How To Become A Child Of God


Sermon Notes and Audio

Scripture Focus- John 1:6-13

Click Here To Listen To The Sermon

The Gospel of John is an eyewitness account from the Apostle John, who was in the inner circle of Jesus’ disciples along with his brother James, as well as Peter. The opening verses of the Gospel of John serve as an introduction to the book, and also an introduction to Jesus The Word.

Several truths about Jesus the Word are on display. . .

Jesus the Word is Eternal- (Eternality) He existed eternally before He came into the world. There was never a time when He was not.

Jesus the Word is God- (Equality)  He has all the attributes, and qualities of God, and is of the same essence as God the Father. The Biblical Doctrine of the Trinity- ‘God is one in essence and three in person- God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.’ Many heresies throughout the ages have focused on denying Jesus as God. The Jehovah’s Witness cult has about 8 million adherents. On a much larger global scale is Islam with 1.6 Billion adherents. The Koran and Islam, teach that Jesus was a prophet, but say that he was created, deny that He is the Son of God, and deny that He is God.

Jesus the Word is Creator- All things were created by Him, through Him, and for Him.

Jesus The Word is Life- (Essence) Life emphasizes spiritual life, eternal life, which is the opposite of spiritual death and condemnation. To say Jesus is the life, is to say the purest truth about the nature of God that He possesses, and the redemption He secured.

The theme of John-

John 20:30-31 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of His disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may believe Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and by believing you may have life in His name.

“Believe” is a word John uses 98 times in his writings. He always uses it as a verb, in an ongoing, continued way. The Greek noun for faith (pistis) does not occur in the book. The Greek verb pisteuo is used repeatedly in the present tense, indicating an active, continuous, living trust in Jesus. In whom you place your faith and believe in, is a matter of life and death, it is a matter of eternity. God speaks clearly, fully, and savingly in His Son, Jesus the Word. Logos is the embodiment of the total message of God.

To believe is to know the truth about Jesus the Word-

This is the factual foundation of the Christian faith. We intellectually understand the truth. You have to know something to believe. This is the truth about Jesus, the Son of God, who died on the cross for our sins and rose from the dead on the third day, who ascended into Heaven. To believe is not a blind leap in the dark, it is believing the truth revealed to us by God.  Faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of God. Romans 10:17 Saving faith begins with the truth but it does not end there.

To believe is to be convinced of the truth about Jesus the Word-

The Hebrew word used for amen in the Old Testament ‘ei men’ means ‘so be it, truly, literally truth’. In Psalm 41:13 Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting! Amen and Amen. It comes from being convinced of the truth about Jesus the Word. To believe is to be convinced of the truth.  

To believe is to be fully committed to the truth, and to Jesus the Word-

This is the active part of the faith in relying fully on Jesus. Paul said- I know whom I have believed in, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him for that day. 2 Timothy 1:12

God Has Provided Witnesses To His Glory- Creation, The Written Word of God, the Living Word of God

A man came whose name was John to give witness to Jesus the Living Word of God. This John is not the author of the Gospel but the forerunner of Jesus, John the Baptist. He is not identified as ‘the Baptist’ here but in keeping with the other Gospels we know this is who he was.

He is an important man in the Gospels, each of which give the account of who he was, and what he came to do. He had an effective ministry. Matthew’s Gospel tells us John was reluctant to baptize Jesus and had to be encouraged to do so. John the Baptist was not the light- The ministry of John the Baptist and Jesus had many parallels to the point that after Herod had John the Baptist beheaded, and then learns about Jesus’ ministry, his first thought was that John the Baptist had come back to life.

John the Baptist was a prophet who came out of the wilderness proclaiming the Messiah’s coming and issuing a call to repentance. His mother and father were Zechariah and Elizabeth and John the Baptist was a cousin to Jesus. Matthew’s and Mark’s Gospel describe how he dressed and what he ate. He wore a camel-hair cloak with a belt made of leather and ate locusts and wild honey.

As an interesting side note, many historians believe John the Baptist knew and possibly associated with the Qumran community where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. This was due to where his ministry was, the message that he preached, and his lifestyle. He was sent from God. This was the reason for his significance. He was Spirit filled-called-equipped by God for this special ministry.

The word witness is important to John’s Gospel. A witness gives a testimony. John the Baptist was sent as a witness to give testimony to the glory of Jesus the Word, to Jesus as the Light and the Life. A witness came from the legal concept. Samuel was the first Israelite prophet who bore witness. Isaiah used the idea of a witness in relation to the end of time, when people God delivered would bear witness to the nations about God. John the Baptist was commissioned by God to bear witness to Jesus the Messiah, and the Eternal King.

God sent him to tell the world the long awaited Messiah had come. He prepared people for Jesus. The purpose was so people would receive Him, believe in His name, and be born again.

 A person becomes a child of God by believing in God’s promise.

John the Baptist vv8-9. . . Came to testify about the light, the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

Jesus is described as the light, He is the light of the world. He was light in a physical sense, as He appeared in His glory. Yet the emphasis here is on spiritual, life-giving light coming into a dark world. Where light goes, darkness is chased out, and the true nature of life is revealed. V5 says the light shines into the darkness- literally it means it shines continually into every corner of darkness.

The anticipation of the promise of the Messiah, the Deliverer, was significant in the history of Israel. It was progressive revelation in the Old Testament. It began all the way back in Genesis. There is a connection with Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1, as both make reference to ‘In the beginning. . ..’ God created the universe, and made man as the crowning part of that creation. Adam and Eve could have lived in eternal fellowship with God, had they only obeyed, when God told them not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Satan tempted them, they disobeyed God, and the penalty of death was announced by God, spiritual death came first, physical death would follow as the penalty for sin.

The Lord God said to the Serpent- “Because you have done this, you are cursed more than any livestock and more than any wild animal. You will move on your belly and eat dust all the days of your life. I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.” Genesis 3:14-15

Satan was the tempter, who enticed them with thoughts of disobedience, so his punishment was first announced. Then the first promise of a coming Messiah is given in verse 15. The Messiah was to come, and destroy Satan and be the Deliverer from sin. This would be God’s grace.

The Lord later called Abram to be the father of a great nation. “Go out from your land, your relatives, and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you, I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, I will curse those who treat you with contempt, and all the peoples of the earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:1-3

The blessing of the nations would come through the promised Messiah, who was announced to come as an offspring of the line of Abraham. The Apostle Paul understood and taught this, when God used the word “Seed” in the Abrahamic Covenant, He was speaking specifically of the Seed, the Messiah. Galatians 3:16 Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say “and to seeds” as though referring to many, but referring to one, and to your seed, who is Christ.

So there was the promise made of a Deliverer, the Covenant made with Abraham, the Law given to Moses, and with it the Tabernacle and the Sacrificial System. Then there was the time of the United Kingdom under Saul, David, and Solomon and the Temple built under Solomon, and the time of the Divided Kingdom after.

Even the time of the exile, and the chorus of all of the prophets– all of this, led up to John the Baptist coming to bear witness to the Light, to the arrival of Messiah, Jesus the Word, in the world. The problem was, the long awaited promise was rejected by most when He came.

V10 He was in the world, and the world was created through Him, yet the world did not recognize Him.

The world is another word used a lot by John. He used it 77x. Here the focus seems to be on the world as the whole of creation. Depravity and blindess of the human heart failed to recognize what God had done. The Creator Himself came, at last, in the world He had made! Jesus was apparent to the sight of man, intelligible by the mind of man, and the world did not know Him. The majority of people rejected the light! The light met with great resistance and rebellion. The One who said ‘let there be light’, the One who set aside a special people to be a light to the nations, the One who came to shine light into the darkness- was REJECTED!

V11 He came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him. The Jews did not receive Him, because He failed to do what they anticipated the Messiah would do- defeat their enemies and establish an eternal kingdom with Israel as the dominant nation in the world.

They thought the Messiah would rescue them from Roman bondage and set up a kingdom in which they would rule. He came as the Suffering Servant to complete a much greater eternal purpose, a rescue for sin, and to establish an eternal rule, in a kingdom that will last forever. They rejected their Messiah! Do not make the same mistake.

Why do people not believe in God’s promise?

John 3:19 This, then, is the judgment: The light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone who practices wicked things hates the light and avoids it, so that his deeds may not be exposed.

 2 Corinthians 4:4 . . .the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ.

A person becomes a child of God, by trusting in God’s person.

V12 But to all who did receive Him. . .

Most of the people rejected Him, but some received Him. Those who receive the Word, welcome Him in faith. The end result is not the darkness of rejection, but the light of acceptance.

. . .He gave them the right to be children of God.

Those who believe, God gives them the right or the authority to become His children. If we have to become children of God, that means there is a point in time when we were not children of God. There is a point in time, when there is a change of status- from orphans >>>children.

The Bible teaches that all people are a part of God’s creation and He loves the world. Yet only those who believe in Jesus the Word, are children of God. In the Bible, the lost are never referred to as God’s children. 1 John 3:10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.

We become God’s children when we are saved through believing in Jesus.  God made all people, but only those who know Him through the Son are a part of His spiritual family. The children are those who believe in the person of Jesus.

. . .to those who believe in His name.

 Believing ‘in the name of Jesus’, is found only in John and 1 John and it implies receiving Jesus to the full extent of who He is revealed to be.

Names in the ancient world were tremendously important. The name represented the entire personality.  In the Old Testament, the idea of name is related to a person’s nature. Adam was given the responsibility to name the animals and the birds in Genesis 2. It was the Hebrew way of saying he understood their nature, and he was given authority over them.

The Psalmist referred to loving the name of God (Psalm 5:11). He was speaking of all the name of God means. To believe in the name, means to trust in His Person, it is to believe in Him as He has revealed Himself.

Knowing Jesus is a major emphasis in John-

John 4:42 We no longer believe because of what you said, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this really is the Savior of the world.

 John 6:69 We have come to know and believe that You are the Holy One of God.

To know Jesus is to have a relationship with Him. A genuine believer knows about Him, and also knows Him personally. Jesus prayed about the importance of this in John 17:3 This is eternal life, that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.

A person becomes a child of God, through being transformed by God’s power.

There are three patterns represented here of how people try to become a child of God.

Nobody becomes a child of God naturally-

V13. . .who were born, not of blood

Salvation is not obtainable by heritage- Literally- “not of bloods”- No one is born spiritually from natural descent, the union of their father and mother. John was probably making the point to his countrymen, that having Abraham and Sarah for their parents did not entitle them to being born again. The new birth has to come through God and His power. I’ve talked to a lot of people about Jesus who told me something about the beliefs of their parents or grandparents. While it is good to have a godly heritage, it avails nothing for you personally in terms of your relationship with God.

. . . or of the will of the flesh

Salvation is not obtainable by personal desire. ‘The flesh’ is not regarded as evil in itself in John, but reflects the difference between man and God. This is another contrast between the natural birth and spiritual birth. Man is flesh and blood. Grace is not natural, corruption is.

. . . or of the will of man

Salvation is not obtainable through a man-made system. There is no man-made religion, or religious exercise that can save a person.

. . .but of God.

Salvation is from God- this speaks to the heart of the Gospel. The birth of a child of God is not a natural birth, it is a supernatural work of God in regeneration. A person welcomes Jesus and responds by believing, but the mysterious work of the Holy Spirit is the power of God and the cause of regeneration. The new birth is a miracle of God.

There is no other way to be born into the heavenly family. There is not an extended explanation here of what this means. We will learn more about this in John 3, where Jesus speaks to Nicodemus about being born of the Spirit, something that is as mysterious as the wind, and yet occurs through believing in Jesus.

God brings about the change, and by grace grants us the privilege of being called children of God. It is not aided by the effort of people or works. Jesus is our substitute, taking our penalty for sin. He fully accomplished salvation and rose from the dead. Our works do not merit salvation. We are saved “not because of righteous things we had done” Titus 3:5. “Not by works” Ephesians 2:9. No matter how good we are, we could never measure up to God’s holiness.

God’s requirement is that we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved, even faith is a gift from God. Grace is God’s giving us something we cannot earn or deserve.

Because salvation is a work of God, it is also God who keeps us. This is where security of the believer comes in, because the same God who saves us is the God who keeps us. To believe that salvation once received can be lost, is to believe that salvation is of mans’ works and not of God.

John 6:44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day.

Romans 8:38-39 For I am persuaded that not even death or life, angels or rulers, things present or things to come, hostile powers, height or depth, or any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!

Are you believing in Jesus as your Savior?

Nobody has always been a Christian and nobody is naturally a Christian. There must have been a time when God transformed you by His grace and brought your supernaturally into His family through believing in Jesus The Word.