Follow Along

Get new posts by email:

Sunday, January 13, 2013

[Matt's Messages] "Children of God: Part One"


“Children of God: Part One”
Essential Christianity: 1 John ::  January 13, 2013
1 John 3:1-3

Last week, we learned that we are living in the last hour. We know that because many antichrists (against-christs) have come into the world. But we should not fear because we have an anointing from the Holy One, we have the truth of the gospel, we have God the Father Himself, and His promise of eternal life. In other words, we have everything, so we have no reason to fear even in these perilous last days.

And John ended chapter two with these words:  “If you know that he (that is Christ who is coming again) is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.”

And that launches John into a longer section on being the children of God.

At least chapter 3, verses 1 through 10.  But we won’t get that far this week, so we will call this message, “Children of God: Part One.”

I love this passage of holy Scripture, don’t you?

There is a great song about it, which sticks in your head, and we’ll sing it in just a minute. If you are like me, you can’t get that song out of your head when you read this passage!

This is a glorious passage of scripture, full of the best, most beautiful truth.

Do you remember back in December, I told you that chapter 2, verses 12-14 might  be the most encouraging sermon you heard in 2012?

Well, I’m praying that, similarly, this message would be the most encouraging you hear in 2013, or at least that it gets into your bloodstream and helps you through the rest of 2013 stretching out in front of you.

The point of this passage is simply that we are the children of God.

And that’s amazing! And that makes all of the difference in our lives.

We are the children of God.

Three points of application this morning.

#1.  CHILDREN OF GOD, MARVEL THAT YOU ARE A CHILD OF GOD!  V.1 again.

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!”

Can you hear the breathless astonishment of John as he writes this?

It just takes the Apostle John’s breath away!

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!”

The old King James says, “Behold!  What a manner of love?!”  This is an amazing love.  An unheard of love. A love unlike any other.

It’s worth repeating and repeating and thinking about and thinking about.

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!”

We get used to that idea. But even though he was an apostle, John never got used to that idea.

What did it take for us to become the “Children of God?”

You know that we are not naturally the children of God.  We are naturally, children of wrath.

What did it take for us to become the “Children of God?”

It took the death of God’s only “natural” Son.  His only begotten Son.

It took the expense of His precious blood. 

It took the imputation of my sin to His shoulders.
It took the Cross.
It took the crucifixion of the Prince of Glory.

And, at that time, I couldn’t have cared less.

Paul says, “God demonstrates His own love in this, while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!”

Listen to Ephesians 1 where the Apostle Paul gets caught up in talking about this lavish love. Ephesians 1:3-14.

“[He] has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.  For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will–to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.  And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment–to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.  In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.  And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession–to the praise of his glory.”

And that’s all just “theological shorthand” for the blessings tied up with becoming a child of God!

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!”

And John goes on to say (v.1 still), “And that is what we are!”  Exclamation mark!

John marvels. John rejoices in, relishes, revels in this lavish love God. He almost can’t believe it!

“That’s what we are!” Can you believe that?

That we [you and me!] should be called [should have the status of] the children of God!  And that’s what we are!  By His grace.

Do you marvel that you are child of God?

That assumes, of course, that you are one.  If you are not yet a child of God, the Bible invites you to put your trust in Jesus Christ as your Rescuer and your Master.

John said in chapter one of his gospel, “to all who received [Christ], to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God...” (V.12)

So, if you want to be a child of God, your part is to receive Christ and believe in His name.  Believe that He is Who He said He is. Believe that He died on the Cross for your sins and came back to life to give you life and to adopt you as a child of God.

He invites you to put your faith in Him today.

And if you are child of God, do you marvel in it?

Do you revel and rejoice in this lavish love?

We can get to taking this for granted. 

We can somehow lose the astounding truth of paternity.

We are the children of God!

You are a child of God.  With all of the rights, privileges, and responsibilities that go with it.

You are a child of God.  

Tell yourself that.  “I am a child of God.”

Let that sink in.

It is not presumption to talk that way.

Don’t say, “I hope I’m a child of God.”

Say, “I am a child of God.”

Those antichrists are not children of God, and they proved it by leaving Christ and His church.

But you and I are children of God. That is what we are.

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”

Of course, it doesn’t look like it, really.

If I am a son of God, why doesn’t it seem more like it?
I’m certainly not glorious to look at!  Where is the family resemblance?

I don’t yet look like Jesus looks–either in body or soul.

A little bit.  I look like my big brother, Jesus, a little bit by His grace.

But I’m not there yet.  That’s the point of the next few sentences.  Still in v.1:

“The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.”

The first reason that the world does not recognize that we are the Children of God  is that they didn’t recognize the only begotten Child of God the first time. 

But we are.  V.2

“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known [or has not yet appeared].”  That is to say, we don’t yet look like Jesus in full.

We can’t grasp what that will be like...

Just think!  

What will a glorified body be like?
What will a sinless nature be like?
What will a perfect love of God feel like?

We don’t know.

And we certainly don’t look like that now!  V.2

“But we [do] know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”  

#2.  CHILDREN OF GOD, ANTICIPATE WHAT YOU WILL BE.

This is one of those already but not yet things that are so prevalent in the New Testament.

Are we the children of God already now?  Yes, we are.  Very truly the Children of God.

But there is coming a day when we will fully come into our inheritance.  And the Bible is comfortable with using the word “adoption” for that which has not yet fully come.

Our adoption now is a down-payment on the adoption to come.  The Apostle Paul writes in Romans chapter 8:

“[We] received the Spirit of sonship.  And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ [God is our Daddy.]  The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.  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....We ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved” [Romans 8:15-17, 23-24a].

There is an adoption coming that we are supposed to anticipate.

The full inheritance is coming!  V.2 again.

“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”

That’s something to look forward to!

When we behold Him, we shall become like Him.

Seeing means becoming.

Our adoption will become our glorification.

We will be like Him.

A body like His.
A heart like His.
A sinless soul like His.
A glory like His.

We will be an unbroken mirror of His glory.  We will be like sponges that absorb the glory of Christ and soak in it and take up its properties.  We will be little-Christs.  Still finite. Still creatures.  Still small in comparison to His greatness.

But like Him.  Because we will see Him.

Do you anticipate that day?

Do you long for that day?

Do you look for its appearing?

We need to live today in view of that Day.

We are in the last hour, and we need to be anticipating the return of Christ.

Children of God, Anticipate what you will be when He appears.

This not all there is.
This isn’t even a fraction of what is coming.
Don’t settle for this.
Don’t live for this.

Live your life for then.  Live it for Him.  Live it for Him whom you will be like.

“For we will see Him as He is.”

Marvel that you are a child of God right now, but more than that, marvel at what you will be come. Anticipate that.

Do you want to be like Jesus?

You will be.

Child of God, you will be like Jesus.

Tell yourself that. Let it get into your spiritual bloodstream.

“I will be like Jesus when I see Him.”
“I will be like Jesus when I see Him.”
“I will be like Jesus when I see Him.”

“I am a child of God, and I will be like Jesus when I see Him.”

#3. CHILDREN OF GOD, PURIFY YOURSELF IN HOPE.   V.3

“Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.”

Everyone who has this hope in him [everyone who is a child of God through faith in Christ Jesus] purifies himself, just as Christ is pure.

If you are going to, one day, look like Christ, then get started today.

Purify Yourself in Hope.

Whatever that is in you that is not like Christ needs to go.

Whatever is in you that brings shame on the family of God needs to be rooted out.

Whatever is in your heart that doesn’t look like Jesus’ heart needs to be changed.

Purify Yourself in Hope.

“Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.”

We have been adopted through no merit of our own.  We have been brought into God’s family and accepted just the way we are.

But we have been adopted to change.
We have been accepted to be altered.
We have been saved to be sanctified.

We have been made a child of God to look like children of God!

We are, one day, going to look like Jesus, and we need to get started right now.

Purify Yourself in Hope.

“Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.”

Don’t trample the lavish love of God by deciding to take it for granted and not be conformed to the image of Christ.

Paul says, “[T]hose God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.”

God went to a lot of trouble to make us His children. And He has a plan for us.  To make us like His Son, Jesus Christ.  We need to cooperate with that plan and purify ourselves.

So, this is a new year. What needs to be the new you in the new year?

Take a spiritual inventory.

What in your heart and life looks like Christ?  Keep that.

What in your heart and life does not look like Christ?  You need to go to war (in faith) against that in 2013.

You need to purify yourself in hope.

Don’t try to clean up your act so that you will become a child of God.

It doesn’t work that way.

But if you are a child of God. If you have this hope in Christ, then you will purify yourself.

Purify Yourself in Hope.

Tackle the gunk in your life because you have this hope in yourself.

Get this into your spiritual bloodstream.

I am a child of God.
I will be like Jesus when I see Him.
Because of that, I will purify myself right now.

I am a child of God.
I will be like Jesus when I see Him.
Because of that, I will purify myself right now.

I know what gunk needs to be purified in me right now.  

Do you know what needs to be purified in you?

Get this into your spiritual bloodstream and flush out the gunk.

I am a child of God.
I will be like Jesus when I see Him.
Because of that, I will purify myself right now.

“Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.”

Children of God,
Marvel that that is what you are!
Anticipate what you will be.
And Purify Yourself in this hope.

***

Messages about Essential Christianity

0 comments: