1 JOHN 2v28 – 3v3.
THE CHRISTIAN LIFE IS NOW AND COMING.
THEME: The children of God have the certainty of eternal life – right living is the evidence of that life – Christlike perfection is the reward!
ILLUS.: Before we came to Binscombe one of the jobs I had was Teaching English to foreigners – for a time we ran our own language school in partnership with a friend – this often involved having to fetch students from the airport. I spent many hours at Heathrow and Gatwick – I enjoy watching people. The bored driver standing with a name card. The business men who catch more planes than most people catch buses – The there are those who are waiting for a loved one – someone who they haven’t seen for a long time – the excitement, esp. for the children, is almost unbearable – and when they finally come through those doors into the Arrivals Hall there is much hugging and carrying on – oblivious to the fact that anyone is watching.
As Christians we are waiting for a loved one to return – unlike the airport there is no arrival time on the display board – BUT the final arrival is not in doubt. Jesus will return – the angel promised he would and He himself promised he would:
Acts1v10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them.
11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
John14v3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
The point is, are we excited about his return? Does the fact of Christ’s return make a difference to the way we live our lives?
Is there an anticipation that his return in always imminent – every generation has to live in the light of the fact the Jesus could return TODAY!!
Waitng for Christ’s return is not a passive waiting – not putting your spiritual feet up! It is an active waiting and the church needs to be saying to herself “We will work as fervently as possible in preparation for his coming”
Spurgeon “The fact that Jesus Christ is to come again is not a reason for star-gazing, but for working in the power of the Holy Spirit.”
1. OUR CONFIDENCE WHEN HE COMES [v1]
And so John writes:-
1John228 And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.
In the prevoius section John has been warning his “dear children” about those who would seek to lead them astray and affirms that what they have heard from him and the others apostles is true and trustworthy. He now encourages them to continue in the way that they have been going.
When he writes in v27 “remain in him” and in v28 “continue in him” he is not suggesting that they have lost or can lose their staus as “Children of God”. On the contrary he is encouraging them to continue in the direction they have been going all along.
What we need is not just a good start in the Christian life – we need also to continue. It is easy to become discouraged – because while it is a wonderful privilege and blessing to know Jesus; being a Christian is hard work. Jesus never promised a life of luxury. There will be disappointments – people will let you down – you will not get recognition for what you do ………
But John’s encouragement is this – “Look up – Jesus is coming!” If you know him and you continue in him then when he does come you will have confidence and be unashamed.
“unashamed” is often interpreted to mean that if Christians let Jesus down; if we don’t give 100% and more then when we see him face to face we will hang our heads in shamed.
“Confidence and unashamed” are linked together. If we know him then we will continue in him and if we continue in him it is because we know him.The shame that is referred to here is the disgrace and rejection of the unbeliever when they face the judgement of God.
A Christian will have confidence before God, in fact, we have it now:-
Heb4v10 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Heb. 10 19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus,
There are two words that are used to refer to Christ’s return “Appearing” and “Coming” [Parousia]
Appears – can be translated ‘revealed’ indicating and open and public vindication of Jesus. When he came the first time there was a hiddenness about his coming – there will be no such veil when he comes again. Those who now dispute or deny who Jesus is will be silenced and ashamed on the day he appears.
Coming -[ Parousia] is the ancient word used for the coming of a King in open splendour and honour. When the people knew the king or queen was coming they would go out to meet them and line the street in glorious procession [Palm Sunday – Jesus triumphal entry into Jerusalem].
Thus when he comes those who are his will rush to meet him with excitement and confidence.
What then is our purpose until he comes??
2. OUR CONDUCT UNTIL HE COMES [v29].
29 If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.
Note carefully what John is saying in this verse – He is not saying – ‘If you do the right thing you will then be righteous and belong to God.’
Doing righteous deeds is not a process that produces salvation. Rather righteous living provides confirmation that we have a relationship with God already. Righteous conduct does not make us God’s children. It evidence that we have received a new nature.
1 Peter 13 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
NB -It is not the person who think he is righteous BUT the one you “does what is right”. Righteousness is not a feeling or and intention – it is having actions and attitudes that demonstrate an inner righteousness.
ILLUS.: It is no use telling some you love them or are concerned about them IF you never show that love and concern.
We are not talking about one off acts of goodness BUT a habitual way of life. Privilege -“being born of God” carries with it responsibility – “living in a godly way” This is the kind of living God asks of us as we wait for Christ’s coming.
3. WE ARE CHILDREN OF GOD BECAUSE HE CAME [v1]
1 How great is the 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.
We are the children of God because He took the initiative and came to us. Christians have been born of God.
ILLUS.: This week Harry George Withers was born to Dave and Kelly. Little Harry did not cause his own birth – he did not initiate the relationship between himself and his Mum and Dad.
So it is with God’s children – God takes the initiative and we are born again by the will of God.
God calls us to be his children – he doesn’t just give us a name BUT he brings us into a relationship – once we are God’s children we belongs to him in the same way as a child belongs to his/her parents – it is a permanent relationship.
This love that John speaks of is not something we admire from a distant –
ILLUS.: It is not like watching a tear-jerking movie where love triumps and they ride off into the sunset together and we are left with a nice warm feeling.
This is a love that we experience – that we can know – God doesn’t just hang out his love for us to look at BUT he gives us his love BECAUSE he has given us himself. He is LOVE! By his Spirit he lives in his children and imparts his love to them.
Who are his children? John tells us in his gospel:-
John 1v12-13 …..to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God — 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
We live in a world where status means a lot – in a world where who you know and who you are related to is more important than what you know. But what higher status is there than being a child of God.
The problem is that being a Child of God will bring no recognition from the world. The should come as no surprise because Jesus was no recognise by the world for who he really was – and he is still not by most people.
The people of Jesus day would have been satisfied with his good manners, his good deeds, his good words BUT for one thing He insisted that he was the Son of God and he insisted on righteousness in all men [Laurin].
When as God’s children we show the character of our Father we are a disturbing element in a world that wants to live for itself. People are either drawn to God through that OR they are hostile to it. In a world that is by nature hostile to God it is relatively easy to be a relgious Christian BUT it is difficult to be a Christ-like Christian.
The world recognises people by the standards of wealth and position BUT God recognises them by their new birth into a living relationship with Him [Laurin].
Just as there will be a time when Jesus will be recognised for who he is when he comes again so too there will be a full revelation of what the children of God will be.
Which brings us to the next verse…..
4. OUR CHANGE WHEN HE COMES [v2]
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 he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
We do not know exactly what we will be like when Jesus comes – What we have now as God’s children is just a taste / a small part of what is to come.
1 Cor.2v9 “No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him”
When Jesus came the first time he came to be like us so that he could redeem us to God BUT when he comes the second time we shall be glorified so that we might become like him.
Our vision of God is now veiled – even though we have new life in Christ, sin still effects our vision.
1 Cor.13v12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
We can’t appreciate what it will be like to see Jesus – even after the resurrection when the disciples saw him his glory was still veiled. What will it be like when we see him the fullness of his splendour. “… when we see him as he is.” The most amazing thing of all is that we will be like him –
ILLUS.: Imagine if you had never seen a fully grown oak tree and someone showed you and acorn – could you really have an appreciation or understanding of what an oak tree was relly like.
In a way what we now have is the acorn – the oak tree is still to come. The acorn is wonderful enough how much more when we receive the fulness of our salvation.
When we see God we shall become like God.
5. OUR CHARGE UNTIL HE COMES. [v3].
3 Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.
How do we live up to a verse like this?? Is it by absataining from certain attutudes and actions?? Is it by being busy serving God and the Church? – doing good deeds? – giving vast amounts of money to missions? – spending hours in prayer and study??
All these things are good and necessary BUT no amount of bustness will make us pure.
Jesus came to take away our sin. From the beginning to the end our HOPE is in the coming of Christ for us. The change that is needed in our lives to make us acceptable to God is wholly dependent on Christ’s nature and work.
Matt.5 8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
He is pure and he takes away impurity. If we have any hope of seeing God we must be free from sin and that is only possible by placing our hope/trust in him who is pure – and who is able to remove our impurity.
My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus’ blood and righteousness
We have a promise and a responsibility – a promise that we can be confident before him on the day of his coming. A responsibility to have Christ-like attitudes and actions in daily living.
Life can be and is sometimes difficult – we get discouraged; sometimes we may wonder if following Christ is worth it. We get cross with ourselves because we sometimes fail. If our confidence were dependent on us we could not be confident at all.
Therefore we must look up!! We are God’s children – Christ is coming back – we will be like him.
So in spite of our weaknesses 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up ………… but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching. [Heb.10]