Damariscotta Baptist Church
Saturday, August 18, 2018
Growing personal relationships with God and community

09/03/17 Sermon - Our Hope is in Him

“Our Hope is In Him”

1 John 3:1-10


Thus far in the book of 1 John we have been encouraged to establish a relationship with God. Not just a random relationship but a familial relationship. A relationship that should be become so close that we feel comfortable in calling the God of the Universe, “Daddy.” In our society today, having a “Daddy” relationship with God, may not feel comfortable for many people, because the family system that was once functional and positive, has deteriorated and many people have experienced dysfunctional family relationships. So calling God, “Daddy” may produce uncomfortable emotions. I suspect there were similar uncomfortable emotions for those hearing this message for the first time. This homily was being read to those who were in the first Christian church that ever existed. The background of those listening would have had their own cultural baggage to get through.

The early church was made up of people who were either of Jewish descent or they were Gentile. The Jewish Christians would have had a reverence for God that kept God on a throne, not the kind of God that would have you bouncing on His knee, as a child who would feel comfortable calling God “Daddy.”


As for the Gentile, their view of “god” would have been anything from pagan worship, to a view that there was no such thing as God. Either of these groups would have had to get past their cultural upbringing to accept and develop a personal, loving, child like relationship with God. Maybe that is one of the reasons, the Son of God, Jesus, came to earth, to demonstrate what a child of God looks like and acts like?


As we look at today’s Scripture, at the beginning of chapter 3, the author continues writing in regards to our relationship with God, and now he focuses on the destiny of that relationship.

Not only are we to recognize that we are children of God, but with that privilege, when Jesus returns we will become like Jesus, we too will be perfected.


Let’s begin with verse 1, of chapter 3. Right off the bat, the author sets the record straight. Children of God, will not be recognized by the world, neither will they be taken seriously. Too often, we take this rejection personally. Yet, the author reminds us that the world is rejecting Jesus and God,

not us.

The world rejects who we represent.

We are also given the reason for this rejection. The reason for rejection is not because the world hates God, although some may, but the biggest reason the world rejects us is because they have no idea who God is or what He is up to. There are so many false perceptions of who God is and what God is up to, in the world today, that I think even Christians are confused. I am guessing that the confusing has been around since the writing of this letter.

Because the author continues to explain what is really entailed in being a child of God. When we start our relationship with God, through Jesus, here on earth, it is only the beginning. Eugene Peterson, in The Message, puts the thought this way, in verse 2,

“Who knows how we’ll end up!”

The prospects are endless!

The possibilities are tremendous!

With the creator of the Universe as our Daddy, the options are infinite. As children of God, we should look forward to seeing Christ again, because then we are told, we will be like Him.

What does that mean?

The answer to that question is found as we read God’s Word, spend time in conversation with God and get to know the Jesus of the New Testament, and strive to walk the way Jesus did using his life as a model for our own.


However, reality sinks in when we get to verse 4.

We live on earth, and for the time being, this world is disrupted by sin. The author reminds us that Christ showed up in order to get rid of sin. Unfortunately, we need to wait until His triumphal return, for sin to be eradicated forever. In the meantime, the author reminds us that if we are living, in Christ, that we are not to make a practice of sin.


The author also gives us a definition for sin,

he calls it “lawlessness.”

It is a disregard for the law of God,

which ultimately is a disregard for the one who made the law,

God himself.

We need to beware of minimizing sin.

Rather than calling it sin, we often say things like,

“If I’ve done something wrong…” or “Mistakes happen.” Owning our sin is the first step to true forgiveness. When we own our sin, we then have something tangible that we can take to the foot of the cross and leave it with there. We become free of it. But when we brush it off as a mistake or not acknowledge our part of the sin, it stays with us and gets in the way of life with God and often life with others. We have been offered the freedom from our sin through the death of Jesus Christ. The sole reason for Jesus coming to earth in the first place was to take away our sins. The angel Gabriel proclaimed this to Joseph in a dream, Matthew 1:21, you shall call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sin.


Note Gabriel didn’t say, He shall keep them from sinning.


The work of Jesus Christ in our lives today is to:

  • Take the penalty of our sin, this happens immediately upon accepting Christ as our personal Savior

The work of Jesus Christ in our lives today is to:

  • Take the power of sin away, this is ongoing as we develop and strengthen our walk with Jesus


The work of Jesus Christ in our lives in eternity is to:

  • Take the presence of sin away. This will occur when we are glorified with Jesus.


So, if you live in Christ, you do not keep on sinning.

Or do you?

Christians sin, I am living proof.

So what does the author mean?

This is where knowing Greek gives some clarity. According to the verb tense that is being used here, the phrase, does not sin, means, does not live a lifestyle of habitual sin.


We have already read in 1 John 1:8 that If we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. In this verse, the author is writing about the occasional sin.


But in verse 6, the author is talking about a lifestyle of sinning, where sinning has become a habit. The NIV has translated this correctly by translating the verbs to read, keeps on sinning, continues to sin, and he cannot go on sinning.


The question to ask is not, “Do you sin or not?”

Everyone sins.

The better question is, “How do you react when you sin? Do you call it what it is,

humbly confess your sin,

and with the power of Jesus Christ and the help of the Holy Spirit, battle against doing it again?


Or


Do you give into the pattern of sin,

focus on your humanity and let it dominate your lifestyle?


Why do Christians make excuses for their sin? When they have the power to rid themselves of sin, immediately?


I can think of some reasons…..

  • They enjoy their sin. It feels good, at least for the moment.

  • They have allowed complacency to win. The initial step towards sin wasn’t that bad, maybe not a sin at all. Here’s an example, a married person starts talking with someone of the opposite sex at work and discovers they have a lot in common. That isn’t sin. Then this married person makes a point to be sure they are sitting with this person at meetings, during lunch, etc. Again, not really a sin. You all know where this is going. The two eventually find themselves in bed, committing adultery. Where does compromise begin?

Another possible reason Christians make excuses for their sin may just be they are so caught up in the world they are unable to see the difference between worldliness and sin. Everyone else is doing it!


Today’s Scripture reminds us that people conceived and brought into life by God, don’t make a practice of sin. How could they? They could because they have chosen not to regard the Spirit that lives within them. They have placed their God given attachment aside and allowed the worldly nature to take precedence.


Here is today’s Scripture reminder:

It is not in the nature of the God-begotten to practice and parade sin.


Today we celebrate the freedom from sin. The reminder of what we can use to keep us from sinning. The Lord’s Supper is God’s way of reminding us of the price He paid to keep us from having to live with our sin.


(Give an opportunity to recognize our sin and seek forgiveness, and to take the power of Christ to keep us from living in a life of sin)


Lord’s Supper