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"Born Identity"

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Good Morning! We are in our Series in the Epistles of John… this morning we are going to be looking at our identity as children of God…Identity and security has become a major issue in todays world…
Do you remember the days when passwords were easy… You could have one password for everything… Now you need a bunch of passwords and they can’t just be letters or numbers… When you create a passwords today you have at least one number, some symbol, uppercase letter.... Then when you’ve got your password you have to confirm you are a person not a robot/ computer signing into your account… You have these picture frames where you have to identify how many streets signs… in the picture… so complicated… Why all the security?… well it comes down to identity theft?
Unfortunately, identity theft is happening more and more frequently in the modern, digital age. These some recent statics on frequency and cost of identity theft.
1 Billion Personal records leaked in 2014 Alone
Identity theft on the rise - 2007 10.2 Million - 2015 there were 15.4 million
5.8 Billion in Tax fraud paid out by the IRS
There are 19 Victim Every minute.
Cost of average victim is $ 500 and 30 hour in lost time.
John is the beloved disciple of Jesus and he writes to believers as his children… One of the concerns he has for the church is that they would loose their true identity… — In fact one of the phrases that comes up with frequency in the Johannine epistles is this idea of being “born” of God … John uses the phrase 12 times in the book of 1 John alone.... and about the same amount in the Gospel of John. In the gospel of John chapter 3, John gives the account of when a Pharisee named Nicodemus seeks out Jesus secretly at night - He comes under cover of night to to ask Jesus a burning question about His identity.. Nicodemus recognized that Jesus was more than the average Rabbi… there was something Divine about him.. lets pick up on this in John 3:w..
John 3:2 ESV
2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.”
Nicodemus comes with an identity question to Jesus…basically asking him if he is the son of God.... But Jesus didn’t answer Nicodemus question directly - He didn’t say Yes, I am the son of God....
Rather Jesus says, Unless one is born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God…
Which caused a little confusion because Nicodemus took this literally and asked - how can a man go back into the womb again… Jesus explains that being born again - regenerated made alive by the spirit of God… The reason I believe Jesus answer this ways is because in order to understand truly the identity of Jesus as the Son of God ... you need to be born again… Jesus says you must be Born again...
There is only so far the science and reasonis going to take you..the searching mind will not come to understand the things of God.... outside of grace of God.. Part of the reason is that sin acts like a blind spot…
THOMAS Aquinas was considered th greatest theologian in the Middle Ages.. He was called the doctor of angels…he lived at a time where scholars were fascinated with Aristotle who explained the entire universe through observation and reason…it was the dawn before the enlightenment where the emphasis on reason threatened to undermine Christian beliefs.. Aquinas believed that both faith and reason were fountains that came from God.. however only faith can show us who God really is..
According to Aquinas.. . “A sign of the human deficiency in understanding the divine is the fact that philosophers cannot come even to understand human affairs without error. Therefore, it was necessary for God to deliver divine truths by way of faith, told to human beings by the God who cannot lie.” Aquinas
In other words an unregenerate mind cannot fully understand God it has to be coupled with the grace of God.. Jesus didn’t avoid Nicodemus question… just answering it in a different way.
Jesus in essence is saying to Nicademus in order understand fully who I am you must be born again. Being born again is part of the Christians identity… Just like natural birth we accepted Christ we were born into the Kingdom of God… the result of the New Birth is that we are sons and daughter of God...
This is exactly what is going on in our text… John is concerned that these relatively New Christians know their identity as being born of God…. They lived in a world where there were those who were against Christ.. last week our text that said in the last days there would be many anti-Christs… spirit of those who are against Christ in the world… What he was talking about
The the sect called the Gnostics who came preaching a another Gospel… … Basically there were two errors… those who followed the letter of the law… then those who said they were above the law...
The Gnostics were the spirtual elites that taught special knowledge and what it did was created an overwhelming feeling of inadequacy on the part of the Christians… These teachers taught that they had a special annointing… to know God..
John counter this teaching by saying you have annointing and from the Holy One… It’s annointing that came when you accepted Jesus as your savior… through the new Birth.
The best way to combat our own insecurities and feelings and inadequacies is to dig deep into the Truth....To be honest one of the biggest problems that we have as Christians is that of identity theft...
T/S John make s it clear that we are to identify as Children of God…What does it mean to be born of God? We going start in 1 John 2:28..
1 John 2:28–29 ESV
28 And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. 29 If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.
What does it mean to be called the Children of God?
T/S Being Children of God means we have

1. Confident because we are known by the Father.

a. When Jesus returns or Appears we will have confidence/ boldness to stand before him… As children of God we will stand before him with complete confidence.
John uses pastoral language when he addresses the church… He is coming along side them and help to understand the privilege of sonship… He tells them that everything in the last days is moving towards the return of Christ and one day we will all stand before God… But for those who are believers this is going to be awesome because we will stand before God as Children of God…
I don’t know about you but as a parent my heart is full when I have my family around me.... We know children well, good the bad the ugly… When the relationship is good there is no judgement .... full acceptance… that’s the joy of being fully known by God.... Johns says when Christ appears we will not have to shrink back in shame.... Why because you are Known… You are honor and the privilage of standing before God as his Child..
Here we need to say something about an honor and shame culture. Western culture today is largely not an honor and shame culture, but in the hierarchy of ethical values in the ancient Near East and in the Jewish world, honor and shame were right at the top of the value hierarchy, as high up there as even ‘truth’ as opposed to ‘error’ was. Ancient Near Eastern people would rather die than be publicly shamed, and indeed they were prepared to die for the honor of their kin group or their tribe or their people or their faith. It’s an honor and shame culture.
So when the author says that the goal here is that you may appear unashamed before Him at His coming and He will say to you, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” he is appealing to one of the basic leitmotifs of the culture.
Where does this confidence come from? John tells us that it comes from righteousness that comes with new life or being born again.
Being born again means what is implanted in you is something the Holy Spirit, the nature of God, the DNA of God … It’s the divine nature. It’s his spiritual DNA, because as it grows in you, you develop the family likeness. You become children of him. You develop family resemblance. It’s his DNA.
The NT never admits the possibility of human beings becoming “deified” rather the Bible tells us that we “participate in the divine nature a
It goes back to the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit… You have an anointing from the Holy One.... It’s Romans 8:16 that tells us, The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.
The Holy Spirit is the inward witness of sonship… John gives those who are born again of the Spirit of God a command it’s written in the imperative form…John says Abide in Him. The word abide means to continue or to rest in something. The book Hebrews 4 tells us that there is a rest that remains for Gods people and strive to enter into that rest… its the same idea of abiding — there is a freedom that comes from rest… for example… When you rest, when you put your work down, you are saying, “I am not a cog in a machine. I am not a slave to the materialistic society in which I live. I am not a slave to the identity system of my society. I am not a slave to the identity my society demands of me. Rather, I am declaring my freedom of my identity in God. I am not a slave.”
Because of the interdependant nature of our relationship of resting in being know by the father ---one of the evidences of being born of his spirit is practicing righteousness… In spiritual formation we talk about being and doing… John connects the dots for us… we need to abide or rest thats Being in Christ.. - Put practicing righteous is doing speaking of actions or our lifestyle.
John is not preaching the Righteous that came out of the the protestant Reformation, “justification by grace through faith”—we get right standing with God and it doesn’t have anything to do with our being righteous.
John is not dealing with that. He’s not really dealing with conversion. He’s dealing with the life of those who were already Christians and the necessity for them to live in the right way, to live out the gospel in a righteous manner.
John Stott says it like this
“A person’s righteousness is thus the evidence of his new birth, not the cause or condition of it.” Stott
For John Right behavior is the result of right belief… The practical living out of the Christian faith is never far from John’s thinking..
His logic - True Children of God have been born of God…and because God has a righteous character ----so it would be natural assume that his Children will do the right thing. So, Righteous living is a confirmation, an ethical expression, of an already existing relationship with God. Our lives, as children, resemble our Father’s righteousness
T/s We also should be people who have righteous character, but not just righteous character—we should do righteous deeds… John wants us to take time to contemplate to understand the ramorfoqrcation of being children of God...
1 John 3:1–6 ESV
1 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. 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.
T/s What does it mean to be called the Children of God? It means we are...
1. Confident because we are known by the Father.

2. Confident because we are loved by the Father.

1 John 3:1 is one of those verses that is worth commiting to memory..
When I memorized this verse it was in the KJV Behold what manner of the love the father has bestowed us that we should be called the Son’s of God…
The first imperative in our text was the command to abide… Now John uses a second.. and it’s the word behold or in the esv.. the word see..
John says don’t passover this quickly.... take some time to comprehend the magnitude or the degree to which God went too.. demonstrate his love… in order that we now have been adopted into God’s family… as sons and daughters of God...
To be called children of God is means that God himself has chosen us to be in his family… I want you to be part of my family.... Fully embraced and loved unconditionally… you and I have become the object of his affection… This is where we sometimes run into a little trouble… when it comes to unconditional kind of love.
Sometimes it is pride, which demands to prove itself worthy of the love of God before it will receive it. Sometimes it is unbelief, which cannot trust the love of God when it sees the hurt and pain of life. And sometimes it just takes time for a person to come to a fuller understanding of the greatness of God’s love.
When John says behold what manner of love — he is saying that that the love of God is both knowable and visible.” Linguistically its written in the perfect tense — meaning it something that has already taken place in the past… God’s love has already been displayed towards us… Scholar Westcott tells us that “the love is not simply exhibited towards believers, but imparted to them.” Westcott
… The implications is that love is not only demonstrated to us but given to us through sonship — We are called Children of God…
This is beautiful especially in the face of false teaching that brought up the sense of being inadequate (not measuring up). Just in case there is any doubt - John stresses the fact they are indeed the children of God.. he adds the phrase… vers 1 .... that we are sons of God and adds “and so we are.” That is solely there for emphasis… Get it into your heart and mind… deep down… inside.
Stott captures this original sense when he writes,
“The Father’s love is so unearthly, so foreign to this world, that [John] wonders from what country it may come>
If there are sons it also implies that there are those who don’t have sonship… John makes distinction between the children of God and the world… This is simply seen by the world rejection of Christianity… John tells us that...
a. The world does not understand the Fatherhood of God.
One of the frustrations we might experience is trying to make Christianity fit into our culture context…Now Jesus was the friend of sinners… He didn’t come for the well but for the sick… the world recognized his love.... the flocked to him--- but the world also rejected him..
lone of the most influential atheists of all times is SigmInc Freud.. He is the is the Father of psychoanlysis.. his views continue to provide acceptable rationale for the disbelief in God.
Interesting that Freud saw some positives to Religion.. but he ultimately believed that religion must be rejected as authoritarian in form, unnecessary, and inadequate.
He suspected that it was founded in an illusory desire for wish-fulfillment. Religion is something we wish to be true but have no basis for trust beyond our wish. In psychoanalytic terms, God is a childhood neurosis we never outgrew, the result of a desire for a kind of heavenly security blanket. That we wish for a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow does not mean there is one. The desire for a Father to comfort us through the woes of life is just as illusory.
Freud believed religion to be harmful because:
1.It arises from the desire or wish for a Cosmic Comforter.
In other words the concept of God is just a crutch!
… John tells us straight that we should not be surprised by the response of culture to Christ… because there is a reason… why the world’s views oppose Christian world view… Comes down to sonship…
“The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.”
There is a fundamental difference here… Christians are in the world… the problem with sin is it has blind sided us and destordered our view of God.…
The reason we can say with confidence that we know God is through sonship.. evideince in the deposit of the HS.
Second Peter 1:4 says that only those who believe have been made “partakers of the divine nature.” It is only to those who receive Him that Jesus gives “the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12).
c. We have confidence because we resemble the Father - we are in the process of being made like him... to point of completion --- being Children of God is in the present.. now and its something we look to in the future.. In the future we will be like Him…
In other words, the complete transformation of the Christian into the likeness of Jesus awaits the moment of seeing him “as he really is..
1 Corinthians 13:12 ESV
12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
While we shall never become completely like Jesus, until “we see him as he really is”
John made the connection between seeing Him as He is and our transformation to be like Jesus. This part of the great mystery in scripture that some how in the future we will not only see Jesus but we we will be like him… Partake in his eternal Glory… John deals with already and the not yet theme...
In the very next verse immediately reminds us, such a vision of heaven cannot be detached from Christian experience and responsibility here on earth. To the extent that you see Jesus as He is, to that same extent, you are like Him in your life.
vers 3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure”
i. We can say that this happens by reflection.
Charles Spurgeon said it like this.
“When a man looks into a bright mirror, it makes him also bright, for it throws its own light upon his face; and, in a much more wonderful fashion, when we look at Christ, who is all brightness, he throws some of his brightness upon us.” Spurgeon
T/S John in the next section deals with behavior of those who are the true Children of God… remember again these of Truth and error are under fire.… there are those who claim to be children of God (gnostics) but they are living a life above sin… they spiritual that sinful nature is below them… so all things are permissible.. thats the “warped theology” of the false teachers.. John says --- you can see who the true Children of God by tracking their behavior… especially in response to sin and righteousness.
1 John 3:6–10 ESV
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.
T/s What does it mean to be called the Children of God? It means we are...
1. Confident because we are known by the Father.
2. Confident because we are loved by the Father.

3. Confidence because we Reflect the Nature of the Father.

Our family has a mix of two cultures.. My dad is British and my Mum is dutch…Afrikaans… And so growing up remember my uncles and Aunts looking at me --- saying that I had some of the dutch facial features of the Odendaal family… Today I see the same things in my children that remind me of different family members…
When someone is born of someone else, there is almost always a family resemblance. You say, “Look, she has her mother’s eyes” or “He has his father’s nose.” Well, the children of God have a family resemblance to their Father in heaven.
“God hath no children destitute of his image, or who resemble him not.” (Poole)
In order to understand 1 John we have to understand that The false teachers have confused these young Christians about the nature of sin -Some taught that they were sinless, actually unable to sin. They claimed superiority over everyone else.
The New American Commentary: 1, 2, 3 John (2) Be Righteous and Do Not Sin (3:4–10)

Bruce explains, “The false teachers with their sophistry were capable not merely of condoning sin, but of making it seem virtuous.”

John makes the distinction...
No one who lives in Christ keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.” Now here he does seem to be talking about a pattern of habitual sin.
We know that sin is very much part of being Christian… John has already said that anyone who claims to be without sin is a liar and does not know God… we know that when we do sin we have an advocate with the Father who pleads our cause… 1 John 1:9 When we confess our sins he faithful to forgive us or all unrightiousnes…
But Sons and daughters of God focus on Abiding in Christ and as a result it breaks the habitual part of sinning.. we don’t keep on sinning in the sense of taking God’s forgiveness for granted. Now to some sin… is just made up concept to make people feel guilty…
What is so bad about sin?
Sin often pleasurable—the acts of sin.
Well, here’s why. God created us in a moral universe, and even though acts of sin may be pleasurable in themselves, they never have good consequences.
They always have bad or negative consequences—and more to the point, they are soul destroying. They destroy whatever spiritual life you have in you, and if you persist, or make a continual habit of sinning, what you’re doing is quenching the Spirit of God in your life. You’re destroying the life of God in the soul that you have..
Another problem wit sin is it puts a road block to blessing.. You see over and over in the Bible
Beginning witb Adam and Eve.. removed from garden of Eden.
Lot choosing to live in the land of Sodom
Esau selling his birth to Jacob
Moses at Marra struck the Rock in Anger… was not to enter the promise land
The 10 unbelieving spies in the promise land
King Sauls impatience in waiting for Samuel.. lost the kingdom
David sin with Bashesha And Uriah . David didn’t get to build the temple
Solomon taking on foreign wives..
John tells us that one of the reasons came was to destroy the works of the evil one…Jesis didn’t come to ruin our fun.. he came to remedy the problem of the curses that sin brings on the world..
Conclusion
The challenge that John lays before us this morning is one of embracing. Our identity as children of God… through Abiding in Him — resting inHim…
We need to keep striving and to find our confidence in our identity as children of God…
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