Summary: Discover the sanctifying power of trusting your Heavenly Father.
We’re about half way through our study in 1 John. The purpose of this letter is recorded in chapter 1, verse 4, "We write this to make our [your] joy complete." The way John hopes to accomplish this purpose is demonstrated throughout this letter, to counter the lies that crept into the church by presenting the truth of God and His ways.
John wants us to know that not only does our actions matters to God, but our actions should give evidence to a life that knows God. John goes as far to say that what you do reflects who you belong to, because a child is like his or her father. The reason the cliché, "Like father, like child," is often repeated is because a father has great influence over his child.
Thomas J. Watson, Sr. died six weeks after naming his son as the new head of IBM. The son said his promotion made him "the most frightened man in America." But he led IBM into the computer era and to a ten-fold corporate growth. His success was made possible, he said later, by his dad’s confidence in and acceptance of him during his college years, when he was more interested in flying airplanes than in studying or applying himself.
A cover article from U. S. News & World Report concluded: Dad is destiny. More than any other factor, a father’s presence in the family will determine a child’s success and happiness."
The National Fatherhood Initiative noted, "Committed fatherhood would do more to restore a normal childhood to every child, and dramatically reduce our nation’s most costly social problems, than all of the pending legislation in America combined."
Fathers are very important to the formation of our identity and sense of security. Children form their identity using their father as the pattern for their sense of worth, for their value system and for their life skills. I’m diligent because my dad is diligent. I was short-fused for many years because my dad was short-fused for many years. I’m better now because I see that my heavenly Father is patient with me.
We cannot choose our biological father, whether he was loving or cold or whether he was present or absent in our growing up. But we can choose who our spiritual and eternal Father will be. And John tell us that we are either the offspring of the devil, having his nature of sin, or the offspring of God, having His nature of righteousness.
John writes in John 1:12-13, "Yet to all who received him [Jesus Christ], to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God--children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God." Have you trusted in Jesus Christ as the provision from God to make you His child?
This morning, we will see how we are like our father, whether the devil or God. The Bible tells us that if we don’t choose God as our spiritual and eternal Father, we will by default have the devil as our spiritual and eternal father. We will proceed by looking at the nature of the devil and the nature of his child. Then we will look at the nature of God and the nature of God’s child.
First the nature of the devil and the nature of his child is one of sin or lawlessness. We see this in verses 4, 8a and 10.
Sin is not what we like to do that upsets God, but sin is breaking God’s moral laws. And God sets these laws to maintain His goodness to His creation.
For instance, when God says, "You shall have no other gods before Me," He is not saying, "There are other gods who are really good to you, and you are not allowed to relate to them."
He is saying, "There are no other true gods." All other spirit beings, whether good or turned bad, are a part of His creation. To treat created beings as you would the only true God not only breaks God’s law but will break our heart, because all other beings will fail to satisfy our needs in life and for eternity.
The breaking of God’s law didn’t originate with mankind. The Bible tells us this lawlessness is from the devil. Genesis 3:1-6 record the devil in the form of a serpent leading Eve to doubt God’s goodness and so break God’s law:
"Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, `You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?"