Summary: Our position in the family of God produces three results.
Shiloh Bible Church
Last Sunday morning we had a child dedication here at Shiloh. Rick and Stephanie Hill dedicated their daughter Kayla. George and Allison Flick dedicated their daughter Hanna. And Lance and Nikki Seesholtz dedicated their son Eli.
Now, Eli and Hanna are the first born in their family. Kayla is a second child. She has an older sister, Ashley.
Dr. Kevin Leman is a Christian psychologist. He wrote a book entitled The Birth Order Book. [Show book.] The subtitle of the book is: Why You Are the Way You Are. The basic thesis of the book is that your birth order—whether you are an only child, first born, middle child, or baby of the family—your birth order affects your personality development and traits. For example, Leman says this about first borns: “They are natural leaders and often high achievers. The majority of politicians, spokespersons and managing directors are first-borns. They frequently live with a sense of entitlement and even superiority. They often come in two flavors: compliant nurturers and caregivers or aggressive movers and shakers. Both are in control; they just use different methods. As a rule, first-borns are picky, precise people—they pay attention to detail—tend to be punctual, organized, and competent. They want to see things done right the first time. They don’t like surprises.” And then Leman has this to say about an only child: “Only-borns are the mega-movers of the world. They are task-orientated; tend to be extremely well organized, highly conscientious and dependable. They are keen on facts, ideas, and details and feel extremely comfortable with responsibility.”
Now, some people completely embrace the idea of birth order. And yet other people completely disregard it—they think it’s a myth. Well, whether you agree with the idea or not, it’s still an interesting concept when considering a person’s position in the family.
This morning I would like us to consider our position in the family—God’s family. The Apostle John talks about this in his first epistle. Please turn with me in your Bibles to 1 John chapter 3. It is our practice at Shiloh to teach through books of the Bible on Sunday mornings. Currently, we are in a study of the first epistle of John. We have covered the first two chapters. And now John begins chapter three with these words: “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”
God calls us His children—what a wonderful privilege that is! Now, it’s important for us to understand how a person becomes a child of God. A person does not become a child of God automatically. There is something that you must do. And that something is trust in Jesus Christ alone as your Savior. The moment you by faith accept Christ’s payment on the cross for your sins, you become a child of God.
Now, what should you expect by virtue of your position as a child of God? Well, John tells us in 1 John chapter 3. John tells us that our position as children of God produces 3 results. First of all …
1. OUR POSITION PRODUCES PERSECUTION
Continuing in verse 1, John writes, “The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.”
The world did not comprehend or recognize Jesus when He came to earth. A casual reading of the gospels shows that the world did not know Jesus. Jesus worked miracles, taught truth, revealed God to man, but the world did not receive Him. It would logically follow that if they didn’t know Christ, then they wouldn’t know His children. Since the people of the world have nothing spiritually in common with the children of God, they have no fellowship them and, therefore, no real knowledge of them. And what the world doesn’t understand, it doesn’t leave alone or ignore, but rather persecutes. John said it powerfully in verse 13: “Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you.” In the Upper Room, Jesus told His disciples: “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me.”
Persecution shouldn’t come as a shock to us. Jesus forewarned His followers that they would be mistreated and even killed. Listen to how several of the disciples of Jesus died. According to church tradition, Matthew suffered martyrdom by being slain with a sword in Ethiopia. Mark expired at Alexandria, after being cruelly dragged through the streets of that city. Luke was hanged upon an olive tree in the land of Greece. Peter was crucified at Rome with his head downward. James the Apostle was beheaded at Jerusalem. James the brother of Jesus was thrown from the pinnacle of the temple and then beaten to death with a club. Bartholomew was flayed alive. Thomas was run through with a lance in the East Indies. Jude was shot to death by arrows. Matthias was first stoned and then beheaded. Barnabas was stoned to death. And Paul was beheaded at Rome by the Emperor Nero. As a matter of fact, the only Apostle to escape violent death was the Apostle John. He was banished to the Island of Patmos, but later released and returned to Asia Minor.