Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Test of Sonship (Part 5)



SERMON            GM14-026

SERIES:              The Christian Life Viewed as Sonship

SETTING:          North Kelso Baptist Church

SERVICE:          Sunday AM

SUBTITLE:        The Test of Sonship     (Part 5)

SCRIPTURE:     1 John 3:10b-15

SUBJ:                  John confirms his readers with the test of love

SUMMARY:       The God-given love for fellow-believers is proof or your                                     salvation

SCHEME:           that Christians love their fellow-believers proving the reality of their salvation
_____________________________________________________________


CHRISTIAN LIVING IN A WORLD OF CHAOS

The Christian Life is Viewed as Son-ship

The Test of Sonship
1 John 3:10b-15
(Part 5)

INTRODUCTION

A.   The Character of Love

          In his book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis wrote, "Do not waste your   time bothering whether you 'love' your neighbor act as if you did. As      soon as we do this, we find one of the great secrets. When you are          behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him           more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less."

[Let me illustrate this statement with a story…]

          Newspaper columnist and Pastor George Crane told of a wife who       came into his office full of hatred toward her husband. "I do not only    want to get rid of him, I want to get even. Before I divorce him, I want to hurt him as much as he has me."

          Dr. Crane suggested an ingenious plan "Go home and act as if you really      love your husband. Tell him how much he means to you. Praise him for   every decent trait. Go out of your way to be as kind, considerate, and       generous as possible. Spare no efforts to please him, to enjoy him. Make           him believe you love him.

          After you've convinced him of your undying love and that you cannot          live without him, then drop the bomb. Tell him that you're getting a         divorce. That will really hurt him."

          With revenge in her eyes, she smiled and exclaimed, "Beautiful,          beautiful. Will he ever be surprised!" And she did it with enthusiasm.          Acting "as if."
          For two months she showed love, kindness, listening, giving,    reinforcing, and sharing.

          When she didn't return, Pastor Crane called. "Are you ready now to go          through with the divorce?"

          "Divorce?" she exclaimed. "Never! I discovered I really do love him."
          Her actions had changed her feelings. Motion resulted in emotion. The         ability to love is established not so much by fervent promise as often       repeated deeds.

B.   The Character of God

So it is with us. We learn that God is a God of love. As a matter of fact John clearly reveals this characteristic of God when he says, 4:8, ‘God is love.’ The teaching of the word of God emphasizes that having faith in a God of love requires believers to be people who love other believers.

 Our theme is:  “Genuine believers love fellow believers”

This is a good reminder for us all that the Test of Sonship demands the practice of love for fellow believers which proves our salvation to be genuine.

Proposition: The God-given love for fellow-believers is proof of your salvation

Interrogative SentenceSo, how does our love for fellow believers prove our salvation to be real?

Transitional SentenceIn our text, John identifies three (3) ways that our love for fellow believers prove our salvation to be genuine. 

2A     THE CHRISTIAN LIFE VIEWED AS SONSHIP (2:29-4:6)

          We continue in this section of scripture that demonstrates that the Christian life if viewed as a life of Sonship. Like the first section that   demonstrated that the Christian life viewed as fellowship, John issues         a series of tests.

          The first test was that Sonship, or being a child of God demanded the      practice of righteousness. John made it clear that a genuine child of        God habitually or consistently makes it a practice to do works that are    both motivated by and in-line with the divine nature that was imparted to the believer at the moment of salvation.

          Now we come to John’s second test of Sonship. In this section, John       will make it clear that…      

          2B     Sonship Demands the practice of love (2:29-3:10a)             

                   John makes a transition from righteousness to love. For John                             these two ideas related. You could almost say that these two                              ideas might be saying the same thing.

[The first thing that we see is…]

                   1C     The Exhortation to practice love (3:10b-15)

                             [How does love for fellow human believers prove your                                       salvation?  The first way is…]

                             1D     …by revealing your character (10)

                                      John uses these tests to show who is a       genuine                                              child of God and who is not.

                                      John makes it clear that there is a clear division of                                              two groups of “sons” or children. There are sons,                                               or children of God and there are sons, or children                                                of the devil. There is no middle ground for John.                                               
                                      There is no third category. Listen to what he says:

                                       “In this the children of God and the children of                                        the devil are manifest…” (10)

                                      The word for manifest means “apparent, evident,                                                or known. The idea is that something is “to be                                           plainly recognized or known.”

                                      The false teachers have been telling John’s readers                                              that they are the real children of God and for these                                             readers to also be children of God they must                                                       abandon what John and the apostles had taught and                                 comply with their teaching.

                                      Some of John’s readers are confused. They don’t                                                know who the real children of God are and so John                                   tells them in verse 10 that there are two distinct                                        ways to tell who a genuine child of God is and                                              who isn’t:

                                      The first test we have already looked at, but John                                               gives it again.

                                      “…whoever does not practice righteousness is not                                     of God.

                             [We need to remember two things:]

·        John is not saying that genuine children of God do not sin or that sin is impossible

·        John is saying anyone who does not habitually perform [present tense verb] acts of righteousness is not a part of the family of God 

                   These false teachers were teaching that a person could be                          righteous regardless of his/her actions and behavior simply by                           becoming a member of their “elite” society.

                   John insists that the person who is actually “doing                                              righteousness” is righteous.

                   We pick up this week the last phase of verse 10

                   “…nor is he who does not love his brother.”

                   First of all – this phrase is a parallel to the first phrase that we                           just looked at. These two phrased together provide us with the                          two sides of the test of Sonship:

·        The habitual, consistent practice of righteousness
·        Love for fellow believers

                   Second, so that there is no confusion, John is not talking about                          one or maybe an occasional act of kindness or love, but the                      continuing practice of love.

The point is this – John exhorts his readers to love one another. The first reason behind his exhortation to love fellow believers is the fact that our consistent love for one another reveals our character of being a child of God or a child of the devil.

Our theme is:  “Genuine believers love fellow believers”

This is a good reminder for us all that the Test of Sonship demands the practice of love for fellow believers which proves our salvation to be genuine.

Proposition: The God-given love for fellow-believers is proof of your salvation

[How does love for fellow believers prove your salvation?  The first way is that it reveals your character. The second way that love for our fellow believers prove our salvation is…

                             2D     …by remembering our command (11-13)

                                      “For this is the message that you heard from the                                                 beginning, that we should love one another…”

                                      In John 13:34-35 Jesus told the disciples:

                                      “A new commandment I give to you that you love                                               one another; as I have loved you, that you also                                          love one another. By this all will know that you                                         are My disciples, if you have love for one                                                      another.” (John 13:34-35, NKJV)

                                      God’s people are a loving people. The love that                                        God infuses into us, because He is love, is the                                            motivation to love other believers. When this                                             motivation is present, genuine Sonship is proved                                                and when this motivation is not     present, then                                               genuine salvation is not present.

Ø This word for message is used only one time in the NT – right here

Ø It means message, announcement, proclamation, command, or order

          John says to his readers you readers have already heard this message,     this order at the beginning. Beginning of what?

          Our verb, “you have heard” actually helps us out. It means from the        time that they had first heard the gospel. The command to love fellow believers was a part of the original message that came from Jesus       Christ Himself.

          To consistently love fellow believers is not an option. It is not a     choice that we have. We are not free to choose to love or to choose     not to love. This is the natural outcome of genuine salvation.

          John does not want anybody confused when he appeals to their     memory about this command to love one another.

          John gives his readers two examples of the kind of attitude and actions    that Christians must avoid:

Ø Cain, who murdered his brother

Ø World who rather than loves Christians, actually hates Christians

          “…not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his         brother…”

          John doesn’t actually say that Cain hated Abel, but he sure does imply    it.

          Abel had obeyed God and that obedience stung Cain just as if it were       a physical rebuke of Cain.

          Simply by being in the presence of Abel Cain was in the presence of        Abel’s righteousness and the righteousness of Abel actually    condemned Cain. Cain knew this and Cain hated Abel because of it.

          “And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his         brother’s righteous.”

          Cain saw that what Abel did was right and pleased God. Cain could        see that what he did, did not please God and was not right. Abel’s     good works judged and condemned Cain’s bad works.
         
          Cain’s response to this condemnation was not to repent and seek the           righteousness that his brother had, but to rid himself of the person           whose presence condemned him.

          Cain’s hatred led him to murder his very own brother.

Love produces sacrifice, hatred seeks to destroy.

I want you to take note of something here that is very important to understand. Cain was not jealous of his brother, nor did Cain want to be like his brother.

Cain hated righteousness. Abel’s righteousness put Cain in a bad light. It revealed Cain as who he really was inside.

          So John is telling his readers that they cannot walk in the same       footsteps of Cain. His readers must remember and obey the   commandment that they had heard when they had first been saved, to    love one another.

What do we learn here? To be like Cain, to hate our brother and not loving our brother, or genuine believers, reveals the fact that one is a child of Satan and not a child of God.

I think the reason church fights and splits are so vicious is because of at least two reasons:

·        Many of the participating members are not really Christians

·        Their consequent deeds motivated by the flesh (not being in Christ) are condemned by the deeds of the genuine believers who are in Christ

[So, the first example that we are not imitate is Cain. The second is…]

THE WORLD

John moves from talking about Cain to the world.

“Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you.”

Stop being surprised John is saying. This is actually a command. Stop doing it. So, John’s readers were surprised that the world hated them. They didn’t want the world to hate them. Also the world’s hatred of Christians is not a reason to be surprised. It is natural that the wicked hate the righteous.

By the way this is the only place where John addresses his readers as brothers. Everywhere else he calls them little children, children, or beloved.

It seems that the reason John calls them brothers here is to place himself on the same level as his readers.

I am sure John remembers when Jesus told the disciples:

“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” (John 15:18-20, NKJV)

                    Just like Cain hated Abel because of Abel’s righteousness, the                            world will hate you because of your righteousness. Those who                           are not genuine believers are members of the devil’s family.                            The characteristic trait of non-Christians is to hate Christ and                          Christianity.

                    Just like Abel’s righteousness behavior condemned Cain, your                           righteous behavior condemns the world ungodliness. And for                             that the world hates you.

          This is just like Cain. The world is not jealous of Christians. The    world does not want to be like Christians. Christians makes the world          look bad. So the world hates Christians just like Cain hated Abel.

The reason that John used Cain as an example is simple. Cain hated his brother, the world hates Christians. The reason for the hatred is the same reason. The wicked cannot tolerate the presence of righteousness.

The Jews wanted to kill Jesus by throwing him off a cliff
The Jews wanted to kill Paul
Cain hated Abel
The world hates Christians

Why? The wicked cannot tolerate the presence of righteousness.

Our theme is:  “Genuine believers love fellow believers”

This is a good reminder for us all that the Test of Sonship demands the practice of love for fellow believers which proves our salvation to be genuine.

Proposition: The God-given love for fellow-believers is proof of your salvation
[How does love for fellow believers prove your salvation?  The first way is that it reveals your character. The second way that love for our fellow believers prove our salvation is remembers our command.

There is a third and final way that love for our fellow believers proves your salvation. It proves your salvation…

                              3D     …by ratifying our conversion

                                        “We know that we have passed from death to life,                                      because we love the brethren. He who does not                                           love his brother abides in death. Whoever hates                                                  his brother is a murderer and you know that no                                               murder has eternal life abiding in him.”

                                        Here in these two verses John restates the test that                                               he had given in 2:9-11.

                                        Love, Christ-like love, sacrificial love for                                                     Christians is evidence that you are truly or                                                            genuinely saved.

                                        Hatred for Christians is evidence that you are not                                                 truly or genuinely saved.

                                        The world is characterized by hatred. But                                                   Christians have confidence that they have passed                                                 out of the “world” and passed from the death of the                                   world to life.

                                        This is a conclusion by the way. We conclude we                                                 are saved, but this conclusion is based on actual                                         experience.

                                        Just for the record, the passing from death to life                                                  shows the only two spheres into which the entire                                                 human race is divided. There are those who are                                           dead – the world/lost and –the Christian/saved.

                                        The nice thing here is that the verb for passed is a                                                perfect tense verb. This transfer has already                                                          occurred in the past and as a result life has already                                               been entered. Eternal life is not a state to enter                                            when we die but eternal life begins at                                                                 regeneration.

                                        John is careful with his language. John does not                                         say that loving our brothers earns eternal life.                                             Those with eternal life love their brothers.

                                        John goes to say:  “He who does not                                                                      love his brother abides in death.”

                                        Remember John is talking about a habitual practice                                    of love.  A Christian is one who loves; the person                                                who does not love is not a member of the family of                                    God. A person who does not love is not a member                                                  of the family of God.

                                        Notice what John did not say – he did not say that                                               the one who does not love dies, he said he who                                           does not love remains in death. This means that he                                               existed in death from birth and he continues to stay                                   in death which is opposed to those who love the                                             brothers and have been transferred from death to                                                  life.

John continues with this sentence: “Whoever hates his brother is a murder, and you know that no murder has eternal life abiding in him.”

                                        Remember we are talking about the confirmation                                                  of genuine conversion.

                                        This is an interesting statement by John.

                                        First thing to note by John’s grammar he is not                                         talking about someone who gets caught up in a                                           moment of anger toward someone.

                                        Secondly – John is talking about somebody who                                                  continually hates his brother as a continuing habit.

                                        Thirdly, if you compare vs 14 with vs 15 and “he                                                 who does not love” with “the one who hates” John                                               puts this in a very, very sobering manner.

                                        There is no middle ground – iow, not to love is to                                                hate. 

                                        You cannot say, “Well, I don’t hate Mary, I just                                         don’t love her” Not loving her is hating her.                 

                                        This person, John says is a murderer.

                              I think the question we have to ask at this point is how                                       does hating your brother make you a murderer?

                                        This word, murderer is only used twice in the NT.                                                It is used here and in Jn 8:44.

In Matthew 5: 21-22, Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, ad whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says ‘You fool’ shall be in danger of hell fire.” (Matthew 5:21-22, NKJV)

It seems that the hatred is the equivalent of murder when you analyze the destructive attitude.

Bishop John of Jerusalem is quoted as having said, “The person whom one hates one desires to see disappear.”  Hatred seems to be the desire to get rid of someone, whether or not one has the nerve or the occasion to do the deed.

Hatred is an attitude that would harm or destroy the person hated. Anyone who has that type of an attitude toward a fellow believer reveals that he is not been converted and is not a member of the family of God.

This is why John makes it clear that loving our brother confirms our conversion.

John emphasizes this idea when he concludes this first section with this chilling thought:

          “…and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”

If you hate a fellow Christian, no matter what the reason, you are a murderer and as an unrepentant murderer you do not have eternal life, therefore you are not a genuine believer, you have not been converted.

Lot of church fights are not between Christians who can’t get along, they are between people who have never been saved but think that they have been.

John exhorts his people to love one another. He does so because love for fellow believers proves your salvation.

Proposition: The God-given love for fellow-believers is proof of your salvation

Loving your brother proves your salvation three ways.

·        By revealing your character
·        By remembering your command
·        By ratifying your conversion

Our theme is:  “Genuine believers love fellow believers”

This is a good reminder for us all that the Test of Sonship demands the practice of love for fellow believers which proves our salvation to be genuine.                    

But for now, what do you say we wrap this up? 

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, our love for fellow believers is proof that our salvation is genuine. However, we can’t confuse the act with the attitude behind the act. We are not saved because we love, we love because we are saved.

Exhortation:  I exhort you to examine your claim of being a Son or child of God in order to make certain that you are not practicing a life of consistent hate toward a fellow believer or believers.

John wrote in 1 John 3:7 (ESV)


“Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteousness, just as He is righteous. (NKJV)


Let’s pray! J

1 comment:

WiseRosy said...

Well done Gregg on a great post, (as always I will read this again later to fully absorb)
Yvonne.