1 John 3:1-10

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

February 18, 1998

Introduction

John, the aging apostle has written a letter to the church at large.

Some of the themes weíve seen so far are:

The importance of loving others.

The importance of our actions, the importance of not living continuous lives of sin.

:1-3 The Love of the Father

:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us

This seems to be the key phrase for the rest of the passage

The changes that God desires to make in our lives will come when we begin to grasp the depths of Godís love for us.

Paul prayed for the Ephesians Ė

(Eph 3:14-21 KJV) For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, {15} Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, {16} That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; {17} That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, {18} May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; {19} And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. {20} Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, {21} Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

Lesson:

Godís love.

1) Itís an Unconditional Love

God doesnít wait for us to clean up our act before He starts loving us. He loved us before we even had a clue who He was.

(Rom 5:8 KJV) But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

The parable of the "prodigal son" is really the story of a "loving Father". Even after the son left the Father and squandered his inheritance in the world, the Father kept loving him.

(Luke 15:20-24 KJV) And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. {21} And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. {22} But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: {23} And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: {24} For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

Illustration

The book of Hosea contains the story of how God asked one of His prophets, Hosea, to marry a gal who was a prostitute. After they had been married awhile, and had a couple of kids, she did what many wives do, she went back to work. But she went back to her old work, being a prostitute. God told Hosea how to handle the situation, but instead of telling Hosea to dump her, He told him to take her back. Why? Because Hoseaís entire marriage was a picture of Godís relationship with Israel, and of His unconditional love.

2) Itís a Sacrificial Love

The worldís idea of love is "what are you going to give me?" But Godís idea of love is all about how much He wants to give to you.

(John 3:16 KJV) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

(Rom 8:32 KJV) He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

Illustration

A man had the duty to raise a drawbridge to allow the steamers to pass on the river below and to lower it again for trains to cross over on land. One day, this man's son visited him, desiring to watch his father at work. Quite curious, as most boys are, he peeked into a trapdoor that was always left open so his father could keep an eye on the great machinery that raised and lowered the bridge. Suddenly, the boy lost his footing and tumbled into the gears. As the father tried to reach down and pull him out, he heard the whistle of an approaching train. He knew the train would be full of people and that it would be impossible to stop the fast-moving locomotive, therefore, the bridge must be lowered! A terrible dilemma confronted him: if he saved the people, his son would be crushed in the cogs. Frantically, he tried to free the boy, but to no avail. Finally, the father put his hand to the lever that would start the machinery. He paused and then, with tears he pulled it. The giant gears began to work and the bridge clamped down just in time to save the train. The passengers, not knowing what the father had done, were laughing and making merry; yet the bridgekeeper had chosen to save their lives at the cost of his son's.

3) Itís an Unending Love

If we base our ideas of love on what we get from TV, then love is something that just kind of comes and goes. One minute we have it, the next itís gone. Standing in line at the grocery store, I saw that thereís an entire magazine dedicated to telling you whoís in love with whom on the soap operas this week. Not so with Godís love. Itís unending.

(Rom 8:35-39 KJV) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? {36} As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. {37} Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. {38} For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, {39} Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Illustration

Richard Armstrong, in Make Your Life Worthwhile, reports the story about a man in Wales who sought to win the affection of a certain lady for 42 years before she finally said, "Yes." The couple, both 74, recently became "Mr. and Mrs." For more than 40 years, the persistent, but rather shy man slipped a weekly love letter under his neighbor's door. But she continually refused to speak and mend the spat that had parted them many years before. After writing 2,184 love letters without ever getting a spoken or written answer, the single-hearted old man eventually summoned up enough courage to present himself in person. He knocked on the door of the reluctant lady and asked for her hand. To his delight and surprise, she accepted.

:1 that we should be called the sons of God:

sons Ė teknon Ė offspring, children; could be sons or daughters.

One commentator suggested this be translated, "what kind of crazy, peculiar kind of love could this be that we could be called the children of God"

You have to get this clear to understand how great of love this is.

(Eph 2:1-5 NLT) Once you were dead, doomed forever because of your many sins. {2} You used to live just like the rest of the world, full of sin, obeying Satan, the mighty prince of the power of the air. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. {3} All of us used to live that way, following the passions and desires of our evil nature. We were born with an evil nature, and we were under God's anger just like everyone else. {4} But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so very much, {5} that even while we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God's special favor that you have been saved!)

We were once in the category of Godís enemies, but because of His great love toward us, He has adopted us into His family, and made us his children.

Illustration

Imagine if someone broke into your home, killed all your family, and stole all a bunch of stuff. Then, you turn around adopt them and make them the heir to all that is yours. And this is while they still donít care a hoot about you!

:1 and such we are

The King James does not include this phrase, but some of the modern translations do.

:1 therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

knoweth .. knew Ė ginosko Ė to learn, to know; a knowledge grounded on personal experience, whereas eido means to see with the mind's eye, signifies a clear and purely mental perception

The world is defined as those who live by the description given in 1John 2:16 Ė

(1 John 2:16 KJV) For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

Those that are in the world donít know what to make of us, because they clearly havenít come into a personal experience with God.

Lesson:

Much of how youíre treated is dependant on them knowing God.

Jesus warned that people who donít know God will go as far as to hate you and persecute you.

(John 15:18-21 KJV) If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. {19} If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. {20} Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. {21} But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me.

(John 16:1-3 KJV) These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. {2} They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. {3} And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.

:2 Beloved

I love the way John addresses his people. Just like J. Vernon McGee!

Lesson:

Godly ministry ought always be done in love.

From time to time I have come across pastors who get so frustrated, that they no longer have love for their people.

Some pastors have been heard to say, "The ministry would be great, if it just werenít for the people!"

The problem is, if you canít love the people, you shouldnít be in the ministry.

:2 now are we the sons of God

Being a child of God isnít something we have to wait for in the future. We are already His children.

:2 and it doth not yet appear what we shall be

John doesnít say, "it does not yet appear who we shall be". Thatís already been established. Itís what form weíll be later on thatís the question.

He canít quite tell what weíre going to be like, exactly.

Paul wrote about this as well.

(1 Cor 15:35-38 KJV) But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? {36} Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: {37} And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: {38} But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.

(1 Cor 15:48-49 KJV) As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. {49} And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

The difference between a seed and a full grown flower is similar to the difference between our earthly body and our future heavenly body.

What we do know is that weíll be like him, in the image of the heavenly.

:2 but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him

appear Ė phaneroo Ė to make manifest or visible or known what has been hidden or unknown

This is talking about when Jesus comes back.

We will have a body like Jesusí resurrection body.

Ro 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

(Phil 3:20-21 KJV) For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: {21} Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

What was Jesusí resurrection body like?

He could fly.

(Acts 1:9 KJV) And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.

He could walk through walls.

(John 20:19 KJV) Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

He could disappear.

(Luke 24:31 KJV) And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.

Cool!

:2 for we shall see him as he is.

Right now, knowing Jesus is kind of like looking through a cloudy mirror.

1Co 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

:3 And every man that hath this hope in him

better, "hope upon Him"

Our hope rests on Jesus.

:3 purifieth himself

purifieth Ė hagnizo Ė ceremonially to make pure, purify, cleanse; morally

Lesson:

Knowing Godís love, and looking forward to seeing Jesus makes you clean up your act.

1) Being cleansed by the blood of Christ.

(1 John 1:7 KJV) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

2) Walking away from the things that will defile you.

(Heb 12:1-3 KJV) Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, {2} Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. {3} For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

His love brings cleansing in our lives,

(Eph 5:25-27 KJV) Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; {26} That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, {27} That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

We simply yield to His love.

Illustration

A group of teenagers were enjoying a party, and someone suggested that they go to a certain restaurant for a good time. "Iíd rather you took me home," Jan said to her date. "My parents donít approve of that place." "Afraid your father will hurt you?" one of the girls asked sarcastically. "No," Jan replied, "Iím not afraid my father will hurt me, but I am afraid I might hurt him." She understood the principle that a true child of God, who has experienced the love of God, has no desire to sin against that love.

:3 even as he is pure.

Jesus is the standard of our purity.

1Jo 2:6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

Lesson:

You become like your "god".

(Psa 115:4-8 KJV) Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands. {5} They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: {6} They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: {7} They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat. {8} They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.

What is your master passion in life? Is it the cutthroat world of sports? Is it "getting" all the sexual pleasure you can?

You become like your god. Think about it.