As the 19th Century was closing, a new academic discipline was rising in the Universities of the West... Comparative Religions.
This gave rise to a desire to discover the common a thread that might exist between the religions. Adolf Von Harnack, was one who explored this idea.
He wrote a book titled What is Christianity? There he defined what he believed the essence of the Christian faith was…
The Universal Fatherhood of God and Brotherhood of Man.
This leads to the idea that we are all God’s Children.
Scripture Reading: Ephesians 3:14-19, ESV
Fatherhood of god – VS14
Chapter 1:5: The key word is adoption.
Chapter 2:1-3, speaking to those who are adopted children of God, that they were not always such, but were …children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
The Jews insisted that “God – Yahweh” was their father.
Jesus insisted that the “Devil” is their father.
Sorting It Out:
If God is NOT the Universal Father of humanity, then what is He to humanity? What is the natural relationship of God to man?
Universal Creator Colossians 1:15-17
Fatherhood or Son-ship is reserved for a very specific group. John 1:12-13
While we can say that all humanity is the Creation of God, we are not all Children of God. Only those who receive and believe in the name of Christ. Acts 4:12
The Family Name – VS15
Many passages say that we are given God’s name, even to the point that it will be on our forehead, (Revelation 22:4) but Scripture does it actually state what that name is.
· During the era of Temple worship, (Israel) the High Priest, who stood before God on behalf of His people, wore a very specific wardrobe.
· Exodus tells us that God commanded that a special name plate be created from gold to be worn on the forehead of the high priest. Exodus 28:36-38
· The inscription on the name plate was… Holy To Yahweh
· We are no longer in the era of Temple worship, rather our bodies are the Temple of God. Priests no longer stand between us and God. 1 Peter 2:9-10 says all believers are priests unto God.
· Question: if all believers stand as Priests before God, and the one who used to fill that spot in Israel had an inscribed name plate on his forehead that read “Holy To Yahweh,” will that be our moniker as well?
Another discovery may lend some clarity. Matthew 5:9
The Sermon On The Mount. 8 positions of blessedness.
7 speak to the blessedness received…
· Kingdom of heaven
· The earth
· Be filled
· Obtain mercy
· See God
· Kingdom of Heaven
Only one… the 7th… VS9, speaks to IDENTITY:
9Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
· John 1:14… given the right to become sons of God
· Matthew 5:9… called the sons of God.
· “Sons” used not to indicate gender, but offspring.
Family Traits – 17-19
As a general rule, people will manifest the prominent traits of their family.
VS17-19 reflects a strong emphasis on LOVE
· Paul asks The Father to “root” and “ground” us in LOVE.
· He asks that the whole family of God be able to comprehend the width, length, height and depth of the LOVE of Christ, so that we may be filled with all the fullness of God.
I’m reminded of a simple, yet profound truth found in 1 John 4:8: …God is love.
· The Great Commandment: Matthew 22:37-39
· Jesus’ updated Great Commandment: John 13:34-35
Can there be any doubt that LOVE = Agape = Love of Choice… is to be the predominant trait of those born into the family of God?