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Sunday, January 20, 2013

[Matt's Messages] "Children of God (Part Two)"


“Children of God: Part Two”
Essential Christianity: 1 John ::  January 20, 2013
1 John 3:4-10

Last week, we marveled with the apostle John that we are the children of God.

“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!”

Astonishingly, we are God’s children!

Did you marvel at that this past week?

Anybody remind themselves of that when they brushed their teeth in the mornings?

I am a child of God.
I will be like Jesus when I see Him.

I am a child of God.
I will be like Jesus when I see Him.

And what was the last one?

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

That’s where we left off with John. V.2

“We know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.”

THE CHILDREN OF GOD PURIFY THEMSELVES.

The children of God purify their lives.
They purify their hearts.

They put away sin.
They make a break with sin.
They fight with sin.
They win against sin.

They change.

The children of God are transformed from sinful to righteous.

The children of God purify themselves.

That’s where John is headed.

And John says that everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself. Everyone! 

The children of God live purified lives. Every one of them.

That’s part of what it means to be a child of God.

That’s the point of this next passage–verses 4 through 10.

Don’t miss that as I read it. There are some pretty alarming statements in these seven verses.  

And they need to be taken very seriously.  But not taken out of context.

And here’s the context again.  “Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.”
Now, verses 4-10:  Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.
The Children of God Purify Themselves.

I think that’s the point of this section of holy Scripture.

There is a lot here, but I think that’s the point.

The Children of God Purify Themselves.

So whatever else you get from this message, make this application this week.

The Children of God Purify Themselves:

#1. BECAUSE JESUS CHRIST CAME TO TAKE AWAY OUR SINS.

After John says that the children of God purify themselves, he talks about how terrible sin is.

Sin is not just a little mistake. Sin is lawlessness. V.4

“Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.”

That’s what sin is. Sin is lawbreaking. 

Sin is not just a mistake, a blunder, a slip up, a bad choice.

Sin is breaking God’s law, and that has dire consequences.  The Bible says that the wages of sin is death.

Sin is lawlessness, and God takes His law very seriously.

Therefore, real Christians hate their sin.

And they purify themselves.

Are you purifying yourself?

“Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.” v.5

“But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin.”

Sin is bad, yes, but Jesus has done something about sin.

He appeared, He came so that he might take it away from us.

Remember what John the Baptist said in the Gospel of John chapter 1?

He pointed his finger at Jesus and said, “Behold the Lamb of God who...” what?

“...takes away the sin of the world.”

How did He do that?  V.5, “And in him is no sin.”

Jesus became sin for us to take away our sin.

That’s what happened on the cross.

Our sin was laid upon His shoulders.

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

“He appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin.”

May we never get used to that thought!

And may this spur us on to purity.

Because Jesus took on and then took away the guilt and shame of our sin!

So the children of God purify themselves. V.6

“No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.”

Now don’t get too confused by those words.

It sounds even worse in the King James.

“Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.”

It almost makes it sound like Real Christians are sinless.  

Does John believe that?  No way. Remember chapter 1?  V.8?

“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”

Chapter 1, verse 10. “If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.”

John knows better than to think that the children of God are sinless.

But He knows that the children of God purify themselves.

“No one who lives in him [Jesus] keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.”

If Jesus has taken away your sins, then you stop sinning.

You don’t keep on going with your sin as if nothing has happened.

You purify yourself.

That means that you receive the forgiveness Jesus offers, and you lean on the grace that Jesus gives to have some victory over sin.

And if you don’t, then, apparently, you haven’t seen Jesus or truly known Him.

Because Jesus came to take away our sins!

And that makes a difference to how we live.

I know people, and I sure you do, too, who claim to be Christians, who claim to be the children of God, but they don’t act like it.

There has been no change in their lives.

I know parents who reassure themselves that their son or daughter once prayed a sincere prayer involving Jesus but now live like the world and don’t fight sin in lives and don’t purify themselves.

John is speaking to people like that. He says, “No one who lives in [Jesus] keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.”

He’s not saying that the children of God never sin. It’s that they don’t continue to lose to sin. They don’t give up and live in sin. They don’t turn their back on Christ and embrace sin.

One Christian said, “A child of God might fall into sin, but he won’t walk in it.”

Beware of false teachers who say that sin is no big deal. V.7

“Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.”

That last phrase sounds like v.3, doesn’t it?  “Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.”  “He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.”

This is important.

The Children of God live righteous lives. They do what is right.

Not all of the time. They are not perfect.

But they are forgiven; and they are empowered to live differently!

“Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray.”  There are people out there who will tell you that you cannot change.

You cannot become righteous.
You cannot become someone else.

A worrier is just the way you are.
A liar is just the way you are.
A porn addict is just the way you.
A gossip is just the way you are.
An angry man is just the way you are.
A homosexual is just the way you are.
A fearful woman is just the way you are.
A greedy man is just the way you are.
A glutton is just the way you are.

You were born that way, and you cannot change.

That’s a lie.

“Dear children [of God!] do not let anyone lead you astray.”

Jesus Christ came to take away our sins, and He will not leave us the same.

So, we purify ourselves:

#2. BECAUSE JESUS CHRIST CAME TO DESTROY THE DEVIL’S WORK.

V.8  “He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work.”

First, the bad news: when you sin, you are taking the devil’s side.

He has been sinning from the beginning. Sin is lawlessness, and Satan is an old hand.

But here’s the good news: The very reason the Son of God came to Earth was to destroy the devil’s work!

That’s my favorite verse for today.

“The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.”

That was one of our advent candles this year.

The reason for Christmas was the devil needed defeated!

So God sent His Son to put a beat down on the devil.

What is “the devil’s work?”

We tend to think about demonic possession and oppression and other wild and weird stuff when we think about the devil.

But his deepest work is lying to us to tempt us into sin and then to accuse us so that we wallow in our sin and guilt and shame.

Are you feeling your sin and guilt and shame today?

The Son of God appeared to destroy, DESTROY!, the devil’s work.

Therefore: purify yourself.

You can do it.

You can live a cleaned up life.

Not on your own. Not out of your goodness.

But out of Jesus’s devil-defeating work.

It won’t be easy to defeat worry, despondency, lust, rage, greed.

But is possible because of Jesus.

It. Is. Possible.

More than that–it is probable!

It is doable.

It must be done!

Here’s why.

Number three.

The Children of God Purify Themselves:

#3. BECAUSE JESUS CHRIST CAME TO GIVE US A NEW FATHER.  V.9

“No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.”

Who is your Daddy?

John says that it is obvious who the children of God are.

They are not the ones who live like the devil.

Who is your Daddy?

“Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.”

We’re going to talk about loving your brother next week.

This week, “Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God.”

Now, again, that doesn’t mean that the children of God do right all of the time every time. 

John knows that we’re still sinners.

And it also doesn’t mean that unbelievers who are morally upright and often do the right things are the children of God.

The Pharisees were often obedient the law but were not the children of God.

We’ve seen again and again and we’ll see again and again that we must believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God to become a child of God.

But John IS saying that the children of God act like their new Father.

They have a new birth, so they have a new way of living. V.9 again.

“No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.”

There is a work of God in all true believers so that they hate sin and want to stop and even do.

Not perfectly. Not comprehensively.

But truly.

Because the new birth gives us a new life.

“God’s seed remains in” us so that we cannot just continue live like the devil.

We must stop.

Not because we physically can’t sin any longer.

But because something wonderful has happened to us to change our insides so that we don’t want to sin any more.  Sin is not the deepest, truest part of us.

It’s still there and it rears its ugly head.

But it is a defeated enemy.
And that means that we can defeat it.

The Children of God Purify Themselves.

Are you a child of God?

My guess is that now you’ve heard this passage some of you are worried that you are not.

Some of you with tender consciences are worried that because you have sinned this past week, this past hour, this past minute, you are not a child of God.

But this passage is not saying that to you.

If you have sinned, 1 John 1:9 tells you what to do.

Confess your sins to God, and He will be faithful and just to forgive you your sins and cleanse you from all unrighteousness.

Put your faith in His promises.

But some of our consciences have not been tender.

Some of us have been willfully continuing in sin–abusing the grace of God and presuming upon it and living like the devil.

“Oh, God will forgive. That’s His job!”

“This is just the way I am. I was born this way, and I cannot change.”

“And I will not change.”

“No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.”

If that is you, I cannot give you any assurance that you are a genuine child of God.

The Children of God purify themselves. Just as He is pure.

Because Jesus Christ Came to Take Away Our Sins.

He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God.

Because Jesus Christ Came to Destroy the Devil’s Work.

And greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world!

And Because Jesus Christ Came to Give Us a New Father

So we should bear the family resemblance and begin to look like our Heaven Daddy.

The Children of God Purify Themselves.

Let’s get started.


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