Summary: Children of God. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Reading: 1 John chapter 3 verses 1-10.
Chinese boy who wanted to learn about jade went to study with a talented old teacher.
• This gentle man put a piece of the precious stone into his hand;
• And told him to hold it tight.
• Then he began to talk of philosophy, men, women, the sun;
• And almost everything under it.
• After an hour he took back the stone and sent the boy home.
• The procedure was repeated for several weeks.
• The boy became frustrated. When would he be told about the jade?
• He was too polite, however, to question the wisdom of his venerable teacher.
• Then one day, when the old man put a stone into his hands,
• Immediately the boy cried, ‘That’s not jade!’“
The apostle John wants Christians to walk so close to Christ:
• That when we encounter that which is false;
• Like that little boy we can instantly say that isn’t right!
• How can we know good teachers from false.
• Remember his readers had not yet got a New Testament to turn to.
• To that question is found in the key verse of this chapter;
• That is verse 10:
“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”.
“You can tell God's children from the devil's children, because those who belong to the devil refuse to do right or to love each other”.
In this chapter the apostle John teaches that a genuine Christian is known for two things:
• First: He or she practices righteousness (tries to live right);
• Second: He or she has a love for other Christians despite their differences.
• In verses 1-10 John deals with the first topic, the right kind of living.
• Then in verses 11-24 he deals with the second topic, loving others.
John’s letter has been described as a spiritual staircase:
• Because he keeps returning to the same three topics;
• Love, obedience and truth.
• Practicing righteousness and loving other Christians;
• Are not new themes in this letter.
• These two important subjects;
• Have already been covered in the first two chapters of this letter,
Now once again in this chapter John goes back to them:
• Now he is not merely being repetitious by returning to these themes;
• In fact each time he returns to them, he looks at it from another angle (point of view).
In chapter 3 the emphasis concerning these topics are different:
• In the first two chapters the emphasis was on fellowship:
• A Christian who is in fellowship with God;
• Will want to practice righteousness and will want to love other Christians.
• So that they maintain their fellowship with God.
But now in chapters 3-5 he changes the emphasis:
• In chapters 3-5, the emphasis is on sonship:
• Because every Christian is "born of God," or “Children of God”.