to be His witnesses and to go out into all the world! When Jesus comes back He comes as the Victor!

God has called us to be the people in the Community who is the difference.   He started with 12; now there are millions. 

How do you think God feels if we don't spend time with Him each day?

Sunday, November 25, 2018

You are God's Witness

Bible reference: 1 Timothy 1:15-16; 1 Timothy 1:12-14.

Before Paul knew Jesus, he spoke evil of Jesus and thought highly of himself.   Paul knew Old Testament.   Paul,  before he knew Jesus,  was living an ungodly,  religious life.   Yet Christ Jesus took hold of him, and showed mercy and grace and transformed Paul.

Its not what I do that makes me right, it's what Christ does that makes me right.

In Paul's agorance,  he was shown mercy.  Jesus deals with our sin, give it to him.  This ministry of grace that was given to Paul,  is also given to us.  We have a new covenant of grace.  God chose each and everyone of us, those who are saved, to be a distinctive example of God rich mercy.

This project of transformation is with mercy and grace.  It brings two spiritual abilities  - faith and love.   Without that ability, we have a hopeless life.   Our nation needs this now.  So that we can forgive,  not forget but forgive.  So we can extend mercy and grace.

Paul was trained in scripture,  of the tribe of Benjamin,  yet did not know God.   He had been a cruel, religious life. 

Galatians 5:6
Paul had seen the mercy of God in his own life, and was able to know the love of God in his life.   The greatest thing we can do in our life is give it to Jesus.  We have a generation in Australia that used to go to Church and now no longer do so, they didn't personally know Jesus.

This life we live on earth, is preparation for eternity.   You will either live life with the Lord or live life without the Lord. 

Isaiah 59:2; John 3:16-17.  We live according to the compassion God has shown us because of the cross.
What was the mission of Jesus on earth:  Luke 9:20; John 18:7.  God is all source of truth.  If the Lord has set you free, you are free indeed.  Jesus came to be a light to shine in the world.  God wants our lives laid open in the light  so we can be cleaned up.   God wants to clean up our lives so we can be all He wants for us.  God saves you so he can tell others about salvation.   Luke 17:18

God wants us to accept His salvation and forgiveness.   People need to know that if they accept Jesus, they will be made right. 

There are 5 great commissions:
Matthew 28:18-20
Mark 16:15
Luke 24:47
John 20:21
Acts 1:8

God chose YOU to be His witness.
1 Peter 2:8-9:  But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Guard what has been entrusted to your care - How to be a worker in God's Family


Bible References:  1 Timothy 6:11-21
First of all,  Paul tells Timothy to be a man of God.
Keep away from things that are evil. ( 1 Timothy 6:11) The way to get away from the things that are evil, you need to do the opposite and go to where you can do good)
Example:  1 Kings 17
Stay away from the love of money. Money in itself is not evil; the love of money is.  1 Timothy 6.  Idolatry - keep away from making something an idol.  Isaiah 44:13-17. A man went out and chopped a tree.  Half if it he burnt for warmth, and the other half he made an idol.
God has given us, his people the morality of God.  When we don't show this, it creates confusion.  Children aren't treasured and looked after, women aren't treasured and respected as they should be.   Confusion and disunity come into the church. 
You are salt and light to the World around.  People will know you, not by what we say, but by what we do.  Don't make a mockery of God.
Intimate relations (sex) outside of  marriage causes a breakdown in relationships, in the church,  in families.
God is a God of righteousness and justice.  He will bring discipline to his people first.  Young and old should be respected.  
Paul made Timothy an elder as a young man.  Sometimes we have strict rules and regulations,  God doesn't.
2 Corinthians 5:9; Colossians 1:9; Galatians 5:22-23
We make it our goal everyday to please Jesus.  God's people should be the most faithful. 
We should never be abusive.  We should be kind, loving, gentle.  We are to be different so that people can see Jesus. We live in a world that is foreign to God's way.  We live in a spiritual war - a war for your soul; your spirit; you!  It's your choice.
Take hold of eternal life.   Eternal life starts the moment we accept Jesus Christ.   We follow Jesus, the Good Shepherd.  We have been given to Jesus.  We need to take hold of God's promises.
We need to Know Jesus.  Know about Him and know him.  Spend time with him.  Have confidence in The Word.   Have fellowship with God.  
Fellowship with believers.   It's not an option.   We are to spend time with God's people.   God tells us to love one another.   When the church doesn't love each other, it confuses the World and the world doesn't want to be part of God's Family.   God wants us to be disciples.  He will always be with us. Teach, basptise people, be in fellowship.
  Christ's death freed us from the payment of death. He wants us to guard the truth of the Gospel.  1 Timothy 6:20
Knowledge for sake of knowledge is not of God.  God wants us to know each other; not about each other.   It's called fellowship.   God wants us to guard the ministry of reconciliation.   The day you accepted Jesus you were qualified.   2 Corinthians 5:18. You are reconciled to God, teach others.  God makes his appeal to the World around us,  through us to the World. We are God's friend.  This is the message Paul was giving to Timothy.  Remember the reconciliation with God.  Love as God does.  For us, love as Jesus loves us.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Living In God's Family - Eldership


Bible references:Timothy 5:17-25; 6:1-2; Acts 20:28
We are to remember that God gives us our leaders.  God appoints leaders.  A lot of times people think Leaders, Pastors, elders do all the talking and telling them what to do.  It is Jesus Christ who makes us right,  not the leadership.

We live today with wolves in sheep's clothing.   Remember the message of God's great kindness.   Leadership in the church are to be honoured and respected.   What we do affects the body.  We need to build up-Edify.

Elders should be people who oversee.  Set people free so they can minister.
Hebrews 13:17 Show respect, when we make our leaders sad, It's hard on them.

Anyone who plies and reaps, should do the work in the hope that they get a share  - harvest.   Eldership helps people to plant seed.  We are to prepare the ground.  We do this to plant a crop to see a harvest.

1 Timothy 5:13 - Accusations against elders.   You are required to have two witnesses.  The principle should be in the church.  Accusers who do not have witnesses should be quiet. Cross reference:   Deut 19:15

We are to be very careful in choosing elders.   People who are doing the role should be appointed.   We are not to be in a hurry to lay hands on people; there needs to be fruit.  How they run their family matters.   Those in eldership will be overseeing the Church.

Nehemiah had to go back to serve the king (foodtasters/cupbearer).  When you are trying to get something going for helping someone, the devil puts something in the way.  Tobiah made things fall to pieces.   When Nehemiah gets back and finds everything in shambles.   Nehemiah threw out the problem and restored the temple. 

We need good solid leadership in the church.  A church falls apart when the enemy sneaks in.

You let something come in that is destructive; it takes lots of work to clean up the mess.   We must see in leadership what God wants for people; not what greed wants.

Abraham went on and done great things; Lot did things that caused chaos, hurt. (Ammonites, Moabites)

Pray for your brothers and sisters-Book of Philemon.(NT)

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Living the Christian Life - The Widows and The Fatherless

Romans 3:23-27
We are justified and sanctified.

1 Timothy 5:1-16
Ephesians 2:14-19
We all have a household and a set of rules.  God has a set of house rules. Disrespect in a household,  causes the house to fall apart.  We are in the house of God.   1 John 3:1  ...we should be called the sons of God...
We are God's children now.  We are sons and daughters of God now.  He wants to see us live in a family where we can grow up and become mature. 

God cares for the poor, widows and fatherless are to be cared for.  He wants us the Church to help care.   James 1:27 We are to love and care for them.

Acts 2:44-47  The witness we have in the early church which is challenging to our modern lives.   Caring for the family is to promote the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.   The way we live matters.  We want to promote the morality of our God to this world.  We need to be mindful of how we behave.  We are to share our good things with people who do not have.   Hebrews 13. 

We are not to be greedy; be peaceful; promote the Gospel.   In Australia,  the Church does an enormous role in caring for those in need.  Widowhood is a desolate state.  We need to trust in the Lord; not to live as one who is dead.  We are to look after family.   You do not have to do everything the family wants.  We need to be loving and caring.  Anyone professes the Gospel and doesn't give way to any corrupt ways, we are to care for them. 

To supply the needs of one's own family is a proof of faith.  Precept is general.  Duty of parents to provide for their children and children to care for their parents.  Care for them as Christ cares for us.  It's not a one way street.  A family helps each other through tough times.  There is no where in Scripture where people can stop working and expect the Church to look after them. 

2 Thessalonians 3:9-13 - we are to work.  It's a precept God uses.  It's not ok as a Christian to think the Church owes you.

We are to care for those who can't care for themselves.   We look after those in our families need our help.  We are not to promote idleness but being productive.   Every Church is to care.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Living the Christian Life - Life in God's Family

Romans 3:23-27
We are justified and sanctified.

1 Timothy 5:1-16
Ephesians 2:14-19
We all have a household and a set of rules.  God has a set of house rules. Disrespect in a household,  causes the house to fall apart.  We are in the house of God.   1 John 3:1  ...we should be called the sons of God...
We are God's children now.  We are sons and daughters of God now.  He wants to see us live in a family where we can grow up and become mature. 

God cares for the poor, widows and fatherless are to be cared for.  He wants us the Church to help care.   James 1:27 We are to love and care for them.

Acts 2:44-47  The witness we have in the early church which is challenging to our modern lives.   Caring for the family is to promote the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.   The way we live matters.  We want to promote the morality of our God to this world.  We need to be mindful of how we behave.  We are to share our good things with people who do not have.   Hebrews 13. 

We are not to be greedy; be peaceful; promote the Gospel.   In Australia,  the Church does an enormous role in caring for those in need.  Widowhood is a desolate state.  We need to trust in the Lord; not to live as one who is dead.  We are to look after family.   You do not have to do everything the family wants.  We need to be loving and caring.  Anyone professes the Gospel and doesn't give way to any corrupt ways, we are to care for them. 

To supply the needs of one's own family is a proof of faith.  Precept is general.  Duty of parents to provide for their children and children to care for their parents.  Care for them as Christ cares for us.  It's not a one way street.  A family helps each other through tough times.  There is no where in Scripture where people can stop working and expect the Church to look after them. 

2 Thessalonians 3:9-13 - we are to work.  It's a precept God uses.  It's not ok as a Christian to think the Church owes you.

We are to care for those who can't care for themselves.   We look after those in our families need our help.  We are not to promote idleness but being productive.   Every Church is to care.





Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Living in God's Family


·         TO USE YOUR SPIRITUAL GIFT verses 13-14

Spiritual gifts. 1 Corinthians 12:4-11. There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit gives them. 5 There are different ways of serving, but the same Lord is served. 6 There are different abilities to perform service, but the same God gives ability to all for their particular service. 7 The Spirit's presence is shown in some way in each person for the good of all. 8 The Spirit gives one person a message full of wisdom, while to another person the same Spirit gives a message full of knowledge. 9 One and the same Spirit gives faith to one person, while to another person he gives the power to heal. 10 The Spirit gives one person the power to work miracles; to another, the gift of speaking God's message; and to yet another, the ability to tell the difference between gifts that come from the Spirit and those that do not. To one person he gives the ability to speak in strange tongues, and to another he gives the ability to explain what is said. 11 But it is one and the same Spirit who does all this; as he wishes, he gives a different gift to each person.

and 28 In the church God has put all in place: in the first place apostles, in the second place prophets, and in the third place teachers; then those who perform miracles, followed by those who are given the power to heal or to help others or to direct them or to speak in strange tongues.;

Romans 12:3 and because of God's gracious gift to me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you should. Instead, be modest in your thinking, and judge yourself according to the amount of faith that God has given you. 4 We have many parts in the one body, and all these parts have different functions. 5 In the same way, though we are many, we are one body in union with Christ, and we are all joined to each other as different parts of one body. 6 So we are to use our different gifts in accordance with the grace that God has given us. If our gift is to speak God's message, we should do it according to the faith that we have; 7 if it is to serve, we should serve; if it is to teach, we should teach; 8 if it is to encourage others, we should do so. Whoever shares with others should do it generously; whoever has authority should work hard; whoever shows kindness to others should do it cheerfully.

Ephesians 4:7 each one of us has received a special gift in proportion to what Christ has given. 8 As the scripture says, "When he went up to the very heights, he took many captives with him; he gave gifts to people." 9 Now, what does "he went up" mean? It means that first he came down to the lowest depths of the earth. 10 So the one who came down is the same one who went up, above and beyond the heavens, to fill the whole universe with his presence. 11 It was he who "gave gifts to people"; he appointed some to be apostles, others to be prophets, others to be evangelists, others to be pastors and teachers. 12 He did this to prepare all God's people for the work of Christian service, in order to build up the body of Christ. 13 And so we shall all come together to that oneness in our faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God; we shall become mature people, reaching to the very height of Christ's full stature.

"Having gifts that are different use them" Romans 12:6
"When each part works properly... the body grows. Ephesians 4:16

·         TO ENSURE CONTINUING PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD verse 16

Note Paul's desire Phil 3:7-10; - 7 but all those things that I might count as profit I now reckon as loss for Christ's sake. 8 Not only those things; I reckon everything as complete loss for the sake of what is so much more valuable, the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have thrown everything away; I consider it all as mere garbage, so that I may gain Christ 9 and be completely united with him. I no longer have a righteousness of my own, the kind that is gained by obeying the Law. I now have the righteousness that is given through faith in Christ, the righteousness that comes from God and is based on faith. 10 All I want is to know Christ and to experience the power of his resurrection, to share in his sufferings and become like him in his death,

God's provision 1 John 1:5 - 2:2 
-  The Blood of Jesus Christ
-  The Opportunity to Confess
-  The Provision of an ADVOCATE.

TEACHING GOD'S FAMILY.   1 Tim 5:1-6:10 and 17-19.

The Church is represented by many illustrations: -
- As a Body 1 Corinthians 12:14-26, Ephesians 4:15-16.
- As a Farm 1 Corinthians 3:9
- As a Building 1 Corinthians 3:9
- As a Temple 1 Corinthians 3:16

·         TEACHING GOD'S FAMILY.   1 Tim 5:1-6:10, 17-19.

The Church is represented by many illustrations: -
- As a Body 1 Corinthians 12:14-26, Ephesians 4:15-16. - 15 Instead, by speaking the truth in a spirit of love, we must grow up in every way to Christ, who is the head. 16 Under his control all the different parts of the body fit together, and the whole body is held together by every joint with which it is provided. So when each separate part works as it should, the whole body grows and builds itself up through love.
- As a Farm 1 Corinthians 3:9; for we are partners working together for God, and you are God's field. You are also God's building.
- As a Building 1 Corinthians 3:9; for we are partners working together for God, and you are God's field. You are also God's building.
- As a Temple 1 Corinthians 3:16 surely you know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you!
- As a Bride Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave his life for it. 26 He did this to dedicate the church to God by his word, after making it clean by washing it in water, 27 in order to present the church to himself in all its beauty---pure and faultless, without spot or wrinkle or any other imperfection. 28 Men ought to love their wives just as they love their own bodies. A man who loves his wife loves himself. 29 (None of us ever hate our own bodies. Instead, we feed them, and take care of them, just as Christ does the church; 30 for we are members of his body.) 31 As the scripture says, "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and unite with his wife, and the two will become one."
- As a Flock 1 Pet 5:1-5, Acts 20:28 so keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock which the Holy Spirit has placed in your care. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he made his own through the blood of his Son. 29 I know that after I leave, fierce wolves will come among you, and they will not spare the flock.

But here and in Ephesians 2:14-19.  It is presented as a "FAMILY",
The Household of God.
Ephesians 2:14 For Christ himself has brought us peace by making Jews and Gentiles one people. With his own body he broke down the wall that separated them and kept them enemies. 15 He abolished the Jewish Law with its commandments and rules, in order to create out of the two races one new people in union with himself, in this way making peace. 16 By his death on the cross Christ destroyed their enmity; by means of the cross he united both races into one body and brought them back to God. 17 So Christ came and preached the Good News of peace to all---to you Gentiles, who were far away from God, and to the Jews, who were near to him. 18 It is through Christ that all of us, Jews and Gentiles, are able to come in the one Spirit into the presence of the Father. 19 So then, you Gentiles are not foreigners or strangers any longer; you are now citizens together with God's people and members of the family of God.