Sermon Outline On 1 John 3:1-7Â (NRSV)
See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. Everyone who commits sin is guilty of lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he was revealed to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him sins; no one who sins has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Everyone who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.
She was asked by her mother to wash the dishes. The hot water would be too hot & hurt her mother’s hands. Even with the gloves on her hands. Her mother always wore gloves — those ugly gloves. She shouts, “I always have to do the dishes.” “Why don’t you do them?” “I am tired of you using your hands as an excuse.” She goes stomping out of the room.
Her Dad decided that it was time for him to have a talk with her. He went to her room. “We need to talk.” “I need to tell you a story.” “When you were just a baby, you were playing near the fire place.” You were still in your gown. You came too close to the fire that was burning. Your gown caught on fire. Your mother saw what happened and ran to you. She used her bare hands and arms to put out the fire. You were ok, but your mother’s hands and arms were badly burned.
She was a teenager and heard this story for the first time. She ran down the stairs to her mother. She pulled the gloves from her mother’s hands, and kissed them. From that time on, washing the dishes was a pleasure.
What does it mean to be a child of God? What does it mean to be called children? For this young girl, to be a child meant daily responsibilities & chores. But it also meant the loving protection of her mother.
It meant a mother’s sacrificial love. It meant guidance from a caring father. It meant a deep, unconditional love for her because she was the child of her parents.
What does it mean to be children of God? According to Luke’s gospel, when Jesus wanted to share with the Pharisees and the scribes about the love of God he told them 3 parables a parable about LOST SHEEP a parable about A LOST COIN a parable about LOST SON
In the parable of the Prodigal Son Jesus compares God’s love to the love of a father This wayward child was welcomed home into the arms of his loving father.
J. Wilbur Chapman often told of the testimony given by a certain man in one of his meetings:
“I got off at the Pennsylvania depot as a tramp, and for a year I begged on the streets for a living. One day I touched a man on the shoulder and said,Â “Hey, mister, can you give me a dime?” As soon as I saw his face I was shocked to see that it was my own father.
I said, “Father, Father, do you know me?” Throwing his arms around me and with tears in his eyes, he said, “Oh my son, at last I’ve found you! I’ve found you. You want a dime? Everything I have is yours.”
Think of it. I was a tramp. I stood begging my own father for ten cents, when for 18 years he had been looking for me to give me all that he had.”
See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are.
Beloved, we are God’s children now We don’t have to wait 18 years to know God’s love. We don’t have to wait until we die to know God’s presence. We don’t have to wait for eternity to begin. Eternity is now. God’s love is now. Beloved, we are God’s children now!
What does it mean to be children of God?
Paul wrote to the Romans: “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ–“Â Â Â Â Romans 8:12-17
We are children of God and if children of God — heirs of God. We are heirs of God’s inheritance. We are heirs of the kingdom of God. Beloved, we are God’s children now! We are God’s heirs now! The kingdom is ours now!
John says, “See what love the Father has given us.” Who ever earned the right to be children of their parents? We are not children of God, because of what we have done. We have not earned our way to be children of God. We are God’s children, because God loves us.
We are children of God, by God’s grace. We are heirs to the kingdom of heaven, by God’s grace. We are able to pray with confidence, by God’s grace. We are forgiven of our sins, by God’s grace. We are saved, by God’s grace.
There was a young boy down in the South years ago who wanted to join a church. So the deacons were examining him. They asked, “How did you get saved?” His answer was, “God did His part, and I did my part.”
They thought there was something wrong with his doctrine, so they questioned further, “What was God’s part, and what was your part?” His explanation was a good one. He said, “God’s part was the saving, and my part was the sinning.
I done run from Him as fast as my sinful heart and rebellious legs could take me. He done took out after me till He run me down.”
God wants us all to be God’s children. God’s greatest desire is for all of us to be God’s children. Just like the father of the prodigal son, God waits for us to come. Just like the father who searched for 18 years, God constantly seeks us.
Just like God took out after that young boy, God chases after us.
To be a child of God is a gift from God. This meal we share today is a reminder of the unconditional love we receive because we are a child of God.