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Sons of God

Galatians - Freedom!  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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A description of the family of God, how it's made and what she looks like.

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Belonging in your family

As we grow up our of family changes.
There are certain things you love about your family.
Then there are certain things you despise about your family, and you wonder, “How am I possibly a part of this family?”
Think about the cycle of growing up as a child.
When you are a kid, your parents are the coolest people in the world.
Every little boy wants to be just like his dad.
Every little girl wants to be just like her mom.
To a child, adults are the climax of God’s creation, and you can’t wait till you are an adult.
I love playing with our little kids in the church.
Mostly because they’re the only ones that think I’m cool.
They don’t know me very well.
The Thibodeaux’s kids … they’re the coolest, because they think I’m the coolest.
Luke Galeener, is so fun, because he thinks I’m just awesome.
Bethany thinks I’m a zoo keeper.
Little kids are fun.
But then there is a point where little kids begin to see things differently.
They become teenagers.
And suddenly, adults aren‘t the coolest people in the room anymore..
Every action of an adult is followed by a depressed rolling of the eyes.
Think back to when you were a teenager.
Teenagers you might be there now.
Suddenly, your parents were no longer the coolest, now they were the most embarrassing.
It’s at this point where the teenager says, “I’m never going to be like my parents.”
Then somethings strange happens, whether you want to or not … you become just like your parents.
I don’t know exactly how the process develops, but there is a day where you realize, I’m just like my dad.
I’m a little nervous about how much like my dad I am.
Really, the one who should be nervous is Amanda.
She’s married to me.
But there comes a point when you look at your life, and you know, you are a product and a member of your family.
It’s where you belong.
Today we will look at the family of God.
We will look at our lives and come to the same conclusion, “This is where I belong?”
We will answer the questions of what are you?
How do we enter the family of God?
And what do we do in the family of God?
Let’s look at .
Read Galatians 3:26-27

Our first point describes who you are if you are in Christ. If you are in Christ you are a Child of God.

You see this in verse 26 of our text, “for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.”
This answers the first question, “who are you?”
If you’re a believer, you are a son of God, a child of God.
This is probably the most controversial point of this sermon.
Because not everyone is a child of God.
Hear me clearly.
We all are created in God’s image.
All of us are image bearers.
But not all of us are children of God.
Those are two different statements.
Being a child of God describes our relationship to God.
There really are two groups of people in this world.
There are those who are children of God.
These are believers.
Then there are those who are not believers.
There are children of God.
And then there are children of the devil.
But not being a believer is more than just not being a believer, it actually means you are a part of a different family.
When I say there are children of the devil, I don’t mean we are little demons, or actual fallen angels.
I am talking about their relationship to God.
says, “By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.”
None of us are born as children of God.
If you are not in Christ, you are actually children of the devil.
Remember, we are born in the image of God.
The language here is startling.
But we are not born children of God.
Because our underlying assumption is, “I’m okay, you’re okay, we are all okay.”
says that prior to our conversion we were actually, children of wrath.
But we aren’t all okay.
Meaning we didn’t live as children of God, but as children of the devil.
You are either in Christ.
A child mimics his father.
Or you are a child of the devil.
Some of my favorite pictures of my own childhood, are me mimicking my father.
There are two pictures I think of.
And your actions demonstrate this reality.
One is my dad mowing the lawn.
And I had a little toy lawn mower that would shoot out bubbles when you pushed it.
The picture is my dad mowing the lawn, shirtless in the front yard, and me following him shirtless with my bubble lawn mower.
Another picture is a little more disturbing.
It’s a picture of my dad shaving in front of a mirror.
He’s got the shaving creme on his face.
And he’s giving himself a shave.
Then there is me right next to him, with a razor, minus the blade.
I’ve also got shaving creme on my face, and I’m trying to be just like my dad.
I talked to my dad about that picture, and he said he had actually cut himself, and had to put a piece of toilet paper on his face to stop the bleeding.
Apparently, I wanted to be like my dad so much, that he put some of his blood on my face, and put a wad of toilet paper on my face as well.
Families mimic each other.
We mimic our fathers.
In , Jesus said, “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. ...”
says we were children of the devil.
In , Jesus said, “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. ...”
We mimic our earthly father.
And we mimic our spiritual fathers.
We are a child following Satan with our toy lawn mower.
We are a child in the mirror next to him as he shaves.
And this mimicry is clear because of the presence of sin in our lives.
“You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. ...”
Satan is called the Father of lies.
We lie.
He was a murderer from the beginning.
Violence and aggression come to us so easy.
Parents you have to teach your children to share and to control their behavior, because that doesn’t come naturally too them.
It’s a good thing children are born at the weight of 7 or 8 pounds.
Because if they came into the world as a 175 pound man imagine what kind of damage they could do to you.
Those of you who wear glasses know how babies love to reach for your glasses.
And if they could, they’d kill you for your glasses.
And yet, God doesn’t leave us in this condition.
Back to , after describing man’s sinful condition, in it says these great words, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—”
But God
We were originally children of the devil, but God ...
But God changes things.
But God adopts us.
Our relationship with God changes.
No longer an enemy of God, but now a child of God.
Adopted into HIs family.
And the relationship that we have with God is a close one.
When Jesus taught the Lord’s prayer, the big controversial point was that we get to begin our prayer with these words, “Our Father ...”
When Jesus taught the Lord’s prayer, the big controversial point was that we get to begin our prayer with these words, “Our Father ...”
You don’t call God Father.
His name was Yahweh.
His name was so holy you didn’t say it.
And now we get to call God Father.
And yet we do.
says that we can call God, “Abba! Father!”
Not only did people normally not call God Father, but you never call Him “Abba”
Typically, you don’t call God “Abba”
It’s a very tender and childlike word for God.
I’ve got a big 10 volume fancy set of books in my office.
Collectively, they are probably about 10,000 pages.
This set of books goes through words that are used in the Bible and defines them for us so we can understand them in their context and in the culture.
I looked up the word Abba to see what it meant, and here’s part of the write up.
In applying the word Abba to God, “a term which must have sounded familiar and disrespectful to His contemporaries because used in the every day life of the family. In other words, He uses the simple ‘speech of the child to its father.”
I realized I said a lot of words there that you might not care about, but I said it because there might be some of you that won’t like what I’m about to say.
The word Abba, is Hebrew for dad, maybe even daddy.
This shows the change in our relationship to God.
We are called children of God.
This relationship isn’t that of a step dad and step children.
Where we are always aware that he’s not my real dad.
God doesn’t view us as people who are half children.
The very love that God has for His Son, Jesus … He has for us.
The relationship that we have is that of a young child to a father.
Back to our text, we are children of God.
This is what we are.
God views you as His children.
You have no shame, and can call God Father.
Notice the 2 clauses at the beginning and the end of verse 26.
We are sons of God in Christ through faith.
The only way to be a son of God is through faith in Christ.
You don’t get to become a child of God without faith in Christ.
They are inseparable.
This one time Joel Osteen was on Larry King Live, and he was asked by Larry King, “… we've had ministers on who said, … You either believe in Christ or you don't. If you believe in Christ, you are, you are going to heaven. And if you don't no matter what you've done in your life, you ain't.”
So the question to Osteen was do you agree with Christian pastors who say you must believe in Jesus to get to heaven.
Let me rephrase that in light of our text, “Do you agree that to be a child of God you must have faith in Christ?”
Osteen’s response, “I don’t know if I believe they’re wrong.”
You don’t know if they’re wrong?
In our text it says that you are a child of God if you are in Christ through faith.
Faith is a requirement to be a child of God.
And what about people who have never heard of Jesus?
What about people who have never heard and don’t have faith?
What about the people who say
Osteen continued to say, “I spent a lot of time in India with my father. I don't know all about their religion. But I know they love God. And I don't know. I've seen their sincerity. So I don't know.”
But again the answer is clear, it’s only through Christ.
Specifically, faith in Christ.
Osteen says they were sincere in their love of God.
Sincerity isn’t the requirement.
It’s faith and specifically faith in Christ.
Remember in what Jesus said?
"I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
No one comes to God, except through Christ.
The way to heaven is not believing in a god and living a moral life.
It’s faith in Christ.
You can know that you are a child of God when you have faith in Christ.
says, “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.”
What does Satan try and do?
He tries to rob God of His glory.
His big temptation on Job was for Job to curse God.
He tries to take the glory that belongs to Jesus.
In fact, when Satan tempted Jesus, the last temptation was for Jesus to fall down and worship Satan.
And so when I hear someone like Osteen say that you can come to God without Christ?
I think … that’s a Satanic thinking.
That is something that a child of the devil would teach.
You can know you are a child of God when you confess Christ and have faith in Him.

The next thing about being a part of the family of God, is that you have been Chosen by God.

The first point is what you are.
In Christ you are a child of God.
The first half of verse 27 is something that has happened to you.
If you are a child of God, what has happened to you?
It says, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ ...”
We see the word baptize there, and it’s not what you are thinking.
It’s not talking about the Christian sacrament where a person goes under the water out of obedience to Christ and identifying with Him.
In the Bible sometimes there are wet baptisms and sometimes there are dry baptisms.
A wet baptism is when Jesus was baptized by John the baptist.
Philip baptizes the Ethiopian eunuch.
That was a wet baptism.
A dry baptism is what we see here in .
The way this is written, this is something that is done to you.
It begins with God choosing you.
Remember, this is about something that happens to you.
The way it’s written is that you are the person receiving the action.
You are passive in receiving this.
Remember, before we were children of wrath.
Then it says, “But God … who is rich in mercy.”
But God acts.
God chooses.
Have you ever adopted a puppy?
First, I’m sorry to all of you who have endured puppies.
They’re cute, but you don’t want a puppy forever.
I’m a firm believer of seeing all the puppies together when you pick your puppy.
I want to see how they interact with each other.
I don’t want to see just one puppy, because it’ll always be excited to see you.
I want to watch all the puppies interact, so I can see what their demeanors are and actions are compared to each other.
One might be a runt.
One might be shy and skittish.
And after watching all of them, I pick one of them.
I’m the one that makes that decision.
They don’t pick me.
I pick them.
And the same thing with us and God.
We were previously children of the devil, but God acted.
God chose.
You can know that you have been chosen by God and become a child of God when something supernatural happens to you.
Here Paul says that you were baptized into Christ.
Again, this isn’t a wet baptism.
This is conversion.
It means to be immersed in Christ, to be covered in Christ.
God does something to you and changes you.
This is an example of how salvation is not something you can possibly earn.
Conversion is not a reaction to you.
Remember, Paul is arguing against the Judaizers who say that salvation is something you do, something you earn.
Paul is completely destroying that lie.
And here he proves it in 2 ways.
First, this is something that is done to you.
He
It’s not something you do.
It’s done to you.
Second, we are baptized, covered in Christ.
This means that it is no longer you who God sees.
He actually sees Jesus.
If you are in Christ, when you die, and stand before God and are judged for your sins … it’s not you or your sins that God sees.
It’s Christ and His perfect righteousness.
You are baptized into Christ.
You are covered by Christ.
You receive something from Him.
And this is what we believe.
This is what faith is.
This is what our faith is.
Our faith is that Jesus has done something and that something has been applied to you.
Another example why faith isn’t just faith in a god, like Joel Osteen said.
It’s faith that Jesus has specifically done something for us.
What is your faith?
That question needs to be answered in a way that says what God has done for you and to you.
If I were to ask you “Why are you going to heaven?”
A lot of people think that they are children of God … yet they’ve never been born again, they’ve never actually been changed, they’ve never been baptized into Christ ...
says, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
I hope that your answer begins with what Jesus has done for you.
You have been baptized into Christ when your old self is crucified with Christ.
When you can confidently say that it is no longer you who live but Christ who lives in you.

The last part about being in the family of God is that you are Clothed in Christ.

Our first point was what you are.
You are a child of God.
Then the second point is what has happened to you.
You are baptized in Christ.
You have been converted by Him.
This third point is something you do.
You put on Christ.
There was a show on TV called Say Yes To the Dress.
Brides would go to stores that sell wedding dresses and try on multiple dresses.
They’d try on all sorts of dresses.
Some poofy.
Some lacey.
Some outright ugly.
Then there comes that one dress.
She puts it on.
Tears form in her eyes.
Her mom starts crying.
Her best friend starts crying.
Because it’s the one.
She puts it on and she looks like a bride.
In the same way there is something that a young lady puts on to look like a bride, the Christian puts on Christ.
Christ is the uniform that identifies us as belonging to Him.
What does this look like?
It involves 2 things.
Putting off.
And putting on.
The putting off is the old self.
We take off the old self.
This is repentance.
Your desires are to be different.
In 1916, Babe Ruth was an upcoming pitcher for the Boston Red Sox.
Actually, he was an amazing pitcher, one of the best.
But in 1916, Babe Ruth was traded to the dreaded New York Yankees.
The ultimate rival to the Red Sox, and this rivalry extends even to today.
He traded his old uniform, for the famous New York pin stripes.
If he showed up to a Yankees game in a jersey that said Red Sox he’d get thrown out of town.
He had to take off the old uniform and never go back it, because his life depended on it.
You’ve been adopted.
What are you?
A child of God.
What has happened to you?
You’ve been converted and covered in Christ.
Now what do you?
Live like it.
Don’t go back to the old uniform.
Your actions are to be different.
You don’t go back to what you used to be.
In Paul describes it like this, “… put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, ...”
Take off the old uniform.
Look at your life, if something isn’t making you more Christlike … then you don’t need it.
It needs to be taken off.
I heard a sermon recently that referenced , “… let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,”
The idea here is that the Christian life is a run, a journey, a race.
There are things that slow us down.
Obviously there are sins.
These sins slow us down.
They hinder our growth.
The author of that verse says that there are also weights that slow us down.
Not necessarily sins, but they are weights.
Can you run a marathon in a trench coat?
Sure you can.
But it’s going to slow you down.
There are things in your life that might not be outright sinful … but they aren’t speeding you up.
They are slowing you down.
Is what you are doing in Christ speeding you up or slowing you down?
If it is slowing you down … take it off.
Putting on Christ also means putting something on.
About 5 and a half years ago, Amanda and I bought the house we live in.
During the past 5 years we have worked at improving it.
New paint.
New floors.
Shutters.
We are trying to make it more and more of a home.
When you become a Christian, the old you is put off, but then you also pursue Christ more.
Make your body and your life more of a home for Christ.
The new life is not just stopping sinning, but it’s also pursuing Christ and things that glorify Him more.
Paul continues in by saying, “be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
We put off, and we put on.
Reminds me of Mr. Myagi from Karate Kid.
Wax on.
Wax off.
We are putting on things that bring about righteousness and holiness.
You see it’s not just stopping sinning.
It’s about pursuing Christ first.
Jesus said “Seek first the kingdom of God ...”
says, “So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—”
Long for spiritual milk.
What is that?
The Word of God.
Christian fellowship.
Good theology.
Holiness.
Obedience.
When you look in your home you see things you’d like to change.
When you look at your Christian life, look at what needs to change, where do you need to grow.
Then do it.
This isn’t just a tip for living.
It’s your responsibility in putting on Christ.
This is part of putting on the new man.
This is what you do.

We are confirming if you are in the family of God.

Last year I did one of those DNA tests, and we gave one to my dad.
You spit inside this little tube, and mail it in.
Then a few weeks later they tell you about your genetic make up from that spit.
The tests confirmed what I already knew … I’m my father’s son.
We have the same obnoxious sense of humor.
We have some of the same health problems.
We have the same hair line.
And I have half the same DNA.
I am absolutely positive he’s my dad.
And that test confirmed it.
I want you to be absolutely positive you are in the family of God.
Are you a child of God?
Only those who are in Christ are children of God.
Have you been baptized into Christ?
This is something that is done to you by God.
Have you been converted?
Has He filled you with Christ?
And is your faith grounded in what He has done for you.
Have you put on Christ?
This is something that you work out.
It’s putting off the old self, and putting on the new self.
It’s taking off anything that hinders your growth in Christ?
I want you to be at home in the family of God.
To make it through those awkward years of saying you don’t fit in.
So who are you?
What has been done to you?
And what do you do?
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