God became a Child so that we could become the children of God.

A Child in God’s Family

Ambrose Bierce, once said that human birth was “the first and direct of all disasters.” Although he was an agnostic, he hit the mark dead on in regard to our human birth. You see there is a sense in which human birth does share in a “great disaster,” because each of us is born into this world with a sinful nature that was passed down from our fathers. In addition, at the moment of our physical birth God inputs to every baby, Adam’s original sin that finds its home in our genetically inherited sin nature. This results in our instantaneous spiritual death. It is that spiritual death that is the “first and direct of all disasters,” because it means that we have been separated from a relationship with God and without eternal life.

It does not take new parents long to discover this sad fact about their little darlings. As David said in Psa 51:5, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.”

The “great disaster” occurred when our first parents disobeyed God and plunged the whole human race into sin, Gen 3; Rom 5:12-21.

Rom 5:12, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.”

God created us in His image, Gen 1:27, but we are also born in Adam’s image, Gen 5:3; and that makes us sinners. The Old Testament story reveals how sinful we really are because it is “the book of the generations of Adam,” Gen 5:1. When we were born, we were born into “the Adam family,” which is the same as saying; we were born with a sinful nature, Eph 2:1-3.

Eph 2:1-3, “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.”

But that is not the end of the story. The Old Testament may be “the book of the generations of Adam,” but the New Testament opens with, “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ,” Mat 1:1. After our first parents fell, God in his grace started a new family!

It is possible for you and me, Adam’s sinful descendants, to be born again and start a brand new life! The first Adam brought sin and condemnation into the human race, but the Last Adam, Jesus Christ brought righteousness and salvation, 1 Cor 15:45.

1 Cor 15:45, “So also it is written, “The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.”

The good news of the gospel is that sinners may be forgiven and experience the miracle of being born again into the family of God through personal faith in Jesus Christ.

And that is why He came in His First Advent, born of the Virgin Mary, so He could go to the Cross and take on the sins of the entire world. At the Cross, God the Father imputed to Jesus every sin we would ever commit, including Adam’s original sin, He was judged for those sins and paid the penalty for them, so that we would not have to.

Therefore, through the imputation of Adam’s original sin to the new born baby spiritual death results for the child; a great disaster! But also through the imputation of our sins to the sacrificial lamb of God, Jesus Christ, (another great disaster), mankind could have eternal life resulting in a great victory!

Therefore, God became a child in the person of Jesus Christ who paid for our sins. Now that our sins have been paid for, whoever would believe in Jesus Christ and His efficacious work upon the Cross, would be “born again” and receive eternal life, becoming “a child of God.”

Let us now examine three aspects of this miracle of the new birth and discover what it means to be a child in God’s family. Today we will note the first, and next Sunday the other two.

1. Entering the Family, John 3:1-16.

The only way to get into a human family is by birth, and the only way to get into God’s family is by birth.

John 3:3, 7, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see (experience) the kingdom of God. You must be born again.”

The term that theologians use for this experience is regeneration, which simply means “born again.”

a. Our Spiritual Parents:

As you know, children must have parents, one male and one female; that is the only way to be born in this world. God’s children also have two parents, two spiritual parents that conceive our spiritual birth.

1) The first parent is God the Holy Spirit, John 3:5.

John 3:5, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”

2) The second parent is the Word of God, 1 Peter 1:23-25.

1 Peter 1:23, “For you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring Word of God.”

The miracle of the new birth takes place when the Spirit of God applies the Word of God to the heart, (right lobe of the soul), of the sinner, and this Word, (the gospel of Jesus Christ), generates faith, Eph 2:8-9. The sinner who believes on Jesus Christ, receives new life, and is born again into the family of God, John 1:12-13.

John 1:12-13, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name, 13who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”

In John 3:7, Jesus said that we must be “born of water” as well as “born of the Spirit.” Does this mean that water baptism is necessary for salvation? No. The phrase “born of water” does not refer to water baptism because in the Bible, water baptism is associated with death and not with birth. “Born of water” means physical birth, what Nicodemus referred to in vs. 4. “Born of water” is the same as “born of the flesh” in vs. 6. Anyone who is acquainted with human birth knows that water is involved; the baby is “born of water.” First, comes the physical birth, and then comes the spiritual birth.

John 1:13 tells us that the new birth is not the result of our own efforts, sincere and religious as they may be. You cannot be born again through your human family connections, or by means of the religious acts that you do, i.e., “the will of the flesh”, or the good works that others may do to you or for you, “the will of man.” This marvelous spiritual birth can only come from God. The Greek word translated “again” in vs. 3 and 7 is ANOTHEN that also means “from above,” cf. John 3:31; 19:11. Therefore, instead of “born again,” we could say, “born from above,” which we are, having been entered into the family of God. No earthly religious ceremony can impart heavenly life. Water baptism was an important testimony of what God has done for us, Acts 2:41; 10:47, but it does not save us from sin.

b. Spiritual Travail:

Human birth involves travail. We thank God for all the modern scientific equipment in the obstetrics ward of the hospital, but the mother must still travail if the child is to be born. One doctor said, “Never forget that mothers go down into the valley so that their children can come into the world.” It is a sobering thought!

But similarly, our Lord Jesus Christ had to travail in death on the Cross so that we might experience our new birth, Isa 53:11; John 3:14-16.

Isa 53:11, “As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; by His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities.”

John 3:14-16, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 15so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. 16For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

The new birth is all of grace. It is free, but it is not cheap. It is the most costly gift you could ever receive, because it cost the pain, suffering and death of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

c. The “Birthmarks” Of God’s Children:

Can a person really know that he or she is a child in God’s family? Of course! The First Epistle of John was written to assure believers that they are the children of God, 1 John 5:11-13.

1 John 5:11-13, “And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. 13These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.”

Seven times in this letter, the Apostle John uses the phrase “born of God.” If you put these statements together, you discover four “birthmarks” of the true believer:

1) Practicing righteousness and not sin, 1 John 2:29; 3:9.
2) Loving God and other believers, 1 John 4:7; 5:1.
3) Overcoming the world, 1 John 5:4.
4) Overcoming the devil, 1 John 5:18.

John was not suggesting that God’s children never sin. The tense of the verbs in 1 John 2:29 and 3:9 literally means “everyone that practices (POIEO) righteousness” and “does not practice sin.” God does not want his children to sin at all, 1 John 2:1; but if they do sin, He has made provision for their cleansing, 1 John 1:9. Christians are not people who are sinless, but who do sin less. The focus of their life is toward godliness and obedience.

Along with these “birthmarks,” the believer has the witness of God’s Word, 1 John 5:9-13, and the witness of God’s Spirit, Rom 8:9, 14-17.

Rom 8:14-15, “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”

These two witnesses are like “spiritual birth certificates” that assure us we are God’s own children.

Therefore, we see that Jesus Christ over 2000 years ago, who is God, chose to become man through the virgin birth. That little baby boy born in the manger in Bethlehem was born so that He could arrive at the Cross. And through our faith in Him we too become the children of God. And that is what we are celebrating during this time of the year.

By way of summary we have noted:

1. Entering the Family, John 3:1-16. The only way to get into a family, human or God’s, is by birth.

John 3:3, 7, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see (experience) the kingdom of God. You must be born again.”

a. Our Spiritual Parents:

1) The Holy Spirit, John 3:5.
2) The Word of God, 1 Peter 1:23.

b. Spiritual Travail: Our Lord Jesus Christ had to travail in death on the Cross so that we might experience our new birth, Isa 53:11; John 3:14-16.

c. The “Birthmarks” of God’s Children:

1) Practicing righteousness and not practicing sin, 1 John 2:29; 3:9.
2) Loving God and other believers, 1 John 4:7; 5:1.
3) Overcoming the world, 1 John 5:4.
4) Overcoming the devil, 1 John 5:18.

Rom 8:14-15, “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”

Now that we have noted the concept of entering the “Family of God” we will understand two more aspects of being in “the Family of God.” And keep in mind, that because we have been blessed to be born in the “Church Age” dispensation, also known as “The Age of Grace,” we have the unique qualification of being part of “The Royal Family of God,” 1 Peter 2:9; James 2:8.

We will now note the next concept of being “Children in the Family of God” by noting how we should be:

2. Enjoying the Family God.

Our heavenly Father is the one “who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy,” 1 Tim 6:17. To look at some Christians, you would never suspect that the word “ENJOY!” is even in the vocabulary of the Bible! Well, it is; and those who are God’s children and really understand all that their Heavenly Father has given to them, will radiate His joy, (+H) through their lives. It is sad to see when Christians mill around in life down trodden, with doom and gloom hanging over them. That is not what God has designed for you, regardless of your means or circumstances in life. That is why we need to understand the blessings the Father wants His children to enjoy!

a. Enjoying the Family Freedom, Rom 8:12-18; Gal 5:1.

Gal 5:1, “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.”

Then in Rom 8:12-18, it describes a special relationship with the Father called “adoption,” which must not be confused with the type of adoption we have today in the Western world. As we noted in our recent study of the Book of Galatians, especially chapter 4:1-11, this adoption is the act of God whereby He gives each of His children an adult status and standing in the family the instant he or she is born again. You do not get into God’s family by adoption but by regeneration. Why? Because an adopted child does not have the same nature as his adoptive parents. Yet we, God’s children, have God’s own nature because we have been born of God’s Spirit, 2 Peter 1:4.

2 Peter 1:4, “For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.”

Adoption has to do with our standing in the family. It simply means that God treats us as adults, not as babes, and gives us adult privileges.

For example, a baby does not even know he is a baby, and he certainly does not know his own parents. Even if a baby did know his own father, he would not be able to speak to him. But God’s children know they are God’s children! They not only know who their Father is, but they are able to speak to him and call him “Abba (Papa), Father!”

For the most part, children live in bondage and fear until they are old enough to care for themselves; but God’s children are free from both bondage and fear.

Why does God adopt His children and give them an adult standing in the family? So that they will have the freedom to draw upon all of His resources and grow into mature sons and daughters. We are free to walk with Him and talk with Him, free to hear His Word and follow His Spirit. Even though we constantly need to grow, we do so in a family atmosphere of freedom and grace, not bondage and law.

b. Enjoying the Family Food:

As you know, in most cultures, the family sits around a table and enjoys food bought and prepared by the parents. This food is very important for the child to grow and be healthy. If children are to grow, they must have food; and God has provided His Word as our spiritual nourishment, Jer 15:16; Job 23:12.

Job 23:12, “I have not departed from the command of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.”

Jer 15:16, “Your words were found and I ate them, and Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; for I have been called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.”

God’s Word is also compared to being bread, Mat 4:4, milk, 1 Peter 2:2, meat, Heb 5:12-14; 1 Cor 3:1-2, and honey Psa 119:103.

Mat 4:4, “But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.’”

1 Peter 2:2, “Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.”

As we learn God’s Word, the truth is “digested” inwardly and we receive strength, Josh 1:6-9. This is what we call the metabolization of Bible Doctrine.

Josh 1:8-9, “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. 9“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

As babes, we received the milk or “the basics” of God’s Word, (the gospel and elementary principles of Rebound, Faith Rest, eternal life, etc.), from our loving caretakers, Pastor-Teachers, 1 Thes 2:7-8. But as we grow spiritually, we then need to feed on the meat or solid food of God’s Word, “advanced doctrines,” which too is prepared for us by our Pastor-Teacher. In all phases of our spiritual growth, the Word of God is like honey, sweet to the taste and enjoyable to eat, as we enjoy the full diet of God’s Word that results in our inner peace and happiness, +H, the Joy of God.

c. Enjoying the Family Fortune:

When we were born the first time, “born of the flesh,” we were born poor slaves; but when we were born the second time, “born of the Spirit,” we were born rich sons. This is the contrast between Abraham’s two sons, Ishmael and Isaac, the slave and the heir, Gal 4:21-31. If we continued to be slaves, we could never inherit our Father’s fortune. But because God has given His children an adult standing through adoption, we can claim His wealth as our own and use it for His glory, because we are “heirs of God,” Rom 8:15-17.

Rom 8:16-17a, “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 17and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ…”

What kind of wealth does the Father share with us?

1) “The riches of His grace.” We begin with Eph 2:7, “the riches of His grace,” keeping in mind that our Father is as 1 Peter 5:10 tell us, “the God of all grace,” and our Bible is as Acts 20:32 tells us, “The Word of His grace,” and the Holy Spirit is as Heb 10:29 tells us, “The Spirit of grace.” Likewise, God’s throne used to be a throne of judgment to us, but now it is a “throne of grace” where we can as Heb 4:16 tells us, “find grace to help in time of need.”

As John 1:16 tells us, “For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.” Or as the NIV puts it, “From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another.” That is why it is important that God’s children study His Word and get to know all the grace that is available to you through Jesus Christ.

2) “The riches of His mercy.” Not only do we share the “riches of His grace,” but we also share as Eph 2:4, tells us, “the riches of his mercy.” There is a difference between grace and mercy; God in His mercy does not give us what we deserve, and in His grace He gives us what we do not deserve.

Lam 3:22, “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed.” Therefore, God’s children experience Psa 23:6, “goodness and mercy.” each day of our lives as God is loving and patient with the sinners that we are.

3) “The riches of His glory.” Spiritual commodities like “grace” and “mercy” may seem rather nebulous to us, especially when it comes to paying our bills and keeping life going. But remember, God knows our daily needs and has provided for us “the riches of His glory.” He has given us this promise to claim them, Phil 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” It means that God will provide all of our daily needs through His Logistical Grace blessings. In that we must remember that God does not satisfy our “greeds,” but he does supply our needs, Mat 6:19-34.

4) “The riches of His wisdom.” “The riches of God’s wisdom” are available to the child of God when God’s children need to make decisions, Rom 11:33. God’s Word that we have learned will lead us to make good and righteousness decisions on a consistent basis. That is why it is important to have EPIGNOSIS doctrine resident within your soul, because we need God’s Word resident within our souls in order to use His wisdom correctly, and make good decisions.

James 1:5, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”

5) “The riches of His goodness.” Finally, God’s children can draw upon Rom 2:4, “the riches of His goodness.” Psa 100:5, tells us, “For the Lord is good.” Psa 31:19 tells us, “How great is Your goodness, which You have stored up for those who fear You, which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You, before the sons of men!.” As James 1:17 also tells us, God is the source of every good and perfect gift, and we can trust Him to give what is right, in the right way, and at the right time.

James 1:17, “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.”

So these are the riches of God that He freely gives to His children in time. And there are even greater riches waiting for you in the eternal state. So no matter how you look at it, God’s children are rich indeed!

d. Enjoying the Family Fellowship:

As children in God’s family, we belong to each other and we need each other. God does not want His children to live in isolation, Eccl 4:9-12. This is one reason why our Lord established His church on earth: It is a living fellowship in which His children can worship Him in unity, witness of His grace, and encourage one another in the things of eternity, cf. 1 Cor 12:14-26.

In the Greek language, the word “fellowship,” KOINONIA, κοινωνια means “to have in common;” and the children of God have much in common. They share the same life, the same Word, the same love for Christ, the same concern for a lost world, and the same desire to glorify God.

One of the first symptoms of a weakening fellowship with the Father is a believer’s carelessness about fellowship with God’s people.

Heb 10:25, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,” is a commandment from God, and we should obey it.

The first Christians in Acts 2:44-47, “Continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.”

This reminds me of a nice story given to me several years ago by my friend and fellow believer, John Woodford. It speaks to the importance of our fellowshipping together. It reads, “a pastor in a country church heard that one of his parishioners was going about announcing that he would no longer be attending church services stating that he could communicate just as easily with God by himself at home in the comforts of his home as his place of worship. One cold winter evening the Pastor called on this reluctant member of his church for a friendly visit. The two men sat by the fireplace making small talk, but avoided the issue of church attendance. After some time, the Pastor took the tongs from the rack next to the fireplace and pulled a single coal from the fire. He placed the glowing ember on the hearth. The two men watched as the coal quickly ceased burning and turned an ashen gray while the other coals in the fire continued to burn brightly. The Pastor remained silent. Then the parishioner said, “I’ll be at church next Sunday.”

Fellowship means that we are concerned about one another. In fact, the phrase “one another” is used nearly fifty times in the New Testament to describe how believers should minister to each other. “Love one another” is repeated at least a dozen times, e.g., John 13:34-35; 15:12, 17; Rom 13:8; 1 Thes 3:12; 4:9.

In that, we are also commanded to: submit to one another, Eph 5:21; encourage one another, 1 Thes. 4:18; care for one another, 1 Cor 12:25; forgive one another, Eph 4:32; and edify one another, Rom 14:19; 15:2, to name but a few.

Fellowship involves sharing ourselves with others. Roy Hession wrote in “The Calvary Road”, p. 22, “The only basis for real fellowship with God and man is to live out in the open with both.”

e. Enjoying the Family Fashions:

God’s children have taken off the filthy garments of sin and have put on the garments of God’s grace, the righteousness of Jesus Christ, Gen 3:7, 21; Isa 61:10; 64:6; 2 Cor 5:21.

We have as Col 3:9-10 tells us, “Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, 10and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him.” Col 3:1-14 describes the “family fashions” for the Christian, the garments of grace that the inner person ought to be wearing.

Just as Jesus commanded the grave clothes to be removed from Lazarus in John 11:44, so too should we put off, by faith, the grave clothes of our old life. After all, we share God’s life; and nobody will believe that we are alive, if we do not dress like it!

f. Enjoying the Family Future:

God’s family is the only family that has a future hope, for there is no hope for the unbeliever in Adam’s family, Eph 2:12. Yet, we have a living hope, 1 Peter 1:3-4, because we trust a living Christ.

1 Peter 1:3-4, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.”

As we speak our Lord is preparing a home in heaven for His people, and He will return to take us there, John 14:1-6. One day we shall see Him and become like Him, 1 John 3:1-3!

Nobody knows when the Lord will return, but when He does, He will gather His family together, the living and the dead, and take them to glory, 1 Thes 4:13-18. What a future!

When you consider the joys that God’s children can experience, and we have not begun to consider all of them, you wonder at two things: 1) Why more Christians are not rejoicing in their wonderful position in the family, and 2) Why more unsaved people are not anxious to get into the family and start enjoying abundant life in Christ.

Perhaps if the children of God were more satisfied and joyful, the children of this world might want to trust Christ and be born again. How we live is as much a witness as what we say.

3. Enlarging the Family

When our Lord met the unbelieving Saul on the road to Damascus, He identified the great commission He was appointing Saul to undertake. This same commission is also ours, having been appointed to the Family of God.

Acts 26:18, “To open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.”

This verse is the greatest example of the true essence of the message of a disciple of Jesus Christ in all of the New Testament. God’s first sovereign work of grace is summed up in the words, “that they may receive forgiveness of sins.” The only sign that a person is saved is that he has received something from Jesus Christ. Our job as workers for God is to open people’s eyes so that they may receive forgiveness of sin and therefore salvation.

When a person is born again, he knows that it is because he has received something as a gift from the Almighty God and not because of his own decision. Salvation means that we are brought to the place where we are able to receive something from God on the authority of Jesus Christ, namely, forgiveness of sins. This is followed by God’s second mighty work of grace: “an inheritance among those who are sanctified.” In sanctification, the one who has been born again deliberately gives up his right to himself to Jesus Christ, and identifies himself entirely with God’s ministry to others.

You see, God wants His family to grow. And His children are the ones to accomplish that growth by witnessing for Christ and pointing others to the Savior. Whether you are a new believer or have been a believer for years, it is part of your job as a Christian. New believers may not be ready to serve as teachers or spiritual leaders in the church, 1 Tim 3:6, but they can be faithful witnesses who share the gospel, Acts 1:8.

Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

A witness is simply somebody who tells others what he has seen or heard, As Peter and John noted in Acts 4:20, “For we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

I have been called to witness in a court room only once, and I discovered very quickly that the judge was not interested in my opinions on the case, only the facts. All he wanted me to do was to tell what I really knew from my own personal experience. Too many Christians think that they are prosecuting attorneys or judges, when God has called all of us to be witnesses.

But the fact is, every believer is a witness for Christ to the unbelieving world as we are Ambassadors of Christ, 2 Cor 5:18-21, chosen by God. And we fulfill that appointment by sharing the Word of God and trusting the Spirit of God to lead sinners to personally receive Jesus Christ.

We may not always have the privilege of personally leading each person to Christ that we witness to, but we can prepare the way for others. Witnessing is like farming, it is a cooperative effort. One plows, one sows, one waters, and God is the one who bring forth the harvest, 1 Cor 3:6-10; John 4:31-38.

1 Cor 3:6-10, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. 7So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. 8Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 9For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. 10According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it.”

John 4:37-38, “For in this case the saying is true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38“I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored and you have entered into their labor.”

It is interesting to examine the statistics recorded in the Book of Acts. About 120 believers met in the Upper Room for prayer after our Lord’s ascension, Acts 1:15. Three thousand were converted at Pentecost, Acts 2:41, and later the number grew to be about five thousand, Acts 4:4. Day by day, believers were added to the Lord Acts 5:14, so much so that the apostles had to appoint assistants to help them, Acts 6:1ff.

Act 6:7, “And the word of God increased; and the number of disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.”

If we are to help enlarge God’s family through our witness, we must first be sure that we are filled with the Spirit of God; because it is only through His power that our witnessing glorifies God and brings true conviction to sinners, Acts 1:8; John 16:8-11, cf. 1 John 1:5-10..

Through the filling of God the Holy Spirit, we speak of the things we have seen and heard, (i.e., experienced personally), about the saving work of our Lord Jesus Christ. Certainly God wants us to share our personal experience of salvation, but remember that He can only use that experience as it is related to the Word of God and as it magnifies the Son of God.

Second, we must sincerely desire to win the lost. Witnessing for Christ is not something we turn on and off, like a TV set. Every believer is a witness at all times, either a good one or a bad one. We are in full time Christian service. And a burden for the lost keeps us asking God to make us good witnesses for Jesus Christ. If we start each day yielding ourselves to the Lord, Rom 12:1-2, and seeking His blessing, He will use us to share the gospel with others.

Rom 12:1-2, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”

This leads to the third principle: As witnesses, we must keep in constant fellowship with the Lord so that we have something fresh to share. That means we need to be learning the Word of God consistently. The Holy Spirit testifies to us through the Word so that we may bear witness joyfully John 15:26-27.

John 15:26-27, “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, 27and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning.”

If we are prepared, we can then use these opportunities wisely when He opens the way. It is not necessary to have a “canned sales pitch” ready to go. The Spirit gives us the words we need when we need them, if we are praying and walking in the Spirit. Jesus adapted His approach as He witnessed to people and we should follow His example.

Our final and fourth principle is: We need to “follow up” with the new believers we have helped to lead to the Lord. After their salvation we now help them grow in the Lord. After all, that is what any family is for: to love, protect, and nurture the new babies so they can successfully mature.

There is a sense in which the child of God becomes a “spiritual father” to his fellow believers who he has led to Christ; first bringing others into the family of God and then nurturing their faith, 1 Cor 4:14-15.

Paul stated to the Corinthians in 1 Cor 4:14-15, “I do not write these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15For if you were to have countless tutors in Christ, yet you would not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.”

Just as the Pastor, as a “spiritual father,” sometimes needs to warn the children, 1 Cor 4:14, discipline them, 1 Cor 4:17-21, encourage them, 1 Thes 2:10-12, feed them, 1 Cor 3:1-3, and protect them from false teachers, 2 Cor 11:1-5, so too does the ambassador for Christ who has led someone to salvation. This is not an easy job, and each member of the family needs to help.

In Summary: To be an effective witness for Christ:
1. Be filled and led by the Holy Spirit.
2. Have a sincere heart to win the lost, having a yielded heart towards the Lord’s service.
3. Be consistent with your intake of Bible Doctrine, having fresh material for the Holy Spirit to work with.
4. Follow up with the new believers and be a “spiritual father” to them.

In Summary of our overall topic of being a child in the Family of God:

Three Questions:
1. Have you entered the family of God, and do you have full assurance that you are His child?
2. Are you enjoying being in his family as you draw upon all the privileges that are yours in Christ?
3. Are you helping to enlarge the family by witnessing for Christ as the Lord gives you opportunity?

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