Welcome to this week's ToGather.church. Our focus verse from our Verse of the Day, John 1:12-13 is:
Yet to all who did receive [Jesus], to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.
We want to recognize, rejoice, and celebrate being children of God, a right secured by the loving sacrifice of our older brother, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Jesus loved us so much that he left the security of glory to become one of us so we could be born of God into his family as his younger brothers and sisters!
Our religious communities throw around family phrases for church and talk about God as our Father so frequently that we can begin to discount both the cost Jesus paid to include us and the preciousness of being God's children. Jesus came to earth, lived as one of us, and died a horrible death of shame and humiliation on the cross so we could be in his family.
Why is it so significant that the Holy Spirit gives us the freedom to address God as our Abba Father?
What is the significance of Jesus calling us his brothers and sisters?
What did it cost God to adopt us as his children?
What is our future as children of God?
These are all questions Phil addresses in this week's video message. Phil builds his message upon the wondrous truth of John 1:12-13 and invites us to realize, appreciate, and celebrate what God has given us by making us his children. We believe you will be blessed and encouraged by this message!
We are blessed to be children of the living and almighty God. As Phil reminds us, this means at least three powerful things for us:
- Jesus became like us so we could have the right to be brothers and sisters of the Lord!
- We have been reborn into God's family as his children, and the Holy Spirit gives us an Abba Father relationship with God just as Jesus enjoyed. (See the note below about the term "Abba.")
- As God's children, we are heirs of God's blessings and co-heirs with Jesus, with the promise we will share in his glory!
The beloved apostle, John, used these words to express his joyous wonder at our blessings of being God's children:
See what love the Father has given 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. Beloved, we are God's children now; what we will have not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is (1 John 3:1-2 NRSV).
We pray the Holy Spirit fills and empowers you as we worship and reassures you of your great blessing of being a child of God! The full worship video leads us to open our hearts to God, his love, and his making us his beloved children. The songs Demetrius has chosen for us celebrate these truths as we sing, share the Lord's Supper with those giving their lives to help children in need discover God and his love for them, and share a closing blessing and prayer from people who have sacrificed for these children to bring them life.
Note: "Abba" is a term used by Jesus (Mark 14:35-36) and Paul (Romans 8:14-16; Galatians 4:4-7). It denotes both intimacy, like "Daddy," and also a submissive recognition of authority, just as Jesus followed "Abba, Father" with "not what I will, but what you will."