Summary: "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"

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Bearing Family Traits

Text: "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" (1 John 3:2 NIV).

Scripture Reading( 1 John 3:1-10)

In our text John is talking about spiritual family traits. When we are born again we receive new life-not biological life, but spiritual life. Arid just as our biological life is "programmed" into our genes, so our spiritual life is predetermined by God to produce certain characteristics. For example, Paul tells us in Romans 8:29, "For those God fore knew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son" (NIV)

However, just as in the physical growth process certain things such as illness or injury can change one’s hereditary development, so in the spiritual realm disobedience and sin can cause us to slow down or even abort the spir-itual growth that God desires us to experience. Throughout the New Testa-ment we find many passages that remind us of the spiritual family traits we should develop in our lives. John tells us four things about these spiritual family traits that God programmed into us when we were born again.

I. First, John tells us what we are (I John 3:1).

A. John is amazed by what God has done for sinful humanity. "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us" (NIV). In other words, John is saying that nothing else in human life even faintly resembles the love that God has shown to humankind.

B. What is it about this love that so astounds John? "That we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" (NIV). The word "called" that

John uses literally means "styled." When we are born again because of

God’s great love, the Holy Spirit begins to style us so that day by day we

come to resemble the children of God and cease to look like the children of the world.

II. Next, john tells us what we will become (1 John 3:2-3).

A. John uses a hint of caution in these verses. It is almost as if John is saying, "Now Christians, a wonderful thing has happened as a result of God’s amazing love. But we have not arrived yet! Many rough places need to be smoothed out, many attitudes and ideas need to be altered."

B. A Christian’s spiritual mirror is God’s Word. We are never flattered when we see ourselves in relationship to God’s Word. But the positive note in this experience is that we are becoming more like our Lord every day. We have no idea what the finished product is going to be, but we do know that we will be like Jesus!

C. John says we are continually cleansed when we have this hope. As the hope within us purifies our hearts, we are brought closer and closer to that state of purity required to stand in God’s presence.

III. Then John tells us what we should avoid (1 John 3:4-9).

A. John outlines four things about sin in these verses. He tells us what sin is, what sin does, why sin is, and where sin originates. Unless we properly understand what John is saying about sin, this can be the most frightening passage in the Bible. We must remember that the difference between a believer who sins and an unbeliever who sins is that the unbeliever can sin without remorse. Unbelievers continue to sin because that is their unredeemed nature. Christians, however, cannot sin without feeling convicted by the Holy Spirit.

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