John 1:1-5, 10-14
Romans 8:12-17, 28
We continue to celebrate the Advent… the coming of the Messiah… the birth of our new born King.
John begins His testimony about the entry of Jesus into the world in a unique way. Without His testimony our view of what this coming, this Advent, means would be missing something.
The other three Gospel writers focus first on his birth. John focuses on who He was before He was born in the stable in Bethlehem.
John 1:1-5, 10-14
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning.
3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (NIV)
Jesus came with a purpose. He came to offer mankind something. John put it this way: “11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”
Jesus came to offer to us the right, or the power, or the ability to become the children of God. We who have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, have the right to call, to think of ourselves, as the children of God.
This is what Jesus meant when he gave us the Lord’s prayer as a model for our prayers. He said we should call on God as OUR Father.
In our world today, fathers are not often examples of what it means to be a loving father. A loving father will love you no matter what, but the best fathers will also insist on obedience to their rules.
God loves us, and He insists that we accept not only His love, but His lordship. As His children we have the right to be called His children. As His children, we have the responsibility to accept what it means to be His children. We are to love Him and love those He loves (everyone). We are to obey Him. He has standards we are to accept.
Jesus did not come into being when He was conceived by the Holy Spirit. John tells us He is God. He existed with God from before the beginning of creation. Everything that has been created, Jesus had a part in that making.
We who believe are the family of God. We accept God as our Father. He sets the standards for our family. He leads in plans and hopes and dreams. We trust Him to love us and to lead us.
The Apostle Paul put it this way:
12 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation — but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13 For 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, 14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. 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.
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (NIV)
We are the adopted children of the King of kings and Lord of lords. We will reign with Him as we continue to put our faith in Him. In believing in Him we are given the authority to call ourselves His children. We have been given the right to consider ourselves as part of His family.
Our obligation is to Him. This has become our new identity.
The world is searching for identity and for love. Our greatest need is to be loved. We seek love in various ways. When we do not accept the love that God offers, we look for it in other places.
Some seek their identity in living for the pleasures of the flesh. Some seek for love in relationships with other people.
God wants to offer us love and an identity that is out of this world. It is the most significant love there can possibly be. His love will fulfill us, not just in this life, but in the life beyond the grave.
Who are we? Why are we here? What is our purpose?
What are we living for? What do we see as the meaning of life?
There is only one who can answer these questions for us in a way that will have meaning for us for all of eternity.
God came to show us who we are created to be.
It starts with accepting, believing in, the Son of God. It starts with celebrating the coming of our Savior in the world who offers us the right to be called the children of God.
From there He will lead us to grow in our faith. He will teach us to grow in our love for Him and in our love for one another.
God had a plan for the descendants of Abraham, the nation of Israel. His plan was to bring His Son to us. From the beginning of time God has planned to offer us the gift of salvation, the right to be His adopted family.
We are not left on our own to figure out what life is all about. Jesus has come. The Messiah, the Christ entered into our world to offer us the gift of Himself.
Have you embraced your meaning and purpose assigned by God?
Have you come to the place in your life that you know that God loves you and that He has a plan for you?
The true meaning of life comes from the giver of life. We cannot decide for ourselves what our purpose is. We do not have the right, the authority, to make those decisions.
Only God, our Creator, Our Father, has the right to lead us and tell us why we are here.
He offers you the opportunity to embrace His purpose for you. He offers you the ability to become His children.
When we accept Him, He comes to live in our hearts. His Spirit brings life and meaning and purpose as we seek Him and follow Him each day.
Perhaps you had made such a decision at one time but you have gotten away from believing that God loves you. Perhaps you have been trusting your own wisdom to give you meaning and purpose in life. Perhaps you have been living for yourself instead of living for God.
God wants you to be part of His family. He wants to offer you life as it was meant to be lived. Put your faith in Him. Stop living for yourself and for the pleasures of this world.
Offer yourself to Him and accept His love and His Lordship. Jesus saves us as we come to Him.
Live as children of the Word!