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We Are God’s Offspring

Acts 17:22-28; 1 John 3:1-3

Jim Davis

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.

Acts 17:22-28
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.

We 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. NIV

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.

Psalms 8
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 and infants
you have ordained praise
because of your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.

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 feet:
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 the seas.

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.

Romans 8:16
16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. NIV

We Are 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.

John 3:3-8
3 In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."

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.

Romans 8:17
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

Titus 3:3-7
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

Acts 2:38-39
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.

Ephesians 5:25-27
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 Children

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

Galatians 3:26-29
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 with Christ.

Galatians 4:6-7
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 nature.

"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.

Romans 8:28-29
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.

Psalms 103:13
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; NIV

Psalms 91:14-16
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 him.
16 With long life will I satisfy him
and show him my salvation." NIV

Conclusion:

It is within you power to claim your right to become a son or daughter of God.

John 1:11-13
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 at baptism.
 

 

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