December 26, 2022 12:00 am
When the Apostle John reminds us what it means to be a part of God’s family, he can’t contain his excitement. You can feel his passion pour out through the text as he says, “Look friends! Just look at the love which God has lavished upon us!” In this message, Stephen does exactly that.
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John is writing, look at this love from God.
What planet did this come from? So foreign to us, so unique. Can you believe this kind of love God has for us?
And look further at what he writes, that God bestowed on us. Don't miss that. It means we didn't earn it. We don't deserve it.
We didn't buy it. It was bestowed on us. It was gifted to us. This is an identity gift to us. When God saves you, everything changes. No matter what your life was like before salvation, you are a different person now. One example of that change is that you are given a brand new identity. You've become a son or daughter of God.
That's really significant. That new identity was part of God's gift to you, but it comes with implications. The implications are that you now live like a son or daughter of God is supposed to live. Are you currently living in line with your identity?
We're looking at our new identity in Christ today on wisdom for the heart. Here's Stephen with a message called identity gift. Just about every month or so I'll see a news report or read an article in the newspaper about this ever increasing problem known as identity theft. According to the North Carolina general statutes, which I went online to read a little bit about it, chapter 14, a person who knowingly obtains, possesses, or uses identifying information of another person living or dead with the intent to fraudulently represent that person for the purpose of making financial or credit transactions in the other person's name to obtain anything of value, benefit, or advantage.
It goes on for a few more pages. In other words, somebody uses your name, your personal information, gets hold of your credit card number, and I read in this research that about a hundred million credit cards are on sale out there that they've gotten a hold of, and for those of you that have a really good credit rating they might go for as much as 50 to 60 dollars, and they use them one time, which is a good incentive to have a poor credit rating just so you know. We are dismayed and troubled and bothered and concerned, and just about every account you have now has the addendum would you like protection from identity thievery. But has it ever occurred to you that Christians are by definition people who have someone else's identity? We're called Christians having taken the identity of Christ as our own. We didn't steal it, but we weren't born with it. Something happened, right?
Something happened to us. We were born again by faith in Christ alone and inducted into his family for as many as received him Jesus Christ. To them he gave the right to become members of his family, children of God, John 1 12. So the good news is your new identity wasn't some kind of identity theft.
It was actually an identity gift. God gave you the gift of his identity when he made you a member of his family, and he evidently gave you the power of attorney because you can sign in his name. You can transact business in his name. You can speak for him. You can represent him.
Imagine all of that is true. He even gave you his son's name effectively calling you Christian even though that was a derogatory name the world came up with. That is a delightful name to us and the plan and purpose of God. It simply means we are kin to Christ. We belong to him. We're in his family and we're co-regions with him in the coming kingdom. I want to return your attention to where we left off on our study through 1 John and chapter 2 because John is about to emphasize our new identity basically affecting all of our activity.
Not only affects our future responsibility but our present activity. We're going to pick it up at verse 28. We're going to get through verse 1. I had hoped to get through verse 3 because as I read this paragraph four words came to mind, but I'm only going to have time for two of them.
So we're going to come back and finish up the paragraph, but I want to give you two words that are characteristics of our new identity. The first word is simply this preoccupation. Preoccupation verse 28 1 John 2. Now little children abide in him so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink away from him in shame at his coming. If you know that he is righteous literally that class condition since you know that he is righteous you also know by experience that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of him is kin to him.
Now let's go back and take a little slower look at this. Verse 28 begins with the words now and now and I would agree with others that this would be a great place to begin chapter 3 because it is a new thought and I'll show you why in a moment. In fact just as an aside if you're new in the faith you may not know this but chapter and verse divisions are not inspired.
They're not original to these letters. In fact John is simply writing a letter. He would use paragraphs as he wrote but that's about it. Chapter and verse numberings were added much later by the reformers as study aides and they are wonderful aides. In our study we think of going to this verse or that chapter and if you keep one translation throughout life as I've done with the New American Standard for the most part I know which side of the page it's on and that helps me too.
The first time in English Bible included both chapter and verse numberings was the Geneva Bible printed first published in 1560 and then most of those divisions were copied over by the King James translation that came along a few years later in 1611. The reason I think that it'd be a great place to start a new chapter here is because he begins with this emphatic particle noon and now or and since this is so little children he writes abide in him. Simply put have fellowship have communion with him and then you'll notice down in verse 29 there's this command to practice righteousness. I love the idea of translating it that way practice righteousness because it's something you never perfect it's something you practice just like you do with a piano or maybe some other instrument that you're learning you don't consider yourself to have mastered it you practice it. Practicing righteousness by the way is not what you want to do in hopes of producing a new birth it's what you want to do as proof of your new birth. It isn't so that you can gain a new identity with Christ but because you want to reveal that you're kin to Christ and this is your identity. Think of it this way your new identity is God's gift to you.
Practicing your new identity is your gift back to God. Now the Apostle John if you've been with us in our study you know he's already talked about abiding, fellowshipping communing and he's already talked about practicing righteous living but in this new chapter of thought John has this preoccupation in mind it's in his mind he wants us to be in our minds a preoccupation for every believer's heart and mind and it's this the soon appearing of Jesus Christ. Did you notice go back to verse 28 and now little children abide in him have fellowship with him so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink away from him and shame at his coming. His coming is the word parousia which literally refers to Christ's presence being alongside us. The parousia the coming of Christ is actually twofold it includes the appearing of Christ in the clouds for his redeemed which would be at the rapture first Thessalonians 4 and then following the tribulation his coming from the clouds with the redeemed as he sets up his kingdom on earth revelation 19. Now since John here in this text is referring to a believer than being ashamed at Christ's appearing the reference would be to the rapture and that which would follow the Bema seat the Bema is that time of evaluation that time of judging the activities of the believer and rewarding in grace and goodness those things which he actually motivated in and through us it's a it's a reference to that bench where the judge sat in Paul's day and where athletes stood following the Olympic games and they were rewarded for the way they ran the race those who were victorious upon that bench judges sat and rendered judgment based on the cases that they heard in the evidence presented so Paul uses that and John uses that also Paul in 1st Corinthians 3 and 2nd Corinthians 5 and you can read that at your leisure but upon that bench then Jesus Christ is pictured as as coming along the side that is personally reviewing every believer's activity and everything of a believer's life that is worthy of being rewarded it isn't a time to say ah look at that sin or look at that sin that's been dealt with but that sin does affect certainly the way we've lived the way we've run our race which will then impact the way we are rewarded now obviously for Christ to come alongside us individually and evaluate our lives will produce immediately in every honest heart in here including mine a sense of regret a sense of shame I mean who in church history all of church history will not wish they had remained more passionate for Christ more preoccupied with his coming Paul the older he got the more evil he became in his own thinking so that at the end of his life he says I am the chief of sinners nobody beats me it's sinning 1st Timothy 1 15 he would say I'm going to refuse to to boast to glory in anything other than the cross of Christ Galatians 6 14 I mean if not Paul who would ever be confident your translation may even refer to boldness this unwavering confidence of standing before the holy gaze of Christ our chief shepherd as he evaluates our lives so what is John talking about this verse frankly has always troubled me and I'm glad I had a few days to to work it over what is he talking about here that we're going to be confident at his evaluation which follows his appearance in our lives well this may be tedious and I'm sorry but let me take you through this and I want you to stay with me because it can impact so wonderfully so many things the word John uses here in verse 28 for confidence parisia is a word in the ancient times that actually referred to candid speech in fact it came out of the political world for a candidate to speak candidly what that meant was he would tell the truth he had no hidden agenda in fact it was translated open speech and that's the idea so by the time the first century arrives and and the apostles are by the spirit of God choosing language this word referred and could be translated here I believe clearing up some confusion with the word that it became to be understood by simply this openness you might write that in the margin of your bible or transparency openness so go back to the text and it would it would say something like this so that when he comes we may have transparency we may have openness and not shrink away from him in shame well how do you have transparency when he comes should he come today and not shrink away from him in shame that obviously goes back to our our understanding of confession doesn't it of having a transparent walk with Christ that is open there's nothing hidden there isn't any sin we're managing as if he doesn't see oh I'm not going to worry about that that's not a big deal all of that kind of conversation simply manages sin and is anything other than a transparent open life before him and the thought occurred to me in my study and let me give you a little pop quiz can you remember someone in the bible sinning and then God appeared and because of their sin they shrank away rather than enjoyed his coming let me hear you Adam and okay I think it was her fault too she should be included in this whole problem all the women are going Adam Adam and all the men said Adam got some wise guys right down here that want lunch whenever it comes okay Adam and Eve and why did they shrink away in shame because they're hiding sin they're hiding they're they're not they're not running toward them oh forgive us for what we've done no we're gonna we're gonna hide this one and hope he just doesn't see us hiding behind that tree listen I don't think any believer and if it's understood properly I don't believe John is saying that we're ever going to reach a point where we're going to stand before the Lord with some kind of confidence in ourselves and say okay Lord great it's finally my turn got all those other people out of the way it's my turn and am I ever confident that I'm gonna be crowned yeah you're gonna be crowned all right that's the way I think of it no I believe the idea here is that when Jesus appears for us which means we will appear before him that we will actually receive his presence with openness we chief sinners as well but we've lived up to that moment this is the encouragement to live up to this moment confessing openly with open speech in fact think of the word confession I mean saying the same thing as God not hiding anything openly confessing our sin to him so that when he comes there's no hidden agenda and we can greet him with openness transparency we're not going to look for a tree to hide behind because up to that point this is the encouragement not to build up in yourself some kind of confidence not to have all these things okay I got one two three four five now I'm ready Lord please come now no not that at all but I'm confessing in fact I think those who know Christ the longest you'll find that the distance between them sinning and them confessing grows shorter and shorter and shorter and shorter and their awareness of their sinfulness grows greater and greater and greater and greater now there are some here who've written on this text men I respect say that John isn't referring to Christians at all because obviously got a little problem with talking about somebody shrinking away in shame and they're not confident well I think that misses the entire point but they would say that John is referring to Christians who are confident and those who shrink away in shame well they're just not legitimate genuine believers and they got finally found out well the trouble with that is multiple first if you go back to verse 28 look there John is writing to whom now little children now little children he's talking to believers secondly John tells his children that the purpose for abiding in Christ that is having communion with Christ is for the purpose of not being ashamed at his coming that reference to the rapture he's not coming from believers anyway thirdly John uses the middle voice for those of you that really like the technical stuff for the shrinking away meaning that they're feeling the own their own shame believers children little children those in the faith this is a reference to the believers feelings of shame and fourthly for those of you that are in second semester Greek John uses the first person plural subject of the verb in other words he's not saying that all those you know all those fake Christians all those not really genuine Christians they're gonna shrink away he doesn't say they he says we so that we little children will not shrink away in shame see the picture John is painting for us here is not of an unsaved individual but of a born again believer who is allowed sin to abide in his life rather than abiding in Christ he's fellowshiping with sin rather than fellowshiping with Christ and that unrepentant believer were he to be in that state of unconfessed sin when Jesus comes his level of regret and shame will only increase just as there will be levels of reward levels of responsibility and authority in the kingdom so there will be levels of shame and regret in fact I find it interesting that John is the only apostle who refers to this again in his second letter that we'll look at more carefully when we get there second John in verse eight where he talks about because of unrepentant sin forfeiting your full reward he's talking to Christians he's not saying you're forfeiting your salvation you are forfeiting your full reward an obvious reference to the bima seat evaluation of the believer before Christ and I think that's the concept here in first John chapter two the idea of remaining totally open before the Lord daily confessing sometimes moment by moment sin so that we can enjoy his abiding fellowship and communion with him so that should he come at any moment we will have openness before him the slate so to speak daily confession has confession has been taking place no shame as he evaluates our race our run by the way the incentive here isn't just that we might you know we're gonna hurt ourselves man I could have gotten another sapphire for my crown but forgot to confess that that's not the idea it's deeper than that so that we might not just hurt ourselves but so that we might not hurt him who wants to ride with us in communion so that we don't grieve him so that we don't rob from him worship we should be giving him daily but sin robs that doesn't it Warren Wiersbe writes about a comments on this text by writing about a group of teenagers who were enjoying a party and then one of them suggested they go over to this night spot and have a good time and one of the young women was her name said to her date well that's what you're going to do I'd rather you take me on home my parents don't approve of of that place to which one of the girls responded sarcastically and said to her oh you're afraid your father will hurt you huh no Jan replied I'm not afraid my father will hurt me but I am afraid I might hurt him isn't that a maturing child so also with us is it just that we're gonna be hurt we're gonna miss something we're gonna get one less ruby or that his heart is hurt and worship doom is robbed John is effectively saying let there be this preoccupation with living for him in light of his coming for you so that there is unmitigated joy and openness because there's a life of confession of sin to this one who is our mediator between God and man the man Christ Jesus this preoccupation should stay on our minds that he could come today that's the preoccupation of those who are captivated by their new identity there's one more word the word exhilaration preoccupation and exhilaration look at chapter three and verse one see how great a love the father has bestowed on us that we should be called children of God and such we are the opening words here of this phrase John is literally saying look your translation may read behold you can render it look at this he's so excited about it what are you excited about well look at this manner of love look at this great love look at this kind of love different ways that's translated it's a word this manner of this kind of this great rare in the new testament a literal translation is from what country it's almost a question what country did that come from in other words it's so foreign it's so unique where did that come from it implies a reaction of astonishment mixed with admiration you marvel you're amazed the disciples used this word by the way on one of those rare occasions when Jesus stood up and rebuked the wind and the waves you remember that story he basically said be still he he said be hushed and the wind stopped and the waves immediately were calm and the disciples in matthew 8 verse 27 said same word what manner of man is this in other words what country did he come from this is he had to come to come from another god it's like for us saying what planet are you from so foreign what kind of man is this john is writing look at this love from god what planet did this come from so foreign to us so unique can you believe this kind of love god has for for us and look further at what he writes that god bestowed on us don't miss that it means we didn't earn it we don't deserve it we didn't buy it it was bestowed on us it was gifted to us this is an identity gift to us and the verb translated bestowed is in the tense which means it's permanent it is irrevocable it's not like he bestowed on you his love where you joined his family and then 10 years later he said i can't put up with you anymore and kick you out of the family it's irrevocable it's unchangeable if you understand the gospel correctly you know that there's nothing you can do to earn or accomplish your salvation salvation and all of the blessings that come with it are the gift of god to you one of those blessings one of those gifts is your new identity in christ steven called today's lesson simply identity gift we want you to fully understand your identity in christ and the implications of that new identity so 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Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-26 02:15:41 / 2022-12-26 02:24:45 / 9