Children and Sons
The Bible uses two distinct terms when speaking about those who belong to Gods family, those who have been “born again” into that wonderful and glorious union with the Father.
The scriptures refer to them sometimes as CHILDREN, and at other times as SONS? So my Sermon today entitled
Children and Sons, is an attempt to focus on what I believe the Bible teaches us is the difference between the two.
As the Bible makes this distinction, it is obvious then that God must consider some of us – His Children and others of us – His Sons, and this of course is not a gender related consideration; for when the Bible uses the term Children or Sons, the context is rarely about gender orientation, so that when he calls us Sons, he equally calls us Daughters, but there is a distinction made between Sons and Daughters and Children?
So what makes the difference, and is it important enough
for us to consider it?
In Matthew 16, Jesus introduces to the disciples the term Church “Ecclesia” in the Greek, and he does so in the context of the Kingdom. In the same way that God created the world, and then placed into it a “family” to take care of it, so God created the Church to be a family, having stewardship of the Kingdom or to take care of the Kingdom – to govern, manage, protect, preserve and enjoy it. It is not confined as an “earthly” kingdom, but is also a “heavenly” kingdom, – not yours but mine, (says God) and we are appointed to take care of it. The family mandate, to multiply and increase applies also to the Church. We are called to rectify or repair what has been damaged, to straighten the crooked, to reconstitute, and
restore to the original intent. Redemption did not initiate a new plan, it was a reforming of the family plan, for Jesus came to get the family back, and to restore its lost authority. Jesus came to “build” his Church. The word “build” means to restore the broken-down house, and the commission of Mark 16 “to go into all the world and preach the gospel” is our assignment, the job we have to do. Your gifts are not your job, your gifts are to be encouraged and used, fine tuned and improved, but your gifts are given you for a purpose? God has an assignment for you, a destiny for you to fulfil. This does not just apply to the Preacher it applies also to the people, it applies to all the “household” of God. We are not thus called to a Church mentality, but we are called to a Kingdom mentality.
When Jesus uses the word “ecclesia” he is talking about getting the Kingdom principles back in place: “thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. Ecclesia is not a new concept, it is simply the Genesis mandate to manage our home and to make this World look again like Heaven. We are to prepare the way of the Lord. Some will argue that this is what the Lord Jesus will do when he returns for his 1000 year millennium rule. Yes Jesus will restore and reform all things to what they were before the Devil got his hands on them, but our commission is to prepare the “people” for the Kingdom. The King is coming, and He wants a people to reign and rule with him. We are called and commissioned to “prepare them”.
So right now God is preparing a Church that will transform the understanding of what we nowadays call the Church. The Church is not a Building, not a Denomination, not even a way of Life, not a religion, the Church is a “people” a “peculiar people” a people that have been “called out” or drawn out by the Holy Spirit from every Strata of Society and from every nation and tongue – into a relationship, a loving relationship with the Lord Jesus. These, the Bible calls His Children and His Sons. This means that there must be a revelation to the understanding
of what we call Children and what we call Sons.
Several times in the epistles the various Apostles write to those who they call “babes” in Christ. In the Greek, the word is “nepios” which really means babyish, or as those who have not yet grown up. I Cor 3:1. It is a sad thing when any parent watches a child advancing in years but never growing up. I recon that God too watches many of his children advance in years, but never come to any real spiritual maturity; they remain “babyish” when it comes to the things of God. I admit that this may not always be entirely their own fault, as they may have never discovered that there is a “higher life” for them. If you keep a child in pre-school until they are 21, they will still think and act like a pre-schooler even at 21 – they know nothing different. And on the other hand if you keep a boy in the constant company of adults and older people, he will be an
“old man” by the age of 21. We are made to adapt to our environment, as are most of Gods creatures.
Turn with me now if you will to Galatians chapter 4, and verse 1 – let us read what the apostle Paul writes. Paul says; “Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all”
Here Paul is asking us to suppose that a child has inherited some great position of power and influence, or inherited some great
estate of lands and so on. Paul says that for as long as that child remains a child, he is no different from the servants that work on that estate. He has a treasure, but because he is a child, he cannot access that treasure, and he most certainly cannot enjoy it, and manage it, until of course he grows up. I don’t doubt that most of you will agree with Paul that this observation
makes a lot of sense.
So while this makes sense in the natural, it also makes sense in the spiritual. As long as in Christ we remain, babies, children, we can never ever fully enjoy the benefits of son-ship.
Once the child of the estate grows up, he can come into his inheritance and begin to manage it for himself in a way that his generous benefactor planned. So what I am saying today is that that you and I need to change our state, in order to come into our estate. We need to grow up, leave childish, babyish thinking behind us and embrace and enjoy what is our rightful inheritance as Sons and Daughters of God. Most of us are still living below our real potential in God. Paul writes again in
1 Cor.13:11 “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I
became a man, I put away childish things”.
So it is time to put away that childish babyish way of living
and to grow up and to grow into all that God has for us.
Did you notice how purposefully Paul put those comments, and did you see the order in which he wrote. He says that as a child, “he spoke, he understood and he thought” … in that order, and children DO speak first, understand next and think last; while as adults, we think first, we understand next before we speak, before we say it. This shows me that as a “grown up” it is right for us to think first, then to understand, and then to speak.
It is in our thinking that the change must come first. We must grow up first in our “minds” before we can grow up in any other way. This is why you will see a 10 year old smoking a cigarette, for in his mind he considers that by so doing he has become grown up. He has taken up with the adult gang and abandoned the childish game.
So in the time left to me today, let us focus on a new way of thinking, let us leave behind the games of children – and walk in the glory of Sons and Daughters. Let us truly give the children of God something to aspire to, that they may see what we have
in Christ and long for this “higher life” also. Step up with me today, into a fresh and refreshing way of thinking.
AS CHILDREN in the Church we were taught to think of the family, the body of believers, the bride of Christ, the sheep of the flock, taught to think of this family relationship aspect – and what a blessing that is when it truly works as God intended it should. We are of course the sheep of his pasture and there can ever only be one Shepherd, the Good Shepherd, Jesus our Saviour. But, AS SONS we should now be thinking of ourselves as the soldiers, as the legislators, Gods ambassadors, princes and priests with God. While we once saw Jesus as our shepherd, our brother and friend, we need to focus now on this Jesus as our King, as our Lord and Master.
Instead of seeing the Church simply as A household of Faith
where we are supposed to be multiplying the family, evangelising and ministering to the hurting. We must now be thinking of ourselves as Disciple makers, teaching the word and the way, and not allowing the world to write the rules. We need to enforce the rules already written. And let me add here that
the building of the Church is not ever about transferring sheep. You can grow a Congregation while not growing the Church. You can have a full building but full of what? A morgue is full of dead men’s bones, so be careful that your Church does not become a morgue.
As Children we have been ruled by Mark 16; Preach – Convert – Multiply; but as Sons we need to know the rules of Matthew 28 Reform – Transform – Discipline.
In Romans 8, Paul says that “the whole earth (all of creation)
is waiting for the manifestation of the SONS of God”
The world is waiting for us to step up and change things,
but as long as we remain Children – babyish, timid, shy, unlearned, undisciplined and unwilling, the world will have
to wait longer.
The word Paul uses here in Romans 8 for Sons is the word uihos in the Greek, meaning mature enough to take over the family business. Can God rely on you to mange His Business? – He cannot give that task to children,
but only to Sons and Daughters.
In my experience, the call that the Church has been making for years now comes in this sort of package, and asks, “if you feel led…” and most don’t, so the work does not get done!
But now as Sons and Daughters, in this place we realize that we have a general commander who does not come into the soldiers and ask, “does anyone feel like getting up today and going into battle”? We have a new mentality that takes our orders from Jesus and no one else. Its not an option, its an obligation.
Is your Church a “sheep pen” or a “soldiers encampment”?
Are you prepared to remain on duty until you are relieved?
Or are the thoughts of Sunday Lunch or an afternoon nap more important than that “bag-lady” sitting on the church steps in need of help or a home? Paul told young Timothy that Warriors who endure hardship take risks, and are ready to die in the battle… have you grown up yet? Children think that service is a choice – Sons know that service is mandatory.
As Children, we though of Jesus as our Companion, and while he will always be so, when we grow up into him we will begin
to see him more as our Commander in Chief.
As His Children our focus has often been parochial, on the local church, on its people and on its needs; there we have been – need care and relationship orientated. This was good, but God is showing us that we can do better. The good is often the enemy of the best in Spiritual things. Don’t allow yourself to become complacent in “doing well” or “doing good” remember you may be able to do better. Once we grow up, and get something of that “divine vision” our focus moves away from the parochial, onto the whole locality and this is where we start co-operation with other Christians – here our goal is mission and assignment orientated. While we once wanted to save and heal people
now we long to save and heal nations. Where we saw it our mission to reconcile and unite – now we divide and conquer.
We break down old traditional divisions and ideologies, and build up faith and confidence in the “unity of the Spirit” and
in the “bond of peace” Eph. 4:3 We loose sight of just a
Church, and get sight of a Kingdom!
Where we once as his children, made it our aim to protect one another and defend our corner, and cast out the demons of disagreement that sometime surface amongst us, now as Sons
and Daughters, we recognise that we have the authority to bring down those evil principalities and powers, and to bind and loose in Jesus name. But only when we know who we are as Sons and Daughters will we use the keys of the Kingdom. Folks don’t give the keys of the House to strangers, but they do to their Sons. If you know your identity in God, you will be using the “keys” of the Kingdom and opening doors every day. Praise God!
As Children, the Church was a place where obedience was encouraged and where grace abounds, now as Sons, it becomes a place where obedience is mandatory, and truth abounds. It was a place where we gathered and fellowshipped, but when we grow up it will no longer be about how many can we keep within our walls, but about how many can we send out. It will be no longer about us in here, but about them out there. Indeed when we grow up we understand that the Church is not about us at all, its all about Jesus, its about HIM and his amazing grace.
Have you grown up and is your Church all about Him?
NOW THIS FINAL WORD.
Let me conclude today with a word or two about Gods other SONS? While I was preparing this message, I remembered that the Bible sometimes refers to the Angels as “the Sons of God”. Gen 6:2, Job 1:6, Job 38:2. and so on, and they too are entrusted with doing Gods Business. From a child in the faith I never doubted that Gods angels were with me to keep me and minister to me as I read in Psalm 91:11.
“For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee
in all thy ways”.
and I used to love that old childhood song by Mario Lanza
“Guardian angels around my bed Joining me in my prayers
They hush the shadows when they dance about
They shoo away the bears
Guardian angels to comfort me If I wake in the night
They gather all my dreams Their halos are my light”
Many of you don’t believe in Angels, and thus you never get to experience their invaluable ministry for yourself. Do you know that “the Angels of the Lord encamp round about them that fear Him and deliver them” Psalm 34:7 Years ago when I drove my car under an articulated Lorry which virtually sliced the roof off of it, I walked away from that wreck without even a broken finger nail. The Angels of the Lord were in that car with me. When I stood on the steps of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem and in an unexpected gun battle between some terrorists and the Israeli army, where the bullets were knocking the concrete out of the door posts and lintel above me, not a single shot hit me although more than 20 people died on that day. The Angels
of the Lord were all around me, and they are still around and about me today. I am never, never alone.
And as I have matured in Christ, as I have grown up in Him,
I have come to understand that as well as Angels ministering TO us, Angels minister WITH us, they are here at our command and at our behest, to do our bidding … as I read
“Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister
for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” Hebrews 1:14
There is all the difference in the world between the ministry of Angels, and a ministry With Angels… and that secret is reserved for Sons and Daughters, its not given to Children.
Instead of focusing on my problems, I focus on the help I have around me, to assist me through them.
So my dear friends it is time for us to grow up, time for us to step up, time for us to speak up, and time for us to light up.
Our Dark and Difficult times are calling for Champions to stand up and help, calling for us to leave the comfort zones of our warm and cosy church pews, and get out there into those places where men and women and children are hurting and crying and in need of help. Some of us are aiming above the average to the good, while God wants us to aim above the good to the EXCELLENT! There is no help and no hope for our broken world but that we can bring them that help and hope in Jesus Christ. We are waiting for God to do it, but God is waiting on us! So are you going to remain a “child” all your life, or are you ready to “go about your fathers Business”?
May God challenge and change our lives by His grace
to face the problems and to fix the planet!
God Bless You … Amen.