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The Sons of God

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Truth Network Radio
October 10, 2022 2:00 am

The Sons of God

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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I directed our thoughts to John chapter 1, and tonight it is not my intention to do an exposition of those 13 verses, but to look at one verse in that section, and build my message around a phrase that we see in this verse, and in five other verses, in our New Testament. A little different approach tonight, but I was reading my devotions, and this phrase jumped out at me, and my mind began to think of other places that the same phrase is found, and began to think about the phrase in relationship to the Lord's table, and our focus upon Christ, and the salvation we have in Him. That phrase is found in verse 12. The context here is speaking of Christ's coming, and it tells us that He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But, as many as, that's the phrase that I want to focus on tonight, but as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

And I trust as we make our way through these six texts of scripture tonight, that we'll be helped in a number of ways. One, to be reminded as to the author of our salvation, to answer the question, for whom did Christ die? To answer the question, who has legitimate right to the claim of being a son or daughter of God? And we should not leave that question up to sentiment, or what our sense of fairness might be, but what the scriptures declare.

So tonight, let's begin to look at this verse in verse 12 again. Again, the phrase is, as many as, who are the children of God? Who are the sons of God?

And the text answers that question for us. It's those who have received Him, verse 12, for as many as received Him, to them, and only to them, He gave the right to become children of God to those who believe in His name. So there's two clauses that answer the question, who are the children of God? It is those who have received Him, and it is those who believe in His name. Unless we rush off, there is verse 13 that tells us who are not the children of God, who were born not of blood, has nothing to do with your ethnicity, has nothing to do with your ancestry, nor of the will of the flesh, has nothing to do with what you want, what you desire.

It's not of the will of man, it's not a decision that you make. But if you are a child of God, you've been made a child of God because you've been born of God. Who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

That seems so clear, doesn't it? Why is it that probably more than three-quarters of those who profess to be Christians don't understand that very elementary truth? That if you're a child of God, God has made you one. You are a child of God because you are born of God. Has nothing to do with anything you have said, done, prayed, any decision you've made. How we need to continue to return to the simplicity that is in Christ.

And that's what I'm attempting to do tonight. Who are believers according to verse 13? It's those who've been born of God. To those who have received Him. To those who, notice he says, verse 12, to those who believe in His name.

Doesn't say, have believed, past tense, but those who believe in His name. So, when we come to the Lord's table, it's an opportunity for those who are children of God to affirm afresh our faith, our confidence, our trust, our belief in God and the promises that He's made in His Son. People get concerned at times because they cannot look back in their past and nail down a time when they were saved.

But the Bible puts emphasis not on something we've done in the past, five years ago, ten years ago, twenty or thirty years ago, but what is going on in your life right now? So here we are tonight, we'll be gathering around the Lord's table, and it's an opportunity to address the question. Have I received, as He says here, who are the children of God? Those who have received Him.

Have you received Him? Are you believing in His name, as you sit here tonight? Is your posture toward God and His word one of submission? Or is it one of obstinance, of disobedience?

Those aren't hard questions to entertain, but it's to help us gain some assurance that we're rightly related to God. So, that's the first passage. Turn with me secondarily to Matthew chapter 14. Matthew 14. And of the six verses that we're going to look at, this is the only one that does not have a strong, salvific context, but it's using that same phrase, as many as, and it helps us understand how it's being used in the scriptures. Mark chapter 14.

What did I say? Did I say Mark? Matthew 14, I'm sorry. Matthew 14.

There's two references. It's also in Mark chapter 6 and verse 56, but I want to look at it in Matthew 14, verse 36. And we have these words beginning at verse 34. When they had crossed over, they came to the land of Gennesaret. And when the men of that place recognized him, they sent out into all that surrounding region, brought to him all who were sick and begged him that they might only touch the hem of his garment. And as many as touched it were made perfectly well. How many people were brought? How many sick people were brought to Jesus? Well, it says there in verse 35, they sent out into all that surrounding region, brought to him all who were sick, a large number, a large multitude, and begged him that they might only touch the hem of his garment.

And as many as touched it were made perfectly well. So who was cured according to the text of verse 56? Those who touched the hem of his garment and only those who touched the hem of his garment. Those who came who were sick and didn't touch the hem of his garment weren't cured.

That's pretty clear, right? Not everyone was cured, but only as many as touched the hem of his garment. The third passage is in Acts chapter 2.

Turn with me there. Just so you can follow the direction I'm going tonight, we're going to land on six texts of scripture, spend five or six minutes making an explanation, looking at that as many as, and then when we're done, I'm going to make some application to prepare us for the Lord's table. So Acts chapter 2. Let me begin to read at verse 36, Acts 2 verse 36. This is Peter preaching on the day of Pentecost. Therefore, let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

Then Peter said to them, Repent and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children and to all who are far off, and here's the phrase, as many as the Lord our God will call. Now I'm going to ask three questions of this short passage and I'll let the text of scripture answer the questions.

Three questions. Number one, what is the promise? Question number two, who are the recipients of the promise?

And number three, who was baptized? What is the promise? Well, let me draw your attention to a couple of verses in the context. Verse 17 of Peter's sermon, he says, And it shall come to pass in the last day, says God, that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh, your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. Verse 17, and then verse 33, Therefore, being exalted to the right hand of God and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he poured out this which you now see and hear.

And then verse 38, Peter said to them, Repent and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. What is the promise? The promise is the gift of the Holy Spirit and the salvation that accompanies him. That's the promise.

Pretty straightforward. Who are the recipients of the promise? Who are the recipients of the promise? And Peter identifies three groups of people. Notice with me there in verse 39. He identifies three groups of individuals who are recipients of the promise. You, for the promise is to you. That's the first group and to your children, the second group, and to all who are afar off. Peter doesn't stop there, does he? He qualifies these three groups with the clause, as many as the Lord our God will call.

So let me try and emphasize this to the degree I think it needs to be emphasized. In other words, to how many of you has God promised the Holy Spirit? As many as the Lord shall call to himself. To how many of your children has God promised the Holy Spirit? As many as the Lord shall call to himself. To how many of those who are afar off have the promise of the Holy Spirit?

How many? As many as the Lord shall call to himself. God has promised the Holy Spirit to those whom he effectually calls and draws to himself in salvation. This includes Peter's immediate hearers, he says you. This includes succeeding generations, your children, and whom else does it include? Gentiles in distant places, all who are afar off.

To as many as. What do we make of that? That qualifying statement limits the recipients of the promise to those whom God calls to himself in salvation. I'm amazed as I read behind some men and how they can build a doctrine and completely ignore that qualifying statement that completely shapes our understanding of what's being communicated. The third question is, who was baptized? Who was baptized? Notice again with me, verse 39, for the promise is to you and to your children and to all who are far off as many as the Lord our God will call.

Verse 40, and with many other words he testified and exhorted them saying, be saved from this perverse generation. Then those who gladly received the word were baptized and that day about 3,000 souls were added to them. What strikes me here is the description of those who were baptized. Those who had received the word, not those who had received his word and their children, just those who had received his word, period.

Only those who repented in response to the gospel were baptized. Is that pretty clear? Is there any confusion? We're trying to avoid reading something into the text. We're simply trying to exegete the text and answer the question according to what the Bible says.

That's all we're interested in. So that's our third passage. Again, that phrase, for the promise is to you and to your children and to all who are far off as many as the Lord our God will call.

Now, what's our next passage? Turn to Romans 8. I want to read verses 12 and 13. Paul is writing to the church in Rome and he says, Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die.

But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God. Verse 14 contains that phrase that we're camping on and emphasizing. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.

Paul is contrasting between living according to the flesh and living according to the Spirit. And he says there in verse 14, For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God. Only these that are led by the Spirit of God have legitimate right to claim that they are the sons of God. We could get into what it means to be led by the Spirit of God, but we don't have the time for that.

We're just stopping here to see this emphasis again. For as many as, not everyone, only those who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God. Let's turn to Acts chapter 13. Paul and Barnabas are preaching, ministering the word, and I want to begin to read it, verse 42. So when the Jews went out of the synagogue, the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath. Now when the congregation had broken up, many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.

On the next Sabbath, almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God. But when the Jews saw the multitude, they were filled with envy, and contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the things spoken by Paul. Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first, but since you reject it and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles, for so the Lord has commanded us. I have set you as a light to the Gentiles, that you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.

And here's our verse, verse 48. Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord, and as many as had been appointed to eternal life, believed. As many as, as many as had been appointed or ordained to eternal life, believed. That seems pretty clear, doesn't it, that the salvation that we have in Christ predates our existence, doesn't it? As many as had been ordained or appointed to eternal life, believed. That's the mystery, isn't it, of sovereign grace, that God in eternity past set His affections on a people.

And before we were born, before we'd done anything good or bad, God determined, appointed, that we would be a recipient of His great salvation. I did quite a bit of reading about men who tripping all over themselves to disavow what seems very, very clearly stated there in verse 48. Well, I know it seems to say this, but really it doesn't say this.

It says, and they go on, and I'm thinking, really? It's amazing when you have blinders on, when you cannot see the truth as it's clearly taught, the ends men will go to excuse away the truth that so clearly set before us. Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord, and as many as had been appointed to eternal life, believed. You know what fuels worship? You know what sends the heart to soaring in desire to glorify God? It's understanding that we are not the author of our own salvation, that our salvation is sourced in God.

You notice the connection there? When the Gentiles heard this, heard what? The gospel as it was set before them. They were glad and they glorified the word of the Lord, and as many as had been appointed to eternal life, believed.

It sure does enhance our worship when we understand who the author of our salvation is, that I'm saved tonight not because of anything I've done, I'm saved tonight because of what God has determined to do for me and do because of His Son and you the same if you're saved here tonight. One more passage, turn to Revelation chapter 3. Perhaps you're familiar with the extended passage in Hebrews chapter 12 verses 3 through 11 that speaks of the fatherly discipline and chastening of the Lord with all of His children.

Well, that's what's behind this verse as John is writing and we have the record of the words of the Lord Jesus to the seven churches and this is to the Laodicean church. Notice chapter 3 and verse 19, just one verse, again that phrase, as many as, as many as I love, I rebuke and chasten, therefore be zealous and repent. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. How many does God rebuke and chasten according to the text?

As many as He loves. You say, well, I thought Jesus loved everybody in the world. I've told this story a number of times but it comes to my mind and it's, I think, appropriate at this place. Abigail wrestled with her relationship with Daniel Hemings. She was home one weekend and was crying and I went upstairs to talk to her and I said, what's the matter? She said, God's brought a wonderful man into my life but I could never marry him. I said, well, why not?

He's not a Calvinist. And she said that in tears. I said, well, do you remember what you told me when I asked you what it was about Him that attracted you to Him in the first place? She says, I don't remember.

I said, well, let me remind you what you told me. You said you were attracted to Him because He loved Jesus. Now, if He loves Jesus, we're not going to hold it against Him that He doesn't believe the doctrines of grace, that He's not a Calvinist because He's never been exposed to it. But I think we can trust Him in that matter to the Lord. He keeps coming around us.

We'll see what happens. They were engaged. He was coming here, worshipping with us on Sunday and on Sunday night. And we'd go back to the house and he'd get a bite to eat and he'd go back to Kinston where he was working. And in the driveway one Sunday night, he said to me, I think the light bulb came on for me tonight. I said, well, about what? He said, we were preaching from Romans 8 on foreknowledge. He said, I've never heard that explained that way.

That's got to be correct. I said, well, keep studying, keep praying, keep seeking the Lord. We called me that week on a Tuesday or Wednesday, and I can't recollect Him ever calling me to have a theological conversation. He says, I've been thinking about this. He says, this is really big, isn't it? I said, I don't know.

How big is it? He says, well, we sing Jesus paid it all. I always thought Jesus died for everybody. I said, so? He says, He couldn't have.

I said, why not? Well, if what we sing is true, Jesus paid it all, what are people doing in hell? If Jesus paid for their sin, why is God requiring payment for their sin by sending them to hell?

Something's not right. He said, Jesus couldn't have died for everybody. And I said, no, He couldn't have, and He didn't. He died for a particular people. And what amazed me about that conversation was, of the five points of Calvinism, particular redemption is the one that most people have the most difficulty with. He got that one right out of the gate. That's the one that he was dealing with straight up, settled it in his mind.

So, back to our text. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten, therefore be zealous and repent. Whom does God chasten? Those He loves, and only those He loves, right? So, how should a believer respond to the rebuke and the chastening of a loving father? Well, we're told here, be zealous and repent. Sometimes we struggle to give definition to our part in the salvation equation that we encounter there in Philippians chapter 2, verses 12 and 13, which tells us in verse 12, my mind just went blank, verse 13 is fresh in my mind. So, let me very quickly find Philippians chapter 2, verse 12.

I don't have a mind like Dr. Jim Warwick, I'll tell you that right now. What amazed me about talking with him, he said, this conference was a little more than I bargained for, and I said, well, what do you mean? He said, the only message that I've ever preached, he says, was a message on Sunday morning on the moth. Every one of these other messages I've prepared, and some of them while I've been here this week.

Made me even feel lower than I was feeling before. Paul says here in Philippians chapter 2, he says, therefore, my beloved, as you've always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. That's our part. Work out our salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who worketh in you both to will and to do according to his good pleasure. And as I said, sometimes we have difficulty bringing definition to this, work out your salvation with fear and trembling, but I think Revelation 3 19 helps us with that.

What does he say? As many as I love, I rebuke and chase, and therefore be zealous and repent. Working out our salvation with fear and trembling is repenting of sin that the Holy Spirit puts his finger on, and to do it zealously.

It means an awful lot more things, but it means at least that. We looked at six passages of scripture or verses of scripture that have that phrase, as many as, and we've tried to glean truth from those six passages to help us to know who are the sons of God. And there's three verses or three of those texts that really emphasize God's part in salvation.

We are passive in the process. It's something that is done to us. And one is there in Acts chapter two, which speaks of God effectually calling and drawing to Christ. Acts chapter two verse 39.

Another is the Acts chapter 13 verse 48 passage, which puts the emphasis on as many as who were appointed or ordained to eternal life, again. And then there's the first passage there in John chapter one in verse 12, who are born not of blood, not of the will of the flesh, not of the will of man, but born of God. We're a son of God, a daughter of God. God has made us one.

We're born of him. So there's three of the six passages that clearly speak of God's part in salvation. But there's two others, and I'll omit the one from touching the hem of his garment, but the other two put emphasis on our part.

And what is that? To receive him, to believe in him, right? And as we step back and understand salvation in a God-centered way, it causes us, it motivates us, it provokes us to delight in God, to be glad in him, to glorify him for what he's done in Christ. And that's the opportunity we have as we come around the Lord's table, to give thanks to God for the salvation that he's wrought in Christ for us, how he's set his affections on us, how he's drawn us to himself, how he's done that apart from our participation. And then the fact that we are now daughters and sons of God, we rejoice, we've received the word of God, we've received Christ, and we come together as the people of God to affirm our allegiance to King Jesus. It's thrilling, isn't it, when we think about what God has done for us?

So I hope that's helpful tonight as we've thought about this limiting phrase, as many as, and thought about it in relationship to the salvation we have in Christ. Let's bow and pray. Father, we thank you tonight for your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. We thank you that he came to this incursed earth, that he went to the cross of Calvary and he bore our sins in his own body on the tree. And your wrath against us was satisfied in him, and we thank you for his propitiatory sacrifice, the sacrifice that he offered of himself that turned your wrath away from us. We thank you tonight that we're accepted in the Beloved, and we are indeed glad. We are glad.

You have made us glad. And we glorify you for such a great and glorious salvation. Cause the people of God to rejoice afresh tonight, I pray. And draw any who are here this evening, who are strangers to your grace, who have been striving and working and trying to earn merit with you, help them to understand, maybe for the very first time, that their acceptance before you is not based on their merit, but on his merit. Help them to have a heart, to receive him. Whom to receive is to be a son or a daughter of God, we pray in Jesus' name. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-18 20:47:15 / 2022-12-18 20:58:11 / 11

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