Children Of God

John 1:11-13

According to available world population figures, there are about 8billion people living in the world. Of this number, 85% identify with one religion or the other. The numbers for 2020 are as follows

Christianity – 2.38 billion
Islam – 1.91 billion
Hinduism – 1.16 billion
Buddhism – 507 million
Folk Religions – 430 million
Other Religions – 61 million
Judaism – 14.6 million
Unaffiliated – 1.19 billion [1]

Now the intriguing thing to note is that, all those affiliated with the various religions, believe in God or a Supreme being or power. And most importantly, they all lay claim to some relationship with God. Universally, apart from those who are atheists, many of the world population one way or the other believe all human beings are children of God. But Christianity differs from this general idea that all human beings are Children of God. Christianity boldly declares only Christians are children of God. So we get a bad rap for that. We are arrogant, they say, to think of ourselves as the only children of God.

This morning, I want us to consider for a sermon title, Children of God. The title is from the last phrase of the verse 12:”Children of God”

Who Are The Children of God?

I will attempt in this sermon to explain who the Children of God are. You and I know who children are in the biological sense. Children are simply the offspring of a husband and wife or man and woman. Of course children can be born out of wedlock so we must admit not all children are offspring of a husband and wife. But indeed every child comes from a man and woman. From the biological understanding, we can then say Children of God are offspring of God: those God gives birth to. But this “giving birth to” is not in a natural sense, but in a spiritual. If you look at the v.13, you will notice this clear distinction between a natural birth and a spiritual birth: “who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”

And dear brothers and sisters, this is important for us to take note of.  Because this is a major categorisation the Bible makes of all human beings. I dare say the bible always categorises human beings into two: Natural person and Spiritual person. Look at 1 Corinthians 2:14-15

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one.

We see clearly a description of who the natural person is: (i) They cannot accept spiritual things (ii) Spiritual things are foolishness to them (iii) They are Spiritually ignorant. We saw last week how Jesus was in the world but the world didn’t know him. We identified this as spiritual ignorance.

The natural person then is one who is still living in sin and have not come to repentance. Their eyes and understanding is blinded to the truth of the gospel. They live to please themselves and have no value for spiritual things. Simply, the natural person is a sinner. They indulge in sin, they drink and eat sin. Sin is their lifestyle. They have no thoughts of God. Ephesians 2:3 describes them as “Children of wrath”:  “among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”

You are either a child of God or  a child of Wrath. To be a child of wrath means you are still living in sin and God’s judgement will one day break upon you. I plead with you not to find yourself among those who reject God’s mercy. Don’t play around with sin. God is patient and calls us to himself to become his Children. We can further break these two distinctions into sub categories: Saved and Unsaved, Believer and Unbeliever, The Righteous and the Wicked/Evil. Where do you stand?

Let us now attempt to consider who the Children of God are.

Those Who Receive and Believe In Jesus v.12a

This is not difficult to notice. Look again at v.12: “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” It is only those who receive Jesus and believe in his name who are children of God. The word received, in the original Greek means to take or lay hold of. You see, it paints a picture of something we must grab and not let go. Dear friends, God has offered Jesus to us as the solution to our sins and we must not let him slip by. Take hold of him. And the only way by which we can take hold of him is by believing in him. That means trusting in Jesus and putting our faith in him.

Look at the unique way John puts this: “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name” Firstly John paints a picture of receiving or taking hold of Jesus as a person: “who received him.” Then he goes on to speak of “believed in his name” Now this also means believing in his name. The name Jesus means Saviour so believing in his name is believing what his name stands for.
Now from the previous point about the Bible putting all human beings into only two categories, we see a certain categorisation also here (i) Those Who Reject Jesus: “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.” This statement firstly refers to the Jews. They are considered as his own people whom he came to but was rejected by them. And there is a prophetic dimension to this. About 700 years before his birth, his rejection by his people was prophesied by Isaiah

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted (Isaiah 53:3-5).

Then the other categorisation is those who receive him. And it is those who receive and believe in his name who are considered children of God.

Are you a child of God?Have you received Jesus? Have you believed in Jesus? You are the only one who can answer this question and make sure you are honest in answering it. You can deceive others, but you cannot deceive God. So get this sorted before it is late.

Those Who Have The Right Of Adoption v.12b

Adoption is when someone who is originally not the child of another is given the right to become a member of a family. Adoption is a legal process. In the natural world, an adoption certificate is issued which proves that a child has been adopted and has now become a member of a new family. And one of the profound ways by which the Scriptures describes our relationship with God is that of adoption.

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15).

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God (Galatians 4:4-7).

he predestined us for madoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will (Ephesians 1:5)

Those who received or believe in Jesus, he gives them the right, that is the power or authority to call themselves children of god. You and I were never members of God’s family originally. But when we come to faith in Christ, we are immediately reconciled and added into the family of God. We are like a child who lost both parents and is then picked up by another family by adoption. We were just like that. We were lost and God through Christ adopted us into his family.

remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ (Ephesians 2:12-13).

Adoption is an act of God’s free grace, whereby we are received into the number, and have a right to all the privileges, of the sons of God (Westminster Shorter Catechism Q&A 34)

Born Of God v.13
Receiving and Believing in Jesus is not something we can do by ourselves. Faith to believe is a gift God gives to us. Salvation is all a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8). This is the consistent testimony of Scriptures. Salvation is of God (Revelation 7:10).

You see how the v.13 makes a distinction between our natural birth and the spiritual birth? It tells us clearly salvation is not something we can work out. In fact salvation is not of natural descent. We are not saved because our parents are Christians. We are not saved because of something we do. We are saved because God changed our heart. But of God.

Just as we had no hand in our natural birth, we equally have no hand in our spiritual birth. God will first have to do the work of grace in our hearts before anyone can believe. We have to be born of the Spirit (John 3:5-6). How does God give birth to us? He does that by his word (1Peter 1:23).

There are in these verses 3 important Christian doctrines which we will keep visiting over and over again. They are Justification, Adoption and Regeneration.

To conclude, you will have to be honest with yourself and ask the question Am I a child of God? Have I believed in Jesus? Has my heart been changed or I am living my old sinful life though I call myself a Christian.




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