ABIDE | Wk 6 | ABIDE in Our Father | 1 John 3:1-10
Topic: New Testament Passage: 1 John 3:1–10
Christopher Rich – June 4, 2023
1 John | ABIDE: Life in Christ – Life with Christ
Wk 6: Abide in Our Father | 1 John 3:1-10
Introduction | ABIDE in ME
Good Morning! Welcome to Mercy Fellowship where we are Saved by Jesus Work. Changed by Jesus Grace. Living on Jesus Mission. Today we continue our series in 1 John, ABIDE in ME. Are you a Christian? Am I a Christian? How do you know? You must believe certain things are true about who Jesus is. It is not enough to just know about Jesus, but to also follow him. I cannot continue to walk in darkness but must walk in light. Obedience to God matters. But where does this obedience come from? As Christians, we are rooted and grounded in the person and work of Jesus in our place. Jesus came to deal with sin through sacrifice, restore relationship with God the Father, undo the works of the Devil and evil. The purpose of this mission is complete joy and satisfaction for the people who place their faith and trust in Jesus alone. We now live a new life as disciples of (followers of) Jesus. Our life is described by Jesus as Abiding in Him. ABIDE means: To not depart, to be held and kept continually, to endure, to not perish, to remain as one, to survive, to live.
John wants to lead a church he cares a great deal about away from error that have begun to lead people away from the truth of Jesus and what life with Christ and in Christ looks like. He wants us to ask ourselves “Who is our father?” Who are we children of? Does our conduct, behavior, or way of life match up with who we claim to be and who God has declared us to be in Christ? We are called to Abide with The Father.
PART I | ABIDE as Children Now| 1 John 3:1-3
1 John 3:1-3 | 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.
Behold God’s character before assessing your character and conduct. God is light. God is love. God is Righteous. God is a loving Father to His children. So let’s pause in our questioning of our position before God to consider what God says it is for those who are in Christ. Before we dive into our character and conduct to examine further let’s look at God’s character. We have great confidence, if we have been born of God. God the righteous. See. Behold. Marvel at the character and nature of God’s love that the Father has given to us. God’s love is given not earned. God’s love is not a reward that we are owed but a gift we receive. 1 John 4:10 says “in this is love not that we have loved God but that he has loved us and sent His Son.” Without any merit of our own or performance we have achieved or acts we have accomplished God has given us His love. Those who (2:28) Abide in Christ, know Jesus is the perfect Son in our place. God’s love to us changes us so we are called children of God, and John says “and so we are”. This gives comfort and sets up conflict.
The World does not know us. When we have our identity in Christ and with God we might and will find ourselves out of sync with a world that because of sin, is opposed to God. We cannot expect recognition in the world or that the world will know and understand the way we see the world or how we interact with the world, others, or God. We will not be fully “known” by the world that does not know God the Father. This should give us peace, in the midst of a natural tension between us and the world. We will not feel at home or completely comfortable here because this is a place that does not know God. Am I comfortable with all I see, feel, observe, or participate in my life in this world? What makes me uncomfortable? What doesn’t?
But Good News, God does! We have comfort because We are God’s “Beloved” children now. Today, not on some future day we will be children. When you are born into a family you don’t become one of their children eventually, but you are one from day one. But babies don’t REALLY look like their parents “at first” but as they grow because they are their children, they resemble their parents more and more. In Christ, we are forever children. But we are not who we are going to be. Meaning, we are no finished works and there is a future day where/when we are prefect that is not yet now. The present reality of being Children of God now leads us to a future hope when we will be like Jesus. When is that? When we finally get all our stuff together or achieved perfection on our own? No, when He returns. Why will that matter? Because we will see him as He truly is as good and glorious. Jesus will be our greatest object of affection, worship, an imitation displacing everything else we currently give our attention towards. So what do we do until then?
Because we are known as God’s Children through hope in Jesus, we will pursue purity in our lives now. IF we believe we are God’s children now, If we believe Jesus will return in glory, IF we believe will spend eternity sinless like Jesus, and that this to be a desired state. Meaning, joyful and good. Why wouldn’t we begin to walk out of and remove what is impure in our lives today? Why wouldn’t we pursue purity now? Why would we wait? This seems like the most natural and life giving thing a child of God would do. These verses are calling us into fuller and more abundant life now and today BECAUSE we will experience it in eternity. This is not so we will become children of God but because we already are in Christ. We are to pursue holiness as an outworking of what we believe and know to be true. Why don’t we do this? What keeps us from pursuing this? What keeps us from desiring this more? It maybe you don’t understand your identity, maybe you’re not actually a Christian. That is always in the realm of possibility. But it is definitely a result of sin.
Part II | ABIDE in Practice Now| v4-10
1 John 3:4-10 | 4 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. 8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. 10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
What do you practice? You can claim to believe just about anything, but it is your practice that betrays your true doctrine. We all can claim certain ideals. Ideals are easy the demand nothing but vain words or empty sentiments. Values, are costly because they demand our actions. What you truly believe will determine what you do. What you do does not define you, but it can absolutely can describe you. What are the daily and weekly habits? What actually describes you in the way your life? In these verses we see there is a clear binary describing ones spiritual condition. Two groups of people. Not three, not dozens, or a spectrum. Two categories everyone falls into:
Believers – Born again Children of God who love the Father, trust Jesus, hate sin, and pursue a practicing purity.
Unbelievers – Children of wrath who cooperate with and imitate the devil in hating God and practicing sin.
Because of sin we all start as unbelievers. Eph2 we are all children of wrath and sons of disobedience.
This a hard saying: Not everyone is a child of God. Christians who Abide in Christ can with great confidence say we are children of God. But we are not to fall into sentiment of the world that we are all God’s children.
Every person is made in the image and likeness of God, God has created all so all worthy of dignity and respect. But NOT everyone can calm God is their Father. Quite the opposite, because of sin we are all born in iniquity, sin, nature that causes us to rebel against God because we are born into a family tree of sin. This is why the Gospel is good news of an adoption from our birth family of death and sin into our new birth family of life and righteousness. We will live and practice life that reflects our new family. To be a child of God, John says, is to live and actively practice ways of life that imitate our Lord Jesus, and honor our Father in Heaven. There will be evidence in our lives of what family we are a part of and who our spiritual Father is.
What is the nature of sin? What does it mean to hate sin as a believer? Sin is lawlessness. What does that mean? It is breaking God’s law. By nature, this is a rebellion against God, disobedience to God, and failure to live our lives as our Creator would have us. Because sin is a rejection of God and His good law, it cannot be something practiced by those who claim to be in the family. If you Abide in Jesus, you cannot and will not continue to walk in sin. No one who abides (is held by, endures in, gets life from) Jesus can keep walking in, practicing habitual sin. If you do, it is evidence you have not seen or known him. You cannot and will not keep making a practice of sinning when you’ve seen Jesus as your savior (He died to pay for your sin and secure your freedom from it) and known Him as your Lord (He is your king, you have pledged allegiance to him.)
Does this mean if I sin I’m out? No. Does this mean I live a life of perfection now and if not, I should be discouraged? No! Does this mean if and when I am struggling to actually fight sin or have conviction of sin I have lost my salvation? No! Remember, we are not yet perfect and will not be until we are promoted to glory in death or his return. Until then we are in process. We have God’s seed (v9), His word, His Gospel abiding (dwelling) in us. I love that it is seed and not God’s fully grown oak tree because that means it’s planted small and is growing deep. So we strive in the Holy Spirit, we grow in maturity, we identify and remove what is impure unrighteous in our lives individually and working through our Gospel Community. And we remember when we sin we have an advocate before the Father Jesus Christ the Righteous. We practice what is righteous in the eyes of God. We don’t now do good things hoping to even out our sins, that’s karma not the Gospel. To practice good works of righteousness is EVIDENCE of righteousness it does not earn righteousness.
We are looking at what characterizes you. This is for self-reflection so we’re not self-deceived. Not refection of everyone else to decide in your eyes who is in our out. Yes, at times, it is helpful for identifying who is and isn’t actually a Christian, but you better be careful you’re not defining righteousness and sin up or down by your preferences or legalisms. If you make your practice of walking in sin, unrepentant, uninterested in correction or change, you cannot claim to be a Christian (Child of God) born again by God the Father. There is only one other option to consider. You’re not some child of the world or universe, you’re a child of the devil. Verse 8 says if you make your practice of sinning is “of the devil” and verse 10 says by this it is evident who are the children of the devil. This is a crystal clear as it gets. This is a real category. Jesus says so.
John 8:44 | You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Who did Jesus say this to? The evil pagan Romans, the wacko spiritual academic Greeks?, This is actually to religious people who were claiming to be “children of God” but didn’t trust Jesus and thought they could be righteous on their own through their own good works or who have twisted doctrine. Without Jesus, we have a will not to follow God the Father in heaven but believe lies of the devil who is the father of all lies, has no truth, and seeks to rob us of abundant life with God. This seems harsh, surely this isn’t just so black and white. But it is. Sin is THE big conflict of the in the world and throughout history. It’s been so from the beginning.
What does Jesus mean when he talks about satan being a murder from the beginning and father of lies?
Lie: God the Father doesn’t really love you or want good for you. Lie: God’s law is not good it won’t lead to joy. Obedience doesn’t matter. Lie: God doesn’t punish sin or lawlessness. There are no consequences. Sin is no big deal. It won’t have a present or eternal impact on your life. Lie: Rebellion against God will lead to joy. You will know good and evil, you have a much broader experience of reality and life.
Promise: You will be like God, without God. Result: Sin, death, destruction, hopeless separation from a good loving God. Living with the devil as your dad. Dying and spending eternity under the wrath of God.
Pride is not a virtue in the bible. It is the sin which got satan kicked out of heaven. It is THE underlying sin at the root of all others. I am not talking about healthy self-worth, accomplishment, or human dignity. But pride believing you know better than God and/or can live without God. We are in a month our world has says we must celebrate sin which grieves God’s heart. We should expect it from the world, corporations, media, etc. But when there are ‘churches’ (or authors/influencers) claiming the name of Jesus who may have crosses on top but pride flags out front, who say your identity is based on your sexuality or gender expression rather than hidden In Christ. Who reject the biological reality of God creating us male and female, while reclassifying sexual sin as something to be celebrated, rather than be celibate from. Who say the only sin is intolerance. Who say love is blanket affirmation defined by the world rather than God embodied love in Christ, which saves by Jesus’ work and changes by Jesus’ grace. Churches who falsely teach sin doesn’t require Christ’s sacrifice in our place, Jesus’ resurrection is metaphorical rather than a historical reality. These are not Jesus loving Christian churches worshiping the God of the Bible. They are not embassies of the Kingdom of God calling sinners to repentance, faith, salvation, and adoption to the forever family of God through Jesus Christ. They are outpost of the hell they claim doesn’t exist leading people to their destruction. Clarity is kindness, so let me be clear. There are no pride parades in Heaven. But there is a procession of humble sinners rejoicing in the honor they have been mercifully forgiven, saved by grace, adopted as son and daughters of the King, citizens of the kingdom, basking in the light of the glory and grace of God the Father worshipping Jesus Christ.
Truth and falsehood, good and evil, right and wrong, God and the devil are irreconcilable opposites. Our parentage is either divine or diabolical. – John Stott
PART III | ABIDE in the Gospel | 1 John 3:5&8
1 John 3:5 | You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.
1 John 3:8b | The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.
There is great news here! God answers the devil’s lies and the conflict of sin with Gospel Truth of Jesus:
Truth: God’s love is evident in that He sent His only Son Jesus so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but has life eternal. Incarnation is proof of God’s love in that he doesn’t leave or forsake us but pursues us.
Truth: God’s good law defines righteousness. Obedience matters to God. We have, do, and will fail to live in perfect obedience. God’s answer to our disobedience is to gives us Jesus perfect obedience in our place. We can trust Jesus in our place because he is sinless. (in him there is no sin) His eternity and 33 years on earth of perfect obedience while being tempted in EVERY way we have been yet is without sin. We give Jesus our sin He takes it on the cross bears it and we are given his righteousness.
2 Cor 5:21 | For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Truth: Sin has consequences, the wages of sin are death. There are real, present and eternal consequences for violating the commands, law, and will of God. Sin by its nature is opposition to God and leads to death. God cannot simply forgive sin and still be a good and just God. Sin has a cost. God’s answer to the cost of our sin it to pay it with Jesus in our place on the cross dying the death we deserve for sin. Jesus work on the cross removes our sin and God forgives us by canceling the record of debt [of sin] that stood against us with it’s legal demands [for just wrath] nailing it to the cross (Col 2:14)
Truth: Our rebellion has led to our bondage and slavery to sin and will lead to our death. God’s answer is Jesus’ Resurrection. Because Jesus is alive, we have hope that satan, sin, and death has been defeated. Our response is to end our rebellion and repent because we know joy isn’t found in rebellion but in repentance. We are all sinners, Jesus saves sinners, and He tells them to go and sin no more.
Promise: You will be with God, and you will be like God as you’re being shaped by His will and word.
Result: New eternal and abundant life now and forever. Restored relationship with the Creator. Growth in grace fueled obedience, righteousness. God answer for the hopelessness of sin is the hope of Jesus Return. We can reject the devil as our father and his lies and receive God as our Father when we Trust Jesus.