Summary: Learn what it means to be called a "child of God."
Introduction- Have you ever been told that you are special? We need to understand that we are special, especially in God’s eyes. God does this for us in many ways. We find this truth communicated in I John.
“And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him. Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are 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.” (I John 2:28-3:2 NKJV)
Children are special people. They are special because of their simple faith. They are special because of their trust. They are special because of their dependence. They are special because of the way they view things. A testimony in a magazine illustrated this point for me. Some time ago I read a life experience testimony in a magazine. I think it was Reader’s Digest. A lady contributed a testimony about children. She said one day she was driving down the road with her three children, on a warm summer evening. As they drove a woman in a convertible ahead of them stood up and waved. The lady was stark naked! As the lady with the children struggled with the shock of the event her five year old child illustrated the simplicity of children. From the back seat her five year old shouted “Mom! That lady isn’t wearing a seat belt!” Children see things differently.
In the text, three times John refers to believers as children. From this text you feel God putting His arms around you and telling you that you are special. What is special about children? As we study this text you will see that God’s children are special! Why?
1. God’s children are Connected. How are we connected to God?
A. We are connected by birth. In I John 2:29 John mentions the fact that God’s children are connected by birth. The emphasize in this book is not upon age but upon birth. The gospel of John mentions this same concept. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (Jn. 1:12 NKJV) You cannot enter the family of God by intelligence, education, good deeds or any other method. You enter the family of God by a new birth.
Illustration: Some animal species have a strong tendency toward imprinting. When imprinting occurs the baby animals bonds with the first moving object they see. Thus, they are connected at birth. John is saying that when you become a Christian you are connected to God by spiritual birth whenever you ask Jesus to come into your heart.
B. We are connected by means of God’s love.
“The Greek word behind the English expression “how great” is potapen; it speaks of something that has come from another country—something exotic, something beyond what has previously been experienced. The translation could read, “Behold, what exotic love the Father has poured on us.” The love of God comes from another world; it seems foreign to the human race. And this love has been lavished on us, poured out on us, as shown by the fact that God allows us to be called children of God.” (Taken from Life Application Bible Commentary; I John 3:1) Thus, we are connected to God by His great love for us.
Illustration: Over the years I have read stories of children whose father was the President of the United States. I discovered that children are children regardless of whether they are in your house, my house or the White House. Children will be children (mischief and all) even when living in the White House. We must remember, the children are there because their father is the president...not because they are the president. They are children of the president.
C. We are connected by our dependency on God. The longer I live the more I realize how totally dependent I am on God in the spiritual realm.
- I am dependent on Him for my salvation.
- I am dependent on Him for my sustenance.
- I am dependent on Him for strength.
- I am dependent on Him for growth.
We find a word used often in I John. It is the word "abide" or "remain." (See 2:24, 27,28; 3:6) The word abide could be translated to dwell, continue, remain or to stay. If we remain in God we will be safe.