Summary: Because we are in Christ we have tremendous privileges and possibilities.
A. How many of you can identify this building? What is it? You’re right…The Alamo.
1. More than 2.5 million people a year visit the 4.2 acre complex known worldwide as "The Alamo."
2. Most come to see the old mission where a small band of Texans held out for thirteen days against the Centralist army of General Antonio López de Santa Anna.
3. Although the Alamo fell in the early morning hours of March 6, 1836, the death of the Alamo Defenders has come to symbolize courage and sacrifice for the cause of Liberty.
B. While my brother, Steve, and his family were living in San Antonio, we went and visited them and we also visited the Alamo. (Unfortunately, it was closed the day we tried to visit)
1. One of the things that strikes everyone immediately is the size of The Alamo.
2. It is amazingly small compared to the big place it has achieved in Texas and American history.
3. I’m told that around the walls are portraits of Sam Houston, Davy Crockett, and others associated with what happened there.
4. Near the main entrance is a painting with an inscription that says, “James Butler Bonham – no picture of him exists. This portrait is of his nephew, Major James Bonham, deceased, who greatly resembled his uncle. It is placed here by the family that people may know the appearance of the man who died for freedom.”
C. Brothers and sisters, our world needs a clear vision of God and the difference He makes in human lives.
1. Since there is no picture of God for them to see, we are called to be his presence in the world today.
2. We are supposed to “greatly resemble” Him so he can draw people into His kingdom.
3. This is both our privilege and our possibility!
D. With this in mind, let’s turn to the text and examine it.
1. In most of John’s exhortations that we have witnessed thus far, we have see that he has two goals.
2. The first is to expose those who distort the truth through their false teaching and sinful living.
3. The second is to reassure those who are staying the course in faithfulness to his teachings about Christ.
E. Last week we looked at John’s explicit denunciation of his opponents – He called them antichrists.
1. In today’s text, John’s goal is to build up his followers, strengthening their confidence before God.
2. For sure, he cannot set aside the threats of his opponents, and so he does address them some in today’s section, but the thrust of his message is to decrease the vulnerability of his followers by shoring up their assurance.
3. So, John’s goal is not to instill fear or threaten his followers with losing their salvation.
4. In 3:2 he says clearly that they are children of God right now.
5. Rather, he wants to encourage them to stay on the course in which they are already confirmed.
F. This passage is constructed in an interesting fashion.
1. Nine times the subject of the sentence is “everyone who” which is then followed by a Greek participle.
2. If we set aside the one that begins 3:3, then we end up with four antithetical pairs with the same structure and opposite themes.
29b – Everyone who acts righteously - has been born of God
(3a – Everyone who has this hope based on him – makes himself pure)
4a – Everyone who acts sinfully - is really doing sin
6a – Everyone who abides in him - does not commit sin
6b – Everyone who commits sin - has never seen him
7b – Everyone who acts righteously - is truly just
8a – Everyone who acts sinfully - belongs to the devil
9a – Everyone who has been born of God - does not act sinfully
10b – Everyone who acts unrighteously - does not belong to God
G. Now we are ready to begin reading today’s text from the Apostle John about our status, our empowerment, our security in Christ – truly our privileges and possibilities.
1. Here is his starting-point: “And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.” (2:28)
2. Confidence and not shame at his coming? Boldness and not fear?
3. Is that how most of us have been taught to think of Christ’s return?
4. Oh, it will be a frightening and terrible event for those who have resisted and battled against God!
5. But that’s not how it will be for God’s family for whose sake Jesus died, for whose sake he lives now to intercede and to empower (cf. Rom. 5:8-11).
6. Jesus won’t be returning to condemn his followers but to claim them, not to evaluate but to elevate!