Summary: As children of God we live into what we believe.
Title: Living Into What We Believe
Text: I John 5:1-5
Thesis: As children of God we live into what we believe.
This week I came across a cartoon set in the wild west days of Tomestone, Arizona where on Wednesday, October26 at 3 p.m. Virgil, Morgan and Wyatt Earp along with Doc Holliday confronted the Clanton-McLaury Cowboy Gang for a 30 second shootout at the O.K. Corral. Actually is was a narrow lot next to Fly’s Photographic Studio which was about 8 doors down from the actual corral. The sides stood approximately 6 feet apart and opened fire… 30 shots were fired and the good guys won with minor injuries. The outlaw cowboys did not fare so well.
The cartoon is set in a wild west town. The gunfighters include the Pope, a Rabbi, an Imam, an actual cowboy, an Islamic extremist and an assortment of other shady looking religious sorts. The caption above the cartoon is a quote from an onlooker who says:
“We better get inside… looks like they’re fixin’ to settle whose is the one true religion of peace… again.”
The setting for the Book of I John does not seem to be set in a climate of persecution or peril. It does not seem that anything external is threatening the wellbeing of the Christians to whom this letter is written. The issues seem to be internal… the crisis is from within the religious community rather than from without. They were fighting amongst themselves.
As we read through the book of I John we pick up on a couple of concerns that may well be what prompted John to write this letter.
1. They had an Orthodoxy problem: Orthodoxy has to do with belief and specifically, the right truth.
2. They also had an Orthopraxy problem: Orthopraxy has to do with right practice.
The issue in I John was two-fold. They needed to be reminded of the truth of being children of God through faith in Christ who is the Son of God, the Savior of the world and the Christ, i.e. the Messiah. Plus they needed to be reminded that as orthodox people who believe right, they also needed to be orthopraxy people or people who live right or practice their beliefs right.
It is an ongoing concern in the life of the church even today. There are Christians (Christian groups/churches/denominations) who are very insistent on Biblical truth but who are failing miserably at living it out in Christ-like ways. If the news accounts be true… some are being openly hostile.
The people to whom John was writing needed to know the truth about who they were and what that truth meant in their lives… it is especially helpful to those who do not feel secure in their world or with God.
I. The Striving for Security, I John 5:1a
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God. I John 5:1
If believing Jesus is the Son of God makes us children of God, what does that mean to us today? In practice, what does this mean? How do we do it?
The verse begins with an assertion: Everyone who believes Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God.
This we know about being a child.
A. A child is begotten
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child [is begotten] of God. I John 5:1
The word “child” refers to one who is begotten… in this case it means God is the begetter and those who believe in Christ are the begotten. We understand what that means in a literal sense so we then understand what that means in a figurative spiritual sense. In Christ God makes us or we become children of God.
Technically we may think of childhood as a period of time from conception and puberty. We typically expand that to include the time before a child become of age… 18 years old by our law. We understand that children have rights and parents have responsibilities for the care and wellbeing of their children. We also understand that in the eyes and heart of a parent, your child is always your child. Loving parents never stop caring about the wellbeing of their children… even when a child rebels and goes his or her own way forcing the parent to practice tough love.
I saw a video clip this week that showed a mother in a supermarket aisle. She had a baby in the cart and was shooting some pre-emptive cold strike nasal spray into her nostril, which by the way resulted in instant relief, when her 3 year-old decided he wanted a large bag of chips. She said, “No.” The kid instantly began to throw a fit. The mother then dropped her purse and flopped herself on the aisle floor feigning her own tantrum. The baby smiled. The 3 year old looked on in horror, put the chips back and meekly followed his mother as she got up and continued down the aisle.