The Family of God
The Family of God
Series: The Gospel of John
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - March 30, 2016
(Revised June 14, 2019)
*Bill and Gloria Gaither wrote the words to this very well-known song:
"You will notice we say brother and sister 'round here,
It's because we're a family and these folks are so dear.
When one has a heartache, we all shed a tear
And rejoice in each victory in this family so dear.
From the door of an orphanage to the house of the King,
No longer an outcast, a new song I sing;
From rags unto riches, from the weak to the strong,
I'm not worthy to be here, but praise God I belong!
I'm so glad I'm a part of the family of God,
I've been washed in the fountain,
Cleansed by His blood.
Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod,
For I'm part of the family, the family of God." (1)
*There is nothing better in this world than being part of the family of God! And in tonight's Scripture, John introduces us to the amazing truth that all of us can be part of the family of God! Just think about it...
1. BEING IN GOD'S FAMILY IS A SPECIAL PRESENT.
*Being in God's family is a special gift from God. John pointed us to this great news in vs. 12, when he said, "But as many as received him, to them GAVE He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name."
*All Christians have been given a part in the family of God. That's why in 1 John 3, the Apostle John rejoiced and said:
1. Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
2. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
*Christians: Right now, we are children of God, and this everlasting blessing always comes as a gift from God. The Bible also makes this truth clear in Romans 6:23, where Paul said, "The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
*1 John 5:10-12 puts it this way:
10. He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son.
11. And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.
12. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.
*"God has given us eternal life!" Now, I've gotten some great presents in my life, but nothing that can touch this gift, or even come close.
*This eternal life, this being a part of the Family of God, it's a gift from God. Jesus Christ doesn't just give us a religion; He gives us a relationship with God!
*James Hewett told about an invitation at the end of a church service. A man came forward, and this man was a member of that church. It turned out that he had religion, but he didn't have Jesus.
*He was upset and moved by conviction for his sin. With tears flowing, he took Bro. Hewett's hand. And he meant to say that his life was full of sin, but what came out was, "My sin is full of life." (2)
*That's the problem we have when all we have is religion, but on that day that man got a relationship with God. He trusted in the death of Jesus Christ on the cross for his sins. And he was given a relationship with God the Father through our Risen Savior!
2. BEING IN GOD'S FAMILY IS A SPECIAL PRESENT. AND IT COMES FROM A SPECIAL POWER.
*Again, vs. 12 says: "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." When we believe in Jesus, God gives us the "power" or "right" or "authority" to become the children of God. Church: This is the power of the cross, the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ!
 AND THIS TRANSFORMATIONAL POWER IS EXCLUSIVE.
*There is only one way to get it. You could have enough money to fill this church up with hundred-dollar bills, but you could not buy this power. You could have all the weapons in the world, but you couldn't take it by force. You could be the smartest person in the world, educated in the finest schools, but you could never figure out how to get this power on your own.
*That's because this life-giving power comes from God alone, and it's His special gift to everyone who receives Him, "even to those who believe in His name." Jesus Christ gives the powerful gift of everlasting life, and we receive it by receiving Him as our Lord and Savior.
 THE POWER TO BE A PART OF GOD'S FAMILY IS EXCLUSIVE POWER. AND IT'S EXCELLENT POWER.
*Having God's power of eternal life is the best thing that can ever happen to us! It changes our destiny, and it changes our destination. We go from being hell bound to Heaven bound forever! God's power of eternal life changes us from being people who deserve shame, death, and doom into people who have the comfort and peace of a salvation that last forever.
*God's power of eternal life also turns us from being sinners into saints. It breaks the bondage of sin in our lives and begins to transform us into people who overflow with God's love, joy, and goodness. What power! It can even turn us into children of God!
3. BEING IN GOD'S FAMILY COMES FROM A SPECIAL POWER. AND IT IS FOR A SPECIAL PEOPLE.
*Who are these special people? -- In the beginning of vs. 12, they are "as many as received Him." That's our part: To open our hearts and receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
*Then at the end of vs. 12, our part is to "believe on," or "believe in" the name of Jesus Christ. Our part is to trust in the name above all names, the only name that can save, the name that means "Jehovah is salvation," the name of Jesus.
*But what does it mean to believe on the name of Jesus? William Barclay helped us understand when he said: "Hebrew thought and language had a way of using names which is strange to us.
*They did not simply focus on the sound or the meaning of a name. Instead, the Hebrews added another whole dimension by including a person's character, personality and temperament. To trust in the name of Jesus therefore means to put our trust in who and what he is: The embodiment of God's kindness and love and gentleness and service.
*John's great central doctrine is that in Jesus Christ we see the very mind of God, the attitude of God to men. If we believe that, then we also believe that God the Father is like Jesus, as kind, as loving as Jesus was. And it is only when we believe that, that we can submit ourselves to God and become his children.
*If we had never seen in Jesus what God is like, we would never have dared to think of ourselves as being able to become the children of God. Only Jesus opens to us the possibility of becoming the children of God." (3)
*So, we enter the family of God by believing on, or believing in the name of Jesus, or as we would say: "You have to believe in Jesus." The gift of eternal life must be received by faith, by believing in Jesus Christ.
*Many other Scriptures drive this truth home. For example, John 3:36 says "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." And in John 6:47 Jesus said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life."
*The gift of eternal life must be received by faith, believing what God says about me: I am a sinner, and believing what God says about the danger I am in: Without Jesus, I am lost, and I deserve to go to hell. But Jesus is the way to goodness and life.
*The gift of eternal life must be received by faith, also believing that God loves me in spite of my sins and that God's only begotten Son Jesus Christ loves me so much that He came into the world to die on the cross for my sins, believing also that He rose again from the dead, so He can save me forever. And Jesus will save me, if I will just believe in Him.
*But believing in Jesus means a lot more than simply believing with your mind. It means believing with your heart, believing with your life. It means receiving Jesus into your spiritual heart, having a real relationship with Him, seeking to follow His ways, allowing Him to lead your life, and trusting in the Lord completely, because He proved His love for us on the cross.
*Christians: We believed in Jesus because He revealed Himself to us through the Bible, the written Word of God. We also believed in Jesus because He revealed Himself through His life and death on earth. As vs. 14 says, "the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us."
*We also believed in Jesus because He revealed Himself to us through His Holy Spirit. Jesus explained this truth to us on the night before the cross. In John 16:7-11, the Lord said:
7. "Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.
8. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
9. of sin, because they do not believe in Me;
10. of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more;
11. of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged."
*We believed in Jesus, and now we can honestly say that through Jesus Christ we personally know the true and living God. The Lord also proclaimed this truth on the night before the cross. It was part of Christ's prayer in John 17:1-3.
1. Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: "Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You,
2. as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him.
3. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent."
*Christians: We believed in Jesus Christ, and now we truly know God and what He is like. That makes us special people.
4. BEING IN GOD'S FAMILY IS FOR A SPECIAL PEOPLE. AND IT COMES THROUGH A SPECIAL PROCESS.
*It's the process John shows us here in vs. 13, where he tells us that believers "were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." The special process was a birth!
 But it was a birth unlike any other, because it was not by human descent. (4)
*That's what John meant when he said our spiritual birth was "not by blood." Our parents may have brought us to church, but they could never bring us into the family of God. Only God Himself could do that.
 This special birth was not by human descent. And it was not by human desire.
*That's what John meant when he said our spiritual birth was not by "the will of the flesh." Suppose you wanted to be saved more than anything else in the world. Well, all the want in the world by itself is not enough to save us. And the reason why is because even when we try our best to be good, we still can't measure up. We drop the ball. We trip up. We all fall short of the glory of God.
*With baseball season right here upon us, it's a good time to compare it to the best batters of all time. Rogers Hornsby was one of those Hall of Famers, and he once said: "I don't like to sound egotistical. But every time I stepped up to the plate with a bat in my hands, I couldn't help but feel sorry for the pitcher."
*Hornsby was the second best batter of all time with a lifetime batting average of .358. The number one spot goes to Ty Cobb with a lifetime average of .366. Ted Williams got it right when he said you can be one of the greatest batters in the game, if you fail only seven times out of ten. (5)
*Well, three out of ten successes may get you into the Baseball Hall of Fame. But it will never get you into Heaven! Neither will nine out of ten. You could be the best person in Caldwell Parish, the best person in Louisiana, or the best person in the world. But that's not going to get you into Heaven, because Romans 3:23 tells us that we all fall short of the glory of God.
*The new birth is not by "the will of the flesh." When it comes to salvation, no one has ever been good enough, no one but Jesus! So God has to do the saving!
 This special birth was not by human descent, not by human desire, and it was not by human design.
*That's what John meant when he said our spiritual birth was not "by the will of man." Men can come up with some pretty amazing plans, but who would ever have come up with God's plan for the cross?
*Even the Lord's closest followers didn't get it until after that first Easter Sunday. Remember what happened in Matthew 16, when Peter confessed that Jesus was the promised Messiah. Starting in Matthew 16:13:
13. When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, "Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?''
14. So they said, "Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.''
15. He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?''
16. And Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.''
17. Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
18. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
19. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.''
20. Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ.
21. From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.
22. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!''
23. But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.''
*No man could have ever come up with God's plan for the cross. Salvation can only come from God and God alone! Only God could have lived a perfect life and provided the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Only God could have risen again from the dead. And only God could give the power for us to become children of God. Jesus' death gives us life when we are born again by believing in Him.
*Why did He do it? What was the driving force? It was His love! Aren't you glad that our salvation doesn't depend on our goodness and love?
5. BEING IN GOD'S FAMILY COMES THROUGH A SPECIAL PROCESS. AND IT'S FOR A SPECIAL PURPOSE.
*Again in vs. 13, John said believers "were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."
*Receiving God's gift of eternal life changes us from living a pointless life to living life with a purpose. God always has great purposes for the things He does, and that includes our salvation.
*The Apostle Paul made this truth perfectly clear in Ephesians 2:8-10. There Paul tells Christians:
8. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
9. not of works, lest anyone should boast.
10. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
*We must remember that we were given this gift of eternal life for a purpose! God has great purposes for our lives. And our possibilities are unlimited because our God is unlimited! There is no telling how much God can use us, when we start living for His purpose.
*My Mary's mother always loved Charles Stanley's preaching, and years ago, she sent me a tape about "The God Who Cares." In that sermon, Dr. Stanley gave a great example of how God can use us in unexpected ways.
*Dr. Stanley had flown home the night before, and he sat down next to a man on the plane. This man was a Christian, and he was going through a terrible time in his life. He was under a tremendous burden.
*Just the week before he was talking to his wife about the problem, and he told her, "If I could just sit down and talk with Dr. Stanley, I believe it would help!" Then, he said, "I almost fainted when you got on the plane!"
*Well, Dr. Stanley was able to help that man find God's comfort. And notice what happened. Dr. Stanley helped the man, but the man helped Dr. Stanley too by giving him a great testimony of how God can work. Then they both blessed Mary's mom and all the other people who heard about it. Now tonight, years later, they are even blessing us. (6)
*There is no telling how God can use us, when we start living our lives for His purpose. And it's all because of Jesus Christ! He is the God of wonderful possibilities to bless and be blessed again, -- when we belong to the family of God.
*"I'm so glad I'm a part of the family of God,
I've been washed in the fountain,
Cleansed by His blood.
Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod,
For I'm part of the family, the family of God."
*I hope you could sing those words in truth tonight. But if you can't, you can call on the Lord to save you right now. And Christians, as we go back to God in prayer, let's praise Him and thank Him for allowing us to be part of the family of God.
(1) "The Family of God" by William J. & Gloria Gaither - Album: Bill & Gloria Gaither and Their Homecoming Friends, Vol. 1
(2) James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited - Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988, p. 454. Source: The Bible Illustrator, Topic: Sin - Index: 3338-3359 - Date: 7/1996.1523 - Title: Revealing Slip
(3) Adapted from BARCLAY'S DAILY BIBLE STUDY SERIES - NEW TESTAMENT by William Barclay - Revised Edition - Copyright 1975 - First published by the Saint Andrew Press, Edinburgh, Scotland - The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - "Children of God - John 1:12-13
(4) This basic outline is from EXPLORING THE GOSPELS: JOHN by John Phillips, Kregal Publications, Grand Rapids - "The Divine Light in Evidence" - John 1:6-13
(5) Baseball Almanac - Top 20 Hitters - http://www.baseball-almanac.com/legendary/lited20.shtml
(6) Taped sermon "The God Who Cares" by Charles Stanley