All In The Family, November 18, 2018, Jodee Kirchner
What was that all about?
If you had to add a title to our skit, what would it be?
Blindsided By Ego and Influence or how about
Pretending to Be Something You Are Not Just to Fit In
I think we all have encountered people who may be mis-guided, strong-willed or unwilling to listen. The character with the binoculars wanted desperately to be “part of”. But she had no idea what the island party was offering. The scripture lesson read this morning in 1 John, provides instructions for growing in the Family of God. It’s All in the Family… or should I say, All in HIS Family.
In 1 John Chapter 2, verse 28, John tells us to Abide in Christ.
Family resemblance is powerful evidence of family relationship. Children almost always: look like their parents, think like their parents, talk like their parents, and act like their parents. You see, it’s in the genes, it is simply who they are.
Children of God are no different. Those who know God as Father are destined to look like the Savior, think like the Savior, talk like the Savior, and act like the Savior. Again, it’s in the genes because as the Bible teaches, we have been born of Him, born from above. The abiding life is the life of blessing.
John describes Christians as: being Born of God. Those who practice righteousness are those who are born of God because they know that God is righteous. Well that’s a given!
It is our nature as Christians to desire to walk in God’s light and practice righteousness because we see that God is righteous.
John provides a picture of hope that we are Children of God. Notice how John boils over with excitement in the first verse of chapter 3, “See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God.” John wants us to see the manner of love that has been given. It is a foreign love that humans have never experienced and cannot experience with one another.
In Matthew 8:27 when Jesus stilled the winds and waves. The disciples asked, “What kind of man is this that the winds and waves obey him?” The point is not how great Jesus is, though that is certainly included in the disciples’ thought process. The point was that this person, Jesus, was different than all the others. What he was able to do was foreign to humanity. That is the picture that John is illustrating.
God calls us to live lives that are foreign to the world around us. Do you see what kind of love the Father has given to us?
It is unbelievable love shown to us by the Father that we can be called Children of God! The greatness in God’s love is seen in what he has done for us. His love makes us God’s children. We are part of God’s family.
At the beginning of 1st John, he challenged us to walk in the light, obey the commandments, know our spiritual status and beware of the enemies of faith.
Now he tells us, live like Children of God. And he puts four challenges before us.
Be Confident at His Coming
John says we abide in Christ because we have been born of God. And because we have been born of God we can be confident at His coming. Confidence at the day of judgement is the ultimate outcome of God’s love perfected in us. Confidence on the day when you and I stand before God to account for our lives. On that day, there are a lot of things that may be important to me that don’t mean a thing to God.
My bank account won’t mean anything to God
My hobbies won’t mean anything to God
Things won’t mean anything to God
But people mean a lot to God. He’ll want to know how I loved others. He’ll care about how I raised my kids and how I treated friends and co-workers. He’ll be concerned with how I served my church. If I loved others well, then I’ll have confidence when I stand before Him on that day and not be ashamed.
Be Certain You Are His Child
John was overwhelmed at the love God had for sinners like us. Its wondrous nature filled his soul to overflowing.
What is the evidence of this amazing love?
The Father has bestowed His love on us - meaning to lavish, give freely with no thought of withdrawal. Forever love. “Amazing love how can it be, that you my King would die for me.”
We have a new family called Children of God. Regardless of what the world says, God says this is my daughter. This is my Son. You are my Child.
We have opposition; the world does not know Him. We are children of God not children of this world-system. Our Faith and Fellowship and love for one another will steer us in the ways of God. We might feel pinched sometimes. Uncomfortable even. This is what we are called to do! To carry the good news of Jesus Christ.
Be Conformed to His Character
God saved us not just to take us to heaven. He saved us to make us like Jesus. God is in the process of honing us and refining us and protecting us and perfecting us so that we more clearly reflect the image of His Son, Jesus and we look less and less like the world. This process is called sanctification. In fact, the whole reason he sent his Son to take away our sins, was to destroy the work of satan in our lives. The purpose of the cross was first for our salvation and then for our sanctification.
Be Committed to Consecration
When a person receives Jesus as Lord and Savior, a tremendous spiritual change takes place. This includes a new standing before God. Christians are set apart for God’s purposes. God roots out every remaining bit of sin in our lives and we choose to get rid of it. God replaces that sin with increased love for Him, for His Son and for His people.
Does this mean we have to be perfect? If God expected Christians to live sinless lives, then every person in the Bible (other than Jesus himself) would not be saved. Think about the sins of these great men in the Bible:
Abraham lied about Sarah being his wife (Gen 12)
Moses lost his temper and disobeyed God (Num 20)
David had an affair and had an innocent man killed (Ps 53)
Peter denied the Lord 3 times (Matt 26)
Paul was a persecutor of the church
The thought that God’s grace covered these men in their sin gives us great hope when we sin that the God who we serve is gracious. In His great mercy, he continues to forgive our sins. But the goal of our sanctification is to sin less and to love God and love others more.
A true believer does not practice sin. The counterfeit believer cannot help but sin because they are still living in lawlessness. However, the words here in 1 John are not written so that you can check up on other people. It is written so that you can examine yourself. This passage is meant to inspire us to check ourselves. Are we really right with God?
In closing, here are some questions that might be helpful for checking whether or not you are right with God:
Do I have the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit or am I merely pretending to be a Christian?
Do I cultivate my relationship with God every day through Bible study and prayer?
Is there unconfessed sin in my life that is standing between me and deeper fellowship with God?
Am I totally in control of my thoughts and desires, or am I being lured away from Christ by Satan’s schemes?
When I’m tempted, do I play with it or do I flee from it?
God is our Master Designer. The Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. He wants us on his Team. He has this vast, loving, magnificent Family and graciously invites all to be part of the Family of God. We are all Children of God and we are precious in His sight. God is Good, All the Time!