Summary: When we are children of God our lives should be living proof that God is our Father.
Title: A Paternity Test
Text: I John 3:1-7
Thesis: When we are Children of God our lives should be living proof that God is our Father.
Paternity… Paternity is the legal or biological relationship between a child and his or her father. Paternity establishes the rights and obligations of the biological father and the child. Seems simple enough doesn’t it! However it isn’t always simple.
If someone has reason to question paternity, Colorado Services, Inc. and a bunch of other labs will, for between $69 and $99, gladly perform a DNA test quickly, accurately and confidentially… and they have offices nationwide
Perhaps America’s most famous paternity question is in regard to Thomas Jefferson, his children and the children he allegedly fathered with Sally Hemings... (James Brown. Eddie Murphy. Anna Nicole Smith…)
Paternity tests are usually performed when paternity is in question. Sometimes a father wants to claim the child as his own. I am always blessed when I hear someone say of his or her father, “He raised me as his own.” But generally a man is anxious to prove otherwise, absolving himself of any responsibilities for the child, i.e., child support. Of course there are those who are wrongfully accused but most are those who were happy to play but not at all interested in paternal relationships and responsibilities.
Interestingly… when it comes to matters of paternity, God does not try to duck any paternal responsibilities. In fact, God is happy to claim every single one of us as his very own children.
That’s the good word that sets the tenor of our text today.
I. Living as Children of God, I John 3:1-3
“See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!”
The NIV reads, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us!”
Our text begins, “See how very much…” The phrase suggests this love is an unusual kind of love. Some say it speaks of a love that is foreign to our experience and is in fact unearthly. It is a bewildering or amazing love that is uncommon to our understanding.
God has lavished his love on us, and so much so that he calls us his children.
A. Assurance…who we are, I John 3:1
“See how much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children… and we really are!” I John 3:1a
We are legitimate, certifiably, bonifide children of God. “See how much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children… and we really are!” I John 3:1a
In a seminary pastoral methods class our professor, who was a very kind and gentle and pastoral man… coached us on what we might say in an awkward situation. He warned us that among the many things we will encounter is parents with their newborn baby. When our son was born one of the ladies in our church looked at him and said, “Oh my! He looks like a little old man.”
Dr. Shepson suggested that when a proud mother pulls back the little coverlet to show off her baby and you see the baby has a face only a mother could love, do not gasp and recoil in horror and do not lie. Simply say, “Now that’s a baby. That’s quite the baby.”
We all know that parents love and cherish their children. I remember coming home from college one weekend. I happened to be with my Dad down at Don’s Mobil Station when someone came in that I did not know (everyone knows everyone in a small town). And my Dad introduced me to his friend, “This is my oldest son, Monty.”
It was not unusual or isolated occurrence, but for some reason I felt legitimized. I am my dad’s son… I really am!” It is that legitimization God wants us to feel today. God is saying, “You are my son!” “You are my daughter!” So we can say, “God claims me as his own child.”
This is not a new concept.
“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God… for his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.” Romans 8:14-16
“For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus… There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:26-28 God is not selective in his choosing… race, ethnicity, gender and social status are not preconditions.
“Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to him through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” Ephesians 1:4