Summary: What we are now, what we shall be, and what we ought to be.
Living Up To Our Hope I John 3:2, 3
INTRO.: The promise of Jesus’ return is prominent in the Scriptures. John 14:1-3 is a comforting promise from Jesus to His disciples. Hebrews 9:27, 28 points to the completion of our salvation when He returns. There are many other passages we could cite.
To the Christian, the second coming of Jesus has great significance. It means release from suffering and the threat of death. It means we will finally enter into the immediate Presence of our Savior. It means reunion with loved ones who have gone to be with the Lord.
John’s emphasis is that the second coming of Jesus means the final and complete transformation of our lives through the power of God. "We shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is." to be like Jesus is the soul’s desire of every Christian.
"O, to be like Thee, Blessed Redeemer. This is my constant longing and prayer.
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures Thy perfect likeness to wear.
O, to be like Thee! O, to be like Thee! Blessed Redeemer, pure as Thou art.
Come in Thy sweetness, come in the fullness. Stamp thine own image deep on my heart.
Be like Jesus, this my song. In the home and in the throng.
Be like Jesus all day long. I would be like Jesus.."
John is saying this hope will be fully realized when Jesus returns. But, we are involved in a process that is going on now and will continue into eternity. If we sincerely ever hope to be like Jesus, we must be seeking His likeness now.
John points out what we are now, what we will be, and what we ought to be.
I. "Now we are children of God."
A. That means the Creator of the universe is our father:
1. Certainly, by creation, He is father of everyone.
2. Yet, there is a special sense in which He is Father of those who come to Him through Christ.
3. ILLUS.: It’s like the difference between paternity and fatherhood. Paternity only means one is responsible for the physical existence of a child. Fatherhood suggests a lasting growing relationship.
4. A man may beget children who never become part of his family.
B. We have the blessed privilege of being part of God’s family through Christ.
1. We have been adopted through His grace and the sacrifice of Jesus.
2. This privilege comes only to those who receive Jesus. John 1:12
3. Not through physical processes, but through a spiritual one.. John 1:13.
4. What this will lead to we can not fully foresee, but we know we have a Father who will meet our every need. Matt. 7:9-11 assures us of this.
II. What we shall be: "we shall be like Him."
A. When He appears, we will be like Him because we will see Him as He is.
1. When He was on earth, many saw him and their lives were changed, but perhaps the most striking is that of the apostle Paul. Acts 22:14
2. He saw the risen Christ and his entire life was altered by the encounter.
3. He may be one of the most Christlike men who ever lived after he saw Jesus.
B. It is God’s will for us to be like His Son. Rom. 8:29
1. This even involves some kind of bodily changes. Phil. 3:21
2. The previous verse makes it clear this will happen by the power of Jesus Christ.
3. A vision of the risen Christ is involved. To see Him, it seems, is to ne like Him.
C. A process of change is underway even now. We are "being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory," II Cor. 3:18
1. The Christian life is a life of growth and development as we are transformed by the renewing of our minds. Rom. 12:2
2. This process of change will be consummated when Jesus returns. I Cor. 15:51, 52.
3. Like Jesus, we will be immortal. We will be free from temptation and guilt, and we will never feel the frustration of finding ourselves in situations we don’t understand.
III. What we should be: Pure. I John 3:3
A. There is a real possibility we nay be unfit and ashamed to see Him.
1. Most Israelites who left Egypt never made it to the Promised Land. I Cor. 10:1-6
2. They enjoyed the blessings parallel to ours: they were baptized, sustained by Christ, and guarded.
3. Their plight should serve as an example to us.
B. There are those who look at I John 3:9 and interpret it to mean Christians are incapable of sin. Verse 9 can’t be made to contradict verse 3.
1. If it’s impossible for us to sin, why should we purify ourselves.