Summary: When the Bible uses a name common in everyday language, like “children,” it’s an object lesson of our relationship to God or something about our nature as believers. This sermon examines how believers of God’s children with practical applications.
Names for the People of God #2—“Child of God”
Series: Names for God’s People
April 10, 2016
TEXT: Turn to Romans 8:16; put a marker there; and then turn to Acts 11:26 – “And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.”
JOKE – A college student studied hours for a major exam on birds in his biology course.
Strangely, on the day of the test, the professor had several bird cages at the front of the class with covers over them. When the test began the professor pulled the covers up from the cages just enough to reveal the legs of the birds in each cage. He then instructed the class to identify the birds by their legs.
The student was flabbergasted, as were most of the other students. They had not expected anything like this at all. He did the best he could, but finally walked up to the professor and in frustration slammed his paper on his desk and walked out of the room.
This was a large class in a large university and the professor actually knew few of his students by name, and he noticed that the student hadn’t put his name on his exam. He ran after the student and yelled, “Young man, what’s your name?”
The student paused for a brief moment, and then, in a moment of inspiration, pulled up one of his pant legs and yelled back, “Guess!” and walked out.
Well, names ARE important, aren’t they? In our passage we see that the name “Christian” was first applied to believers in Antioch.
Though today we don’t put much stock in the meaning of names, first century Jews did. The meaning of a name was very important to them.
And when names for God’s people are used in the Bible, they’re not used carelessly. Each name for the people of God is wrought with meaning and significance. When a name was given to a Jewish child, it was usually given in hopes that the child would live up to the meaning of that name.
Do we as Christians live up to the names given us in the Bible? That’s what we want to think about in this series on “Names for the People of God.”
Last week we looked at the first of the names for God’s people—the name “Believer.” Today, I want to look at another name for the people of God.
The name we will see today is from Romans 8:16 – “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.”
Look at the name given in this passage: Children of God, or Child of God individually.
Now when the Bible applies a name that is common in everyday language, like “children,” it’s used as an object lesson to help us understand our relationship to God, or something about our nature as believers. I would like us to notice three things about physical children that is also true spiritually.
I. FIRST, NOTE THAT CHILDREN MUST BE BORN.
Contrary to popular opinion, children are not delivered by the stork. Children don’t just appear. They don’t hatch from eggs. In order to come into being, children must FIRST BE BORN.
We all understand that birth is necessary to come into being in our physical world. However, birth is just as necessary in the spiritual realm as well. The Bible teaches that to become a child of God, you must be born into God’s family.
Note John 3:3-7 – “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.”
Note the following two comparisons between physical birth and spiritual birth, or what Jesus called being “born again” and Paul referred to as “regeneration”:
1. First, there was nothing I could do as a baby in the womb to make myself be born.
My parents had a whole lot to do with it, but I couldn’t make myself be born by my self-effort as a baby in the womb. The only thing I did was cooperate with the event at the moment of birth.