My Father’s Child
A) How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! B) And that is what we are! C) The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 A) Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. C) But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, B) for we shall see him as he is. 3 A)Everyone who has this hope in him B) purifies himself, C) just as he is pure.
(1 Jn 3:1-3 NIV)
One day, one of my first-grade students, Taylor, asked his grandmother if he was a child of God. "Why, of course you are, Taylor," she replied. He looked puzzled, then responded, "Well I better get home and tell Mom and Dad--they think I'm theirs!"
-- Mary De Guzman, Greenville, SC. Today's Christian Woman, "Heart to Heart."
I used to think about what it was like to be my father’s child on Father’s Day. I would think about my father in terms of our relationship. What is it like to be my father’s child. It was that relationship to my earthly father that defined Father’s Day for me. But this last year, my earthly Father passed away.
When I began to see the commercials for Father’s Day this year, I began to think about my father, and how this year Father’s Day would not be the same. I began to feel alone, and abandoned, until I thought about my heavenly Father.
To those of you who still have your father to celebrate this day, cherish them, for they will not be with you always. But today, while we are gathered here in our heavenly Father’s house, I want to think about what it means to be His child. To be called a Child of God is a privilege that transcends the earthly sphere. It is a privilege that all of us can share, whether our earthly father is alive or not. And for those of us who no longer have our earthly Father with us, it is only our relationship to our heavenly Father that affords us hope of ever seeing our earthly father again. In the end, it is only because of our relationship with our heavenly Father, that we can celebrate our relationship with our earthly father. For that reason, I want all of us to think about what it means to be my Father’s child. Not my earthly father, but my heavenly Father.
II. My Father’s Child Will Experience A Relationship To The Father
A. A Rich Love
Not deserved, not earned, but freely given, and at great expense, we were made to be children of our Father.
* Ernest Hemingway wrote a story about a father and his teenage son. In the story, the relationship had become somewhat strained, and the teenage son ran away from home. His father began a journey in search of that rebellious son.
Finally, in Madrid, Spain, in a last desperate attempt to find the boy, the father put an ad in the local newspaper. The ad read: "Dear Paco, Meet me in front of the newspaper office at noon. All is forgiven. I love you. Your father." The next day, in front of the newspaper office, eight hundred Pacos showed up. They were all seeking forgiveness. They were all seeking the love of their father.
-- George Munzing, "Living a Life of Integrity," Preaching Today, Tape No. 32.
B. A Real Child
Remember the story of Pinocchio, who became a real boy? He was his father’s creation, but his desire was to be a real boy. It was not until he shared the nature of his father that he felt that he had an authentic existence.
C. A Reserved Familiarity
One who does not enjoy a relationship with the Father cannot know what it is like. It is like a blind man asking what is it like to see. You can not know it until you have experienced it.
III. My Father’s Child Will Expect A Radiance In The Future
A. The Children Of God Made Plain
*The primitive church thought more about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ than about death or about heaven. The early Christians were looking not for a cleft in the ground called a grave but for a cleavage in the sky called Glory. They were watching not for the undertaker but for the uppertaker.
Alexander Maclaren (1826-1910)
B. The Son Of God Made Plain
Have you ever wondered why the right-hand door mirror on your car says "Objects are closer than they appear"? The reason is that the mirror is convex, allowing a much wider angle of vision. We may borrow the words, though, and say that the second coming may be much closer that it appears!
-- Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997).
C. The Likeness To Christ Made Plain
* Legend has it that a missionary, lost at sea, was by chance washed up out of the sea on the edge of a remote native village. Half-dead from starvation, exposure, and sea water, he was found by the people of the village and was nursed back to full health. Subsequently, he lived among these people for twenty years. During the whole of that time he confessed no faith. He uttered no songs. He preached no sermons. He neither read nor recited any Scripture. He made no personal faith claim. But when people were sick, he attended them, sitting long into the night. When people were hungry, he gave them food. When people were lonely, he was a source of company. He taught the ignorant. He was a source of enlightenment to those who were more knowledgeable. He always took the side of those who had been wronged. There was not a single human condition with which he did not identify.
After twenty years had passed, missionaries came from the sea to the village and began talking to the people about a man called Jesus, and after hearing of Jesus, the natives insisted that he had lived among them for the past twenty years. "Come, we will introduce you to the man about whom you have been speaking." The missionaries were led to a hut, and there they found their long-lost fellow missionary whom they had thought dead.
--James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 361
IV. My Father’s Child Will Exhibit A Resemblance To The Family
A. The Crucial Feature Of Purity
* A little girl said she liked Santa Claus better than Jesus because "you have to be good for Santa only at Christmas but for Jesus you have to be good all the time." Much of the Christmas observance at church is not far removed from that attitude.
-- Vance Harrier in The Vance Havner Quotebook. Christianity Today, Vol. 38, no. 14.
B. The Continuous Allure Of Purity
*The inward stirring and touching of God makes us hungry and yearning; for the Spirit of God hunts our spirit, and the more it touches it, the greater our hunger and our craving.
Jan Van Ruysbroeck (1293-1381)
C. The Corresponding Nature Of purity
There is a song on the Christian charts in which a father sings, “I want to be just like you, because he wants to be just like me.” It speaks of a father’s desire to be like his heavenly Father, because he wants to set a godly example for his son. God, our Father, wants us to share in his Godly character. In short, He wants us to be like Him.
* In The Whisper Test, Mary Ann Bird writes: I grew up knowing I was different, and I hated it. I was born with a cleft palate, and when I started school, my classmates made it clear to me how I looked to others: a little girl with a misshapen lip, crooked nose, lopsided teeth, and garbled speech.
When schoolmates asked, "What happened to your lip?" I'd tell them I'd fallen and cut it on a piece of glass. Somehow it seemed more acceptable to have suffered an accident than to have been born different. I was convinced that no one outside my family could love me.
There was, however, a teacher in the second grade whom we all adored--Mrs. Leonard by name. She was short, round, happy--a sparkling lady. Annually we had a hearing test. ... Mrs. Leonard gave the test to everyone in the class, and finally it was my turn. I knew from past years that as we stood against the door and covered one ear, the teacher sitting at her desk would whisper something, and we would have to repeat it back--things like "The sky is blue" or "Do you have new shoes?"
I waited there for those words that God must have put into her mouth, those seven words that changed my life. Mrs. Leonard said, in her whisper, "I wish you were my little girl." God says to every person deformed by sin, "I wish you were my son" or "I wish you were my daughter."
-- Leadership, Vol. 16, no. 1.