Summary: Since God has shown us such great love in dying for us & saving us, we should respond with love for Him. As we do, our Father transforms us into the children He would have us be. Are you the Christian God would have you be?
1 JOHN 3: 1-3 [LIFE, LIGHT & LOVE SERIES]
GOD'S PRIVILEGED CHILDREN
One of the great blessings about being a pastor is the opportunity to rejoice with the parents when a NEW BABY IS BORN. I enjoy visiting the mother and her baby on the day of birth. What a joy it is to look into the face of a newborn baby with the dew of heaven still on its brow, and to think of the wondrous possibilities existing in that new life.
Perchance the greatest experience I have as a pastor is to pray the sinners prayer with some one and see the resultant change that often occurs as they raise their head. What joy it is to look into the face of one just born again with the touch of the Spirit fresh in their life and to think of the wondrous possibilities now existing in that new life.
John used the phrase "born of Him" in 2:29 indicating the wonderful relationship which Christians enjoy as children of God. Through His one unique "Son" the Father longs for others to become His children. When one receives God's unique Son as Lord and Savior they are born into a new spiritual world where God the Creator becomes their Father. He does this because of His great love which He demonstrated for all mankind on the cross. This transformation is just the beginning of what God does for us. Since God has shown us such great love we should respond with love for Him (CIM). As we do, our Father transforms us into the children He would have us be. Are you the Christian God would have you be?
[Our text today celebrates the children of God. A small child [in the cartoon series Theophilus] gazed up into the eyes of his father and asked, “Dad, WHAT IS A CHRISTIAN?” To this question the father replied, “A Christian is a person who loves and obeys God. He loves his friends and neighbors and even his enemies. He prays often, is kind, gentle, holy, and more interested in going to heaven than in earthly riches. That, son, is a Christian!” The boy looked reflective for a moment, then asked, “Have I ever seen one?”
The father in the cartoon gave a reasonably good answer to his son, didn’t he? He emphasized the love of God, and our love for others-even for our enemies and afflictors. He also emphasized communication with the Father, seeking first the kingdom of heaven, and displaying the fruit of the Spirit in one’s life. It was not a bad answer. But imagine the father’s shock when the son asked if he had ever actually seen such a person! Is it possible, as the cartoon suggests, that we sometimes talk a good talk, but walk a poor walk? We might be able to tell others what a Christian is-may even profess to be one-but have we ever shown them?
If someone were to come up to you and ask for a description of a Christian, would you need to TELL them....or could you SHOW them?]
I. WHAT WE ARE, 3:1.
II. WHAT WE WILL BE, 3:2.
III. WHAT WE SHOULD BE, 3:3.
I. WHAT WE ARE, 3:1.
John here turns His letter from the world to God. Though the world's glory may be glamorous and enticing, it is also shallow and fleeting. The fickleness of worldly acclaim is too well known to require further comment. What the world gives today, it takes away tomorrow. God though gives something permanent, something authentic, something life changing, something eternal and we gazed upon in verse 1. It is the Love of God. “See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.”
Those that have been born of God, meaning those that practice righteousness (v 29), are now “called children of God.” Righteousness begins by faith and ends in love. That is the reason we are told to behold-see what great love the Father has bestowed upon us. Behold (idou) means to sense and see with awakened understanding. It calls one to stop and ponder this amazing truth. What we are to sense, see and marvel at is the great love God has given us.
Love is agape denoting divine or the highest form of love. Our Father has given us an out-of-this-world love. The whole wonderful plan of salvation begins with God. While we were His enemies, God loved us and sent His Son to die for us (Rom. 5:8)! His love is so great that by the new birth experience we are now related to the One who is the Divine Creator of the Universe, and can call him Father.