Glorious Adoption

1 John 3:1-3

No one here in mind. Purpose on Sun. AM to build up saints, not beat them down; equip those here to be useful to God out there; remind you of immeasurable treasure in Gospel, scope of its application across spectrum of life and social condition and human need.

Crying need in American culture for fathers, healthy families. People turn to drugs, sexual relationships, gangs to satisfy need, to medicate pain and longing. Indulging in all manner of sinful self-destructive behavior to no avail. Not just “out there”, either; touches everyone in some way. Gospel good news about more than salvation from sin and hell. Solution to everything wrong with world found somewhere in Gospel message. May not equate to an instant fix, but answer is there. Not in politics, elections, armies, courts, activism – in the Gospel.

True understanding of that answer is jaw-dropping, mind-blowing. Response is “AWESOME” in real sense of word. Even for someone who’s been Christian for half-century or more, like John. Meditating on and writing about scope of the Gospel, what God has achieved for his people and applies to them as he brings about their salvation – almost more than John could express. Abiding in Him Jesus spoke about, John reminded readers about: a way of life for those “born of Him”.

John doesn’t merely repeat words of Jesus to Nicodemus – describing Christians as “born again”; uses words with far greater significance – “born of him”. Makes it explicit 7x in ch. 3, 4, 5: “born of God”. In our text, dwells on consequences of that idea.

if born of God, makes us his children

God must really love us a lot to call us, make us his children

that explains some stuff, especially in relationships

to be his children means we’ll have family resemblance before he’s done with us

if we really get that, expect that we’ll be like him one day, we’ll long to be like him now

only way it makes sense to think about any of this: because of adoption

Adoption, promised to us in Gospel, raises condemned sinners to position of highest privilege in all of creation. Above even the holy angels. Yes, they are sinless, live forever, can be in God’s immediate presence. But… are there as servants, not sons and daughters. Children have privileges and claim to an inheritance servants never will. All begins with God’s amazing love.

A. amazing love v.1a


Paul says God showed love to us because “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us”. (Rom. 5:8)

ugly dog contest; way beyond “so ugly they’re cute”, not even mom could love them. ugly faces, ugly colors, ugly shapes, maybe even ugly temperament. Still a universe away from how disgusting sinners in their sinfulness are to holy God.

sinner has no redeeming quality hidden down deep under layers of scum and filth only God can see through

for reasons locked up in heart of God, reached down when we were most unlovable, loved us, brought us into family


prophet Jeremiah: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, I have continued to extend faithful love to you.HCSB (Jer. 31:3)

of three graces, one endures for eternity; faith ends with sight, hope ceases when it is realized, love endures

since is undeserved, no pre-conditions mandated before we could receive it, nothing we can do to forfeit it

a gracious bestowal by God upon those he designates as his children, granted because he desired to do so

unfathomable – John 17:23-26

with me so far? hang on, here’s where it gets really deep. Turn to John’s gospel,…

Jesus, praying to his father, says:

“that the world may know that you …have loved them as You have loved Me.” (23)

“that the love with which You loved Me may be in them” (26)

what the Father said about that love:

“This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” NKJVMatt. 3:17

“This is My beloved Son. I take delight in Him!” HCSB

what Paul said about it:

“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” NKJVRom. 8:38-39

B. changed relationships v.1b-2

with the world

world recognizes other worldlings as one of their own

one who has been adopted as God’s child not:

understandable to the world – new priorities, motives, attitude

things that appeal to world are no longer attractive to Christian

things that motivate world (possessions, position, power) don’t motivate believer

world can’t relate to self not being #1

not recognized by world as having new and better standing / inheritance

don’t have ability or desire to understand value of spiritual treasures

same identity problem as Jesus had

“came to his own, and his own did not receive him.” John 1:11

recognized only earth-bound identity – son of the carpenter

couldn’t believe he was the son of God; can’t recognize it in his brothers & sisters

with the family

family reunions a big deal – remember (or at least try) them fondly

look forward with great anticipation – that’s just a get-together with good food, fun times

imagine “reunion” when all God’s children are finally together

everyone bears perfect image/likeness of God

everyone experiences perfect fellowship with each other and God

if family reunions a big drama to avoid

should not be true with God’s family in this life

will not be true in heaven

have duty to approach heaven on earth in “the family” as closely as possible

along with new name and family, receive new nature; one-ups human adoption big-time.

with God

no longer our enemy, Judge who condemns because of sin and guilt

now a perfect loving caring providing father who’s there 24-7

meets needs perfectly because he knows children perfectly

gives 100% attention to each child because he’s infinite

graciously does all necessary to bring us to the goal

will never reject, disown, ignore his children

remember the love he has for his Son that is ours also?

C. living hope v.3

in a living Christ

confidence in future, in standing with God not based on our efforts; founded solely on what Christ accomplished (redemption) and is doing (mediation)

continual transformation

“deny yourself, take up your cross daily, follow me” Luke 9:23

“be transformed by the renewing of your mind” Rom. 12:2

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” Rom. 8:14

pursuit of holiness

God doesn’t run us through one cycle presto-changeo machine, out we come holy

requires daily effort in particular direction

Paul talked about “pressing toward the mark”

Peter told readers to “give all diligence, add to faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness.” 2 Pet. 1:5-6

have greatest motivation possible to pursue diligently: God’s love for us expressed in our adoption

When we see those around us looking for love and acceptance and meaning and satisfaction in all the wrong places, share the Gospel with them. Do the best you can as God enables to point them to greatest treasure imaginable: love of God in Christ Jesus bestowed on sinful men and women, boys and girls. While doing that, pursue holiness – devote time and thought and energy to doing your part to purify yourself, to grow more like your heavenly father each day. Take the time to be holy, spending time with Jesus that others will see his likeness in you.


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