One Comment to “God’s Children”

  1. Donald McMahon
    June 17, 2019

    “God’s Children” (Romans 8:12–17)(6.9.19)
    Romans 8:12–17 (NIV84)
    12 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 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.
    The word of God for the people of God.
    Title: God’s Children
    I rarely seek out a preaching theme based on secular holidays. Father’s Day may seem like an exception; but for Christians, there could hardly be a more biblical theme. As this portion of Romans, and many others, so clearly conveys, we are children of God. Therefore, we cry out Abba, Daddy, Father. Every day for a Christian is Father oriented.
    Now, for us, it is even more interesting that last week was Pentecost, the birth of the Church, resulting from a baptism of the Holy Spirt. Why is it interesting? Because the Spirit is prominent in the Book of Romans, and undeniably key to this Father Child relationship.
    The concept of fatherhood is central in scripture. When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, the very first words are “Our Father.” Our; Father. There is family implied in the “our.” As prayer is our spiritual communication with our spiritual Father, we keep or spiritual life focused as we focus on the Father.
    In the story, most often identified as The Prodigal Son, we are shown an example of a young man who lived according to the sinful nature. He left the provision and protection of his loving father and spent his inheritance on profligate living. And yet, the Father waited patiently for this son to come to his senses. The son, through his dire circumstances, realizes that he has sinned against God and his father. Upon returning to the presence of his father, he is joyously received.
    King David was the second and premier king of the nation of Israel. When he fell into sin, adultery with Bathsheba and arranging for her husband to be killed, there were consequences that led to death. Their baby died. And even though, David repented, the ramifications of his sin ravaged his family as the sin and strife multiplied in his children.
    The family is the building block of society. The family is supposed to be the foundation of nurture, love, and discipline. We are taught about relationships and hopefully we are taught about God. The family should be a support system to help sustain us through this life. For in this life, you will have tribulation. The scriptures tell us that the father is the head of the family. It has been said that the mother is the heart of the family and the father is the head of the family.
    So, if you were The Enemy, the Devil, a roaring lion roaming the earth looking for someone to devour, what might be a primary target. Of course, you attack the family unit to weaken your prey. Now, the bond of motherhood and its blessings are almost impossible to deny. The mother carries the child for nine months; goes through a painful birthing process; nurses the child at her breast; and, lives sacrificially for the child. The importance of the Father is not so clear. So, Satan undermines fatherhood.
    Do you find that doubtful? Look at our society. According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s website, National Kids Count, approximately 35 percent of children under 18 live in a single-parent home as of 2016. As many as 25-percent of children in the U.S. live in households with a mother alone. That is over 18 million children who do not live with a father figure. Statistic after statistic show a dramatic increase of societal ills related to fatherless homes. The trend is negative and it is no accident.
    Right now, we will not examine the causes; instead we will examine the cure. No family is perfect and there is only one perfect Father. In this eighth chapter of Romans, Paul makes it very clear that there are only two options. Either we are in God’s family as God’s children or we are outside of that family. Those on the outside live according to the sinful nature. That nature is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. They cannot please God.
    In contrast, those in the family of God are controlled by the Spirit of God. Paul also describes this as the Spirit of Christ. The Trinitarian communion with our spirit is a fact for every child of God. Paul develops this thought: if Christ is in you, your spirit is alive because of righteousness. Either we are controlled by sinful fleshly desires or we are controlled by the Spirit of God. The first leads to death. The second establishes us as children in the family of God.
    John 1:12–13 (NIV84)
    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.
    Galatians 3:26 (NIV84) You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus,
    1 John 5:1 (NIV84) Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.
    Galatians 4:6 (NIV84) Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”
    Through these several declarations, we know that those with faith in Jesus are in God’s family. Sometimes we wonder if it is really true for us personally. How can we tell for sure? The Enemy wants us to doubt; to doubt our faith; to doubt our Father. To know the truth, know God’s word. It is inspired by God the Holy Spirt, who is also the Spirit of Truth. This same Spirit testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
    Does that inner voice cry out for your eternal Abba? Do you have a longing to be in the presence of your faithful Father? We are called to love God with our whole heart, mind, soul, and strength. We are called to love our neighbor as ourselves. Do you seek out the company of your brothers and sisters in the faith?
    If we are God’s children, we will have spiritual fruit to prove it. Galatians 5:22–23 (NIV84) 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Maybe you have some of this fruit but not all of it. Maybe your fruit is still budding. You should be progressing in this continual spiritual harvest.
    If we are God’s children, there should be a change within us. We are new creations in Christ Jesus. We are being made new. We have been born from above and our citizenship is in heaven. It is our desire to store up our heavenly treasure above the pursuit of earthly treasure.
    Paul tells us that God’s children are led by the Spirit of God. What a bell of blessing that rings with that truth. It speaks to the yearnings of the human heart. As evidence, I submit to you the universal appeal of Psalm 23. He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his names’ sake. Doesn’t that resonate in your spirit?
    Yes there will be hardships and grief. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; In the hard times, most of all, we need to be led by the Spirit. And, I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. Yes, God’s children live in God’s house…now and forever.
    This brings us to the great promise of being heirs of God. Now, there are limits to this analogy because in the earthly realm, heirs only receive their inheritance when someone dies. This promised inheritance exceeds earthly bounds and human understanding. While earthly estates are broken into portions and what one is given is deprived to another, this heavenly distribution knows no such limits. One commentator likened it to “a possession like that of the sunlight, which every one enjoys to the full, without any robber of another.”
    We only have a glimmer of understanding in what it means to be a co-heir with our Lord Jesus. Charles Spurgeon expounds on this thought:
    “…the believer is to be the heir, not merely of God’s works, not simply of God’s gifts, but of God himself.
    He gave to us his person, it has become our meat and our drink; we eat his flesh and drink his blood. He gave to us his inmost heart; he loved us even to the death. He gave to us his crown; he gave to us his throne; for “to him that overcometh will I give to sit upon my throne, even as I have overcome, and have sat down with my Father upon his throne.” He gave to us his heaven, for “where I am, there shall my people be.” He gave to us the fulness of his joy, for “my joy shall be in you, that your joy may be full.” I repeat it, there is nothing in the highest heaven which Christ has reserved unto himself, “for all things are yours, and ye are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.””
    Next comes the part we would all naturally want to skip over. Sure we look forward to sharing Christ’s glory. I am not so sure that we look forward to sharing Christ’s sufferings. I had already written in my notes, No crown, no glory, when I read the same words in A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures.
    Certainly, this refers to Jesus’ command for us to take up our cross and follow him. For some people, it may include persecution for Jesus’ sake. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. In Isaiah 53, Jesus is referred to as the Suffering Servant. Yes, he came not to be served but to serve. We are called to be such servants.
    Does your soul ache for the lost? Think of Jesus’ gruesome bloody and sweaty prayer time in the Garden of Gethsemane. Everyone outside the family of God is destined for destruction. It is exclusive because there is no other name under heaven besides Jesus by which we can be saved. At the same time it is inclusive because Romans 10:9–13 (NIV84) tells us
    9 …if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. 11 As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
    Jesus went to the cross so that we could share in his glory. There are no shortcuts. All must come to the foot of the cross. Believe; repent; and, be saved. Through faith in the Son, ALL may claim God as Father.
    The Cry of our Father’s Heart from Genesis to Revelation.
    My Child….
    You may not know me, but I know everything about you. I know when you sit down and when you rise up. I am familiar with all your ways. Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. For you were made in my image. In me you live and move and have your being. For you are my offspring.
    I knew you even before you were conceived. I chose you when I planned creation. You were not a mistake. For all your days are written in my book. I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. I knit you together in your mother’s womb. And brought you forth on the day you were born.
    I have been misrepresented by those who don’t know me. I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love. And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. Simply because you are my child and I am your Father. I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. For I am the perfect Father.
    Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. Because I love you with an everlasting love. My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore. And I rejoice over you with singing.
    I will never stop doing good to you. For you are my treasured possession. I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul. And I want to show you great and marvelous things. If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart. For it is I who gave you those desires. I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine. For I am your greatest encourager.
    I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles. When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you. As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart. One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes. And I’ll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth.
    I am your Father and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus. For in Jesus my love for you is revealed. He is the exact representation of my being. And He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you. And to tell you that I am not counting your sins. Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you. I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love.
    If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me. And nothing will ever separate you from my love again. Come home and I’ll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen. I have always been Father and will always be Father. My question is…Will you be my child? I am waiting for you.
    …Love, Your Dad – Almighty God
    We have such a good, good, Father. By the Spirit of sonship, we cry Abba, Father. What an amazing testimony that the Spirit of God testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
    Our hearts should be burdened for the multitudes that do not share in the blessing found in Christ Jesus. We must be willing to suffer for those that Jesus suffered. To be led by the Spirit of God is an obligation as well as evidence of sonship. Amen and amen. Let us pray.


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