Volume. XXVIII, No. 15
Sunday, 13 October 2013


(This article was published on 5 May 2013 in the weekly of New Life B-P Church, London. It is by Rev Richard Brooks. Reprinted with permission from Free Church Witness magazine dated September 2007)

The first of three devotional articles based on 1John 3:1-3, originally delivered at the 2006 School in Theology at Larbert.

"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure."1 John 3: 1-3

Identity cards are in and out of the news. But what is the Christian’s identity? The Bible answers that question in various ways, but surely one of the richest of those answers is to say that the Christian is one who is a child of God. He or she has God for their Father. Before we are ministers, elders, deacons, church members, or anything else, we are Christians – and so children of God. This is the great doctrine of our adoption. Well has it been said that while justification is the foundational blessing of the Gospel, adoption is the highest blessing. Being right with God the Judge is a stupendous thing; being loved and cared for by God the Father is more stupendous still.

Two things stand out from 1John 3:1.

1. The marvel of being children of God

By marvel is meant this: how marvellous, how wonderful, how amazing it is! Is there anything like it in all the world: to know that you are a child of the living God? John’s first word is very significant: ‘Behold’. It is a traffic- light word,arresting us in our tracks, calling us to ‘stop, look and listen’. It is a word of wonder, letting us know that something special is coming. And so it is. ‘Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons (children) of God’. Can you get hold of that? God – the everlasting, holy and glorious One; ‘clothed with majesty and strength’; whose throne was established from eternity; who is ‘light, and in Him is no darkness at all’ – this God has taken us into His family, adopted us as His children, with this staggering result: ‘that we should be called the sons of God’.

And what is the spring of this marvel? John speaks of ‘what manner of love’. Question 34 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism asks ‘What is adoption?’ Its answer: ‘Adoption is an act of God’s free grace, whereby we are received into the number, and have a right to all the privileges of the sons of God’.

You know what happens in the ordinary realms of life with adoption. If parents adopt a child, then that child becomes their own son or daughter. The adopted one is not somehow ‘stuck on’ to the new family, but becomes part of the family. The adoptive parents are not forever drawing public attention to the adoption, but have taken the child as one of the family. A brand new family relationship exists, and the child enjoys all the family privileges, responsibilities, joys, sorrows, name and inheritance. The parents were not forced into the adoption; they desired it.

Now, on a different plane altogether, the God of grace and glory has adopted us as His children, received us into His family; and He has done so, writes John, with such a wonderful manner of love – lavish, amazing, divine, sovereign, holy love. And behind it all: everlasting love. For when did He set His love upon us? He did so in Christ before the foundation of the world. The love of our adopting God and Father pre-dates creation itself (Jer.31:3;Eph.1:5)! This truth has been put poetically in striking ways.

‘Behold the amazing gift of love
The Father hath bestowed
On us, the sinful sons of men,
To call us sons of God’.

And again:

‘O how shall I the goodness tell,
Father, which Thou to me hast showed?
That I, a child of wrath and hell,
I should be called a child of God’.

Here is a truth to revel in, to the glory and praise of God.

2. The blessings of being children of God

These run to a very considerable list, were we to ransack the Scriptures for them. The Bible is full of them. Here are some of the ‘chiefest and choicest’.

A new relationship with God. This is fundamental to everything. ‘After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven’ (literally, ‘Our Father, the One in the heavens)’ (Mt.6:9). What a combination! The tenderness of God as our Father is united with the glory of God who is in the heavens. The care of our Father for His children is united with the might of the One who fills and rules heaven and earth. The ability of the One to whom we come as our Father in all our need, is the power of the One for whom nothing is impossible. He is our Father who made us, redeemed us, loves us, cares for us, sings love songs over us, governs us, accompanies us, directs us, comforts us, fulfils all His promises for us and will never leave us nor forsake us. ‘For this God is our God for ever and ever’ (Ps.48:14).

A new intimacy in prayer. We are not orphans! Our adoption admits us to the closest intimacy and invites us to the most perfect confidence with God. Just as (ideally) children may go to their parents on just about everything under the sun, oh! with what confidence, dependence, trust and holy familiarity may we approach God’s throne of grace. Yes: He is in heaven and

we are on earth; but He bids us come, with everything. The converted Cornish tin-miner, Billy Bray, used to say with regard to going to prayer, ‘I must talk to Father about this’.

A new character of holiness. We know the phrase, ‘like father, like son’. It applies right here! When God adopts us as His children He imparts to us His Holy Spirit so that increasingly we may bear the family likeness. The One who says, ‘Be ye holy’; for I am holy’ (1Pet.1:16) is our God and Father. Think of it: we – we – are made ‘partakers of the divine nature’ (2Pet.1:4).

A new belonging to God’s family. Children of the same father are, of necessity, brothers and sisters of one another. So it is with the adopted children of God. Together we worship our God and Father. Together He instructs us from His Word. Together He blesses to us all the means of grace. Together we bear one another’s burdens, dwell in one another’s hearts, are patient with one another’s failings, refresh one another’s spirits, shine as lights in the world as we hold forth the word of life. Or so it should be.

A new perspective on trials. ‘If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as wi
th sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?’ (Heb.12:7). We are to be (in Thomas Brooks’ phrase) mute Christians under the smarting rod. Why? Because God is dealing with us as our Father.

A new destiny in heaven. Let Romans 8:17 suffice: ‘And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together’. We have been placed, by adopting love and grace, among those ‘many sons’ whom God will bring to glory.

Next week: Our Glorious Adoption Part 2 - It’s Striking Enigma.

(With permission from New Life B-P Church, London).

More Lively Hope



*Welcome back: Pr David Weng.
*Due to accidental water damage The Stone Mansion will be out of bounds until further notice. For next Lord’s Day Worship Service location, you will be informed by email or SMS. Please let us have your email or mobile phone number.
*There will be no fellowship lunch until we return to our location. BYO lunches/beverages after Worship Service.
*There will be no Sunday School classes for our children until alternative arrangements can be made.
*Christmas Concert rehearsals begin next weekend. All are encouraged to join. Please be punctual. For further details, please see Sis Sally Teng.

Praise & Thanksgiving
Journey mercies: Ps Okman & Sis Myung Ki (London); Dr Yoh Shirato (Guam); Rev Mark Lehman (Taiwan); Pr David Weng, Elder M Lee & Bro Raymond Chia (Adl); Deaconess Joyce Gong; Bro Ngie Joo & Sis Sooi Chin Gong (Mal); & others who are travelling.  
Fruitful & Successful AFG-YAF Retreat last weekend; Ministry of Dr Yoh Shirato (speaker).
Ministry in Taiwan & China: Rev Mark Lehman & Pr David Weng
Church Activities, in the past week.
God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.
Visitors & new worshippers.

Prayer Items
Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Pastor Okman & Sis Myung Ki (S’pore); Rev Edward (post-op recovery) & Sis Lehia Paauwe; Rev George van Buuren; Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser; Bro Len & Sis Margaret Pearson; Preacher Zhang (Sihanoukville); Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Bros Surish Dharmalingam (Laos), Elton Law & Kang Fun Tan (S’pore); Sisters Lai Kheng Chiong, Margaret Hooper, Grace Gan’s father (healing), Choon Fong Lee (KL), Corinne Teng, Susan Varadi, Sylvia White & Sis Mavis Wong’s mother (salvation & healing); Mr Swee Liang Ng; Mr Mang Soo Ong; Bro Peng Cheong Wong (Dn Wai Kin Wong’s father); Mrs Maggie D’Mello; Mr Tony Zhang; & others in affliction.
Special Prayer: Bro Yaw Chiew Tan (Chemotherapy), Sis Margaret Pearson  - healing, rehab & health & Sis Nita Chong’s cousin (Mr Seck Aik Foo - salvation & healing).
iSketch & Tell Studio, YouTube Ministry & preparation for Ordination: Ps Hai Seng Lim.
Cambodia Missions - Bro Sun Sokha & Ministry (Phnom Penh); Life University (Sihanoukville)
Ministry in New Life BPC (London) & God’s guidance for the future: Ps & Sis Ki.
Ministry in Hope BPC - God’s guidance for future - Preacher David & Sis Susan Weng.  
Journey mercies: Deaconess Joyce Gong (Adl); Sis Amy Wong (Adl/NT); Bros Raymond Ang & Daniel Volvricht (NT); & those travelling during the school vacation period.
Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.
Job - Bros Timothy Ngoma & Jonathan Liao (Syd); Sisters Xiao Hui Chye, Corinne Teng & Sharon Ying (Per); & others looking for  stable jobs.
Australian Visas - Sisters Clara Sim & Sharon Ying (Perth - for PR).
Hope BPC - new Pastor; God’s wisdom & encouragement for 7th Session & congregation.
Year 12 students: for strength & encouragement in their studies.
Unity in fellowship & doctrine of B-P churches.
God’s protection & provision for believers in Islamic countries.
Federal, State & Territory Parliaments not to pass laws favouring same sex marriages.



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14 Bedford Square, Colonel Light Gardens, South Australia 5041