Summary: Are we children of God? Or do we just claim the name with charades and dismiss the character? Isn’t that what today’s text is all about? On a daily basis, we are called to live up to the name because the way we live is supposed to illustrate who Jesus is!
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
Text: I John 3:1- 7
The story is told of Alexander the Great confronting a coward: "Alexander the Great had a soldier in his army who also bore the name Alexander. But this man was a coward. Alexander the Great called him before him and said to him, "You must either live up to your name or change it." (W. Herschel Ford. Simple Sermons On Salvation And Service. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1986 reprint, fifth printing 1990, p. 27). When people see us as Christians in action, what do they see? (Repeat this Question with emphasis)!
Do we live up to that name or use that name for privilege as a badge of honor? How many people do you know who play the chameleon trying to blend in the crowd---as a Christian among Christians or as a heathen among heathen? Do they practice vice with one crowd and virtue with another?
Are we children of God? Or do we just claim the name with charades and dismiss the character? Isn’t that what today’s text is all about? On a daily basis, we are called to live up to the name because the way we live is supposed to illustrate who Jesus is!
What about the word “now” of verse 2? How does that word effect our fellowship factor as God’s children in the world? The word “now” indicates a point in time ---the present tense. Does the word “now” indicate that we are always on duty? Does the word now indicate that we can choose when we want to participate? “We have a present dignity and duty, though there is greater glory to come”. (A. T. Robertson. Robertson’s Word Pictures in the New Testament). So how can we justify being a chameleon to one crowd and then “salty and bright” only among those who are just like us? Does the word “now” indicate that we are always on duty as God’s children in the world?
What about the futuristic second part of that verse?
1) Eschatology: The first half of the verse speaks about what we are (the now) while the second part addresses what we will become when Christ comes back (the not yet).
2) Transformation: We are living the present while we are being transformed into the likeness of Christ (see II Corinthians 3:8).
4) Daily growth: Consider II Peter 3:18: But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity (ESV).
5) Fellowship: There is the understanding of the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. (Harold Cooke Phillips. The Light of The Cross. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1952, p. 29). What is important in this letter is the context of community within and the evangelism of the lost without. We are called to be like Jesus in belief and behavior to carry His light into darkness!
Weren’t we made in God’s image?
1) The fall: According Genesis 1:26 We were made in God’s image. Adam and Eve abused their “free will” got deceived by the serpent and rebelled against God.
2) Jesus is the only way: Underestimating what would become of his actions, Adam opened up a door that only Jesus Christ could close (Revelation 3:8). Jesus Christ destroyed the works (I John 3:8, Colossians 2:14 - 15) that Satan sought to use for our destruction.
3) New Creations: 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come (ESV). It is through Jesus Christ that we given the victory of abundant life (John 10:10) in the here and now while we are being transformed until the day we become like He is (I John 3:2).
Is fatherhood related to our spiritual lives?
1) God’s DNA: Although it is not a part of our lectionary text for this morning, I John 3:10 makes it clear that there are two fathers---our Heavenly Father, and a reference to the the devil as the father of those who rebel and do not practice living righteously. That same verse also points out that we follow the voice of the one that we listen to. Those who belong to God have His DNA in them because we are born of God---born again (I John 3:9; John 3:7,8 CEB).
2) Victory in Jesus: I know we sing a hymn call “Victory In Jesus” and one of the reason that we have that victory is because of our God who is in us is greater than the one who is in the world (I John 4:4)! Is God our heavenly Father at work in your life? Have you been born again? 3) Our Master: How can sin be our Master if we have God’s DNA living in us?