August 8, 2021
This morning I want to talk about sonship. What it is and how to walk in it.
Sonship refers to the believer’s relational and spiritual position in the household of God. The word refers to both males and females that are found hidden in Jesus Christ. Who is God’s preeminent and begotten Son.
Sonship is the foundation of the believer’s life in God and it is the immediate and eternal gift of the Father as a direct result of His sovereign will and love.
A few Fridays ago I was at a “ninja warrior” gym with my oldest son, Levi. Because of the way that the gym is laid out, it is impossible to see him at times from the sitting area. So when his class is out of sight I like to read. As I was reading, I heard a voice whispering my name. I look up to see that Levi is on an obstacle holding up his class as he waits for my attention. Our eyes meet and all he says is, “Watch this.” I acknowledge his efforts with my face and proceed to read my book only to hear my name again. Same child calling me. Same child holding up his class. Same sentence, “Watch me.” He quickly gets the same facial expression from me.
Immediately I hear Holy Spirit speak to me, “That is sonship.” And over the next 30 minutes Holy Spirit begins using Levi as His class helper as He teaches me.
Jesus models sonship.
17 But Jesus answered them, My Father has worked [even] until now, [He has never ceased working; He is still working] and I, too, must be at [divine] work.
18 This made the Jews more determined than ever to kill Him [to do away with Him]; because He not only was breaking (weakening, violating) the Sabbath, but He actually was speaking of God as being [in a special sense] His own Father, making Himself equal [putting Himself on a level] with God.
1. Real sonship reveals the Father.
Jesus came to not only save us, but He came to reveal the Father.
The manifestation of sonship is only authentic if you are revealing the Father. The Father wants us to conform to the image and likeness of Jesus (Romans 8:29).
The Father works and the Son works. There is a divine partnership at work that exists within sonship. There is an example and a standard that the Father sets forth.
19 So Jesus answered them by saying, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, the Son is able to do nothing of Himself (of His own accord); but He is able to do only what He sees the Father doing, for whatever the Father does is what the Son does in the same way [in His turn].
20 The Father dearly loves the Son and discloses to (shows) Him everything that He Himself does. And He will disclose to Him (let Him see) greater things yet than these, so that you may marvel and be full of wonder and astonishment.
2. Real Sonship receives from the Father
Sonship is not in your obedience; it is in your receiving. Obedience is the fruit of your receiving.
It is evident here that the Father is a teacher. He gives direction. And the Son is ever waiting to receive from the Father.
The Father shows the Son all things, meaning the Father gives instruction and direction. You have to receive from God what He is giving and teaching you. Receive His Word and get the Scriptures on the inside of you.
Sonship in its proper order puts us as receivers, learners, followers. And it puts God as the distributor, teacher, and leader. Jesus models sonship as a posture of dependency. He is able to do nothing. He only does what He’s empowered to do.
There is an alignment and a synchronization that happens in real sonship, where the things we say and do will cause those that see & hear them to stand in awe of our Father.
Sons are empowered by God to reveal God.
1. They receive His Spirit.
2. His Spirit empowered to walk in synchronization with God
What does this look like? Saying what the Father says, and doing what the Father does.
Everytime Jesus healed the sick, raised the dead, cleansed the leper, taught the multitudes, etc. He was revealing the Father and His heart. Are you revealing the Father by what you say and do?
3. Real sons are led by the Spirit of God.
14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
God leads us by His Spirit. His leadership is brilliant, and His record is flawless. A constant revelation of God and remembering His faithfulness make it easier to follow Him. The revelation of God makes it easier to trust Him.
Revelation comes from beholding Him! (Quality time reading and meditating on scripture, quality time in prayer, quality time in worship, relationships, and fellowship with other believers operating in their sonship)
We become what we behold. Staying before the Lord puts you in position to be led by Him.
There is always a scripture to meditate on, a song to sing to Him, and something to give Him thanks for to help you remain aware of Him.
The best life is found in the context of family.
When you are led by God, you get to live in and constantly experience His kindness, mercy, benevolence, and care. You’ll discover just how amazing He is. And you’ll discover what moves Him. You’ll want to learn what pulls on His heart strings.
Life in the context of God’s family, with Him as Father, positions you to see him in the right light. We love His goodness, favor, and blessings but tend to shy away from what the Bible says about His judgments and wraths. But when you see Him as Father and yourself as the son/daughter that He loves, you will have a different perspective of Him. You’ll read scripture through the lens of a child of God.
15 For [the Spirit which] you have now received [is] not a spirit of slavery to put you once more in bondage to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption [the Spirit producing sonship] in [the bliss of] which we cry, Abba (Father)! Father!
16 The Spirit Himself [thus] testifies together with our own spirit, [assuring us] that we are children of God.
The Spirit of adoption produces sonship. The Spirit of adoption does not lead to bondage. It is the spirit of slavery that leads to bondage. The wrong perspective of God as Father will lead you to believe you’re a slave. Which leads to bondage to fear. The Spirit Himself does the work in you to assure you that you are His child.
24 When they arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the half shekel [the temple tax] went up to Peter and said, Does not your Teacher pay the half shekel?
25 He answered, Yes. And when he came home, Jesus spoke to him [about it] first, saying, What do you think, Simon? From whom do earthly rulers collect duties or tribute—from their own sons or from others not of their own family?
26 And when Peter said, From other people not of their own family, Jesus said to him, Then the sons are exempt.
27 However, in order not to give offense and cause them to stumble [that is, to cause them to judge unfavorably and unjustly] go down to the sea and throw in a hook. Take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find there a shekel. Take it and give it to them to pay the temple tax for Me and for yourself.
The point here is not God’s provision or miraculous power. The point here is an understanding of how the Kingdom of God operates. The Kingdom of God does not operate like this world’s system. We are a part of a greater & higher Kingdom; and the One we serve is greater & higher than the kingdoms & systems of this world.
Matthew 18:1-4; Mark 9:35-36
1 At that time the disciples came up and asked Jesus, Who then is [really] the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
2 And He called a little child to Himself and put him in the midst of them,
3 And said, Truly I say to you, unless you repent (change, turn about) and become like little children [trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving], you can never enter the kingdom of heaven [at all].
4 Whoever will humble himself therefore and become like this little child [trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving] is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
The answer to the question is found in verse 2. Jesus answers by demonstration.
“And He called…”
The child is trusting & lowly enough to come. Obeying the One who calls.
“…and set him in the midst of them.”
The child is meek/pliable. It is the meek that will inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5). Meekness is not weakness, but it refers to exercising God’s strength under His control.
To be great in the kingdom you must be a child. A child is humble and lowly. Just the way Jesus was born into the earth; humble and lowly. The Son of man came not to be served but to serve (Mark 10:45).
Verse 36”…and when he had taken him in his arms”
His children are not afraid to be & stay close to Him. Closeness does not just apply to crying out for God’s nearness when life is hard.
Repent and become like children. Childlikeness isn’t automatic. You must daily decide to be trusting, lowly, loving, and forgiving. It takes work and intentionality.
Dependency is truly the chief characteristic of a child.
- Children provide nothing for themselves.
- The smallest child gets the most attention.
- Children trust their fathers.
A child lives in the recognition that he always needs his father. We never graduate from dependency. When we become obsessed with “needing to know,” we are in danger of abandoning childlikeness.
A child looks for everything he needs from his father. Children look for their father to affirm their purpose, calling, identity. When a child knows that their father’s joy and delight is in him, it builds confidence.
Prayer is an expression of dependency. A child looking to and at the Father only confirms his dependency on the Father; only making Him more confident in the Father’s love and further establishing Him as a son.
16 The Spirit Himself [thus] testifies together with our own spirit, [assuring us] that we are children of God.
17 And if we are [His] children, then we are [His] heirs also: heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ [sharing His inheritance with Him]; only we must share His suffering if we are to share His glory.
Adoption is the legal action by which a person takes into his family a child not his own with the purpose of treating him as and giving him all the privileges of his own natural child.
At the moment of adoption, the newly adopted child loses all the rights, privileges and responsibilities in his old family.
Adopted children gain all the rights to his new father’s estate.
He is now an equal with the other sons & daughters; he becomes a co-heir with them by law.
Lastly, is regarded as a new person with a new life.
Spirit of Adoption
The Spirit of Adoption is the sense of consciousness, awareness, and knowledge that you are a child of God. It is the indwelling Spirit that gives the realization of sonship.
6 And because you [really] are [His] sons, God has sent the [Holy] Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, Abba (Father)! Father!
7 Therefore, you are no longer a slave (bond servant) but a son; and if a son, then [it follows that you are] an heir by the aid of God, through Christ.
The Holy Spirit or the Spirit of the Son enables the child of God to call God Father. The Son on the inside of us testifies to our human spirits that we are children of God. Every believer is justified by faith in Christ. You are no longer a slave, but you have a legal status as a son, with full rights as an heir to God’s infinite treasures.
Ephesians 1:3-7 NKJV
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,
5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,
6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace
God has predestined us for adoption by the finished works of Jesus Christ. If you need redemption and forgiveness of sins, the Father has made a way through Jesus Christ.