Faithlife Sermons

Behaving Like God's Children

Results of God's Love  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  34:59
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The Results of God’s Love

Good morning. It is good to be back to preaching today, after a short-term fever knocked me out of commission last weekend. I am so thankful for our regular Sunday worship and tech team, Andrea and Patty, and for Mary Lopez with a really good Mother’s Day message for us. And Patty Whetsel’s very nice tribute to mothers. God is good to us and was taking care of His church, and taking care of me, healing me of the fever without even a left-over cough.
Today, I am getting back to our series from the First Letter of John the Apostle, The Results of God’s Love as shown in so many ways in John’s testimony and encouragement. We have noticed both the tenderness and direct practicality of John. Today, as we go to the scripture once again, we will find that John is going to be very direct about what our behavior says about how we value the work of God in our lives.
It is by grace we are saved, because we can’t pay the price for our salvation. Only Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was able to offer himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sin of humanity, for my sin, for your sin. That is the atonement for sin that we accept by recognizing that we are guilty of sin, and surrendering ourselves to God, who loves us so much he sent his one and only son so that we might be saved. So, we surrender, repenting of our own sin, and asking for our sin to be forgiven in the powerful name of Jesus Christ. God answers our surrender with the perfect judgement of Grace, his undeserved favor to us, and creates live in us where sin had brought only death.
>>>Here is St. Paul’s short-form statement of what God has done for us:
Galatians 4:4–6 CSB
4 When the time came to completion, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!”
God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!”
If we are sincere in our confession, God is faithful though the Grace of Jesus Christ to forgive us. We are born again, born anew, as the Children of God, our hearts washed clean and our souls reset with to give glory to God our Father every day of our lives.
>>>At least that is how it is supposed to work for us. Jesus died once for all our sin, so that the penalty of Hell is satisfied. Now, we are responsible for our daily living, so that we are...

Behaving Like God’s Children

There is so much in scripture that tells us what it means to be righteous, to do what is right, that it should be very clear to us that we cannot ignore our deeds and misdeeds. Although we are saved by grace, our behavior matters to God. It matters a great deal.
Are you living a life that looks like you are behaving like a child of God? Do others see in you a bent toward heaven or a bent toward hell? Do you love the world more than you love God? Is your selfish stubbornness preventing you from submitting to the power of the Holy Spirit in you to lead you into holiness in all you do?
>>>But, Pastor, I’m not saved by works. Only Jesus can offer salvation. I can’t save myself.
That is right. You can’t save yourself. I already said so. But I am reading scripture and finding that it says a lot about how we should behave as God’s Children, as part of the family. Keep asking yourself, is my life bringing any glory to God? Does it look like I value the cost of my salvation?
So lets talk again about. . .

Being God’s Children

In the beginning of the Gospel of John, as the nature of Christ Jesus is described and the reality of Jesus coming to earth, the Son of God, there is a choice of receiving or rejecting Jesus for who he really is. Many still reject Jesus as the Son of God, the savior of mankind, the Lord of Life. John writes,
John 1:12 CSB
12 But to all who did receive him, he gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in his name,
To all who did receive him, he gave the right to be children of God. Because of belief in his name. Jesus said to Nicodemus, “you must be born again” to see the kingdom of God. Born not of flesh and blood, but born of the Spirit of God, born again as the children of God.
It is so important that we see ourselves as God’s children, because it is only when we see ourselves as the children of God, that it becomes important to us to honor God our Father with how we behave. To bring honor to God.
>>>So settle in to The Reality of the new New Birth God has done for you. We have to look again to the theme verse when it comes to being God’s children,
1 John 3:1 CSB
1 See what great love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children—and we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it didn’t know him.
See what great love the Father has given us.
In Christ, it is love that births us. Not just human eroticism pressed on by hormones, but Godly design that wants us to experience the very best of God’s purposes for us as His children. Love always does what is best for the one who is loved, not matter what the cost. God loves us so much that there isn’t anything he wouldn’t do to make us his spiritual children. That’s why the Cross of Jesus Christ should remind us always of God’s love more than our sin.
>>>It is love that nailed Jesus to the Cross, God’s love for even we sinners. It shows us the price God is willing to pay for our souls. It is the cost of our sin, so don’t take grace for granted.
That’s why we can see that it is our goal to imitate Jesus, so we are . . .

Becoming More Than Children

Your mama didn’t birth you into this wold so that you can stay a baby. The fun of that wears off after a few months of diapers and sleepless nights and worry about parenthood. We are born to mature; first newborns, then teetering toddlers, then wide-eyed children, then young students, tweeners, teenage, then young adults. That does not change the fact of whose child we are; but it does change how we live our lives. My son and daughter are in their late 40s. Micah will turn 50 next year. But the fact remains that he is our child, our daughter Sarah is our child, and will be always.
John knows this in terms of growing up as faithful people. He writes,
1 John 3:2 CSB
2 Dear friends, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when he appears, we will be like him because we will see him as he is.
What we will be. That is a goal we have not yet realized. That is what is ahead of us. John speaks of it as a revelation, because it is not up to us to know the end. But what we can know is that, if we are God’s children now, and remain so, we will, as sisters and brothers of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, grow up to be like him.
John adds an important because: we will see him as he is.
There is a majesty and glory to the risen Lord who sits at the right hand of the Father on high that we cannot and do not know now. We will not truly know him until we have our spiritual eyes open wide by the wonder of his return as Lord of Life and Lord of all.
>>>That’s our goal. But the goal is still ahead; the finish line has not been crossed. No matter how many laps we have have run, we aren’t done until we are done. In the meantime, it’s important that we are at least . . .

Beginning to Behave Like God’s Child

Yes, at least beginning to behave like God’s child. We have spent so much of our lives and focus on behaving like others. Our heroes are seldom the saints and more likely a celebrity, sometimes a politician, or an athlete. If we are thoughtful, and can see past the angst of our daily lives, we can see some better heroes in the saints of God whom we have encountered, who show us a better way to live in honor of God.
>>>John writes,
1 John 3:3 CSB
3 And everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself just as he is pure.
So we have met some of those who because of the hope of heaven and the gift of salvation have made it a point to live a pure and holy life as much as the spirit of God inside these mortal human bodies is allowed to rule. It might be a Sunday School teacher, or a Pastor, a Professor, a grandparent, a parent, and aunt or uncle, even a brother or sister or a neighbor whom we look up to as a model of what it looks like to live by hope, with a pure heart and intention to honor God the Father.
>>>That’s what being a Child of God should look like. John says everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself because Jesus Christ our Lord an Savior, our brother in the Family of God, is pure. So how then should we behave? Paul writes, . . .
Ephesians 5:1–2 ESV
1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
John speaks of purifying ourselves, so we may become like Jesus; Paul goes a step farther saying we are to be imitators of God—the context is love: Walk in love as Christ loved us. Jesus Christ, the Son of the Most High God, walked the earth knowing his life was not his own. He knew that love demanded sacrifice of his will to the will of God and to the needs of God’s children. So he became a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God for our salvation.
>>>Wow, again. See how much love the Father has for us that we should be called the children of God. And that is what we are! Now, let’s keep on with our theme. Because, . . .

Behaving Has A Simple Rule

Back to behaving. What does it mean to behave? Come on, we all know the answer to that one. It is clear, and should be clear. We either say and do what we are supposed to, or we don’t. If our parents are faithful to their task, it is clear that there is a way of being good or being guilty.
>>>John puts it plainly as a simple rule:
1 John 3:7 CSB
7 Little children, let no one deceive you. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.
There you have it. The one who does what is right is righteous.
That’s not so hard to understand, is it? Yet John starts that sentence with “Let no one deceive you.”
Disobedience, or bad behavior, has a root in deception. The deception that our lives are only ours to live. The deception that my desires are more important than God’s designs, the deception that I’m alive for my own good and I have to watch out for myself. The deception that I deserve something that I am not supposed to have.
>>>Bad behavior has it roots in the simple selfishness of sin. No more, no less. so we see in John’s writings that. . .

Bad Behavior Is Also Simple

Good behavior is doing what is right. So bad behavior is doing what is not right. And what is not right is sin. Son is sin; don’t be deceived, it can’t be disguised. It is sin, not self-fulfillment, not personal gain, not fame or luxury.
>>>It if is not what is right, it is sin. and John is clear:
1 John 3:8 CSB
8 The one who commits sin is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God was revealed for this purpose: to destroy the devil’s works.
That gets pretty sharp, but it is pretty important to be clear about what is clear.
A sinner is behaving like their father the devil, as Jesus put it. And the devil doesn’t know any other way of behaving. He has been against God’s program from the beginning. Love makes him cringe, and obedience is a bad word.
It is the devil that tempted Adam and Eve to sin; who tempted Cain to commit the first murder; who continues to tempt us with lies and deceit about what we will gain if only we will follow the sinful behaviour of the son of perdition, the enemy of God, the devil.
The devil can promise a lot in this world. But it is not the applause of the world we need. It is not being on top of the business world, or political world, or exercising power over people for our own ends. The devil can grant us much of that, because he has been practicing since the beginning.
But the Son of God was revealed to destroy the devil’s works. To destroy sin, not sinners; Sinner are to be saved: and that is what it means to see the devils works destroyed. To break the power of sin. To be set free from sin so we can behave like the saved children of God.
>>>Yet in the practical sense, we still struggle with that. It shouldn’t be so, but it is. So God gives us a bit of his own righteousness to help with our own unrighteousness. Here is. . .

The Key to Behaving Like God’s Children

>>>The key is a new life in Christ, being born again, born of God, as John tells us,
1 John 3:9 CSB
9 Everyone who has been born of God does not sin, because his seed remains in him; he is not able to sin, because he has been born of God.

It’s Easy to See Who Is Behaving Like God’s Child

1 John 3:10 CSB
10 This is how God’s children and the devil’s children become obvious. Whoever does not do what is right is not of God, especially the one who does not love his brother or sister.
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