Untitled Sermon (9)
Read and Pray
1. Fellowship Dinner signup list in the back for next Sunday.
2. Love Offering for Clary and his family.
3. Reminder of no Church tonight as it is the 3rd Sunday.
4. This Tuesday is the Baby shower for Ed and Becky Moore (time?)
5. Next Lord’s day will be Clary’s ordination.
This week as we prepare to go before the Lord through the study of His Word, I wanted to take a small break from Galatians and move into something else for a moment.
We will go back to Galatians but not this week.
Instead this week what I would like to focus on instead is the idea of right thinking.
Now I can assure you that when I say that I am not referencing something like the power of positive thinking that’s popular among so many today.
No part of this sermon will nor should it be there to lead you to think along the lines of the prosperity version of positive thinking.
I’m not going to tell you that if you think positive about a situation it will become fixed.
I’m not going to tell you that what you need is a new way of understanding something from of old.
I will not be repeating lines from men such as John Hagee or the likes of him.
I want you to notice the distinction in what I’m getting ready to say.
Right thinking is not the same thing as positive thinking.
Positive thinking tells you that irregardless of ones situation, you have the ability to think yourself out of it.
Let me give you an example:
Faith is having a positive attitude about what you can do and not worrying at all about what you can’t do....
How does that sound?
It sounds overtly spiritual doesn’t it?
I mean sure, on the surface it sounds nice and warm and fuzzy.
However it’s 100% wrong.
It’s a form of positive thinking designed to help a person have more faith in themselves and their abilities.
It’s designed to be spoken to ones self as a form of encouragement.
The problem is that the encouragement and the faith is found explicitly within oneself and not within ones redeemer.
Positive thinking isn’t designed to draw a person nearer to Christ.
Positive thinking is designed to place oneself under the yoke of self-will and self-gratification.
Right thinking however, is designed to place oneself under the grace of Christ.
It’s designed by God to lift the person up in the right direction and draw them nearer to the Lord.
So today it is the goal of this sermon to both exalt the Lord Jesus Christ.
And to also stir our minds into right thinking about who we are in Christ.
For us to truly see ourselves as the Father sees us.
With that in mind, please turn with me in your Bibles to
Stand, Read and Pray
As begin this small little journey through a short portion of 1 John.
I want to give a quick understanding of the purpose of this letter.
We know that during the first century the early Church had many messes infiltrate the body.
They never overtook the body of believers entirely and removed them away from the Lord Jesus Christ but they did stir up the minds of the people.
They would often times come through in differing approaches.
Some like the Galatians came in and claimed to carry external authority.
Others such as this letter, came in and added Jesus to their own ideas.
In this specific letter, what we find is that there had crept in the minds of the people this form of Gnosticism.
This view that carries the idea that Jesus came to earth but was only a spirit.
He was but a man in appearance.
He seemed to the eyes of those who had knew Him and seen Him to appear as truly human.
Yet it was merely a disguise.
A disguise similar to the Old Testament theophanies.
Those times in the Old Testament when the angel of the Lord would show up in the form of a man.
A great examples of this would be .
This is where a figure of a man appeared to Joshua but was not actually a man in the flesh.
He was there as a form of a man but in reality it was the Spirit of the Lord.
We see from Joshua’s reaction that he knew that he was before the Lord for when this man was in his presence, Joshua hit his knees in worship.
And this man, or Spirit of the Lord stood there and called Joshua to remove his shoes for he was in the presence of the Lord.
It was the Lord who stood there before Joshua but the Lord had no actual flesh.
This was not the Lord Jesus in the flesh.
This was God appearing to His servant in the Spirit but looking as if he was a man.
This is a version of what this letter is designed to fight against.
The only difference is that in Joshuas situation, we’re not dealing with heresy.
In the situation with this letter, that is exactly what we see.
Yet the letter doesn’t only address that
This letter is a pastoral letter.
Which means that it was designed to be an encouragement to the people but also a form of exhortation as well.
A call to motivate the peoples minds towards a particular end.
And not only did this letter do that, it also showed that Jesus physically lived on this earth.
That He was 100% man.
And 100% God.
John reveals to us not how Christ had become one flesh but that in truth he really was
The two became one in the flesh of mankind for the purpose of His redemptive story.
The idea from the Gnostics was that the flesh was evil.
And since the flesh was evil, there is absolutely no way that God could indwell a human body.
Yet the author of this letter is very intent on laying a framework that does away with that kind of thinking.
His aim is to stand firm on the divinity of Jesus of Nazereth.
And not just His divinity, but also that He is the Christ who is come into the flesh.
He lays out this argument in when he says: By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God.
And this idea seems to be the overarching thought inside of this letter.
Yet right here around the middle of the letter, this little gem pops up that seems like it’s out of place.
John goes on to speak of the beauty of the reality of the Gospel.
He speaks of Christ alone being the light for all who come unto the Father.
Of Christ being the incarnate Word.
The one who existed before time.
How Jesus is our only advocate with the Father.
How we should not carry a love for the world.
Jesus’ promise of eternal life.
Yet right here in the middle, this little gem about who the redeemed truly are shows up.
I have to admit, that with just a surface level reading, what is being said here doesn’t really fit into the theme of this letter.
He spends so much time renouncing heresy and proclaiming the truth of Jesus that one could hardly understand why here in the middle is this portion that illustrates such a kindhearted word.
But if we soften our understanding a little bit and begin to understand just how deeply impacted these believers were by this stuff all around them.
We would see this great and inexpressible joy being laid out by John.
You see John’s desire was for the people to have a right knowledge of who Jesus is.
To not be bombarded with all these different ideas and thoughts about Him that they would become confused of who He is.
And I think that we could relate in many ways.
I mean just for a moment, think about all the popular ideas of Jesus that exist today.
Many believe that Jesus was never pre-existent.
That He was a created being in lesser classification to God the Father.
That God knew He needed someone to house His attributes but not actually be Him and therefore He created this additional being.
Others believe that God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit are all one person.
Not distinct in their personhood but merely God acting in three separate ways.
It’s an age old heresy called modalism and it shows no distinction in the personhood of God.
Men like T.D. Jakes and others in that circle of the pentecostal movement hold to this view.
Others such as Jehovahs witnesses see Jesus as being Micheal the Archangel.
One who was created and is among many Gods.
In fact the New World translation of the Bible makes this distinction very clear.
In , their Bible reads as follows: In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was A God...
Did you catch that?
In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was A God...
When we compare that to our Bible, the two sound really similar, and yet so far apart.
Our Bible reads: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Their translation places an A in there to subtly guide the reader to a different understanding of God.
They want to sound like they’re Christians when in reality, they’re not.
They believe in a completely different Jesus.
They view Jesus as being one of several distinct god’s.
Likewise the Mormon’s believe something just about as crazy.
That Jesus was like each one of us as Spirit Babies in heaven being made and he came to redeem us.
But He’s not alone.
There have been countless many other versions of Jesus redeeming people from their own world in some galaxy far away....:)
I know it sounds horrible and I don’t mean to laugh but this is real.
These are real view of who Jesus is.
Muslims believe something equally as false and even more erroneous.
They believe that Jesus was one of the prophets but that upon the cross of Calvary, God tricked the minds of the people to see Jesus dying.
In their view Jesus never died on the cross and he was no more than a mere man.
None of these even mention the new age movements concerning Jesus.
Those who would hold that Jesus was merely a good moral teacher.
A man who taught morals that one could either accept or reject based upon their own ideology.
There is no question of whether or not we live in a culture with the same issues and views of Jesus.
In fact one could almost argue that the issue never really went away.
It merely evolved itself into a new venue.
It found new avenues to present the same old false teachings about the deity of Christ.
The ideas of the first century are still ever present every day in our own lives.
We probably just don’t see them as often.
Yet we like this first century Church have a great need to have our hearts realigned with the Word of God.
We have a need to have our minds brought back to this place where we have a profound comfort found only in Christ.
To be reminded of the eternality of the Lord Jesus Christ.
To know that He alongside the Father and the Holy Spirit has always existed in the form of the Trinity.
Never was there a point in all of eternity past that Jesus wasn’t there.
And when He came to this earth He was truly born of a virgin.
He lived a sinless and perfect life and that He was and is 100% man and 100% God.
Not only do we need to be reminded of who Jesus is.
We also need to be reminded of our place in Christ and what great joys are found there.
And that’s what we find in this text.
John begins verse 1 with a booming command.
In the original text it’s as if he is gloriously proclaiming to the people: Look!
Can you see this?
Here this great news that awaits you beloved.
His intention is to set the readers mind upon the manifestation of the Father’s Love.
John is calling for the believer to focus with nothing else on their mind.
To draw all their attention to what he is about to say.
If we could translate this using the Cory’s modern English way it’d probably be something like this:
Hey, wake up and pay attention, this is vital.
John follows this imperative by directing the readers attention and reflection upon the amazing love that God has bestowed upon His children.
This is not merely a love that is like that of an earthly father.
It is not some form of a love found anywhere else outside of the life giving redemption of Jesus Christ.
The Greek word used to say “How Great” or “What Kind” is only used 6-7 times in the entirety of the New Testament.
And it always implies astonishment and due admiration.
John doesn’t just say this in passing to the Lord’s people.
Instead he writes that the Father has LAVISHED His love on us.
John’s words are not being used to describe the mere condition of man.
They are being used to describe the action and the extent of the Fathers redemptive story for humanity.
That God in all His fullness and all His glory would look upon a people and see their great need of redemption and offer it.
Not only to offer it but to put forth every work necessary.
Every portion that needed to be addressed in relation to man’s need of redemption was taken care of.
How joyous this should make our hearts beloved.
Not is there one iota of anything left on your part but in Christ Jesus, we are given new life.
Brought into the family of God and become joint heirs with Jesus.
Beloved do you see this?
You were cast asunder and because of the grip of sin on your heart, were left with no hope.
Each and every portion of who you were as a person was left to find itself one day being completely separated from God.
And God before the foundations of the world chose to give Himself for you so that you may be free.
Beloved He did not merely begin the work.
He finished the Work.
And as a child of God this should fill your heart with wonder!
It should bring you to a place of absolute amazement as you look to the cross and see your redemption.
This great love should brighten eyes and rejoice the heart.
“God’s love for us as John Stott says is so foreign to humankind in that we cannot understand the magnitude of such love. It astonishes, amazes, and creates wonder within those who properly reflect upon it.”
God’s love for you in redemption is not because of something within you but because He looks to your greatest need.
His love for you as a believer is a divine, initiated love that is active!
It is constantly drawing you unto the Father.
It is constantly bringing the unbelievers into the household of God.
Reverse the roles here beloved.
What form of love would you have for someone who was your greatest of enemies?
If someone had wronged you and despised you.
Offended you in every way imaginable.
And then you look to that person and say you are mine.
You shall be my child and I shall never separate myself from you.
Though you may run and rebel at times and though you may fall flat every single day.
You will be mine!
Though you deserve the full weight of my wrath, I instead will take that in my place and bring to you a pardon that will cost me everything.
Not only will it cost me everything but it will give you what you do not deserve!
I would be surprised if very many in this room would look to one another in this way.
I mean we struggle with the mere offense of someone being passive when they walk by us.
We take and find offense in things where none was meant.
And when offense was meant, we often times hold and carry a grudge for countless many years over it.
But God, being rich in mercy and wanting to bring you into a place where you are fully restored, places all of your sin and rebellion upon His own Son.
And because of what He did to Christ at Calvary, you have been given the right to be joint heirs with Christ.
You are no longer as an enemy of the Lord but you have now found peace with God.
You have been set free and drawn near to the very one whom you would have killed.
Beloved do you see yourself in light of this?
I am not trying to puff you up but you need to see who you are in Christ!
You are His beloved!
You are His forever!
You can never run away from this story of redemption.
It is an everlasting love.
You have peace and joy beyond our fallible imaginations.
God in eternity past looked at you and said that one is mine!
He shall be mine and I will pay the highest cost ever known for him!
Beloved why is it we don’t see ourselves in this light?
Why is it we lay our heads on our pillows at night with prayers that mimic the lost?
Father here I am if you would still have me!
Beloved why do we view ourselves in light of what the world thinks of us?
Why do we cling to the comparisons of men and not find our strength in our position in Christ?
If we could only for a moment see ourselves in light of the Love the Father has for us we would remove ourselves from this way of thinking.
Yes we would still be crushed over our sin.
Yes we would still be heartbroken when we disappoint our Father.
But we would also have joy.
We would have Joy in knowing that Jesus is our everything.
And because of Him we have been called children of God.
Not only are we children of God but that will never change!
We will continue in this life to sin in countless many ways before the Lord.
That will not change until the day we have entered into eternity.
But God knew that!
He knew that and still called you into redemption.
He knew that and still chose to redeem you through Jesus.
He knew that and still chose to lavish His love upon you!
God knew you before you were formed.
He knew every sin that you would commit.
He knew every way that you would drag His name through the mud.
He knew every aspect of who you were and yet in spite of this He chose to redeem you!
In spite of you He still chose to redeem you!
We don’t like to see this.
We don’t like to see that God in His holiness would pursue after someone who would run from him.
We don’t like to think that after people get saved
That God in His holiness would pursue with abandon those whom He loves.
Beloved if we could only for a moment see who we are in Christ.
If we could only for a moment see the great love that the Father has for us.
If we could only see this our minds would be set free from thinking like the world.
Beloved do you really know how much the Father Loves you?
He loves you so much that He sent His only Son to die in your place.
That the punishment that belonged to you was given to Christ.
That while we were yet sinners Christ died for us!
Because of the Fathers love for you, there is no courtroom that would ever look at your sins.
There is no one able to bring a single charge against you.
Everything has been dealt with.
The Cross of Christ dealt with everything.
Don’t compartmentalize the Gospel!
The Cross is necessary for your redemption but it also the symbol of just how far He is willing to go because He loves you!
Do you hear me?
It was necessary for your redemption.
But in that, understand that He loves you so much that He is willing to go that far.
The Cross dealt with your sin and the resurrection shows redemption.
It shows acceptance.
It shows that because of Christ, God is daily pouring out His affection upon you.
That is what
See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God.
Beloved, for the first time in all of eternity God was able
If we could only truly think this in our hearts.
Yes we may go to the Lord in grieving prayers saying Father if you would still have me here I am.
But the difference is that we would know that we can rejoice in Him still having us!
We can rejoice and have true joy in knowing that we are His and that can never be changed.
From the moment we pass into the presence of the Lord, thousands upon thousands of years shall pass and we shall have barely begun to spend our eternity with Him.
Beloved that is good news!
This should cause our hearts to cry out in Joy.
Joy and satisfaction should forever be in our midst because we know that we are loved!
This should produce in us right thinking that always brings overwhelming joy unto hearts beloved.
But that doesn’t come without warning.
For if you have never been born from above, you have no hope of true joy.
You may for the moment be able to smile and enjoy this fleeting moment.
Yet one day it shall be set in stone for all of eternity that God will look upon you and tell you to turn from Him for He never knew you.
And from that moment on through all of eternity you will be separated from the mercy of God.
You will be cast asunder for all of eternity into hell with no hope of knowing true joy and peace.
Beloved if that is you and you don’t know if you know the Lord Jesus Christ.
Run to Him today.
Run to Him today and plead with Him to redeem you.
That you would be counted among those whom God has lavished His love upon in redemption.
That you would know the true joy that comes being counted in midst of the house of the redeemed.
Beloved there is no other way.
Look unto Him and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.