Summary: Because of the difference made in my by virtue of our Savior's crucifixion and resurrection, I can now live with a passion to please God rather than please myself.
Children are wonderful! Just this last week, we celebrated Mother’s Day, and enjoyed the children coming into our service to pass out carnations to all the ladies as we recognized and expressed appreciation for the mothers among us.
But sometimes, children, as cute as they are, can act ugly. It’s interesting to notice that you don’t have to teach a child to be selfish. Without even having to try to teach them, children just seem to naturally learn two words before any others: “no” and “mine!”
The Preschool Property Laws
1. If I like it, it’s mine.
2. If it’s in my hand, it’s mine.
3. If I can take it from you, it’s mine.
4. If I had it a little while ago, it’s mine.
5. If it’s mine, it must never appear to be yours in any way.
6. If I’m doing or building something, all the pieces are mine.
7. If it looks just like mine, it’s mine.
8. If I think it’s mine, it’s mine.
9. If it’s yours and I steal it, it’s mine.
10. If I saw it first, or last, makes no difference, it’s still mine.
The fact is that we are naturally selfish as human beings. The Scripture tells us that is an indication of our sinful nature. In fact, the choice that Adam and Eve made that plunged the entire human race under the condemnation of sin was the choice that said, “I can be like God.”
From that day until this, man has basically lived by the motto of “I can do my own thing,” “be my own boss,” “look out for number one.” And consequently, our world is in a mess.
The other evening, I was watched the republican presidential candidate debate. One of the candidates, Herman Cain, is the former chief executive of Godfather’s Pizza. He was asked how he hoped to compete, since he was the only person running who wasn’t a professional politician. His answer was “Washington is filled with professional politicians. How’s that working for you?”
The human race has basically been ruled by a passion to please themselves and God has asked, “How’s that working for you?” The fact is, loving for ourselves doesn’t produce very good results.
That’s part of the difference Jesus came to make in us. He came to make it possible, through our identification with His crucifixion and resurrection, to live life with a new passion - not to please ourselves, but to please God.
“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” - 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (NIV)
What is it that motivates the Child of God to want to please God as opposed to pleasing himself? The fact of God’s love - “For Christ’s love compels us.” That’s what John tells us here.
1. How this impacts our past – v. 1
John tells us WHY the Father has lavished His love on us - He has done this so that we should be called children of God. Elsewhere in this letter, John tells us HOW the Father has lavished His love on us - “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.” - 1 John 3:16 (NIV) It is light of our Savior’s sacrifice that John exclaims “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us!”
Through the cross, the Father has embraced me! In Christ, He transferred my sin to His account, so I might become one of His children! Through the resurrection, the Father has empowered me! In Christ, He transforms me from the inside out, so I might live like one of His children! A beautiful picture is found in 1 Samuel 18:
“By the time David had finished reporting to Saul, Jonathan was deeply impressed with David—an immediate bond was forged between them. He became totally committed to David. From that point on he would be David’s number-one advocate and friend. Saul received David into his own household that day, no more to return to the home of his father. Jonathan, out of his deep love for David, made a covenant with him. He formalized it with solemn gifts: his own royal robe and weapons—armor, sword, bow, and belt.” - 1 Samuel 18:1-5 (The Message)
We find David, dressed in his shepherd garb, being welcomed into Saul’s palace as one of his own children. That is what the Father has done for us. But we also find Jonathan, the King’s son, totally committing himself to David, becoming David’s advocate, making a covenant with David, and giving David his royal robes and weapons. This is a picture of what happened to us, through faith in Christ.