Children of God
1 John 3:1-3
October 20, 2013

Say the words “family” or “father,” and not everyone has a positive response.  A few examples:

Former NFL coach Buddy Ryan was known for his intensity and explosive temper. He learned well from his father. Leaving Korea as a master sergeant and coming home, “he saw a makeshift boxing ring being put up by his father in the backyard among the cottonwood trees. He had seen it often before. When he was growing up, Buddy and his three brothers would fight in elimination rounds to see who would meet their father. He put on the gloves, but he didn’t want to hurt his old man. Before Buddy raised his gloves, Red stepped on his foot and sucker punched him. He looked down at Buddy and said: ‘Just in case you forget what life’s all about.’”

It is reported that Winston Churchill‘s father “did not like the looks of Winston, did not like his voice, he did not like to be in the same room with his son. He never complimented him — only criticized him. His biographers excerpt young Winston’s letters begging both parents for his father’s attention:  ‘l would rather have been apprenticed as a bricklayer’s mate…it would have been natural…and I should have got to know my own father.…’”

King George V of England once said, “My father was frightened of his father, I was frightened of my father, and I am going to see to it that my children are frightened of me.”

Even Christian (and pastor’s) homes are not immune from problems.  After well-known pastor and author A. W. Tozer died, his widow later remarried a man named Leonard Odam.  A. W. Tozer was an influential pastor, but he didn’t always make the best decisions or lead well at home, as evidenced by Ada’s repeated comment to friends when they asked her about her second marriage.  She often said, “I’ve never been happier in my life.  Aiden loved Jesus Christ; but Leonard Odam loves me.”

It really is true, as one worldly proverb has asserted, “Nobody’s family can hang out the sign, ‘Nothing the matter here.’”

That’s true — but with one exception.  And the exception, of course, is the family of God.  God has adopted believers into His family and there is no failure in His leadership, authority, wisdom, or provision.  You may have had a difficult family growing up; your father may not have been a godly man; he may even have been cruel.  And it may be that you have been an unwise father for your own children; perhaps your children are estranged from God and from you because of your ungodly actions.

So when the words “father” and “family” are spoken you may recoil in discomfort.  And to think of the family of God is no particular comfort for you either.  Then you need to hear the words of the passage that are before us this morning:  1 John 3:1-3.  What John is saying in these verses is this:  God has adopted us as His children, and that has gracious implications for our past, present, and future.

When we are God’s children, our past, present, and future are changed.

In these three verses, John reminds us of three realities about our adoption into God’s family:

  1. What We Are in Christ:  Children of God  (v. 1)
  2. What We Will be with Christ:  Like Him  (v. 2)
  3. What We Can be Because of Christ:  Pure  (v. 3)

Download the rest of this sermon on 1 John 3:1-3.

The audio is posted on the GBC website.