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Defined by Love

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Who are you?

How do you answer that question?
Most often we define ourselves by what we do and the roles we play in life.
I am a mom or a dad
I am a nurse, teacher, supervisor...
We then attribute our value/worth to how well we perform in those roles.
We are scored by our performance and the results of our labor.
If my kids are successful, happy, and well behaved then I am considered a good parent.
If I get promoted, well-liked, or am productive in my occupation, then I am a successful and valued employee.
We are on the constant roller-coaster of earning our value and/or finding our identity in how well we perform for others acceptance.
Maybe this isn’t you in your everyday life (it is true of 95% of us), but it is most definitely true in our Christian lives.
Most of us would answer the question “What makes someone a Christian?” by pointing to things that we do or don’t do.
They go to church.
They read their bible.
They pray before meals.
They give money and serve.
They don’t drink, smoke, or cuss.
They don’t listen to certain kinds of music or watch certain movies.
Some traditions would add quite a few things to the list, but we get the gist.
John is presenting a different answer today.

Christians are defined by God’s love.

There are only two groups of people here today.
1 John 3:1 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.
Those that
1 John 3:1 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.
John is saying “BEHOLD the other-worldly, unfathomable love God has for us”
John is, and wants us to be, astonished by the love God has shown us in Christ Jesus.
John wants us to stop and gaze at the love of God, not just glance at it in passing.
Have you ever stopped and looked at something you pass by everyday?
The Himalayan mountains out my window.
Showed them pictures of KY and they were astonished, as we are looking at THIS!
We have a tendency to become too accustomed to the most amazing of things.
We are all familiar with Jesus’s words in John 3:16--
John is saying “take a look at the love God has for us”
You are not defined by your successes or your failures.
He is
You are not defined by what others think of you or how they define you.
Your identity comes f
John 3:16 ESV
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
God’s love is put on display in sending Jesus to die for us.
Romans 5:8 ESV
8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Even more so, His love is put on display in that Jesus died for us “Even while we were sinners”.
But it gets even better than that:
This is the love of God that John wants us to see:
God had no obligation to save us from His wrath for our sin.
He could have left us in our condition, decided that His Son was too valuable to die for sinful man.
And He would have been just to do so i our rebellion
He would have been gracious to save us from hell, forgive us of our sin, and give us eternal life with His watch-care and not His presence.
That would be incredibly gracious and loving, giving us something we do not deserve and could never repay Him for.
But He goes beyond just saving us and forgiving us, He adopts us into His family.
Galatians 4:4–7 NLT
4 But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. 5 God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. 6 And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” 7 Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.
We are made sons and daughters of God, heirs with Christ of all that God owns.
Ephesians 2:6–7 NLT
6 For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. 7 So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.
We are
Ephe 2:6-
Galatians 3:4–7 ESV
4 Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 5 Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— 6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”? 7 Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham.
Galatians 4:4–7 NLT
4 But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. 5 God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. 6 And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” 7 Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.
Gal 3:4-7
We have a seat at the table with Christ Jesus and the Father.
We are not just forgiven, we are brought into the family of God. Those that deserve the wrath of God are made His children.
God had no obligation to save us from His wrath for our sin.
He could have left us in our condition, decided that His Son was too valuable to die for sinful man.
And He would have been just to do so i our rebellion
He would have been gracious to save us from hell, forgive us of our sin, and give us eternal life with His watch-care and not His presence.
That would be incredibly gracious and loving, giving us something we do not deserve and could never repay Him for.
But He goes beyond just saving us and forgiving us, He adopts us into His family.
“Who God is is revealed through what God has done, which leads to who we are, and to what we do.”
is revealed through what God has done (created),                                      
May that move us.
which leads to who we are (created image-bearers made in God’s likeness),
Let’s play this our in an example:
Who God is (Creator),
and to what we do (display God and co-create more image-bearers).
Who God is (Creator),
is revealed through what God has done (created),
is revealed through what God has done (created),                                      
which leads to who we are (created image-bearers made in God’s likeness),
which leads to who we are (created image-bearers made in God’s likeness),
and to what we do (display God’s creativity and multiply and produce in the world He has placed us).
and to what we do (display God and co-create more image-bearers).
Our identity as moms and dads is grounded in who God is, what He does, who we are because of who He is, and what we do because of who He has made us to be.
Being proceeds doing.
So in our passage today John is saying:
God is Love and we see His love in on display in Christ. So we who have received salvation in Christ are Loved, children of God, so we live as Children who are loved by God the Father.

God’s Love defines...

Our IDENTITY.

1 John 3:1–2 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.
1 jn 3:1
Jeff Vanderstelt draws our the progression of where our identity is found.
Jeff Vanderstelt draws our the progression of where our identity is found.
“Who God is is revealed through what God has done, which leads to who we are, and to what we do.”
Let’s play this our in an example:
Who God is (Creator),
is revealed through what God has done (created),
which leads to who we are (created image-bearers made in God’s likeness),
and to what we do (display God’s creativity and multiply and produce in the world He has placed us).
Our identity as moms and dads is grounded in who God is, what He does, who we are because of who He is, and what we do because of who He has made us to be.
Being proceeds doing.
So in our passage today John is saying:
God is Love and we see His love in on display in Christ. So we who have received salvation in Christ are Loved, children of God, so we live as Children who are loved by God the Father.
Our identity does not come from what we accomplish or earn.
Our identity is not something we get from other people.
Our identity is not based on our successes or our failures.

Our OBEDIENCE.

1 John 3:1 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.
1 John 3:2 ESV
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.
1 John 3:4–9 ESV
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.
1 jn 3
1 jn 3 4-
Our Identity is defined by the Love of God lavished on us and because who we are we live our lives differently.
The way we live is a reflection of who we are.
We don’t live righteously in order to become a child of God, we ARE children of God SO we live righteously.
How we live is defined by who we are.
As Children of God (our identity) we look like and live like our Father and our family.
Jesus makes a comparison point much like John does in 1 jn 3:1b “The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know Him.
John 8:44 ESV
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.
My daughters act just like me at times, in both good and bad ways.
We can teach them, correct them, and guide them, but they are my children, and so they will resemble me.
In the same way, John is saying there are 2 families that represent all of creation.
Those who are children of the devil
Those who are children of God
John says in vs 8:
1 John 3:8 ESV
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.
1 jn 3:
The New American Commentary: 1, 2, 3 John (2) Be Righteous and Do Not Sin (3:4–10)

To live a life of sin is to align oneself with the world and the devil and to be at enmity with God. It is the very opposite of what righteousness is and entails.

44
It is an indifference to sin.
Believing that you can engage in any and all kinds of sinful activities and still be in relationship with God.
John is saying in vs 4 “sin is a willful disregard for God, a rebellious revolt against God’s will and ways.”
And someone living in this way is not a child of God.
John 8:42 ESV
42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me.
John 8
The difference is not in what the do, but who they are.
How they live, Jesus says, points to what they believe and who they believe they are.
Jesus is saying to the Jewish leaders “You are just acting like your daddy.”
1 John 3:9 ESV
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.
Not only does God adopt us into His family, He births us anew into His family.
2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
2 cor 5
Jesus tells Nicodemus in
John 3:3 ESV
3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Our PURPOSE.

Because we are loved by God and adopted into His family we are altogether different from the world.
1 John 3:2 ESV
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.
This is not only different in the way we live, but also in what we live for.
The love of God redefines the purpose of our lives.
Ephesians 2:10 NLT
10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Your salvation was not given to you just to keep you our of hell.
You were saved from the wrath of God, but you were also saved for a kingdom purpose.
We all should have a sense of purpose. Because of what Jesus did for us on the cross, we were spared for a reason: to make a difference with our lives. Jesus didn’t die on the cross so we could go on living any way we like. He made us for a purpose—and he redeemed us for a purpose, too. He wants us to fulfill that purpose.
We all should have a sense of purpose. Because of what Jesus did for us on the cross, we were spared for a reason: to make a difference with our lives.
Jesus didn’t die on the cross so we could go on living any way we like. He made us for a purpose—and he redeemed us for a purpose, too.
He wants us to fulfill that purpose.
1 John 3:10 ESV
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.

I am...

How would you finish this sentence?
Are you a child of God, dearly loved by our Father in Heaven.
Redeemed by the blood of Jesus
Filled by the Holy Spirit to live like a Son or Daughter
Given a grand and glorious purpose to make the name and fame of Jesus known.
Do you need to embrace that truth among the lies and false identities you have been embracing.
Or maybe you need to be born again, adopted into the family of God.
Romans 10:9 ESV
9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
This is an invitation into the family of God, receive it today.
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