17:22-28; 1 John 3:1-3
Most religions of the world represent
man's effort to reach up to God and become acceptable to Him. Through
Israel’s history we read of the high places erected to their idol Gods.
High places were just that, they were places of worship built at high points
throughout Israel in an effort to reach up to their idol Gods. In the ancient
Aztec world shrines and temples were built on high mountain peaks in an
effort to reach up to God. Such efforts represented great religious fervor--and
futility, for it brings the devotee no closer to God than when one mounted
the first step.
The ancient world sought the Lord through
making enormous sacrifices to him. Micah cries out, "Will
the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of
oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body
for the sin of my soul?" (Micah 6:7 NIV) Imagine sacrificing
your firstborn child for a relationship with God? That would certainly
create a distance between God and most of us.
Sometimes we may be like the Athenians who
were seeking to worship God who was very near to each of them, but seemed
so far away simply because he was unknown to them.
22 Paul then stood up in the
meeting of the Areopagus and said: "Men of Athens! I see that in every
way you are very religious. 23 For as I walked around and looked carefully
at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription:
TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going
to proclaim to you.
24 "The God who made the world
and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live
in temples built by hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if
he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and
everything else. 26 From one man he made every nation of men, that they
should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them
and the exact places where they should live. 27 God did this so that men
would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is
not far from each one of us. 28 'For in him we live and move and have our
being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.' NIV
If we want to find God, all we have
to do is reach out and find him because he is very near. Religions
have a way of creating a distance between humanity and God. In times of
difficulty we need to understand that God is very near. It is in him that
we live and have our very being—actually we are his very offspring.
Are God’s Children
During the Grecian times when Jesus
walked the earth, Greek mythology discussed the possibilities of being
the son of Zeus and the sons of other mythical gods. Grecian rulers
sought kinship with the gods of Greek mythology. They sought to deify themselves
by becoming the sons of God. Alexander the Great traveled to Egypt during
his conquest to be proclaimed son of Amon-Ra the god who was proclaimed
to be the father of the gods. Amon-Ra was recognized as a universal God.
The power of his high priest rivaled that of the Pharaoh. The most massive
temple ever built was constructed for Amon-Ra at al-Karnak. Amon was worshiped
in ancient Greek colonies of Cyrene, where he was identified with Zeus,
and in Rome, where he was associated with Jupiter. Alexander sought to
identify with Amon-Ra to make himself supreme ruler over the world as he
went forth conquering the world. It was shortly thereafter when he died
of a fever.
Many in the ancient world sought in
vain to claim kinship with the gods, but becoming a child of God is a real
possibility for us today. It is
little wonder that Christianity became such a challenging threat to the
Greek mythological world as Christ promised every person the possibility
of becoming sons and daughters of God. This is not myth or some fantasy
world that we are speaking of, but it is real.
1 John 3:1-3
3:1 How great is the
love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of
God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know
us is that it did not know him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of
God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that
when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3
Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.
Certain tribesmen in the Congo regard
one particular idol as their spiritual father. Greatly revered,
the image is kept hidden in a deep pit. Missionaries found that these primitive
people were afraid to draw it to the surface, for they cried, "If we look
on the face of our' father,' we will die." How different is our position
as believers! Looking into the face of 'our Father' in the person of Jesus
Christ, we do not die but live! In fact, the wonder-working Man of Galilee
has clearly revealed to us the very mind of God. He has revealed to us
that we are the children of God.
The psalmist recognized his glorious
position as he stood before God.
O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in
all the earth!
You have set your glory
above the heavens.
2 From the lips of children
you have ordained praise
because of your enemies,
to silence the foe and the
3 When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
4 what is man that you
are mindful of him,
the son of man that you
care for him?
5 You made him a little
lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with
glory and honor.
6 You made him ruler over the
works of your hands;
you put everything under his
7 all flocks and herds,
and the beasts of the field,
8 the birds of the air,
and the fish of the sea,
all that swim the paths of
9 O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in
all the earth! NIV
The reality of God’s presence in our
lives is much different than the ancient world’s view of God. We
may study the creation, DNA, and other scientific data to ascertain the
mind of the creator. These things certainly reveal the power and wisdom
of God, but it was Christ that revealed God’s desire for us to be his children.
Do you know why God created this world? It
was because heaven wanted to share her love with us. God didn’t create
us because something was missing in his existence. He created us to share
himself with us. God wanted the children for the same reason we want children.
We want children to share our love with.
I don’t think we understand the full
impact of being God’s children. It has lost its significance and
meaning through the ages, but it means living under the caring power of
the ruler of the universe. Jesus did not come to make us orphans, he came
to dwell in us through the Spirit of God so that we could be begotten as
the children of God.
16 The Spirit himself testifies
with our spirit that we are God's children. NIV
Begotten of the Holy Spirit
It is through the powerful presence
of the Holy Spirit that we become children of God today. Too many
Christians have relegated the work of the Holy Spirit to the miraculous
age of the first century. But the Holy Spirit must be present in each conversion.
He is there to regenerate a new life in Christ.
3 In reply Jesus declared,
"I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born
4 "How can a man be born when
he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into
his mother's womb to be born!"
5 Jesus answered, "I tell you
the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water
and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth
to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born
again.' 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you
cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone
born of the Spirit." NIV
Jesus was begotten by God’s Holy Spirit;
and each child of God is begotten by the same Spirit. Our conception
as a child of God begins in a different way, but it is just as real as
Jesus’ conception. We experience it as we allow the word of God to be planted
in our hearts. There the Holy Spirit brings the seed of the kingdom to
life as he regenerates God’s life in us.
17 Now if we are children,
then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share
in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. NIV
3 At one time we too were foolish,
disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures.
We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But
when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not
because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He
saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior,
7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having
the hope of eternal life. NIV
We are conceived of the Holy Spirit
in baptism as we are washed by the water through the word.
1 Corinthians 12:13
13 For we were all baptized
by one Spirit into one body-whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free-and
we were all given the one Spirit to drink. NIV
38 Peter replied, "Repent and
be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness
of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The
promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off-for all
whom the Lord our God will call." NIV
We can fully realize our standing before
God as we allow the Spirit’s presence to make room for God’s word in our
hearts. The Holy Spirit seeks to lead us to God through the counsel
of God’s word.
25 Husbands, love your wives,
just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to
make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,
27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or
wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. NIV
The Holy Spirit seeks to lead us through
the counsel of God’s word as he cleanses us with water through the word.
The Benefits of Being God’s
The greatest benefit bestowed upon us
in becoming a child of God is a relationship with God. We are privilege
with a father-son relationship. Paul says: "….but
you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry "Abba, Father"
(Romans 8:15). Abba is an Aramaic word that is quite intimate, and might
more accurately be translated "Dad" or "Daddy".
This relationship with God gives us
the privileges that children have with their parents. We have status
as a child of God. When we are adopted into God’s family we have the same
rights as children that are born to him naturally—we have the same rights
that his son Jesus Christ has. It is no wonder Paul portrays Christ lifting
us up into heavenly places with him as we become a child of God
26 You are all sons of God
through faith in Christ Jesus, 27 for all of you who were baptized into
Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor
Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according
to the promise. (NIV)
As a child of God we become fellow heirs
6 Because you are sons, God
sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba,
Father." 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a
son, God has made you also an heir. NIV
Some stand around and wait for someone to
die in order to collect an inheritance, but the child of God collects his
inheritance when he/he dies.
Becoming a child of God imposes upon
us responsibilities. The apostle Paul tells us that we have an
obligation to live according to the Spirit and not according to our sinful
"Therefore, brothers we have an obligation
– but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you
live according to the sinful nature you will die, but (if you live) by
the Spirit…you will live (Rom 8:12-13).
As sons of God, we have a responsibility
to live Christian lives.
28 And we know that in all
things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called
according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined
to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn
among many brothers. NIV
As children of God we are privileged
with God’s intervention.
As a father has compassion
on his children,
so the LORD has compassion
on those who fear him; NIV
14 "Because he loves me," says
the LORD, "I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he
acknowledges my name.
15 He will call upon me, and
I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor
16 With long life will I satisfy
and show him my salvation."
It is within you power to claim your
right to become a son or daughter of God.
11 He came to that which was
his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who received him,
to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children
of God- 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision
or a husband's will, but born of God. NIV
Becoming a son or daughter of God is
the greatest privilege in life. Imagine being allowed to claim kinship
with God. Imagine having the rights of a child of God.
But we must remember that becoming a
child of God brings to us the responsibilities of children of God.
You can become a child of God today
through obedience to Christ through the message of the gospel.
Our rebirth as a child of God begins