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Born of God - 1 John 2:28-3:3

Jesus, John, Peter, James, and Paul all speak about salvation as being "born of God". Consequently, we can legitimately refer to ourselves as the children of God.

1 John 2:28-3:3; Ezekiel 36:26-27; John 3:1-8; 1 Peter 1:3-4, 22-23; Romans 8:14-17; James 1:18; John 1:9-13

Jun 29, 2014 12:00 AM

MP3 audio icon Born-of-God_06-29-2014.mp3 — MP3 audio, 11951 kB (12238344 bytes)

A few days ago, Elias Gentner was born and joined the rest of us in this “outside” world.  He weighed 7 pounds, 3 ounces.  He had trouble breathing because of a problem with his heart.  So he was put in a helicopter and LifeFlight-ed to Hershey Children’s Hospital.  On Thursday, surgeons repaired his tiny little heart so that his blood pressure would stabilize and he could breathe normally.  He is now recuperating from being born, flying in a helicopter, and having heart surgery, all within four days.

It has been a rough first week for the Gentners and Baby Elias.  His introduction to the world has been pretty traumatic.  But as bad as his birth and his first week has been, we read in the Bible where Jesus says Baby Elias must be born again.

And he’s not the only one.  If we are to ever see Heaven, the Lord Jesus says we must all be born again, born a second time.  And like Elias’ birth, being born again also involves a certain kind of heart surgery.  A kind of spiritual heart transplant.  The prophet Ezekiel describes it like this:

[26] And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. [27] And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. (Ezekiel 36:26-27 ESV)

This is what happens to a person when they become a Christian.  They are changed by God from the inside out.  They are given a new life, as though they were born a second time.  This is what Jesus was referring to when he said to the Pharisee Nicodemus:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” [4] Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old?  Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?”

Baby Elias would say, “I’m not sure I want to go through all of that again!”  But that is not the kind of birth Jesus is talking about.

[5] Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. [6] That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. [7] Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ [8] The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.  So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:1-8 ESV)

A person who becomes a Christian experiences a work of the Holy Spirit.  IT is the Spirit of God who causes a person to repent, to believe the Gospel, and to become a follower of Christ.  That person is said to be born again.  Look with me at our text for today in 1 John 2.

[28] And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. [29] If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.

[3:1] See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.  The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. [2] Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. [3] And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. (1 John 2:28-3:3 ESV)

It is God who gives birth to us.  Therefore we become His children.  We are born of Him, so we are children of God.  And we are made children of God because of the great love He has for us.  HE is our Father and we become His children.  If we have been born again by the Spirit of God, John says we are already God’s children NOW!

John is not the only apostle who spoke of being born again.  Notice this next verse:

[3] Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, [4] to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, (1 Peter 1:3-4 ESV)

The Apostle Paul speaks about us being God’s children also:

[14] For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. [15] For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” [16] The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

[17] and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. (Romans 8:14-17 ESV)

God makes us His own children, makes us His heirs, and grants us an inheritance--Heaven!  God does all of this for us.  The important word is “for”.  In our place, for our benefit, in our stead.  Jesus has accomplished all of this for us.  God grants us the new birth for us.  The Holy Spirit causes us to be born again for our sakes.  It is all done by God FOR us.  We do none of this ourselves.

Baby Elias did not create himself.  He did not give birth to himself.  He didn’t elect to have heart surgery.  All of this was done to him and for him.  Someday, he will be very grateful for it all.  Because he did none of it himself.  People don’t give themselves physical birth.  Neither do we give ourselves spiritual birth.  It is a gift given, a birth performed for us, by God.  Once again, the apostle Peter, speaking to Christians says,

[22] Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, [23] since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; (1 Peter 1:22-23 ESV)

Another apostle, James, spoke of God’s work of granting us the new birth:

[18] Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. (James 1:18 ESV)

[9] The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. [10] He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. [11] He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. [12] But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, [13] who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:9-13 ESV)

How did you become a Christian?

How is it that you were born again?

How did that happen?

Has it happened to you?

If so, have you recently thanked the Lord for saving you?

Have you thanked your heavenly Father that He caused you to be born again?

Do you consider God to be your Heavenly Father?

Do you speak to Him in prayer as though He was your Father and you were His child?

Do you ever consider that you are promised an eternal inheritance because you are a child of God?

 

How does it affect you to know that God has loved you and done this gracious work of giving birth to you and making you His own child?

If you are a child of God, how should you behave?  How should you live?

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.


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