Let me start with this.
Any way you spin it, when God designed the Church, this was the purpose: Acts 2:42
“They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”
The main objectives were teaching truth, building unity, and prayer. Sure, there are lots of things we can accomplish as the Church, but if we forget our core mission, we will become very disorganized. So, we intend to follow that pattern. It would be a challenge to pray and spend time together through email...but we can teach the Bible!
The goal of these online studies is to edify the Body of Christ (us) through the Word. We’ll start by going through the points made in our Church’s Faith and Practice.
1) God is our Father - 1 John 3:1a
“See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are.”
Take a good look at the love of God bestowed on you:
This word, bestowed, describes one-sided giving, rather than an exchange.
If God considered our actions and gave us what we deserve, it wouldn’t be pretty.
Romans 6:23a, “For the wages of sin is death...”
So, it’s a good thing that all the stuff we do isn’t factored in.
In fact, only one man, who ever lived, deserved to enter into Heaven - Jesus. But, because of God’s grace, He has allowed us to enjoy that same inheritance. When a sinner repents (turns away from their sin) and trusts in Jesus Christ, God no longer sees them as a sinner. He sees them as His child.
This is called the doctrine of adoption - God brings believers into His family. Honestly, this can be one of the hardest things to accept about the Gospel. Sometimes our pride tells us to only accept what we have earned. Or maybe you’re thinking, “Would God really do something this nice for me?” You may have been helped by others, but how often are you really treated like family? We aren’t as familiar with this kind of love, but God goes the extra mile. Being God’s child has some major implications...here’s 2 of them:
Romans 8:17a says:
“Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ”
1) Since we are heirs with Christ, we no longer receive the punishment we deserve, but instead we receive what Christ deserves along with Him.
Regarding this topic, the best verse to reflect on is perhaps:
2 Corinthians 5:21
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Because of Jesus’ work on the cross, we can enjoy everlasting life with our Father.
2) When your child makes a mistake, and after awhile they come running to you, do you kick them out of the family? No, of course not! When you slip up, or sin again, you can always repent and come back to God. One sin doesn’t cost you your spot.
We learn this in the Parable of the Prodigal Son and this verse:
1 John 1:9 - “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
Many times you will hear people say “we are all God’s children.” However, that statement is only true for people who are saved. In fact, Jesus referred to the Pharisees as “sons of the devil” in John chapter 8. And Ephesians 2 says that before we were born-again, we were children of wrath. Make no mistake, God created all people. But, in order to be a child of God, you must be adopted through faith in Jesus.
Author: Noah Eskew - Coordinator of Youth Ministry - Hampton First Friends Church —————————————