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Identity Gift, Part 2

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
December 27, 2022 12:00 am

Identity Gift, Part 2

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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December 27, 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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We have been born again into his family.

That's the principle of life. We've been adopted into the family of God with all the rights and privileges as legal heirs of divine royalty through Christ who fulfilled the requirements of this principle of law. We've been also chosen as the bride of Christ, chosen by our kinsman redeemer, our coming bridegroom, made members of the father's family.

That's the principle of love. So John can write, as many as received him Christ, so then he gave the right to become children of God. In 1 John, the Apostle John reminds us what it means to be part of God's family.

As you read this letter, it seems as if John can hardly contain his excitement. You can feel his passion pour out through the text as he says, look friends, just look at the love of God, which he's lavished upon you. In today's message, Stephen takes us to 1 John and shares part of what it means to be a son or daughter of God.

Stay with us as we open God's Word to learn more in a message called Identity Gift. 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 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 and the evidence presented. So Paul uses that and John uses that also, Paul in 1 Corinthians 3 and 2 Corinthians 5 and you can read that at your leisure. But upon that bench then, Jesus Christ is pictured as coming alongside, 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. 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 diligent for Christ, more preoccupied with his coming. Even the apostle 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. 1 Timothy 1.15, he would say, I'm going to refuse 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 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. The word John uses here in verse 28 for confidence, parousia, 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 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 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 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. 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.

Get all those other people out of the way. It's my turn and am I ever confident that I'm going to be crowned? 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.

It means 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've 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 you've 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 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 fake Christians, all those not really genuine Christians, they're going to shrink away. He doesn't say they, he says we.

We. So that we, little children, will not shrink away in shame. 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 fellowshipping with sin rather than fellowshipping 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. 2 John and verse 8 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 Bema Seat evaluation of the believer before Christ. And I think that's the concept here in 1 John chapter 2. 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 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 going to 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 abide 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 comments on this text by writing about a group of teenagers who were enjoying a party and one of them suggested they go over to this night spot and have a good time and one of the young women, Jan was her name, said to her date, well, if that's what you're going to do, I'd rather you take me on home. My parents don't approve 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 going to be hurt? We're going to miss something?

We're going to get one less ruby? Or that his heart is hurt and worship doom is robbed? Jan 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 3 and verse 1. 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, Jan is literally saying, look. Your translation may read behold. If we could 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 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 from another country. 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 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. That's why Paul would write, I'm convinced that neither death nor life nor angels nor principalities nor things present nor things to come nor powers nor height nor depth nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. In other words, his love for us is so high we can't get over it. His love for us is so deep we can never get to the bottom of it. His love for us is so wide that we can never get around it.

His love is so long we will never come to the end of it. I love the way the hymn writer put it and it came back to my mind. Could we with ink the ocean fill and were the skies of parchment made and were every stalk on earth a quill and every man a scribe by trade. To write the love of God above would drain that ocean dry nor could the scroll contain the whole those stretched from sky to sky. John says this is exhilarating truth.

Would you look at this? This must be from another country, another planet and with obvious gratitude over this new identity. Notice exactly what John has in mind about this gift of love.

Don't miss this. He says in verse 1 that we... Look at this. This is amazing love that we should be called children of God. We should be called the children of God.

This is passive. The fact that God is actually the one calling us that. John is saying that's the marvel. Not that we're calling each other brother and sister. We're in the same family. God is calling us children of God. He's introducing us. That's my child. That's my son. That's my daughter.

He's introducing us this way. The world might call you a lot of things. God calls you his children. In fact, a couple of sunny nights ago after the chapel hour, a woman came up to me, young mother. She had on her hip her adopted toddler. They'd been working through the process and she told me she said the adoption papers this week were finalized.

She had tears in her eyes, joy in her face. It's completed. It's official. He now has our family name. And although you've seen us around, I wanted to come up here tonight and formally introduce you to my son.

This is my son. He has a new identity. He has a new family.

He has a new name. Now there are a number of ways you can get into a family, right? I thought about the different ways. I came up with three. If there's a fourth, no one's told me.

But here are the three. You can get into a family by being born into the family in the usual way. One author calls that the principle of life, whereby the life of the parent is passed on, giving life to the offspring. Secondly, you can be adopted into a family.

That's the principle of law. Papers are drawn up, legally executed, and the new family member enters into all the rights and privileges enjoyed by a biological, naturally born child. In fact, that's the New Testament concept of adoption. By the way, under Roman law, adoption was a legal contract where a man chose someone outside his family to become his legal heir, and it was common in the days of Paul for them to choose a grown man, sometimes a middle-aged man. They were adopted, giving them the legal right to become the heir to the estate. So you can become a member of the family by adoption. That's the principle of law. The third way you can enter into a family is by marriage.

We could call that the principle of love, where both a husband and a wife are legally members now of each other's family, even as they create their own family. That's a great summation, I think. You have these three principles, and the exhilarating point of our own inclusion into the family of God is that we've become members. Have you ever thought about the fact we've become members? And maybe your mind is already ahead of me.

By all three. We have been born again into his family. That's the principle of life. We've been adopted into the family of God with all the rights and privileges as legal heirs of divine royalty through Christ, who fulfilled the requirements of this principle of law. We've been also chosen as the bride of Christ, chosen by our kinsman redeemer, our coming bridegroom, made members of the father's family.

That's the principle of love. So John could write, as many as received him, Christ, to them he gave the right to become children of God. If the enemy or somebody might say to you, what right do you have to be a child of God? What right do you have? You could say, well, three of them, actually.

I have the right through the principle of life, through the principle of law, and through the principle of love. There you go. They are irrevocable. I mean, if one could be broken, the other can't. None of them can be, according to Scripture.

We are triply sealed, as it were. Ravi Zacharias, in his book, talks about the joy that comes from knowing that you've been chosen, and he uses the context of adoption. In his book entitled Why Jesus, he wrote of an orphanage in India built by believers that are friends of his, and countless children with deformities from birth have been delivered to this orphanage.

They've received medical help and loving attention, and adoption is the goal. One little boy was often passed over for adoption because of a particular thinking disorder that didn't always connect thoughts. It was difficult to maintain, manage. He was often confused. He couldn't connect one thought after another. About nine years of age, he began to realize that he wasn't being selected for adoption. And he began asking, Why wasn't anybody choosing me? Through a wonderful series of events, Zacharias writes, a couple from Texas, who had already adopted one child from that same orphanage, went back to the States and just couldn't get this nine-year-old boy out of their hearts and minds. And finally, they called the orphanage and they asked if he was still there.

And he was. And through the generosity of the couple who had established the orphanage, paying all the legal expenses for this second adoption, the day was set for this little boy to be taken, picked up, and taken to his new home. And there was a special thrill for this little boy because not only would he be reunited with one of the little boys that had been his housemate earlier, now they were going to be brothers. He was excited about that. But he had also been given a name by his adopting parents.

They had written ahead and said, Go ahead and prepare him. And we've selected a name for him that will be easily recognizable, understandable. His name is Anson Josiah, but we're going to give him something really simple that he can go by. It's just the initials AJ. And so the staff made a little name tag for him, put it on his shirt, AJ. And as soon as he had it on it, he understood what was happening. He began walking around all over that campus telling all the kids and all the workers, pointing to his name tag, saying, You can call me AJ. My new name is AJ. There's only one word to sum up what was coursing through that little boy's heart and mind.

Exhilaration. John adds, just as, I don't know, just a point of realism to us at the end of verse 1, and this is where we're going to have to stop after this, but he reminds us that the world isn't really going to get in on this joy. He writes, The world doesn't know you. That doesn't mean they don't know who you are.

That's a phrase of depreciation. What that means is they don't think anything of you. Who are you? You're nobody. Well, don't feel badly about that, John says.

You looked at the last part. He says they thought that way about Christ, too. Who was Christ?

Oh, he's a nobody, too. But you can just walk around, tapping, as it were, your new name tag, and you can tell yourself and others, I have a new name. It's Christian. It's Christian. You can call me AJ, adopted by Jesus. I thought of that in my spare time.

I think that works, huh? AJ. Beloved, we have a new identity, and with it, a preoccupation for the coming of Christ, and with that, that constant confessing, constant abiding, constant communion. An exhilaration that we have this new identity, and we belong to Christ. By the way, the triune God has made it secure. God the Father chose you by his love.

Jesus Christ paid all the adoption fees with his own life and blood, and the Holy Spirit has signed, sealed, secured you by his indwelling presence to make sure you get delivered to the right heavenly home address where you will live forever. Amen. That was a message called Identity Gift. Here on Wisdom for the Heart. Today's message is part of a series from 1 John called Heart to Heart. The ministry of Wisdom International is listener supported. During the month of December, we have a special offer for those who make a year-end gift to our ministry. We've taken our four most popular resources, and you'll be able to choose any one of them when you make a special year-end gift. All the information you need is posted online at Visit there today for information. And then please join us back here next time for more Wisdom for the Hearts. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-27 00:24:52 / 2022-12-27 00:35:00 / 10

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