Mission Accomplished Sons of God
Now: Sons of God
1 John 2:28-3:11
The Story of the watch
- People’s Jewelers
- Finally needed repairs > costly
- We were broke so I fixed up an old watch from my dad and tried to decide to sell the antique watch.
- Daughter: ‘Dad! Why are you giving up tat watch? We thought we would end burying you wearing that watch.’
- That Christmas my wife gave me a new watch. I did not understand. All my family were watching me as I opened that watch. It took a moment to see beyond the sparkle of gold that that new watch was actually my old faithful, completely rebuilt and refurbished.
- I cried.
A gift given in love and with sacrifice.
The giver holds their breath > will it be accepted?
The last 4 weeks we have talked about God’s gift to us that first Christmas.
This morning > will the giver be satisfied as His gift is received?
So once again we are directed to look back to the purpose – the meaning of Christmas.
Why did Jesus choose to leave the glory, beauty and satisfaction of heaven and take upon himself the limitations and frailty of our human body?
Why did Jesus become a brother among us?
Why did God send His one and only Son to planet earth?
Again the answer we saw was in the name He gave His son that was about to be born of the virgin, Mary:
“20 …"Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."” (Mt 1:20-21 NIVUS)
Jesus came to save the pinnacle of His creation,
· the ones created in the image of their creator,
· the ones who had received the very breath of God
o giving them more than physical life,
o but life of the spirit.
We know the unfolding earthy drama.
In order for Jesus to fulfill His mission,
· He had to live in complete obedience to His Father – holy and blameless, without sin
· He had to submit to the sacrificial death on the cursed Roman cross for the sins of others.
So as God watches to see how His gift – that first Christmas gift is received, what is He looking for?
· Men and, throughout all ages, repenting of their sins, turning back to God, receiving the free gift of salvation, and living in the new life of the spirit, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
· In other words, the mission will be accomplished when God sees the birth of sons of God as a result of His gift sent from heaven that first Christmas.
“10 ¶ Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.
11 After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light [of life] and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.” (Isa 53:10-11 NIVUS)
Mission Accomplished – God’s Servant, The Lord Jesus Christ, will be satisfied.
There is a song that says:
‘It will be worth it all, when we see Jesus…’
But here we read the opposite side of the coin:
‘It will be worth it all, when I see lost sheep now children of God entering into our kingdom.’
I was at my mom’s family reunion yesterday.
I was reminded of how messy and difficult family relationships can be.
We received guidance, direction, care, and discipline from parents who were less than perfect.
However in my case, parents who loved us and who loved God.
I have seen, and many of you have experienced what it has been like to grow up in dysfunctional families.
God gives us two parameters in order to live together as part of His family:
the example to follow of love
and commands to follow as to how to show that love.
Why do people obey?
Either they love God or they fear punishment.
[When both break down then you have chaos.]
Commands Help Us Love:
Until a few years ago, there were no laws about child safety seats and automobile restraint systems.
Tragically, many young children were not safely belted in their seats, and they died in car accidents.
Today, though, laws prohibit children from riding in a car without a child seat facing the right direction and properly installed.
Even new mothers need to have the seat installed before talking a child home from the hospital.
Of all the expressions of human love, there is probably no more pure and beautiful love than that of a parent for a child.
Yet, when a child's safety is at stake, it seems a parent's love is not always enough.
Parents did not always do what was best for their children.
Many parents needed a law or boundary to ensure that their love for their children did not fall short of perfect love.
God knows the same is true of our love and devotion toward him and other people.
He knows our feelings are not enough.
We needed laws and boundaries in the form of commands to aid us in loving him and other people fully.
Troy Dean, Fullerton, California
My love for my wife is not enough.
If I choose to look at another beautiful woman,
look and consider,
then allow my feelings free reign,
I – a man – will discover sexual arousal that left unchecked turns to adultery.
Therefore God’s command – do not look upon another woman with lust.
That’s the command that must be obeyed if I am to show true love to my wife.
Now, why did my dad teach me this law?
Not to limit me but to show me the path of love which provides true joy and freedom.
(Dad – that’s both my earthly dad and my heavenly dad.)
Now if there’s law – there are also consequences.
One consequence: discipline by my father! Heb 12:7
“Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?” (Heb 12:7 NIVUS)
Discipline is pain intentionally inflicted by a person in authority in order to direct behavior away from actions which will lead to consequences much more serious and severe than the pain of the discipline.
Look, look again at the first Christmas gift.
Have you ever seen such love?
The gift of sonship into God’s family!
Given to those who deliberately rebelled and walked away like the prodigal son.
Given while we were still sinners – enemies of God.
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God:….” (1Jo 3:1 AV)
Look at our passage in 1 John 2:28
“And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.” (1Jo 2:28 NIVUS)
As children we receive: Confidence:
1) a dying Christian > receiving a vision of heaven!
2) A persecuted Christian, confident that He is in the will of His loving heavenly Father
3) Confident that this world is moving, not under the direction of the stock market, but under the direction of God towards the fulfillment of His prophecy.
“"Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.” (Re 22:12 NIVUS)
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” (2Co 5:10 NIVUS)
Confident of this one thing: Jesus is coming again.
Confidence: in the face of death
In the face of the living of our lives for God.
As children we receive: Family Resemblance.
“If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.” (1Jo 2:29 NIVUS)
In May of 1995, I was attending the Tyndale Seminary graduation ceremony where I would receive my M.Div.
It was less than three years since my father had died.
He would not see his son’s graduation.
I would not receive the delight of hearing my dad say: ‘Well done.’
But my family were there along with my mom and my youngest brother, Peter.
Peter was watching me interact with the family of other students before the ceremonies began.
Suddenly he turned white as for a fleeting moment he saw our dad, smile and pat a young child on the head.
Then he realized that no, his dad had not returned from the dead, it was his older brother looking and acting just like he had seen his dad years earlier.
When we are born of God we will act like God acts.
“This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.” (1Jo 3:10 NIVUS)
How does God act? With righteousness.
· Acts fairly
· Lifts up the lowly – brings down the proud
· Sets things right side up
· Forgives, gives a second chance
· Gives of self for the benefit of others.
But we are all sinners, incapable of righteousness
We all fall short of the glory of God
Even our righteous deeds are in God’s eyes simply filthy rags!
Do right? We cannot!
So it we see someone who is doing right > we know this person is born of God!
God’s life is in them.
God’s Spirit is causing the new and different actions.
Only God can do right. Therefore when we see someone acting like God, this person must be born of God!
As children we have received: Adoption.
A friend of mine married a man with a daughter. A few years after their marriage she chose to go through the legal steps of adopting his daughter.
Why? So this young girl would know the love of a mother, choosing her as part of her family.
We have been chosen of God to receive adoption into His family.
Being completely conformed to the likeness of God's Son is something that we look forward to in the future, although the transformation is happening now gradually.
Being adopted among many brothers is something that we have now.
The minute you become a Christian, you have intimacy of relationship.
You have an unconditional relationship.
You become wealthy, because everything that Jesus Christ has accomplished is transferred to you.
You become beautiful and spiritually rich in him.
Some people are put off by Paul's language of adoption because it's gender insensitive.
They argue, "Wouldn't it be better to say that we become sons and daughters of God?"
It would, but that misses the whole point.
A woman was raised in a non-Western family from a very traditional culture came to this wonderful realization:
There was only one son in her family, and it was understood in her culture that he would receive most of the family's provisions and honor.
In essence, they said, "He's the son; you're just a girl." That's just the way it was.
One day she was studying a passage on adoption in Paul's writings.
She suddenly realized that the apostle was making a revolutionary claim.
Paul lived in a traditional culture just like she did.
He was living in a place where daughters were second-class citizens.
When Paul said—out of his own traditional culture—that we are all sons in Christ, he was saying that there are no second-class citizens in God's family.
When you give your life to Christ and become a Christian, you receive all the benefits a son enjoys in a traditional culture.
As a white male, I've never been excluded like that.
As a result, I don't realize the full sweetness of this welcome.
I don't recognize all the beauty of God's subversive and revolutionary promise that raises us to the highest honor by adopting us as his sons.
Our adoption means we are loved like Christ is loved.
We are honored like he is honored—every one of us—no matter what.
Your circumstances cannot hinder or threaten that promise.
In fact, your bad circumstances will only help you understand and even claim the beauty of that promise.
The more you live out who you are in Christ, the more you become like him in actuality.
Paul is not promising you better life circumstances;
he is promising you a far better life.
He's promising you a life of greatness.
He is promising you a life of joy.
He's promising you a life of humility.
He's promising you a life of nobility.
He's promising you a life that goes on forever.
Tim Keller, in his sermon "The Christian's Happiness," PreachingToday.com
What will God’s children look like in heaven?
“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” (1Jo 3:2 NIVUS)
“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” (Ro 8:29 NIVUS)
“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2Co 3:18 NIVUS)
We await our Saviour from heaven:“who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” (Php 3:21 NIVUS)
And we sing:
“Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me,
All His wonderful passion and purity…”
As children of God we receive HOPE.
“Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.” (1Jo 3:3 NIVUS)
And when we receive this hope, we react with a desire to be holy as He, our elder brother, and as God, our heavenly Father is holy.
Our hope focuses on God. As we fix our eyes on Him, then our task of purifying ourselves will not be a hopeless task, although certainly an ongoing task.
As we focus on God’s gift of salvation and receive that gift for our lives, we will no longer enjoy the things that crucified our Saviour, Jesus!
God makes us His child > God’s actions
We, in response, purify ourselves > our reaction.
And so we will be confident and unashamed when Jesus comes to take us home.
God will be satisfied with the reception and use of His first Christmas gift.
The first Christmas gift has been received.
The Giver looks and is satisfied as He sees
Men and women coming into his family as sons and being changed into the likeness of His Son and taking that gift of God and now offering it for others to receive.