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We are God's adopted children who are called to love

This week we are going to continue on our series on 1 John. Last week in chapter two we saw four main things…

  • We have an Advocate and Defender (Jesus) in heaven pleading our case when sin.
  • There is a new/old commandment to love one another. It goes all the way back to Leviticus!
  • We are to not love the world and the things in it more than we love God and His Kingdom.
  • We need to be aware there are false teachers (antichrists) in the world trying to lead us astray.

This week we are going to look at chapter 3. Like chapter two John has some really good things that he wants us to remembers.

Bible Reading – 1 John 3

1 John 3:1-24 NIV - See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. 4 Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. 5 But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. 6 No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. 7 Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. 8 The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work. 9 No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. 10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God's child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister. 11 For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother's were righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15 Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him. 16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 19 This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: 20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24 The one who keeps God's commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

Message points

Today I want to bring out three keys points.

1. We are loved by God and adopted as His children

1 John 3:1a says, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”

We are reminded that God loves us and we are His children when we come to Christ. We are adopted into His eternal family, now and forever. I love the way the NIV uses the word lavished. God lavished His love upon us.

The Bible says a number of things about us being chosen as His children.

Ephesians 1:4-5 NIV - For He chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.

John 1:12-13 NLT - But to all who believed Him [Jesus] and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God. 13 They are reborn--not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.

Hebrews 2:11 NLT - So now Jesus and the ones He makes holy have the same Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them His brothers and sisters.

Ephesians 2:19 NIV - Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God's people and also members of his household.

The great thing about adoption is it is about being chosen – chosen before the foundation of the world. We are adopted because we believe in Jesus and have accepted Him - God gave us the right to be His children. We are brothers and sisters of Christ. We here are fellow citizens and members of God household.

2. As God’s children, we must not keep on sinning

1 John 3:5-6 NIV - But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. 6 No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.

The Greek word used for sin in the thigs passage is ham-ar-tan'-o. This means to miss the mark. It gives us images of an archer aiming for the bullseye in the centre of the target and missing.
Romans 3:23 tells us that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Therefore, to sin is missing the target and falling short of God’s best standard.

But as we know as Christians Jesus has paid the price for our sins and as verse 5 says, “appeared so that he might take away our sins.”

In the previous chapters, we saw that God is faithful and just and forgives us and purifies us of our sin when we confess (1 John 1:9) and that we have an Advocate in heaven (1 John 2:1).
So how do we reconcile verse 6? “No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.”

We need to remember this in the context of the false teachers who were teaching the people that you could live how you want and be right with God.

There is a difference between committing a sin and continuing to sin. Even the most faithful believers sometimes commit sins, but they do not cherish a particular sin by thinking about it all the time or continually choosing to commit it.

A believer who commits a sin can repent, confess it, and find forgiveness. A person who continues to sin, by contrast, is not sorry for what he or she is doing. Thus, this person never confesses and never receives forgiveness. Such a person is in opposition to God, no matter what religious claims he or she makes.

Unlike the archer, instead of aiming at the bullseye of God’s perfect standard and missing. The false teachers or antichrists did not even have a bow, an arrow and a target! In their eyes, they didn’t need one.

God knows we will stumble. Jesus has paid the price for our sin and we receive forgiveness when we sin, but we must not make a habit of sinning. Sin is the most expensive thing in the universe – it cost Jesus His life.

Before I finish this point, there are two verses that help me to keep on track.

1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT - The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure.

Romans 6:12 NIV - Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.

When temptations strike, God promises to help us stand against it and show us a way out. We also must not let sin reign. The only one who should reign in our life is Jesus.

3. John tells us what real love is

This is the second time in this short letter that John talks about loving one another. Without any spoilers, I suspect it is not the last time!

John again reminds us that this “is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another” (v11). He goes on to say that our love for one another shows we have passed from death to life (v14).

We see in verses 12 and 16 there are two ways to live and love.

In verse 12 John warns us not to be like Cain - “Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brothers were righteous.”

In verse 16 John tells us a better way - “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”

There are two ways to live and love.

One is sacrificial of others for selfish gain. It puts my needs first and uses others to get them.
One is sacrificial of self for others gain. Like Jesus who laid down His life for us.

So how does this love show itself? Verse 18 tells us, “Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions”. It is not enough to love in word only, actions must follow.

Verse 17 gives us a simple practical way of showing our love – helping a brother or sister in need. Those with much should help those with little. It asks the question if we don’t help, how God’s love can be in us.

This section closes with the commandment: We must believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another (v23). If we do these things we remain in fellowship with Christ.

Closing Summary

In chapter 3 John wanted us to know that…

1. We are loved and chosen by God – we are His children

2. As God’s children we need to live right as we wait for Jesus to come back

3. Real love is sacrificial and focuses on the good of others

By Dave Quinn
Founder of PASSIONAustralia.org

 

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