Adopted Children of God, Part 2 (Romans Sermon 53 of 120)
January 27, 2002 | Andy Davis
I. The Highest Honor of the Gospel
If you would, take your Bibles and open to Romans chapter 8, a magnificent passage of Scripture. We're looking this morning at verses 14-17, but in a little bit of a different way. Last week, we went through the verses, verse by verse, and we tried to understand the privilege, and what it means to be called a child of God, and specifically, in one sense: How do we know if we are children of God? And we drew out five questions, and we applied those to ourselves, that we might understand and know, whether we, ourselves, are children of God. Nothing could be more important than that. There is no inquiry more significant than to determine, are we children of God? Am I a child of God?
"I believe the reason why so many poor souls," it says, William Gurnall said, "The reason why so many poor souls have so little joy in their hearts, is that they have so little light of Gospel knowledge in their minds. The further a soul stands from the light of truth, the further he must needs be from the heat of comfort." I guess, in a way, I'm inviting all of us to come into the cottage and sit right by the fire. Get right close to the Scripture truth, that we might be warmed by it, that we might understand the light and the heat that come from the promises of God. Because the fact of the matter is, we don't experience, in our physical world, in our physical lives, all the blessings of being a child of God. Most of them are deferred, aren't they? And we're not going to experience them all, until we die, and go to Heaven.
And so, we actually have to read, constantly, the Scriptures, and renew, again, our minds in them, that we might understand the privileges of the child of God. I'm hoping that joy will enter your heart this morning. I'm going to be going over a list of privileges of being a child of God. I'm hoping that, as you read each one, the promise, the lavish promise that comes to you, as a child of God, might bring joy into your hearts. Thomas Watson said this, "Here, in this world, joy enters into the saints, but in Heaven, the saints enter into joy." Here, we just get a little foretaste, don't we? We get a little drink, and hopefully, it'll be enough for you, as you face all of the trials, and the things that you're going to face this week. But think, someday, perhaps, even soon, for some of you that are listening to me, joy won't enter into you, you're going to dive into an ocean of joy.
As Jesus said, "Well done, good and faithful servant. You've been faithful in a few things. Now, I'll put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your Master." What kind of joy does God have? Well, it's an ocean of joy, and someday, as a child of God, you're going to dive in. But today, I'm praying that just joy will enter into you, as you consider the blessing of being a child of God. I believe that when we first come to faith in Christ, all of these things are given to us in totality. They're all ours. They're part of our inheritances, as a child of God. They're given to us in lump sum, and then time, the purpose of time, among other things, is to unfold each of those blessings, as we walk along, as children of God. We're going to unfold them a little bit this morning. Thomas Watson said this, "God is ever giving to His children, yet, has nonetheless forgiving. His riches are imparted, they are not impaired. And so, as God doles out these privileges, these riches of the Gospel, He doesn't have any less to give."
We're looking, this morning, in terms of adoption, and the fact that we are adopted children of God, at what I think is the highest, the most surprising honor and blessing of the Gospel. Now, Romans chapter 8, as a whole, is given to us, to give us assurance of salvation. The very first sentence in Romans 8, namely, verse 1, gives us a sense of that assurance. Look, again, at it. It says, "There is, therefore, now, no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." What an incredible promise that is. But realize that, even there, it's delimited. It's stated very clearly who gets that blessing, "Those who are in Christ Jesus." For them, there is no condemnation. And so, all the way through to the end, in Romans chapter 8, at the very end it says that, nothing, "neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God, that is in Christ Jesus." From the beginning to the end of Romans 8, from 'no condemnation' all the way through to 'no separation,' there are incredible blessings given to us, but all of them come to those that are in Christ Jesus. Or, to zero in the way we've been looking, last week, and this week, to those that are adopted children of God. All the blessings of the Gospel are given to those that are children of God.
II. Am I a Child of God?
Those Who Receive Christ by Faith
Now, last week, we zeroed in on that question, the central question of your existence. We could put it this way, "Am I or am I not a child of God?" We looked at five questions. A child of God are those who have received Christ by faith, so have you received Christ by faith? In John 1:12, it says, Those who are justified by faith are children of God. They're adopted by faith into the family. Simply by receiving Christ, by trusting in Him, that He is God in the flesh, that He died on the Cross for you, that He rose from the dead, that His death was your death, the death you deserve, that His resurrection from the grave is really your resurrection, spiritually now, physically later, that there is a union between you and Christ. Have you received Jesus as your Lord and Savior? If so, you're a child of God.
Those Who Are Led by His Spirit
Secondly, the text says that, "Those who are led by His Spirit are children of God." Look at verse 14, it says, "All who are being led by," is a good translation, "All who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God." Now, we saw last week, that that meant, specifically, if you look back, if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die, but if by the Spirit, you are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you put it all together, basically, you are a child of God, if you are daily putting sin to death by the power of the Holy Spirit. That's the second test and the second way you can know, whether you're a child of God.
Those Who Cry “Abba, Father” by His Spirit
Thirdly, children of God are those who cry, "Abba Father," by the Spirit. As we began our prayer time today, as I stepped up here, I had the privilege of addressing God as Abba Father, daddy. A sense of intimacy, a sense of love. We're going to talk more about that this morning, but those who have the Spirit moving us to cry up to God, "Abba Father," those are the children of God. It says in verse 15, "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.'"
Those Who Receive the Internal Witness by His Spirit
And then fourthly, those who receive the internal testimony of the Spirit, that you're a child of God, those are the children of God. Look at verse 16, "The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit, that we are children of God." If you're a child of God, the Holy Spirit's going to be telling you so. Over and over, He's going to be speaking to you. He's going to be addressing your spirit. He's going to be talking to you and saying, "Child of God. You're a child of God." It's like a homing beacon. "A child of God." He's just speaking and communicating to you, "You're a child of God," the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Those Who Suffer With Christ by His Spirit
And then, fifthly, we said, those who suffer with Christ, by His Spirit, these are children of God. Look at verse 17, "And if we are children, then we are heirs also, heirs of God, and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, in order that we may also be glorified with Him." In other words, you boil that verse down, "No suffering, no Kingdom." If you don't suffer with Christ, by the Spirit, you will not go to Heaven and reign with Christ. It's a clear teaching from Scripture. Well, what kind of suffering? Again, we talked about that last week, but I think there are two specific kinds of suffering that are in mind here. Suffering from temptation, as we resist sin and say, "No," and suffering persecution from a world that cannot understand Christ. These are the types of suffering, I think, that are in view here.
Those are the questions that we have to ask, to determine, am I a child of God? We did that last week. But I think it's still good for us to review it.
III. What Are My Privileges As a Child of God?
Now, what I'd like to ask, secondly, this week is, what are, specifically, my privileges, if I am a child of God? Boy, isn't this joyful? What a joy to go through a list like this. I've written out 11 privileges. You might wonder, "Why didn't I squeeze it out and get 12?" I didn't count them, until this morning. I guess I might've worked at it and we could've found more. I'm not saying these are all the privileges there are for a child of God, but these are some that we can find most naturally in the New Testament. And here, we're going to digress a little bit from my ordinary method. Usually, I'm just going verse by verse, word by word, looking through, but I have to tell you, that the New Testament is so filled with rich teaching on the idea of us as children of God, that it's really quite a delight to go through the New Testament, to try to understand the privileges, and also the responsibilities, of being a child of God.
- Eternal Life
Well, the first privilege that I'd like to bring to your attention, as a child of God, is that of life, mainly eternal life. Look what it says, again, in verses 13-14, "If you live according to the sinful nature, you will die. But if by the Spirit, you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live." That's the life that we're talking about. Jesus said, "I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly." There's an abundant rich, spiritual life that Christ has come to give.
Now, the opposite of that life is spiritual death, and the confirmation of both of those, is either condemnation in hell, or a rich welcome into Heaven. The life that we're talking about is the life of a child of God, namely, an intimate love relationship with God. We're going to talk more about that in a minute, but a life that can never be snuffed out. Children of God cannot die. Therefore, we have eternal life. That's the first privilege of being a child of God.
The second is a title. Now, in America, we've kind of turned our back on titles and privileges, haven't we? We left all that behind in the Revolutionary War. We're a free and open society, and we don't think much of Dukes, and Duchesses, and Lords, and Ladies, and all of that. That's part of the old world. But I think there is still a sense of a title being significant, that we should be called by the title 'children of God.' Isn't that incredible? And what an honor and a privilege it is. It says in 1 John 3:1, "Behold, how great is the love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God." There's a sense of a delight, in just having the title 'child of God,' that we could be called 'children of God.' It's incredible. And it's an honor, isn't it? It's not something we deserve. We can't say, "This is my birthright as a created being." No, not at all. We've already said, in John 1:12, "As many has received Him, to them, He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name." It's a privilege to be called a child of God. It's not for anyone, but for those who have faith in Christ, and they received this privilege.
Hebrews 2:11, it says, "Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy, are of the same family, so Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers." What an incredible verse. He's not ashamed to own you as a brother or a sister. We've been meeting on Thursdays, and discussing Hebrews in a Bible study, and we've turned the whole thing around, saying, "Jesus is not ashamed to call you a brother. Are you ever ashamed of Jesus?" Isn't that a stinging question? We should never be ashamed of Christ, or of this Gospel that gives such blessings. Paul says, "I'm not ashamed of the Gospel," not at all, but sometimes, I think the world wants to make us feel ashamed of Christ. Well, let me tell you something, on Judgment Day, if you're a child of God, he is going to own you as a brother or a sister. He's going to say, "She's mine. He's mine. I've paid with my blood for them." 'Child of God,' it's a title that's bestowed and it's an honored title.
- Love Relationship with the Father
Thirdly, there is a precious and a special, an intimate love relationship with the Father. God could've sat as a Judge and with his robes on there, just merely justified us very coldly, "Based on the blood of Jesus Christ, I absolve you of all of your sins. You're free." But there's no relationship there, is there? That's why I think adoption's the most incredible thing in the Gospel. He hasn't just sat there with his black robes on and discharged justice, but rather, He has adopted us into His own family. And so, we have a love relationship with the Father. Verse 15, again, "You received the Spirit of adoption, and by Him, we cry out, 'Abba Father.'" Romans 5:5, "God has poured out His love into our hearts, by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us." There's a sense of God just taking a huge cistern, and a pitcher, and just pouring love into you, because of His love for you in Christ. He loves you in the same way that He loves His own Son. "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you." That's the way that Jesus loves you. There's a lavish love here, isn't there? A love relationship with the Father. "How great is the love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God!"
Can I ask, just for a moment, are you taking advantage of that? Do you have a sense of the richness of your relationship with the Father, that He has loved you? It says in Jeremiah 31:3, "With an everlasting love." He set on you a love which cannot be broken. We're going to talk more about that at the end of Romans 8, but there's no enemy that can come, that can separate you from the love of Christ, nothing. Oh, you should be filled with joy, filled with a sense of security, a sense that, "I belong to the family of God," a sense of protection in that love relationship.
- Free Access to the Throne
Well, along with that, fourthly, we have free access to the throne. Your Father runs the universe, isn't that incredible? You ever hear a little son or daughter boast about what his or her dad does? "Well, my dad's this. My dad's that." Well, your Heavenly Father runs the universe, runs the universe. I remember a story, Christy Wilson, one of my heroes, a missionary in Afghanistan, and he trained me and many others, in terms of missionary theory. But one of the best things about him, was he was a great storyteller, phenomenal storyteller, just from experiences. And he was there in Kabul, that very same place we've been thinking a lot about, and it's bombed out now, and we're praying. He was the one that enjoined on President Eisenhower, that a church building be built there, and it was. He was a great man of faith and a great man of prayer.
Anyway, they had a hospital for the blind, and it was very renowned in that whole area, and people would come from all over to come to this hospital for the blind. And it was very difficult to get in, because there were so many people. And one poor person, who was losing her sight, came to Christy Wilson, and said, "I need to get in there. I need to be able to get in." Now, Dr. Wilson had nothing to do with the hospital. He prayed for them and knew the people who ran it, but he had nothing to do with it. He said, "Well, I want you to know that I know the person who's in charge of this hospital. Why don't we ask him, if you can get in?" And then he stopped, and prayed. And he interceded with God, that this individual would be able to get in, and she did, that very same day.
Now, he had no power over the queue, and the line, and where people were, but an opening worked out, and so she was able to get in, and her eyesight was restored. You should have that same attitude toward anything, "I know the CEO of that company." "I know who's running that country." "Oh, I know who's in charge of that particular wing of the government." It is God, your Heavenly Father, and you have access, right to the very throne room of God in prayer. If you're a child of the King, you can just go right into His presence with a holy boldness and ask Him for anything. Listen to what it says in Ephesians 3:12, "In Him and through faith in Him, we may approach God with freedom and confidence." Do you approach God with freedom and confidence? Do you have a sense of the freedom of access, right into the very throne room of God? You should, if you're a child of God. It says in Hebrews 4:16, "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy, and find grace to help us in time of need." You have free access to the one who runs all things.
Now, the fifth one, you may say, "What? What is that? Discipline is a privilege of the child of God? Well, first of all, let's understand discipline properly. Discipline, in this case, would be a holy spanking when you do wrong. And that's a privilege from a child of God? The Bible thinks so. The Bible speaks of it that way. If you're a royal prince or princess, you're trained from an early age, how you are to behave, and there is a training program, isn't there? And so, also, for the children of God. Deuteronomy 8:5 says this, "Know then, in your heart, that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord, your God, disciplines you." "As a man disciplines his son, so…God disciplines you." And then, of course, Hebrews 12:7-8 says, "Endure hardship as discipline. God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his Father? If you are not disciplined, and everyone undergoes discipline, then you are illegitimate children, and not true sons." In other words, if you're walking along in your life and start to stray from God, start to sin, start to disobey, expect a response soon from your Heavenly Father. It is a privilege of the child of God, and why? Because He loves you. He's not going to let you stray. He's not going to let you roam or wander. He's going to discipline you. You're a child of God.
Sixthly, He's also going to provide for you. If you're a child of God, it's His job to take care of you, isn't that right? If you're a slave, it's the master's job to care for the slave. If you're a servant, the master's job to provide for all the needs. It's a servant and slave's job to just do what the master wants. We are also servants of God or slaves of God, it says in Scripture. And so it's up to God to provide for all our needs. Why then do we be anxious about these things? Now, fess up, have you been anxious at all about material needs this week, about money, about taxes? I don't know. It's coming up. Sorry to remind you. I saw that pained look on some faces. It's true. Are you concerned about these things? Are you anxious over them? Your Father has promised to provide for you. He's promised to provide for you. Psalm 37:25, "I was young, and now I'm old, and I have never seen the righteous forsaken, or their children begging bread, never." Royal children get to eat from the royal table, don't they?
There's a story about David adopting Mephibosheth, Jonathan's son, into his own family, and he got to sit at the King's table every day. What does that mean? No more worries. You don't have to worry anymore about where your next meal's coming from. "I get to sit at the King's table." Isn't it that exact way of thinking, that Jesus uses in Matthew 6, to banish anxiety forever? Why do you worry about your life, what you'll eat, or your body, what you'll wear? Your Father's going to take care of you. He's going to meet all your needs. Seek first, the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you as well. He also said in Matthew Seven, "Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or, if you ask for fish, he'll give him a snake? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him?" He knows how to take care of His children, and so provision, rich provision is part of being a child of God.
So also, protection. Royal children are the apple of the King's eye. "You better not touch him, because if you touch him, you're going to rue the day." And anyone who wants to get to you has to go through God first. Do you realize that? Is that not one of the many lessons of the Book of Job? Remember, Satan’s frustration in front of God? "I can't touch him. You've got this hedge around him all the time, and I just can't get at him. Would you just give me a chance, to just get a pop at him?" And he said, "Yeah, I'll give you a chance, but this far, and no farther may you go." Remember, how it worked? God controls all of these things. And so you have protection. Now, you might say, "How does that line up with the sufferings we have in this world?" We're going to talk about that, God willing, next time. There is suffering in this world, physical suffering. But what God is protecting you from, ultimately, is ultimate spiritual ruin, do you understand that? He's protecting your faith, that it may not fail. He's protecting your spirit, that you may not be attacked and go down, but rather, that you may stand firm in the midst of your temptation and your struggle.
Jesus, in praying the high priestly prayer in John 17 says to the Father, "I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world." Do you know what that means? They're in a place of danger. Everything of this world system hates your faith. You're in a dangerous place. Jesus said, "I'm sending you out like sheep among wolves, but don't worry about it, because I'm Sovereign and I will protect you. I will keep you safe." He says, "Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name… While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe, by that name you gave me. None has been lost." Do you understand how Jesus is thinking about protection? "Protect them by your name, Father, that none may be lost." And so also, God will protect you. If you're a child of God, you're not going to drop out of the family, He's going to keep you safe.
- Fellowship with the Royal Family
Well, along with that comes fellowship with the Royal Family. Now, again, you're going to say, just like the discipline, "That's not always such great shakes."
But to be honest with you, it really is one of the richest blessings in this world, isn't it? Fellowship with the children of God. As a matter of fact, the more that we go on in this world, and if our culture continues to go non-Christian, who do you think are going to be the most precious people in the world to you? True believers in Jesus Christ. Isn't that what David said in Psalm 16:3? "As for the saints who are in the land, they are the glorious ones and whom is all my delight." I love being with them. I love to be with true children of God, who love the Word and who love Christ, and who are growing in their faith, don't you? Isn't that precious? But not only that, we get fellowship with dead people too.
Now, don't misunderstand me. I'm not talking about seances or anything weird. Those things are cut out from Scripture. But what I'm saying to you, specifically, is that we are part of one family of God, and many of them have already died, and gone on to be with the Lord. You're in rich fellowship with the same God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Someday, you'll meet them too. They still are Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob. They haven't lost their identity. We're not Hindus, who believe that the water drops into the ocean and loses its identity. There's still Abraham, there's still Isaac, still Jacob. They're still the same ones. David's up there, also Nehemiah, also all the saints of old. Aren't you looking forward to meeting them? And then all the ones from church history, from when the Bible ended on to our present day, 2,000 years of godly women and men, and they're waiting, rich fellowship, fellowship in the Royal Family.
And ninth, freedom. You're free. If you're a royal son or daughter, you're free. There's a freedom that comes there. Freedom from what? Well, freedom from law. You don't have to obey the law anymore. Is that what I'm saying? Well, in one sense, yes. Think of what Jesus said in Matthew 17:25-26. You remember, there was the question about the taxes you had to pay to go into the temple? You remember that? And so they asked Peter, "Does your teacher, [Jesus] pay the temple tax?" "Yes, He does," Peter said. Then they go into the house, and Jesus sits Peter down, and said, "I want to teach you a lesson about what it means to be a child of God. From whom do the kings of the Earth collect duty and taxes, from their own sons or from others?" "From others," said Peter. "Then the sons are exempt," said Jesus. Did you hear that? Exempt from paying taxes.
Now, don't misunderstand me. It says in Romans 13 that you need to pay your taxes to the secular government, but the point is, you have freedom in this matter of spiritual access to God. Why should you have to pay to go into the house of your Father? In one sense, we are free from the law. Why is that? Because law is given to transgressors, not to sons. What do we get instead? We get the Spirit from within. We're not under the law anymore, but rather, under the Spirit.
We're free also, therefore, from sin. Romans 6:18, "You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness." You're free from fear of condemnation. Isn't that wonderful? Look, again, at Verse 15, "You did not receive a Spirit that makes you a slave, again, to fear." You don't need to be afraid anymore of condemnation. You don't have to be afraid of death. It says in Hebrews 2 that by faith you should be free forever from the fear of death. You're free from these things. You're free, also, from fear of earthly catastrophe. Now, understand what I said. You're free from fear of earthly catastrophe. I did not say you'd be free from earthly catastrophe. You're free from fear of earthly catastrophe.
Listen to this. This is from Robert Leighton. He was a Puritan. He said this, "How can you make a child of God afraid? Bring him word that his estate has been ruined and he'll say, 'Yet, my true inheritance is safe.' " Did you hear that? "Bring him word that his wife, or child, or dear friend has died, 'Yet, my Heavenly Father still lives.' " Do you hear the response? "Tell him you, yourself, will soon die. He will answer, 'Well, then, I go home to my Father and to my eternal inheritance.' " Do you see that? There's an attitude. You're free from fear of these things, because they have no ultimate harm for you.
- Immense Inheritance
Also, as a child of God, you have an immense inheritance. Look at verse 17, "Now, if we are children, then we are heirs, heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ. If indeed we share in His sufferings, in order that we may also share in His glory." And Revelation 21:7 says, "He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his Father, and he will be my son." And so we have this incredible inheritance. Well, what are you going to get? What do we get as children of God? Well, you get the Kingdom. You get the Kingdom itself, and you get to rule on the Kingdom. You will sit down and rule with Jesus.
Listen to this one, Revelation 3:21, "To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on His throne." John Piper gets this image of lap, and lap, and lap. Father on His throne, Jesus on the Father's throne. We're on Jesus' throne, ruling with Him. What is that going to mean? I don't know. But, boy, is that rich? And an inheritance of your own possessions. Jesus said, "If you're not faithful with worldly mammon, who's going to give you true riches? If you're not faithful with little things that belong to somebody else, who's going to give you," listen, "Possessions of your own?"
The Book of Hebrew says that, they were willing to not even worry about their houses being destroyed, because they had their own lasting possessions. You're going to get an inheritance in the Kingdom of God, if you're a child of God. Well, those are all the joys that come from being a child of God, and they culminate in the greatest, and that is in glory. Look at 17-18, "Now, if we are children, then we are heirs, heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ. If indeed, we share in His sufferings, in order that we may also share in His glory."
And then, again, verse 18, "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." Someday, you're going to be glorious. You're going to, it says in Matthew 13, "Shine like the sun in the Kingdom of your Father." You're going to be like Jesus, and you're going to radiate with a brightness that can't even be measured.
Well, 11 privileges of the child of God. Maybe to make it a round 12, just like the number of the tribes of Israel or the apostles, you could find another one today, but this is a rich inheritance, isn't it? But along with that, comes some responsibilities.
IV. What Are My Responsibilities As a Child of God?
Look at verse 12, it says, "Therefore, my brothers, we have an obligation." We are debtors, aren't we? We have an obligation. There's a story that James Baldwin tells about King Alfred, King of England, and the Cakes. I read this, this morning. I found it interesting. He was King of the West Saxons in England during the ninth century. He was called King Alfred the Great, because he was able to defeat the Danes in battle, and drive them out of England. He also was a very enlightened ruler, and that he taught common people how to read, and so was an early advocate of public education.
Well, the Danes had invaded England and they were winning one battle after another. After one particularly fierce battle, his own army was defeated, and he had to flee for his life. He put on a shepherd's outfit, and managed to escape, and was fleeing through the woods and the bogs, and he went that way for a long time. He was hungry, and tired, and came to a little clearing in the woods, and there was a cottage there. Just being in need, he went up and knocked on the door of the cottage. It was a woodcutter's cottage. His wife opened the door, and she looked at him, and said, "What can I do for you?" And he said, "I'm very hungry. Is it possible for me to have a morsel of bread, and maybe warm myself by your fire?"
She was a kindly woman and said, "Well, I'm cooking some hearth cakes now. If you'll sit down, and tend the cakes, and watch them, care for them, I'm going to go out, and milk the cow, and we'll share what we have with you." Well, he agreed to do that. And he sat down, and started to tend the cakes. She went out to milk the cow, and he just, through fatigue, and through his concern and worry for England, didn't pay attention to his work, and let the cakes burn. Well, she comes back in, and smells the smoke, and looks down, and they're burned to a crisp. And she loses her temper, she said, "You lazy, good-for-nothing fellow, I left you with a simple task to do, taking care of cakes, and now, none of us has anything to eat, because of you. I couldn't entrust you with a simple task." And he just quietly hung his head in shame.
Well, at that moment, the woodcutter comes in, and immediately recognizes who he is. And he had caught the tail end of his wife's rebuke, and said, "Do you realize who this man is? This is the king." She was immediately afraid for her life. And he said, "Don't worry, you were right to scold me. I told you I would watch the cakes, and then I let them burn. I deserve what you said. Anyone who accepts a duty, no matter how small the duty or how great the person, should perform that duty faithfully. I have failed this time, but I shall not fail again. Now, I must leave. My duties as King await me."
Now, I've given you a list of 11 privileges. How could it be then, that you are called on to do something as humble as sweep a floor, or wash the feet of a brother or sister in Christ, or some humble task, if you're this exalted child of God? Well, God has given you many tasks to do, and just like King Alfred The Great, with this great task, and this great inheritance and responsibility, sometimes called on to do simple tasks. And Jesus said, "He who is faithful in little will be faithful in much." He wants us to be faithful, both in little and much, and He's given us some responsibilities, and we need to be faithful to them.
Imitating the Father’s Nature
The first responsibility of a child of God, is that we need to imitate the Father's nature. The basic principle in the New Testament, as in the Old is, "Like the Father, like the Son." Whatever the Father is, that's what we must be in this world. We must imitate our Father. It says in 1 Peter 1, "As obedient children, do not conform any longer to the desires you had while you lived in ignorance, but just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do, for it is written, 'Be holy, because I am holy.'" Do you hear that? "Imitate me. Be like me." He's calling on us to imitate Him. That includes love. It says, "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in Heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. Be perfect, therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect." Do you see that printed in your outline? "Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect." Is that not a challenge? Well, that's the responsibility of a child of God.
Bearing the Father’s Name
Along with that, secondly, we bear the Father's name, don't we? We carry the Father's name. Do you know one of the Ten Commandments says, "You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain?" What do you think of when you think of that? Isn't it a sense of not letting a word slip out of your mouth? Don't say 'God' or 'Jesus,' unless you're praying or meaning to address God. But I think it means more than that. We are, in effect, carrying or taking the name of our God everywhere we go. Do you hear that? Everywhere we go, we're taking His reputation with us. Don't bear His name in vain. Do you hear that? Everywhere you go, His reputation goes with you. It says in Jeremiah 15:16, "When your words came, I ate them. They were my joy and my heart's delight. [Listen] For I bear your name, O God."
Obeying the Father’s Commands
Thirdly, along with that, we need to obey our Father's commands. First John 5:3-4 says, "This is love for God, to obey His commands, and His commands are not burdensome. For everyone born of God overcomes the world." If you're born of God, if you're a child of God, you're going to obey His commands. You're going to do the things that He's told you to do. You can't tell your Father, "I love you," and then you don't do what He says. Jesus said the Kingdom of God is like a father who had two sons. He went to the first son and said, 'Son, go and work in the vineyard.' And he said, 'I will,' but he didn't go. And then he goes to the other son, and says, 'Son, go and work in the vineyard.' He says, 'I won't,' but he later changes his mind and goes. And He says, "Which of the two did what his father wanted?" The point is, we need to obey our Father's command.
Doing the Father’s Work
Along with that, we need to do the Father's work. Jesus lived constantly to do the will of the Father. He said, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and finish His work." We also should be doing the Father's work. We should be about the Father's business. 1 Peter, it says we should live such good lives among the Pagans, that though they may accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and, do what? "Praise your Father in Heaven." As you're doing good deeds, serving God, obeying Him, doing His work, they're going to think about God, they're going to understand Him differently.
Well, what kind of work are we going to do? How many of you read Henry Blackaby's book, "Experiencing God?" He talks about being where the Father's at work, working where the Father's working. Jesus put it this way, "The Son can do nothing by Himself. He can only do what He sees His Father doing, because whatever the Father does, the Son also does."
Facing the Father’s Enemies
And the fifth responsibility, is we need to be willing to face our Father's enemies. We need to be willing to face our Father's enemies. A child of God has to bear the reproach and scorn of a world that hates Him. If you're going to carry His name, you are going to be reviled and persecuted. Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus, who wants to carry the name of God into a world in rebellion against Him, will face that persecution. Jesus said in Romans 15:3, it says, "For even Christ did not please Himself, but as it is written, the insults of those who insult you have fallen on me." "The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me." And Jesus put it this way, "If the head of the house has been called Beelzebub, how do you think they're going to treat the members of the household?" If you're in His household and He's your Father, be willing to bear the reproach that Jesus bore.
Now, the last two weeks, we've asked three questions concerning being a child of God. The first is the most important of all. All of you have heard me talk about the privileges and the responsibilities this morning, of being a child of God, but none of it means anything to you, if you are not, in fact, a child of God today. The first and most important question I want to ask you is, are you a child of God? Have you come to personal faith in Christ? Are you, moment by moment, step by step, following the Holy Spirit, to put sin to death in your life? Do you have the internal welling up of the Holy Spirit, to cry out, "Abba Father," from your heart? Is He speaking to you and testifying to you, that you are a child of God? Or is He actually convicting you right now, that you are not a child of God, and that you need to become one?
These are the questions you have to ask. Are you, in fact, a child of God? If you are, do you understand your privileges? Do you know all the things that you get as a child of God? Eternal life, a title, love relationship with the Father, free access to the throne, discipline from a loving Father, provision and protection, fellowship within the Royal Family, freedom, immense inheritance and glory. Do you understand these things?
And finally, are you fulfilling your responsibilities as a child of God? Imitating the Father's nature in holiness and in love, bearing the Father's name, obeying the Father's command, doing the Father's work, and being willing to face the Father's enemies? As we close in prayer, I'd like to ask any, who you feel like the Lord is convicting you, that you are not a child of God, please come and speak to me. Don't let today go by, without knowing, for sure, that these things are yours. And if you are a child of God, look over this list of privileges, and thank God, and look over, again, the responsibilities, and ask to be faithful.