2-25-2018 Good Little Children 1 John 2:29-3:3

1 John Series  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  40:47
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Just like many other journalists, Bob Moser of the magazine The Rolling Stones published an article on Billy Graham. In this article, Bob Moser shares how he responded to an “alter-call” unto salvation, yet felt that salvation somehow eluded him.
I repented, I confessed, I felt hands on my head, praying over me. I signed up to receive literature. And then it was over. I was born again. Everything would be different.
But nothing changed. The evil was still in me. And later that fall, I'd learn from Billy Graham just how evil I was.
BUT, Unlike the many other journalists, Bob decided to use this article to vent his personal anger concerning a conviction against sin that he just couldn’t shake and, instead of responding to that conviction rightly, Bob blames Billy Graham for his unresolved conviction:
“I have never known despair greater than I felt, reading those words [Billy Graham’s words exposing homosexuality as a sin against God]. I had already tried to seize salvation, and it had eluded me. I would torment myself for another 20 years trying to find it, trying to "reform," dating women, attempting suicide, never quite able to shake the voice of Billy Graham promising me eternal damnation, even after I knew it was all a lie.”
So, instead of agreeing with God about sin, this writer for The Rolling Stones would rather rant against Billy Graham after his death, then to come to terms with the fact that he is really mad at God, and His eternal Word, for disagreeing with his personal perversion of love.
Bob titled his rant, “The Soul-Crushing Legacy of Billy Graham”
So what do we do with a case like this? where we have a man who professes that he came to receive salvation, yet never was freed from his conviction or from his sin? Did God fail to save him? or maybe all this guy really needs is some assurance of salvation. How could you assure someone that they have something that, in reality, they don’t have and never had in the first place?
Well, as you might be able to guess, the Apostle John has something to say about this in his epistle right where we left off last week.
Scripture Reading:
1 John 2:29–3:3 ESV
29 If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him. 1 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
This part of the letter begins a significant thematic shift. While the first 2 chapters of 1 John have the subject of right fellowship as their main theme, the next 3 chapters have a sonship tone as the theme to close off this letter.
In these verses, the verb “to know” pops up a few times. What you might not know is that this English verb, “to know” is interchanged in the Greek here with two words: γινώσκω and οἶδα. This interchange is significant, and my outline will hopefully reflect that this morning.

I. We Know (2:29)

the ESV does not really show this too well, but the Greek word “know” actually pops up twice in this verse. Let me show you a clearer rendering in the Lexham English Bible’s translation for this verse
1 John 2:29 LEB
If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness has been fathered by him.
The first know is οἶδα and the second know is γινώσκω
Some distinctions can be made within ancient Greek literature. γινώσκω, to know by information, observation, and experience, is thus distinguished from οἶδα, to know by reflection, relationally, personally (a mental process, based more on intuition)
οἶδα is always conjugated in the past perfect which would give the Greco-Roman mind the idea of a completed action with continuing results
Taking these two semantic nuances to consideration, John is likely then saying that we know intuitively that YHWH is righteous and the effect of this today is that we are knowing (present continuing) those that are born again by their righteousness or even by their righteous life.
but don't forget, that is only “if”
THIRD CLASS/ potential action. Here, John refers to an assumed knowledge that believers share, but the false teachers miss.
righteous … righteousness” This is an expected family characteristic!
This is such a crucial theological topic that anyone serious about the Bible must make it a personal study to meditate on at some point. Why? in short, it is a key element to an understanding of the Gospel!
In the OT, YHWH is known and described as “just” or “righteous.” This just concept comes from a river reed in Mesopotamia used as a construction tool to judge the straightness of horizontal walls and fences. YHWH chose this exact term to be used metaphorically of His own nature. He is the straight edge (ruler/reed) by which all things are to be and will be evaluated. This concept asserts God’s righteousness and His right to judge.
Man was created in the image of God and was created specifically for fellowship with YHWH. YHWH wanted His prized creation, humans, to know Him, love Him, serve Him, and even to be like Him! Mankind was tested (cf. Gen. 3) and failed and sin separated us. This resulted in a deep division in the relationship between YHWH and all of humanity (cf. Gen. 3; Rom. 5:12–21).
God promised and promises to restore the fellowship (cf. Gen. 3:15). And so He does this through His own will and His own Son despite mankind’s reaction or inaction. Humans were never capable of restoring this once close fellowship (cf. Rom. 1:18–3:20) we first had.
After the Fall, God’s first step toward restoration was the concept of covenant based on God’s invitation and mankind’s repentant, faithful, obedient response. Because of the Fall, humans were incapable of appropriate action (cf. the OT; Rom. 3:21–31; Gal. 3). God Himself had to take the first initiative to restore covenant-breaking humans. He did this by
1.Declaring mankind righteous through the work of Christ.
2.Freely giving mankind’s righteousness through the work of Christ.
3.Providing the indwelling Spirit who produces righteousness (i.e. Christlikeness, the restoration of the image of God in mankind.)
How is it right and just to declare sinful offending humans righteous? First, God continued the unconditional covenant promise: God decrees (i.e. freely gives) and provides, but humans must respond.
Second, Humans have to respond in: repentance, faith, perseverance, and a lifestyle marked by obedience
Righteousness, therefore, is a covenantal, reciprocal action between God and His creation. It is based on the character of God, the work of Christ, and the enabling of the Spirit, to which each individual must personally and continually respond appropriately. This is called “justification by faith” and vindicates the Judge as righteous and just.
In the Hebrew thinking, righteousness is always linked and likened to covenantal terms. YHWH is just, ethical, and moral. He wants His people to reflect His character.
The gospel (good news) of Jesus is that fallen mankind has been restored to fellowship with God. All of the Bible from Gen. 4–Rev. 20 is a record of God’s restoring the fellowship of Eden. The Bible starts with God and mankind in fellowship in an earthly setting (cf. Gen. 1–2) and the Bible ends with the same setting (cf. Rev. 21–22). God’s image and pure creation will be fully restored!
Dr. Utley, a Bob who responded rightly to conviction, said:
Righteousness is a characteristic of God, freely given to sinful mankind through Christ. It is
1.a decree of God
2.a gift of God
3.an act of Christ
but it is also a process of becoming righteous that must be vigorously and steadfastly pursued, which will one day be consummated at the Second Coming. Fellowship with God is restored at salvation, but progresses throughout life to become a face-to-face encounter at death or the Parousia (the second coming)!
For Dr. Utley the believer’s relationship to God has three aspects:
the gospel is a person
the gospel is truth
the gospel is a changed life
They are all true and must be held together for a healthy, sound, biblical Christianity. If any one is over emphasized or minimized, problems occur.
We must first welcome Jesus!
We must believe the gospel then share this Good News!
We must zealously pursue Christlikeness with no hesitation!
We know this, and we do know that we already knew, which brings us to our second point:

II. We Knew (3:1)

We knew at salvation know how this impacts our past:
1 John 3:1 ESV
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
“Behold, what foreign-kind of love” is literally what John writes. Love is the greatest motive in the world, and if we understand God’s love, we will obey His Word—but not out of obligation, we will want to obey. “If you love me, keep My commandments” [[John 14:15]].
John 14:15 ESV
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
May secular studies have been conducted on what is the most effective way to motivate unyielding obedience just in the past few decades. And believe it or not, fear is one of the top ways to motivate someone: the fear of loss, the fear of pain, the fear of the unknown, the fear of humility, the fear of torture, or even death. but as many Christian martyrs have demonstrated in the previous centuries, there is a better way to motivate someone: unconditional love—or as we might call it: agape love.
But as John points out, the world has no understanding of this love, and the world hates us. The world does not know Christ, so it cannot know Christ’s own.
Once we were in the world, but now we are not a part of this world. Once we were condemned by sin, but now we are under condemnation no more.
What makes the cross of Christ such a wondrous demonstration of our heavenly Father's love is the fact that though these things were true of us, Christ came to die for us anyway.
[[Romans 5:8]]
Romans 5:8 ESV
but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Texas Pastor Dave Mcfadden tells a story about this kind of love:
Many years ago, a little girl who had been disfigured in a fire was taken to a children's home. Her face was scarred and repulsive. When along with some other children she was brought to the train terminal where the superintendent of the children's home would pick her up, she stood off in the corner and watched as the director picked up the others, hugged then, and smothered them with kisses. After a while, she edged up beside the director and said, "Please, mister, I know I am not pretty like the other little girls; I know that my face doesn't look too good, but would you mind hugging me just a little bit? You don't have to kiss me, but would you just hug me and let me know you're glad I'm here?" Well, of course, you know what he did. He reached down and took that child with the scarred face, wrapped her in his arms, and smothered that scarred face with kisses.
That's what God did for us through Christ. No wonder John says, "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God!" As Peter reminds us, " . . . love covers a multitude of sins" (1 Peter 4:8b). Our past is under the blood of Christ and covered by the love of our heavenly Father!
As wonderful as our past coming to Christ and how our present status is proof, our future destiny is even more so

III. We Will Know (vv. 2-3)

What we are now is wonderful; but what we shall be is even more wonderful!
1 John 3:2 ESV
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
We shall be like Him.” What exactly does this mean?
This likely means inheriting a glorified body like His body (Phil. 3:21).
Philippians 3:20–21 ESV
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
This likely means and sharing in His eternal glory (John 17:24).
John 17:24 ESV
Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
But those who really expect Christ to return will obey His Word and keep his life clean and pure. We shall see Him “as He is,” but we must also “be righteous even as He is” . Believers are expected to purify themselves, that is, keep their hearts clean (2 Cor. 7:1).
2 Corinthians 7:1 ESV
Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.
back to our passage:
1 John 3:2 ESV
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
One day Jesus will return. When He does, we, as the children of God, can look forward to two things:
A. We will see Jesus as He is - as King and as Lord of all. We will see him as the glorified, risen Savior!
We have never seen Jesus face-to-face, but someday soon our faith will turn to sight.
1 Peter 1:8 ESV
Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,
Although we have not seen Him, we love Him.
and second:
1 John 3:2 ESV
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
We will be as Jesus is -
YHWH will complete His work of love by making us completely like His Son - Jesus.
Philippians 1:6 ESV
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
What will it mean to be like Jesus? Dave Mcfadden points out 3 things:
1) It will mean character purification.
Our character will be as pure as is our Lord's. We have trouble with purity down here. We have trouble with sin. That's why we must
constantly claim God's promise in 1 John 1:9. But one of these days, we will need 1 John 1:9 no more! One of these days our character will be completely purified. Concerning the eternal home of the redeemed, the Bible says . . .
"Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. - Revelation 21:27 (NIV)
2) It will mean physical glorification.
"He will change our humble bodies and make them like his own glorious body. Christ can do this by his power, with which he is able to rule everything." - Philippians 3:21 (Easy to Read)
One day, we will have a glorified body like Jesus. When Jesus appears, blind eyes will see Him, lame people will run to meet Him, and deaf ears will hear the sound of the trumpet heralding His return. We will be made physically perfect, just like Jesus!
3) It will mean eternal satisfaction.
"When I awake, I will see you face to face and be satisfied." - Psalm 17:15 (NLT)
We will be completely satisfied when Jesus appears. We will never again hunger and thirst for things eternal. We will see Jesus and we will be like Jesus. We can look forward to rejoicing in the love of our heavenly Father forever and forever!
What we know affects our past and our future, But John show us also how this impacts our present - v. 3
1 John 3:3 ESV
And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
The one who expects to become like Christ at His appearing is expecting to become pure like Him.
By His love and based on our hope, YHWH purified us by killing our sinful past nature. By His love, He promises us a purity for eternity. Now, in the present, in response to His love, we should live a pure life.
There is no other. It is Jesus exclusively who is pure. He is not one of many.
In response to His love for us, we should seek to maintain our purity as we walk upon this earth. lf we love Him, we should seek to live in such a way so as to not disappoint Him.
Being God’s children results in certain family obligations, particularly that of God’s absolute moral purity is now stated plainly in relation to Christ.

So What?

A young girl was out with some friends one night far from home, and her friends suggested that they go to a questionable place. She hesitated for a moment and then said, "I think I had better not go. One of her friends sarcastically said, "Why? Are you afraid that if your father found out he might hurt you?" The girl replied, "No, I'm afraid that if my father found out, I might hurt him."
This is a comforting passage that brings great confidence to the children of God. We have received much more than our minds can comprehend. I do know I belong to the Lord and have been positioned within the family of God. I know that I will meet the Lord in the air one day, receiving a new, glorified body. As we consider all that this Apostle John has discussed, we ought to be challenged in our walk with the Lord and our pursuit of purity. we ought to honor Him with the life I live.
This passage deals with reality. The position of believers and guarantee of our future is more certain than anything we experience in this physical realm. We are assured a place in heaven throughout eternity because of our relationship with Christ. He is the only way to obtain such comfort and confidence. Eternity awaits, but apart from Christ, it will be just as dreadful for those who have denied Christ as it is joyful for those who have received Him. Where do you stand today? If the Lord were to call for the church right now, are you certain you would meet Him in the air, accepted as one of the family? If not, seek Him while He may be found. Come as the Lord leads you today!
There is a Savior who loved us and gave Himself for us so that we might be declared pure and acceptable in the sight of God. We ought to want to keep ourselves pure and clean for Him as we walk upon the earth, resisting temptation in an effort to maintain personal purity; confessing sin whenever we do fail, so that we might be purified afresh. And one day, we will be purified for all eternity!
We need to prepare for our future by making the right choices now. To be ready for Jesus’ return we must want to be like Him now. That means consciously choosing to do those things that are morally pure and to avoid, even purge from our life, anything that is impure. That means not reading certain material or watching certain movies or television programs. That means avoiding conduct that is impure. Yet how do we know what “pure” looks like? We must look to Scripture. We must read the moral commands in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. We must read and memorize the moral commands throughout the New Testament. Then we base our conduct on them. That is what pursuing moral purity looks like. Knowing and doing these things will be freeing, both in terms of the choices made, and in terms of one’s conscience, both in the present and in the day we stand before Jesus.
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