Jesus Gives Us Adoption Rights
11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive 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 is the Word of God. He brings life and light for all people. The news of His coming is “good news of great joy for all the people.” But all people do not find this to be the case.
In our passage today, John highlights a very important truth. Jesus gives people the right to be a child of God. He gives adoption rights to people. This fact is stated in contrast to the further statement that Jesus has come as the Word of God that gives light and life and many people rejected Him. “He came to His own (the Jewish people) and His own did not receive Him. But to all who did receive Him, He gave them the right to become children of God! The entrance into the family of God is revealed! Since Jesus brings up being a child of God, let’s explore what that means.
- What is a Child of God?
Universal childhood is not in view here.
This is a special relationship that God has with people who act as His children.
So, let’s talk about Fathers and children.
- God as Father
Authority: What demonstrates this? Direction, family standards
Provider: What demonstrates this? God cares for our needs. Physical, social and psychological (through teaching), spiritual through (redemption and teaching and heaven)
Protector: What demonstrates this?
Defender: What demonstrates this?
One who loves and sacrifices: What demonstrates this?
We share Jesus’ inheritance!
Romans 8: 14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to 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.
- Children reflect the parents
There is a clear connection between the behavior of the parents and the children. Some of it is genetic and you can see it in a very young child if it is yours. There is a connection that is very deep.
Parents set the standards of behavior in a family.
We talk about adopting a certain point of view or adopting a worldview. This is what we do as adopted children. We adopt the Father’s will and direction for our lives.
I John 3:1-2, 7-10
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
7 Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. 8 The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. 9 No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. 10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.
Biblical example of God setting the standards of our behavior as Father:
God is referred to as Father 17 times in the Sermon on the Mount. For example: You must be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect. Or in Luke: Be merciful as your Father in heaven is merciful. It’s only hard when we don’t want to. But this is our family now!!
John 8 the Religious leaders will not adopt God’s will!
39 “Abraham is our father,” they answered.
“If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would do what Abraham did. 40 As it is, you are looking for a way to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. 41 You are doing the works of your own father.”
“We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.”
44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46 Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47 Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”
- The Father sets the direction
It is the Father’s will that the entire family works to fulfill.
Jesus says about Himself: John 5: 19 Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed. 21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. 22 Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.
So, a child of God is a reflection of God the Father.
Prodigal Son as an example: The attitude of the Older Brother is contrasted with the attitude of the Father. This is a disaster on the same or greater scale than that of the prodigal!
Having explored being a child of God,
Let’s think about the issue of adoption for a moment here.
- Adoption vs. Natural Family Additions
13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
- A strange entrance to a strange new family
The reason I say strange is because this is a different way to join a family. And especially the later you join a family, the more foreign their ways may seem.
You may feel strange, you may be strange, and you may act like and know that you are an outsider. There will be things you will need to learn!
This adoption family entrance is not an issue of the natural byproduct of reproduction. Instead the focus is on God’s decision and will.
The uncertainty felt because of strangeness is balanced by the choice of God reflected in adoption!
- Adoption is clearly about merciful choice
God’s family planning. He has all children of choice!
This thing is clear: Your addition to the family is because of the will of the Father! There is no question as to whether or not you are an accident.
John 6:37 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.
God is not obligated to adopt. Adoption is all mercy. Mercy is undeserved!!
Romans 9: 22 What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? 23 What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— 24 even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?
- Adoption highlights the character of the parent
Eph 1: 4-5
4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—
Ok, we have looked at what it means to be a child of God. And we have seen that our entrance into God’s family must be by His choice in Christ. Finally, let’s deal with the issue of receiving or rejecting Jesus as God’s Word, light and life.
III. What does it Mean to Receive Jesus?
He comes to people who do not receive Him. What does it mean to receive Jesus?
First of all, this Scripture is directed to the Jews as a challenge to see Jesus for Who He is. They are clinging to Old Testament shadows which many have perverted to serve their own purposes. (Christians do this with Christ too.) The reality is here in Christ. If they cling to Jesus then they will be adopted Children of God. Not as a member of a tribe, like a second cousin, but as one who according to the Apostle Paul: 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.
- Jesus is offered to you
God’s intent in sending Christ is to offer you life! Word, light, life!
Whatever tempts you to get life apart from God is typically good. Satan’s power is derivative. He corrupts what has been meant for good. The ability for Him to corrupt things exists because freedom exists. Which in effect means the ultimate act of receiving life is a submission of your freedom to God and His will!
- How does one respond to the offer of Christ?
John 6: 26 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”
28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”
29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
30 So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”
32 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
34 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”
35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
And the dangerous response to Jesus’ challenge to believe in Him and to get life from Him every day!
41 At this the Jews there began to grumble about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”
John 8:42 42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me.
Eat His flesh and drink His blood= Believe in Him. Trust Him to manage outcomes and follow His life pathway.
This is only a problem for us when we have a conflict of wills. Let’s work to not have those. Let’s get our hearts focused on God’s purposes for all of creation and build our lives around that.
So, looking again at the end of John 6:
60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”
66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.
68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”
Did Peter perfectly follow? No. But he followed fighting with his own weaknesses.
- Who is Jesus to you?
How do you treat His teaching and example?
Is He your daily bread?
Do you focus your life around God’s plans and purposes in the world?
There are two ways to motivate you in this. One is to try and build guilt. Jesus has done all of this for you and your faith is small, how can you not respond in kind to Him?
Or, I would rather say this. Jesus came to give you life and that more abundantly. This means that you can and should grow in life. God will bring issues up in your life that you will need to face in order to have more life! Fears and insecurities can go. Confidence can grow. Love, joy and peace are your birthright as an adopted Child of God and they are not dependent upon circumstances. The Holy Spirit is in you. We need to follow His teaching and leading in our lives.
Jesus Christ is God’s Word to Us. He creates life in us. And He creates us to be better and better reflectors of the nature of God!