Seven Wonderful Truths About Genuine Believers
1 John 3 - Genuine Believers are NOW Children of God
Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
Sermon Delivered 7/11/04
We have been studying the little letter of 1 John. In our study of chapter one we saw seven priceless possessions of born-again believers. In the second chapter we studied the seven comforting portraits of Christ our savior. In chapter three we will be considering the seven wonderful truths about genuine believers.
We will only have time to cover the first point in this message.
Turn to our text 1 John 3:1-2 -- "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is."
By physical birth, I am the child of my mother and father. That will never change. But, there is more. Turn with me to Ephesians 2:3 "Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others." Consider for a moment the word nature. It is a translation of the Greek word fusei – phusei (foo-see) which means by physical birth. Therefore, we are by physical birth, children of wrath. That means that we are estranged from God or separated from God and not apart of the family of God from birth. In fact, in verse 2 of the same chapter we are called children of disobedience. That begs the question, then whose family are we a part of being children of wrath and children of disobedience. The answer is alluded to in Ephesians 2:2 "Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:" It says we walked or lived according to the prince of the power of the air. And who is that? It is none other than the devil. Jesus clearly identifies who the spiritual father of the unsaved is in John 8:44 "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it."
My purpose in bringing this to your attention is help you understand your state before you come to know Jesus Christ as your Savior and to give you an appreciation for your status once you repent of your sins and call upon the name of the Lord and are saved. Every one listening to this message is either a child of the devil or a child of God. Who is your father?
1 John 3:1
That brings me to the first phrase of our text – "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God…" 1 John 3:1a. The tone of this verse is set by the word behold, which means to take notice, or consider with wonder and astonishment. Clearly, the Apostle John is pointing his readers to something that is amazing and that something is that God has bestowed or given us a gift. That gift is the title of being called the sons (literally the offspring or children) of God.
Why is that so amazing? Consider for a moment what you were and who your authority was before you were saved. You were a damned child of the devil and you were under the authority of the Devil. But all that changes once Christ is your Savior. The Bible says, "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:" John 1:12 "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus." Galatians 3:26 "Who hath delivered us from the power [right or ability] of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:" Colossians 1:13 "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." Romans 8:14-17
Is it any wonder that John starts our with the word BEHOLD, or sit up and take notice of the "love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God:" And we are!
So, what is the result of our being Children of God instead of children of disobedience like the rest of mankind? We see the answer in 1 John 3:1b – "…therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not." That simply means the unsaved crowd does not understand us just as they did not understand Christ. The result is that unsaved crowd mocks, derides, persecutes and even hates the genuine child of God, just as they did our Savior (see John 15:18; 1 John 3:13)
1 John 3:2
Next, we move on to the first part of verse 2 – "Beloved, now are we the sons of God…" Now is a time-oriented word. It is the norm for Christians to think of the being a child of God as something that has future benefits. Indeed, there certainly are future benefits to being a child of God. To be sure, it will be a great day when we receive our Heavenly inheritance and our immortal body. And, it will be a great and glorious day in the future when we will be delivered from the last vestige of sin and imperfection. However, if you are a genuine believer, no matter how many times you stumble, no matter how weak you are, no matter how difficult your life is, no matter how much you need to grown in the Lord, you are a child of God, your sins are forgiven, the Holy Spirit dwells within you and makes intercession for you, you have access into the presence of God by Jesus Christ and when you die, you will immediately be in the presence of God. Galatians 4:6 says, "And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father."
When I look at myself and see my shortcomings, and my sins it is easy to become discouraged and disheartened. But when I look at God’s Word and I see there His declaration that I am a child of God my heart is lifted and I am encouraged to get my eyes on Christ, and praise God and say I am, by the grace of God His Son! Thank you Lord. What a wonderful truth. God is my Father and I am His son.
If you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior I ask
you to consider your position. You are a child of the wicked one (see
Matthew 13:38). You are walking in darkness. You are walking on the
broad way that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13). I would urge
you to repent and receive Jesus Christ as your Savior and become a son of