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Children of God
Philippians 2: 14-16 says: Do all things without murmuring or disputing that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life.
Notice what Paul says about being children of God and notice in verse 16 he says “we hold fast the word of life”. Do you find that being children of God is challenging or encouraging?
One thing Pastor Dave and Cheryl do, is hold fast the word of life and never more than what is being done now by illuminating the truths of 1st John.
“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the children of God. Therefore the world does not know us because it does not know Him.”
I have been reading from William Barclay, an old Scottish theologian in his daily study Bible and I am taking some thoughts from him. He talks about the privilege of being a Christian.
The privilege of being a Christian
It is the Christian privilege that they are called the children of God. There is something in a name. The custom of the old testament was to name children with a great name, a name that had a great story which belonged to an earlier hero. The name gave him or her a standard to live up to, an inspiration for living. No-one would usually use a weak or insipid name for their child – that in itself could be so discouraging. So the Christian has the privilege of being called the children of God.
We belong to a great family, a great church, a great future and a great God. But, as John points out, we are not merely called children, we are the children and as such we have the challenge or the privilege of living up to this great name. There is something which we must remember – it is by the gift of God that we become His children. This actually is the Christmas story, that God, on His own initiative and His own good pleasure, with no merit on our part and quite undeserving, approached the human race through His son Jesus Christ so that we could become His children.
In Galatians 3:26 it says that we are all children of God through faith in His son, Jesus Christ. One would not think that people would reject such an offer and we know what happens according in John 3:16 in that all who come to Him will not perish but have everlasting life. We also know what happens to those who reject Him, but what of God Himself? What of Him who is refused and rejected by those who refuse to believe in His offer of salvation? This surely must hurt the God of love.
The challenge of being a Christian
The challenge of being a Christian is to really live up to this name of being children of God. As we read on in chapter 3, we are given a great incentive. Verse 2: “Beloved we are now children of God and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is.” This of course, speaks of the 2nd coming of Jesus but it is the next verse, 3, that I want to focus on. “That everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” I think this is a great incentive to live up to be children of God. Someday we will see Jesus.
Our goal is to measure up to God’s plan for us. Jesus said “I appoint you to go out and bear fruit”. We don’t always know what kind of tree we are looking at until we see the fruit and this is true of being children of God.
Bob Gass asks in his devotional “The Word for You Today” the three all important questions”:
- How will I know when Christ is the centre of my life? Because we walk in confidence before Him. Worry is a warning light that Christ has been pushed to the side line. The moment you put Him back in His rightful place saying, “I trust in you”, you will have peace again
- What kind of person am I becoming? 2 Peter 1:5-7 (The Message) says “don’t lose a minute in what you have been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness and generous love.” Tall order? Don’t get discouraged, we are children of God and it takes a lifetime to put these building blocks in place.
- What will my contribution be? While we are called to serve others, even Jesus did not try to meet everyone’s needs. Choose where you can be effective based on your gifts. Ask: “who do I desire to help most”? Jesus said “I appoint you to bear fruit” but each of us bears different fruit and we must all embrace the fruit of the Spirit……LOVE
In conclusion, 1 John 3:11 says “for this is the message that you have heard from the beginning that you should love one another. 14 – we know we have passed from death to life because we love the brethren. 16 – by this we know love, because He laid down His life for us and so we ought to lay down our lives for each other.”
Pastor Dave has just preached on 1st John chapters 1, 2 and 3. It is not too late to jump on line and listen to the remainder of the series or to join us in person at one of our campuses.