Luke 8 v 21. He replied: “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s Word and put it into practice”.

Jesus is making a similar point here as the word about the lamp that has light and cannot be hidden.

An occasion occurs when Jesus’ family comes to seek for him and this is reported to him: “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you”.

Jesus’ reply is not meant to be disrespectful to his family. He merely uses the occasion to reinforce what a real relationship with him entails. His mother and brothers have a claim on him because of their relationship to him. Similarly, says Jesus, his “spiritual” relatives, those who are truly connected to him through faith, display this relationship by hearing God’s Word and putting it into practice.

Here is an acid test of true Christianity. Who is the true Christian? Not merely someone who says they are Christians, but rather those who act on the Word of God revealed to them. In the first instance this will mean responding in a true and sincere way to Jesus Himself. It means believing what He says about Himself and trusting Him to give us true spiritual life. Then it follows that we will adjust our lives accordingly.

It is ridiculous to say we belong to Jesus when our daily lives show no sign of His presence with us. Yet this is exactly what many people are deluded into doing. There are those who tried to shut off any real conversation about Christ by saying, “Well, I am a Christian, I do believe and I go to Church”. End of conversation. But the truth is that there is no evidence of any true faith in their lives at all.

How often has the wonderful message of God’s Grace been disfigured by people who we thought were Christians who were doing the most terrible things? Sometimes it is sheer hypocrisy and should be denounced, but at other times it is sheer delusion. There are people who honestly do think they are Christians and do not want to answer any questions about their faith. But often their lives are devoid of that obedience to God’s Word, which is the concern of all true believers.

We need to be careful how we hear, and we all need to constantly examine ourselves to see whether we ourselves truly are in the faith.