Summary: We wonder in awe every day that God has made us his children, and strive to become more and more like what we already are!
1 John 3:1-3 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! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.
Some children were playing out on the play ground at school, teasing each other as children often do. They began to pick on a child who was adopted. "You don’t have real parents," they taunted. "You don’t even know who your real parents are! You’re just adopted." To that the adopted child responded. "Oh yeah?" When you were born, your parents didn’t have a choice. They had to keep you. My parents didn’t just have me. They wanted me!"
Friends, you are a child of God because God wanted you. From eternity, he chose you to be his own. Before you were ever born, before you ever had a chance to prove yourself to be a sinner, God chose you to be a member of his family. He made your place in his family possible by carrying out a plan of salvation through his Son, Jesus Christ. Then, in time, God made his choice and his adoption a reality by sending his Spirit into your hearts and making you his own. He put his name on you when you were baptized. And that work which began with your baptism God has continued in your heart to this day so that you can say with confidence, "I am a child of God!" That’s what John says in our text. God has called us to be his children and we can say ...
God’s Children - That Is What We Are!
I. Believe it!
John was not a young man when he wrote these words - perhaps in his 90’s. You would think that by this time he would take his place in the family of God for granted. But not John. Can you hear the wonderment in his 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!"
Have you ever seen the musical "Annie?" All the children in the orphanage hope that someday, someone will want to take them home and make them their children. Not in Annie’s wildest dreams did she think someone rich and wonderful like Daddy Warbucks would choose her to come live with him! Why would anyone want someone so plain and ordinary like herself? For Annie it was a "pinch-me-and-tell-me-it’s-real" experience.
So it is with being a child of God - but in a much, much more dramatic way because its real. There is no reason I ought to hold this hope in my heart - that God would want me and choose me to be his child. I have no right of birth. The human race lost the right to be counted in God’s family when Adam and Eve fell into sin. Listen to Genesis 5:1-3 This is the written account of Adam’s line. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. 2 He created them male and female and blessed them. And when they were created, he called them "man." 3 When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth. Do you here what it says? God made Adam in his image. Therefore Adam had the right to call himself a child of God. But then Adam had children. And they weren’t born in the image of a holy and righteous God. They were born like Adam - sinful and rebellious. That’s why the Bible says [Ephesians 2: 3] Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.
Nor have we earned the right. Have you always used God’s Name with respect? Have you always loved his Word and used it diligently? Have you always loved your parents and obeyed them? Have you never lost your temper and said something you later regretted? I know I haven’t kept one of God’s commandments perfectly. I do not deserve to be God’s child.
Yet John says without a doubt. "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!" How can he be so confident? How can WE be so sure? Because God would not have sent Jesus to die for our sins if he didn’t love us. And God wouldn’t not have put his name upon us in our baptism if he didn’t want us to be his children and choose us for himself.