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Summary: 1- How great - we shall be called children 2- How great - we shall see Him as He is 3- How great - we shall be like Him

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INTRO.- How great is the love.

ILL.- An old man and woman were married for many years even though they hated each other. When they had a confrontation, screams and yelling could be heard deep into the night. A constant statement was heard by the neighbors who feared the man the most. He said, "When I die I will dig my way up and out of the grave to come back and haunt you for the rest of your life!"

They believed he practiced black magic and was responsible for missing cats and dogs, and strange sounds at all hours. He was feared and enjoyed the respect of others.

He died suddenly under strange circumstances and the funeral had a closed casket. After the burial, the wife went straight to the local bar and began to party as if there was no tomorrow.

The enjoyment of her actions were becoming extreme while her neighbors approached in a group to ask these questions: Are you not afraid,concerned or worried that this man who practiced black magic and stated when he died he would dig his way up and out of the grave to come back and haunt you for the rest of your life?

The wife put down her drink and said, "Let the jerk dig. I had him buried upside down."

Remember that song? What the world needs now, is love, sweet love. What the worlds need now, is God's sweet love.

ILL.- Max Lucado relates this story. When Catherine Lawes' husband, Lewis, became the warden on Sing Sing prison in 1921, she was a young mother of three daughters. Everybody warned her never to step foot inside the walls. But she didn't listen to them. When the first prison basketball game was held, in she went, three girls in tow, and took a seat in the bleachers with the inmates.

When she heard that one convicted murderer was blind, she taught him Braille so he could read. Upon learning of inmates who were hearing impaired, she studied sign language so they could communicate. For sixteen years Catherine Lawes softened the hard hearts of the men of Sing Sing.

The prisoners knew something was wrong when Lewis Lawes didn't report to work. Quickly the word spread that Catherine had been killed in a car accident. The following day as the acting warden took his early morning walk, he noticed a large gathering at the main gate. Every prisoner pressed against the fence. Eyes awash with tears. Faces solemn. No one spoke or moved.

The warden made a remarkable decision. “All right, men, you can go. Just be sure to check in tonight.” These were America's hardest criminals. But the warden unlocked the gate for them, and they walked without escort or guard to the home of Catherine Lawes to pay their last respects. And each one returned.

Real love changes people. That's genuine love. That's true love.

PROP.- In our text, John speaks of the greatness of God’s love for us.

1- How great - we shall be called children

2- How great - we shall see Him as He is

3- How great - we shall be like Him

I. HOW GREAT - WE SHALL BE CALLED CHILDREN

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! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

ILL.- Did you hear about the teacher who was helping one of her kindergarten students put on his boots? He asked for help and she could see why. With her pulling and him pushing, the boots still didn't want to go on. When the second boot was on, she had worked up a sweat. She almost blew up when the little boy said, "Teacher, they're on the wrong feet." She looked and sure enough, they were.

It wasn't any easier pulling the boots off than it was putting them on. She managed to keep her cool as together they worked to get the boots back on, this time on the right feet. He then announced, "These aren't my boots."

She bit her tongue rather than get right in his face and scream,"Why didn't you say so?" like she wanted to.

Once again she struggled to help him pull the ill-fitting boots off. He then said, "They're my brother's boots. My Mom made me wear them."

She didn't know if she should laugh or cry. She mustered up the grace and courage she had left to wrestle the boots on his feet again. She said, "Now, where are your mittens?"

Children will be children. Yes, we will. What? Are we not still children? Are we not children of His? And do we not do silly things at times? YES!

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