You Were Born a Child of God by Grace!

December 25, 2021

Pastor Gunnar Ledermann

John 1:1-14

John 1:1-14

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

When you are born into a family, there are unique traditions. During Christmas there are many traditions unique to families. Many of these traditions have been shaped by the family’s past. For example, if your family came from Mexico, you would likely have tamales during Christmas. Or if your family is from Sweden, you would likely have smoked salmon, pickled herring or meatballs. And if you have adopted something from the United States, then you will likely have turkey or ham. Traditions connect families together over something familiar and loved.

It has become a tradition to read from John 1 on Christmas morning. John 1 speaks about Jesus coming into the world, but it does so in a different way from the other gospels from Matthew, Mark and Luke. John’s gospel was written after the others so he does not spend time on Jesus’ genealogy, Mary, Joseph, the angels, shepherds, wisemen, etc. As you read, you are expected to be familiar with Jesus, so John referred to him as the Word writing in John 1, 1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” For believers, it is clear John is referring to Jesus, but for those unfamiliar with the Bible or for unbelievers this verse sounds like foolishness.

There was a time when you did not know the Word. You were like the rest of mankind who was given the gift of life by your parents and therefore their curse of sin. Although you like all people are God’s creation, you by nature do not recognize him as John wrote, 10 “He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.” It is a tragedy when a child does not recognize their own parents. This is the pain God feels from us when we turn back to sin. There was a time when you lived as an enemy of God rejecting to give him glory, praise and thanks for creating you and ruling over all things from heaven. In Luke 12, Jesus taught about what happens if you are left in your sins, without faith, not recognizing God or your Savior, 4 “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. 5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.” Left as a child of your sinful parents, of the world and without faith, you would have been sentenced to hell for you sins.

Yet, God did not leave you in that condition. Instead, we read in Ephesians 2, 8 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” God gave you the gift of faith. And with faith, John now describes you, 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. It was not your choice to become a child of God just like it was not your choice to be born into your family. God chose you to be born again, to become alive spiritually, so that your first birth to death from sin would be overcome by your second birth to life by grace.

The Son of God, fought to give you life. Grace is God’s work for you. It is his gift to you. In Hebrews 1, we read about the Son of God battling not against long lines or late shipments to give us a gift, but battling for what is good and fighting against what is evil to become our King and Savior, 8 But about the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom. 9 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.” These words are a quotation from Psalm 45, a wedding Psalm. It was more than a song to be played at a wedding though, the words were a prophesy of Jesus and his bride, the church. In Ephesians 5, we read, 25 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” The Son of God made his bride the church good, radiant, righteous, holy and blameless by defeating the sin that clung to her. Jesus hated wickedness, avoided giving into evil and overcame death to empty the devil of his power. His throne will last forever. And you are part of his kingdom of life where joy will constantly fill your heart.

Jesus came to live with us so that you could live with him forever. John wrote, 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. The truth is that by God’s grace, his family is so large, it is also a nation. A nation ruled by our Father and our Brother. Confident in this truth and the grace of God, Isaiah wrote, 52:7 How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” At one time, you did not recognize the Word, the Light of the World, the Son of God, Jesus, your Savior, but that time has passed. It was God’s will that you be born his child. And, as you face new challenges in the darkness of the world, his grace is always new as you watch God answer whatever is afflicting you with his grace. His Word, his Son has kept all of his promises, he fought for you and rules for you from heaven. Spend your time in his world and you will have joy despite the darkness of the world around you. John wrote, 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

When you are born into a family, there are unique traditions. Each Christmas Day, we read from John 1. Your nation, your history and your family are God’s, and that is why we celebrate on Christmas. Each moment of your life is joy because you were born a child of God by grace. Amen.

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