Child of God vs. Employee

Notes from Pastor Chris

Are you a child of God or an employee?  Romans 8:14-16 says, “…those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.  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.”  The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.”  These incredible verses reveal some staggering truths.  First, of all it reveals our identity as children of God.  So often in life we approach God more like an employee.  We recognize that we are valued, but we feel like there are expectations to fulfill in order to get our due.  To fail is to reap the consequences or even get fired.” 

I recently ran across a man who grew up in a Christian home.  He knew he was loved as his parents repeatedly told him so.  However, he often felt that performance was the primary factor in gaining affection from his parents.  He often heard, “We love you but….”.  What followed the ‘but’ was always performance oriented, “be more aggressive on the court, get better grades, etc.”  It was love plus some requirement.  Do you see your relationship with God this way?  As a Father yelling ‘encouragement’ from the sidelines?  The Holy Spirit is here to say to you today, “I love you, period.”  He loves us as we are, not for what we do.  We are loved unconditionally by the God that takes up permanent residence in our very hearts.

This love for us is deep and intimate.  As children of God we are able to experience the Father in ways never imagined in the centuries leading up to Jesus.  To call God ‘Abba’, is more like saying Papa or Daddy.  Picture a little girl on her father’s lap, crying out to her Daddy.  What an incredible love a father can show his precious little girl, and what boundless trust a little girl can have in her Daddy!   It is through the Holy Spirit that we may hear these words from the Father, “You are mine, and you will be by child forever!” 

Advertisements

Baptism

In Matthew 28.19, Jesus commanded the church to baptize people as an integral part of what we call the Great Commission. This month on Sunday the 23 rd , we will be having our baptism service.

This is perhaps one of the most profound things we get to witness. It is so exciting to see someone publicly confess their Lord and Savior in this act of early obedience. It is important to note that baptism is not necessary for salvation and that baptism doesn’t somehow impart special grace to recipients apart from faith. That being said, baptism can have a wonderful effect on the young believer.

It is no small thing to recognize what baptism represents in our life. First, baptism symbolizes our death to sin. To Sin, we are no longer slaves. Paul says in Romans 6:4, “We were therefore buried with (Jesus) through baptism into death…” Our immersion into water demonstrates the death of our old selves. Baptism also represents our new life. When we are raised from under the water, it symbolizes our re-birth. What an exhilarating thought!

Baptism encourages and strengthens our faith. It also encourages all those who are present. Scripture speaks of believers being baptized by one Spirit into one body. In other words, on June 23 rd , we will be baptizing people as a symbol of their commitment to the church. When a person becomes a Christian, the Holy Spirit takes up residence, and he or she is born into God’s family. That’s why it is important that we as a church body come out to support those who are taking this important step in their faith. I promise you will be blessed as well!