Summary: A Memorial Day Sermon on our Family of Faith
We are children of God!! All three of our Scripture readings for us this day echo this phrase…….. We are children of God.
On that day of Pentecost so many centuries ago, those were the words echoed in the witnessing given by the disciples. Remember the words of the Holy Spirit, “And all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Acts 2:21 NJB).
Paul puts it more in the terms of faith in Romans 8 by saying these words;
All who are guided by the Spirit of God are sons of God; for what you received was not the spirit of slavery to bring you back into fear; you received the Spirit of adoption, enabling us to cry out, "Abba, Father!"
The Spirit himself joins with our spirit to bear witness that we are children of God. (Romans 8:14-16 NJB)
To put it another way, all those who let God lead their lives are His sons and daughters. We as gentiles are received through His adoptive love for us, justifying us to make him our Father as well.
When the disciples found themselves standing before all those people, they never dreamed that the message the Holy Spirit was speaking through them would be brought to so many people in the years to come.
For humanity on that day, God’s Word was again available for all the people of the world to hear. No longer would His Word be the privileged information to a small group of people. The curse of Babel was coming to an end. Everybody within ear shot heard the word of God!
For us today, we look at Pentecost as the day the Church truly began its ministry on Earth. So, it is a sort of birthday of sorts for all the denominations of the World. Today we recognize ourselves as children of God.
However, do others recognize us as children of the Most High? Do we send forth the message that we are adopted sons and daughters of God the father?
Last week I talked of stewardship as a total act of faith and that it was one of the outward acts of works of faith described in James. Jesus told us, and the disciples, in John 14:12:
In all truth I tell you, whoever believes in me will perform the same works as I do myself, and will perform even greater works, because I am going to the Father. (John 14:12 NJB)
In other words as we believe in Christ Jesus as our Savior, and since He is the Son of God, we who have faith in God will perform works to emulate all that God has done for us. We do this because we love God so much and want others to be able to share in the love He has for us and we have for Him.
When we strive to live our lives in the manner set out by God in the Scriptures, this too allows others who do not yet realize they are His as well, to see the love that God has for us.
Now in the previous scriptures in Romans, Paul points out that we are born with faults. He calls them our natural inclinations. Today some theologians and others in the ministry attempt to make these “natural inclinations” out to be sacred. Choosing to ignore what was said in Romans 8:5-8
Those who are living by their natural inclinations have their minds on the things human nature desires; those who live in the Spirit have their minds on spiritual things. And human nature has nothing to look forward to but death, while the Spirit looks forward to life and peace, because the outlook of disordered human nature is opposed to God, since it does not submit to God’s Law, and indeed it cannot, and those who live by their natural inclinations can never be pleasing to God.
In other words as children of God, we are to turn our thoughts from the things we desire as humans, to those that God desires for us to do. Instead of listening to our own fears and wants, we need to be listening for what God wants of us. Just as our parents wanted us or wants us to listen for the wisdom they have acquired over the years, we are to listen to our Father in Heaven who has all wisdom.
When I was younger following my father’s tragic death, I would have never considered my self a child of God. I was too angry at what had happened. I was too angry with God to listen to the plans He had for my life.
However now looking back on the choices I made in my life, I see way in which God offered many opportunities, only I was too stubborn to take them when offered. Even so, God still claimed me as His own and still loved me and worked to guide me.