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Sonship of Believers
1 Jn. 3:1-3


God is love and He loves us. God the Father shows His love for us by sending forth his only begotten
Son to die on the cross so we will not suffer the eternal fires of Hell. Because of God’s love for us we
are now called “sons of God”. In our text John says “Behold” which means to see, to know, be aware,
consider, understand, about the love of God the Father to us. He loved us sinners even we are not
loveable and don’t deserve to be loved. So, let’s talk about our sonship but let me first describe the
love of God that made it real.

Illustration 1: Some description of God’s love

1. Sovereign. Deut. 7:8; 10:15
2. Great. Eph. 2:4
3. Abiding. Zeph. 3:17
4. Unfailing. Isa. 49:15-16
5. Unalienable. Rom. 8:39
6. Constraining. Hos. 11:4
7. Everlasting. Jer. 31:3

I. We become Sons of God (1 Jn. 3:1)

A. The moment we repent from our sins and receive Christ as our personal saviour, we
become a member of God’s family, Sons of God (1 Jn. 1:12, Rom. 8:14, Gal. 4:7, Phil.
B. Once you become a son, you will forever be a son. Once saved, saved forever.
C. You become citizen of heaven (2 Tim. 4:18) and the Holy Spirit will dwell in you
(Rom. 8:9).
D. We become joint heirs with Jesus (Rom. 8:17) and we become new creatures (2 Cor.
5:17). And much more which time and space will not allow me to put it here.
E. To the unsaved, Christ tells them “You are of your father the devil (Jn. 8:44).
F. The Bible is very clear about this. There are Children of God and Children of the
G. God’s love is so great that sinners like us can be called sons of God. I think we
humans can never really describe and understand it fully.
H. The fact is, real believers are “sons of God” and we just have to accept it by faith,
rejoice, and be blessed by it.

Illustration 2: Outcome of Sonship (Rom. 8:17).

Watchman Nee tells about a new convert who came in deep distress to see him. “No matter how
much I pray, no matter how hard I try, I simply cannot seem to be faithful to my Lord. I think I’m
losing my salvation.” Nee said, “Do you see this dog here? He is my dog. He is house-trained; he
never makes a mess; he is obedient; he is a pure delight to me. Out in the kitchen I have a son, a
baby son. He makes a mess, he throws his food around, he fouls his clothes, he is a total mess. But
who is going to inherit my kingdom? Not my dog; my son is my heir. You are Jesus Christ’s heir
because it is for you that He died.” We are Christ’s heirs, not through our perfection but by means of
His grace.

II. The world knoweth us not.

A. Christians are the real aliens in this world not the extra-terrestrials.
B. The world does not acknowledge, respect, love, or approve of us.
C. In fact, the world hates us (Jn. 17:14), and rejects us.
D. They do not see the goodness of what we have become because of Christ.
E. They may even see us as religious fanatics, self-righteous, kill joy and narrowminded
F. This is understandable because:
1. We are not of the world, even as Christ is not of the world. Jn. 17:14
2. The Bible also describes Christians as “pilgrims, sojourners, and strangers” (Heb.
11:13, 1 Pet. 1:1, 2:11)
3. The world or the unsaved are spiritually dead. Spiritual things for them doesn’t
make any sense.
G. Christian, do you feel sad that people just hates you without a cause? You have done
nothing wrong to them still they despise you and reject you. Well, the Lord Jesus
Christ has been rejected and hated first before you.
H. In the future, when the Lord comes, He would tell the world who hated us and
rejected us, “I never knew you depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Mat. 7:23).

III. What we shall be as children of God (1 Jn. 3:2)

A. It’s wonderful to be children of God, but the best is yet to come.
B. There are many things we do not know yet about the future but there are three
things we do know for certain:
1. Christ shall appear. This is certain.
2. He shall see Him as He is. What a joy to see our Lord and Saviour.
3. We shall be like Him. Our bodies will be changed. We will have a glorious body.
(1 Cor. 15: 42-44,50-53, 2 Cor. 3:18, Phil. 3:21, Col. 3:4,10). Christ says “He will
make all things new”. (Rev. 21:5)
C. The Word of God does not say specifically that those who died at old age will be
young again, and those who died at infancy will grow and have a grown-up stature
so that “all who are in Christ shall be like Him”.

Illustration 4: To Be Like Christ

When the wife of missionary Adoniram Judson told him that a newspaper article likened him to
some of the apostles, Judson replied, “I do not want to be like a Paul or any mere man. I want to be
like Christ. I want to follow Him only, copy His teachings, drink in His Spirit, and place my feet in His
footprints. Oh, to be more like Christ!”

IV. Sons of God purifieth himself (1 Jn. 3:3)

A. The coming of the Lord Jesus Christ is our blessed hope.
B. His coming should motivate us to purify our lives.
C. The word purify which means” to make clean” is closely related to the word
“holiness” or “sanctification”.
D. The basic meaning of these is to be set apart for God’s purposes (Lev. 20:26).
E. Holiness is also intimately connected with righteousness and moral purity (Jer.
31:23; Lk. 1:75; Rom. 6:19; Eph. 4:24).
F. How can a Christian purify himself?
1. Avoid committing any form of sin. (1 Jn. 3:6)
2. Obeying God’s commandments at all cost. Faithful Christians says “death rather
than sin”.
3. We must love what the Lord loves and hate what the Lord hates. Put into
practice what the Word of God teaches us, and apply it into our lives.
4. Strive to be like our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in meekness, humility,
charitableness, and spiritual-mindedness
5. By appropriating the cleansing power of the blood of Jesus! – 1 Jn 1:9
G. Do you strive to live a holy life? Are you holy only on Sundays but unholy on the rest
of the days? As a chid of God will you lead a holy life now?

Illustration 5: Missionary Ordination

We must heed the memorable words written by Robert Murray McCheyne to the Rev. Dan Edwards
on 2 October 1840 after his ordination as a missionary to the Jews: ‘I trust you will have a pleasant
and profitable time in Germany. I know you will apply hard to German; but do not forget the culture
of the inner man, —I mean of the heart. How diligently the cavalry officer keeps his sabre clean and
sharp; every stain he rubs off with the greatest care. Remember you are God’s sword, —His
instrument, —I trust a chosen vessel unto Him to bear His name. In great measure, according to the
purity and perfections of the instrument, will be the success. It is not great talents God blesses so
much as great likeness to Jesus. A holy minister is an awful weapon in the hand of God.’
John R. W. Stott, The Preacher’s Portrait, Some New Testament Word Studies (Grand Rapids: Wm. B.
Eerdmans Publ. Co., 1961), p. 120

Illustration 6: The Ermine

In the forests of northern Europe and Asia lives little animal called the ermine, known for his snowwhite
fur in winter. He instinctively protects his white coat against anything that would soil it.
Fur hunters take advantage of this unusual trait of the ermine. They don’t set a snare to catch him,
but instead they find his home, which is usually a cleft in a rock or a hollow in an old tree. They
smear the entrance and interior with grime. Then the hunters set their dogs loose to find and chase
the ermine. The frightened animal flees toward home but doesn’t enter because of the filth. Rather
than soil his white coat, he is trapped by the dogs and captured while preserving his purity. For the
ermine, purity is more precious than life. -Our Daily Bread, April 21, 1997

V. Conclusion:

The Scriptural truth is, real believers are Sons of God. Because of this the world knowest
us not. They hate us and reject us. When the Lord Jesus Christ comes back, we shall be
like Him. As we look forward for this event, we must purify ourselves, avoid committing
any sins and live a holy life. Are you willing to do this for Christ who died for you? Do you
want to be son of God also? Then repent from your sins and receive Christ as your
personal Saviour before it’s too late.

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