Sunday, January 21, 2007

1 John 2:28-3:3 -- We are children of God

Pray and Read: 1 John 2:28-3:3

Opening thought:
January 21, 1621 Pilgrims leave the Mayflower and gather on shore at Plymouth, Massachusetts, for their first religious service in America.

“Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.” (Deut. 30:19-20)

On January 22, 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7- 2 in support of abortion. Roe v. Wade, that gave women the "right to choose," changed the course of American history. For those of us who cherish life, we look at that day as a tragedy, as we turn even harder to building a culture of life. Many pastors around the nation see the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, as the day to focus on the sanctity, the very preciousness, of life. This day is known nationally as Sanctity of Life Sunday; and since its first Presidential Proclamation in 1984, the pro-life movement has energized the hearts of millions.

God’s truth can lift the moral fog throughout the Church, and lifting the fog is essential in overcoming legalized abortion. Christians, if they speak with one voice, really do have the political power to rid our nation of legalized abortion.[1]

Contextual Notes:
John’s letters were written to encourage and confirm believers in their walk with the Lord. Our text today focuses on the truth that we are God’s own children, and therefore we need to prepare for His Coming through living pure lives.

Since the recipients of this letter have been abiding in Jesus (2:27), they are to continue to do so (2:28)

God’s children abide in Him (2:28):
John 15:1-8. OT concept: Exodus 25:8; 29:45; Leviticus 26:11-12; Ezekiel 37:27-28; 43:9
Result: Confident and unashamed (Hebrews 4:16)

If he shall be manifested (ean phanerōthēi). Condition of third class with ean and first aorist passive subjunctive as in 1Jo_2:19; Col_3:3. A clear reference to the second coming of Christ which may be at any time.[2]

Only place in Johannine writings that the word parousia (coming) is used, here for the Second Coming.

God’s children will do right like their Father (2:29)
If you intuitively or absolutely know (oida) that Christ is righteous, then you should know by experience (ginosko) that everyone who does right has been born of him.

Doing righteousness is evidence of the new birth in a person. It is an orientation toward God not sin.

God’s children are greatly loved by their Father (3:1)
John 1:12-13; Romans 8:15-17

Human fathers in the Greco-Roman world had the power of life and death over children. At birth, the father was free to order them “exposed” i.e., taken out and left on somewhere to die. Tertullian the church father notes that under the proconsulship of Tiberius in north Africa, children were sacrificed to Saturn, and that across the empire children were killed “by drowning, exposure to cold, hunger, and wild dogs.”[3]

Tertullian: “"In our case [i.e., for Christians], murder being once for all forbidden, we may not destroy even the foetus in the womb, while as yet the human being derives blood from other parts of the body for its sustenance. To hinder a birth is merely a speedier man-killing; nor does it matter whether you take away a life that is born, or destroy one that is coming to the birth. That is a man which is going to be one; you have the fruit already in its seed."

God’s children are not understood by the world (3:1)
A.B. Simpson
: “The true measure of a man’s worth is not always the number of his friends, but sometimes the number of his foes. Every man who lives in advance of his age is sure to be misunderstood and opposed, and often persecuted and sacrificed. The Lord Himself has said, ‘Woe to you when all men speak well of you,/ for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets’ (Luke 6:26). Like Him, therefore, we must expect often to be unpopular, often to stand alone, even to be maligned, perhaps, to be utterly and falsely assailed and driven ‘outside the camp’ even of the religious world. Two things, however, let us not forget. First let us not be afraid to be unpopular, and secondly let us never be soured or embittered by it, but stand sweetly, triumphantly in the confidence of right, and our Master’s approval.”
2 Timothy 3:12; Matthew 10:28; 5:10-12, 44; 1 Corinthians 13:4-5

God’s children will be made like Him (3:2)
Both now in process of holiness and completely at the Resurrection. We will be shaped in His image. We will be like He was after his Resurrection. Luke 24:36-45; Acts 1:10-11; 1 Corinthians 15:51-54; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Psalm 17:15; Philippians 3:21; Romans 8:21-23
God’s children live pure lives because of this hope (3:3)
(elpis) -- Confident expectation in something sure to happen.
We are not made pure by our behavior but rather our behavior is an indication of our new life (regeneration) inside.
The Second Coming of Christ is not a scary event for believers. It is a joyful occasion to look forward to and prepare for.
With our eyes fixed on that Day, we are unmoved by the cravings, lusts, and boasts that enslave the people of this world, and are freed to concentrate on what is pure. (Hebrews 3:1; 12:2; Philippians 4:8)

Beholding God’s glory in OT (Exodus 34:29-35). Here, knowing God’s character motivates to purity.

+ Abiding, resting, yielding to Him is the secret to a victorious Christian life.
+ Our lives should reflect the person and work of Christ.
+ A mark of a Christian is a desire to give up sin.
+ Purity in life and character is the mark of a believer preparing for the Second Coming.

Are you prepared? Have you given your life to Jesus Christ? Are you ready for the Second Coming?

[1] Intercessors for America.
[2] A.T. Robertson, Robertson’s Word Pictures, 1 John 2:28, e-sword.
[3] Tertullian, Apology, 9, quoted in Robert Yarbrough, “1 John,” in Clinton Arnold, gen. ed., Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002), vol. 4, 195.
[4] Tertullian, Apology, 9.
[5] A.B. Simpson, The Christ in the Bible Commentary, (Camp Hill: Christian Publications, 1994), vol. 6, 341-2.