October 1, 2023

We are Children of God


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GRACE: God Is for Us

Week 4. We are Children of God

Message Outline

Romans 8:12–17 (NIV)

12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Because we are children, we are.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 1 John 3:1 (NIV)

1. Led by the Spirit.

We have an obligation… For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 1 John 5:1-3 (NIV)

“God’s gift creates reciprocity or circularity: the gift creates humans who become givers, or grace promotes grace. God’s gift creates what calls participation in the very way of Christ.” Scot McKnight, Reading Romans Backwards: A Gospel of Peace in the Midst of Empire

▪ confession ▪ grace

2. Adopted as children.

Rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father”

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV)

Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. Galatians 4:6-7 (NIV)

“Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Mark 14:36 (NIV)

I’m no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God.

3. Co-heirs with Christ in suffering and glory.

…then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Romans 8:18 (NIV)

▪ present ▪ future

Small Group Questions

CONNECT WITH GOD (Select one of the below practices or choose the practice from the previous week) 

  • Breath Prayer (10 minutes)
  • Create two lists: the first a list of characteristics of a perfect parent, the second a list of characteristics of a typical child. Choose one characteristic from each list to pray about. Turn these into a breath prayer in the following way. 
  • On your inhale, welcome the characteristic of the perfect parent as God’s loving expression of care for you. 
  • On your exhale, offer up the characteristic of a typical child as an expression of your relationship to God. 

This breath prayer can be a prayer of thanksgiving, a prayer of petition for a hoped-for reality, or simply a time of listening to the Holy Spirit as you consider these words in listening prayer. 

  • Prayers of Intercession (5 minutes)

“I look at God, I look at you, and I keep looking at God.” - Julian of Norwich

Alone: As you sit in stillness in God’s presence, be attentive to who the Holy Spirit is bringing into your heart and mind. As they come to mind, pray for them. It’s okay if you don’t know what to pray for. It is enough to hold that person in love before God, trusting in God’s care for them. 

Journal: If needed, journal your prayers, thoughts, or feelings as you pray for others.


  • Read Romans 8:14-15.
  • Journal, using the below prompts (10 minutes) 
  • What words, phrases, or images stand out to you in Romans 8:14-15? 
  • What does it mean for you to live (or not live) in fear again? 
  • How do you connect to your adoption as a child of God? 
  • Reflect together (in pairs): Spend 5 minutes sharing your journal responses, reflections, or questions.

CONNECT WITH SCRIPTURE (Select the best questions or customize the questions for your group.) Read Romans 8:12-17 and the additional scripture passages from the message outline.

  • Review the main points from the sermon outline.
  • What common or connecting themes do you see in the scripture verses listed above? 
  • Why do you think Paul uses slavery (verse 14) as the example to contrast “adoption to sonship?”
  • What is the “obligation” that Paul mentions in verse 12? 
  • How do you relate to your own adoption as a child of God? How does it shift or change your understanding of who you are? 
  • How do you understand your status as a co-heir with Christ (verse 17)?
  • How does Paul connect “suffering” and “glory” in verse 17? 

CONNECT WITH GOD’S MISSION IN THE WORLD (select one question for discussion)

  • What is the good news of Romans 8:12-17? 
  • How does our inheritance and identity as co-heirs with Christ shape our outward practices with others and in the world? 


Break into smaller groups of two or three people. Share prayer requests for the upcoming week that focus on three areas: physical, spiritual, and relational. As you pray, be mindful of your identities as heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.