September 13, 2009
Text: 1 John 2:28-3:10
Subject: The Children of God
Title: Are You Acting Like God’s Kids?
You’ve seen it before. It has become part of our cultural experience. You are walking through Wal-Mart and one aisle over from the green beans you hear a blood curdling scream from the three year old from Hades.
“I want …..”!
“Now Susie don’t make a scene.”
“Come on Momma’s little angel. Stop crying and we’ll talk about it.”
“Whaaaaaaaaaa … You’re not the boss of me!”
“OK. What kind of candy do you want? Just this one time OK?”
Wow, that wasn’t so bad was it? It didn’t last as long as I thought it would. At least that’s what you thought until in the check out line little Susie and her demon spirit of “I Want” and her mother with the spirit of “whatever you say” fall in right behind you and Suzie is grabbing every item in the checkout lane. “I want, I want, I want…” everything from the National Enquirer to AAA batteries.
Don’t look at me like that. We’ve all been there and we all know what we want to do with Susie. Unfortunately there seem to be laws against such things. The real problem is that Mom doesn’t have the necessary parenting skills to handle the situation properly. Even though she wants Suzie to be the perfect little girl, she’s not sure how it will ever happen.
The Christian world is full of children like that. Many think that they can get whatever they need or want from God by crying, screaming or making demands, without any consideration for what God is asking from them. I want you to understand what I am saying. God has given us many great and precious promises – things that He desires that we have. He has given us His word on it. Now some are good children and are obedient and receive those promises. Others pay no regard to God’s word and make demands for things that aren’t promised and then throw a fit when they don’t get it.
Today I want to look at what it means to be a child of God and what is required of you in order to receive His promises.
1 John 2:28-3:10
Lord, open my eyes to see and my ears to hear what the spirit is saying to the church.
Are you a child of God?
I. The Confidence of God’s Children (28-29) Look at 2:28, And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming. The first thing to notice in this verse is that John reminds us that we are God’s children. Then John says that as children of God, when Jesus appears we can be confident and unashamed. That is talking about when Jesus comes at the rapture of the church. It is then that the dead in Christ will rise and we who are left will be caught up with them in the air… So as children of God we have the assurance that we will be with Him. Sounds good right? But there is a little contingency clause in there that we tend to overlook. And now, dear children, continue in him,… You can only be confident in your relationship with God by continuing in Christ. The word that is translated “continue” means “to stay in a given place, a given state, a given relationship or a given expectancy.” In John 8:31-32, 31To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, (NKJV says , “if you abide in My word”) you are really my disciples. 32Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Verse 29, If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him. The word translated “know” does not refer to knowledge but to perception. “If you perceive he is righteous…” … everyone who does what is right… What is right in God’s eyes? Is it keeping the commandments? Have you ever told a lie? Have you ever stolen anything? Those are the things that keep you from being righteous. Everyone who does what is right refers to obtaining the righteousness of God through faith in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:21, God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. If you then do what is righteous – that means being made righteous – then you are born of God and have become children of God. It is up to you to continue in Him and show yourself to be His children by your faith and your works. Ephesians 2:10, For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
II. The Gifts to God’s Children (3:1-3) 1How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! God’s great love is a gift and He has lavished it on us. How great is His love? He has called us His children. Romans 8:16-17, 16The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17Now 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. Now look at this a little closer. John says you are God’s children. In Romans Paul says that you are co-heirs with Christ is you share in His sufferings. Now, if you take that out of context that you find in the gospel message it would make it sound as if you could only be God’s child if you experienced the same kind of pain and suffering that Jesus endured. So you are not saved unless you are beaten, scourged, insulted and crucified and then stabbed with a spear. Sharing in Christ’s sufferings means to accept the fullness of everything He did on the cross. If you share in His sufferings that way, you can also share in His glory. Sharing in His glory means resurrection life in the future, but also refers to the glory that is given to God when we receive His promises. The world refuses to acknowledge the fact that God is working in His people today. They cannot experience God’s glory that way. Continue in verse 1, The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 1 Corinthians 2:14, The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. But God is revealing Himself to His children by His Spirit, and through the manifestations of the Spirit in the church. The world cannot see them. 2Dear 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. 3Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure. Look at three gifts given here – 1) we are children of God now, adopted into the family and given authority now; 2) When He comes back for His church we will be made like Him. The word “like” means “similar to”. We will have the same type of eternal bodies that Jesus has. 3) We have the ability to live godly lives, We can, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit purify ourselves the same way Jesus is pure. 1 Peter 1:13-16, 13Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 14As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
III. The Example for God’s Children (4-6) 4Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. 5But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. 6No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. I want to break this down into three parts to see the logic of what John is saying. First, sinners are lawbreakers. John uses the word lawlessness to describe the pride of one who continues in sin. It is a blatant act of rebellion that was first demonstrated by the devil. Second, Jesus came to take away our sin. “IN Him” is no sin. The phrase “in Him” describes a connection that the believer has with Christ. We are His body. We are “in Him”. If we are in Him our sin has been removed. Third, If you were a lawbreaker (sinner) and Jesus took away your sin, then, 6No one who lives “in him” keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. The words “continue to sin” indicate a pattern of habitual sin. This is not referring to the occasional sin but to willful disobedience. If you look at the last part of verse 6 it would appear that it is saying that if you live a sinful lifestyle then you were never really saved. However, if you look at it in the context of the rest of scripture there are too many other passages that indicate that people who are saved can lose their salvation. In any case, one way or another, living a life of sin places one in grave danger of hell. The point of John’s logic here is that sinners are lawbreakers, Jesus died to take away your sin, therefore if you are in Christ you won’t have the desire to live a life of sin.
IV. The Warning to God’s Children (7-10) 7Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. John’s argument is in response to one of the heresies of his time. It was the argument that said that since you were set free by God’s grace then God really doesn’t care anymore if you sin or not because His grace has you covered. It would appear that many Christians today live by that precept. Paul warned Timothy of the time that was coming when the church would resort to that kind of thinking. 2 Timothy 4:3-4, 3For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. He also said in 2 Timothy 3:1-5, There will be terrible times in the last days. 2People will be lovers of themselves, … lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—5having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. The apostles would not have written against such things unless they had known that these false doctrines would have an eternal effect. 8He 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. It doesn’t say here that Jesus came to war against the enemy. It doesn’t say that He came to try to put an end to the enemy’s work. It says that he destroyed the devil’s work. It is finished. So if the devil’s work has been destroyed, why is he having so much success in the church? One of the reasons is because the church is becoming what Paul said it would become. The soft gospel that talks only about the benefits of being a child of God without the responsibilities is so appealing. Also, the church has systematically removed Holy Ghost power from within, so the church has a form of godliness but denies its (the church) power. 9No 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. You se, when the Holy Spirit is active in the church one of His roles is to convict us of our sin and to draw us back to God. If the church is healthy, individuals who have slipped away from the gospel message and a life in Christ will be brought back. 10This 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 warning is for the church.
If you are not living a life that is reflective of the life of Christ you must stop and ask yourself what is going on? A life in Christ is full of love. A life in Christ is seen by its holiness. A life in Christ is perfected in power. 19th century Scottish theologian John Brown said, "Holiness does not consist in mystic speculations, enthusiastic fervours, or uncommanded austerities; it consists in thinking as God thinks, and willing as God wills."
Are you a child of God? If you are then you should be thinking as God thinks and willing as God wills.
James 4:13-16, 13Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. 17Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.
God doesn’t want us to be like little Suzie in Wal-Mart.
He wants us to be a reflection of His holiness, His power and His love.
Those three things will demonstrate to the world that we are who we say we are and God is who He says He is.
Turn from your sin and live.
Turn to God’s word and learn.
Turn to God’s will and be holy.
Turn to God’s power and be effective.
Be the child that God wants you to be. Receiving what He has offered and not longing for something that is not His will for your life.