Biblical Christianity: Clarity & Confidence
The clarity of knowing what Biblical Christianity actually is brings tremendous confidence and direction for you life. Join as we begin a 5 part series on what Christianity is and isn’t. #Christianity #1John #DareToVenture
Biblical Christianity: Clarity & Confidence
Christianity is the relationship with God based on the belief that Jesus Christ is Lord. And as such His death, burial and resurrection has made the way for all who repent and believe to know and follow Him! It is the commitment to believe in and follow the Jesus that was known by John and the other Apostles.
In 2017 Gallop said ¾ of Americans identify as Christians. I saw a 2019 poll that said it's now 63%, FYI in 1990 it was 85%. However, even with the trend going down in the United States, there is still a mass majority of people in America who consider themselves to be Christians. In 2018 The Pew Research Foundations published that only 80% of Americans who call themselves Christians Believe that God is the God in the Bible. 18% literally believe in a “higher power or spiritual force.”
Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons and even some Pentecostal denominations that adhere to Oneness Doctrine (they believe in modalism) refer to themselves as Christians. But they reject the fundamental identity of Jesus as eternally God (the Doctrine of the Trinity). For almost 2,000 years this doctrine has been one of the core nonnegotiable makers of what is Christian and what is not. So in a culture where everybody thinks they are a Christian, if we are going to be successful at engaging those far from God with the Gospel of Jesus Christ we need to actually know and follow Him.
This is why 1 John 3:1 through 4:6 is so important for us to study. It turns out there have always been those who reject Christianity by replacing it with something else and ironically still calling it Christian!
For the next 5 weeks we are going to read what the Apostle John put forward to categorize what Christianity actually is and actually isn’t. My prayer is that it will help equip us to engage a world far from God with the Christianity taught by Christ.
More importantly, we will look at our own lives and see what we have.
Are we actually believing in and living in that amazing relationship with God that comes through believing in and following Jesus Christ? Or have we invented something else that is masking itself as Christianity but in the end isn’t?
So today we begin with 1 John 3:1-2, and in it we get some clarity about what Christianity actually is and the confidence that should stir in our lives!
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 John 3:1-2)
Our passage today gives 2 points of clarity about Biblical Christianity that should give us huge confidence!
We get to experience God as our Dad now! (3:1)
1 See what kind of love the Father has given to us,
“SEE” tells us to pay attention to this, focus on it, ponder it, meditate on it, think about it and hold on to it with everything you have!
The “kind of love the father has given to us”. K.S. Wuest says the way He has loved us is of a different kind than how we love, it is foreign to us! You have to go to the cross to find this love. It's not something you are going to find in yourself.
You're not going to find this kind of love. Not in a spouse, a child, a parent, or a friend. Not in jobs, careers or hobbies. Not in fans or followers.
This love that God has for us is literally foreign to this world. It is not of it in any way. And He has directed that love towards us! He has made us the object of it. He has picked us out and turned this out of this world love on us!
He didn’t love us because of what Jesus did. Jesus did what He did because He loves us!
You have to go to the GodMan suffering the eternal debt of sin. You're not going to look around the world that rejects God, that’s under the curse of God, that’s living and drowning in sin and find it.
But, you can find Jesus on a cross dying for that world and find it!
But what’s the purpose of this love? Well, glad you asked!
1 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.
Now this is cool. Wuest notes about the word translated “given.”
“The perfect tense is used here to indicate that the gift becomes a permanent possession of the recipient. God has placed His love upon the saints in the sense that they have become the permanent objects of His love.” (Wuest)
Why is this important? Well, we are permanently called children of God. And not just called, we are!
We are children of God because God chose to love us. He has chosen to direct His foreign love on us. His eternal perfect and holy love. The Love that He has been forever. He has turned it on us. He has given it to us. And in so doing the Bible teaches that he adopted us as His children! Not just in name but in actuality.
John is writing a book on actualities:
The actual real Jesus instead of the fake one the Gnostics were teaching.
Actual and real faith that demonstrates itself with obedience and love. Not an antichrist faith that lives our lives in total disregard and opposition to Him.
An actual and real salvation whereby we are permanently and forever saved because God has permanently and forever fixed his love on us. It can not be moved, because in so doing He has made us His children!
Listen , this is huge! You can earn all kinds of things in this world, but you can’t earn the right to be somebody’s child. Spurgeon said “The most faithful service does not make a servant into a son.” You don’t earn that. The love of a parent toward a child is not earned. It's simply given!
So, to no surprise, we can not earn the right to be children of God. One because it's not something to be earned. Two, it’s also something that if it could be earned we would be incapable of it anyway. We are incapable of earning anything from God, we mess everything up!
But watch this, if we can’t earn the right to be his children, it has to be given. And indeed He has given us His love, and as such made us His children. He has turned His, “Out of this world love” toward us and made us His children!
Which then means this. You can’t undo being somebody’s kid. Once you’re His kid you are always His kids! It's why John said with such firmness, “And so we are”!
Some of you may not be understanding why this is a big deal. Let me help you understand it.
When we adopted Ada she was being taken care of in an orphanage. Not a single child in that building had a mother or father. Ada was brought there as a brand new baby, an infant, so she wasn’t really aware of the difference. She just loved all the love and attention she got from the great nurses and care agents that worked at the orphanage.
But the older kids that remembered having a parent. The ones who lost their parents to war or disease or were simply abandoned. They lived every day of their life wondering when the day would come that they would have a parent again.
You see, a parent is committed to love, not because the child earned it, not because of the child’s talents or abilities, but because they love the child, period!
A parent will give their life for the child and never hesitate. They will pour out every ounce of love they have and do so with so much abundance that they can even do the painful thing of disciplining that child. To teach that child how to be a mature responsible person who can love and be loved by others. How they can be cared for and care for others. They can even do what hurts. Why? Because they love that child. Period!
The child of loving parents has something in them that sustains them, that gives them confidence like nothing else.
- That when they are up to bat with 2 strikes they look over to see where you are.
- When they are about to jump off that high dive they look for you.
- When they get that report card with all A’s on it they are coming to find you.
- When the storms rage outside they run to your room.
- When their hearts get broken they run to you.
Listen, that’s the confidence of having a parent who loves you.
So when you and I face eternity. When we face eternity wondering what’s next. Wondering how we fit in to something so vast. Where do we run?
We run to the creator of eternity, the creator of everything. The one who loves us beyond any measure of this world. The one who has called us His children. And so we are! The one who loves us with an out of this world kind of love.
There is no confidence like the confidence of knowing the creator of eternity as your Father. To actually know Him!
Listen, church, Christianity isn’t a system of beliefs and regulations. It is the Gospel that ushers us into real and actual life. The life of knowing and being known by God as our dad!
This is so foreign to this world, so unusual, so crazy that John writes:
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.
The world can’t make sense of this kind of love, of this kind of life. It is not of this world. Religion is, but Christianity isn’t!
The world is never going to understand or make sense of people who love being loved by Jesus. But, they will watch, and listen, and test you.
And get this. If you will let that relationship with God be real and alive in you. If it truly shapes you and you share the reason why with others (The Gospel!), then you will see others surrender their life to Jesus and find themselves basking in eternal life as one of His kids as well!
The 2nd point of clarity about Biblical Christianity that should give us huge confidence is that Christianity makes it real clear that:
Our future is guaranteed to be as glorious as He is! (3:2)
2 Beloved, we are God's children now (so what we have now is awesome ,), 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. (1John 3:2)
OK, now listen, you have got to understand the significance here. The hugeness here!
In Exodus 33:20 we see a general principle that “No man shall see [God] and live.”
So how is it that we could see God and things go well?
All the Father gave Moses was His back and it almost killed Moses. When God shows his face, it’s a consuming fire that devours everything that isn’t holy. Everything that can’t withstand his presence.
But, on this side of the cross, more importantly on this side of the resurrection we have a different scenario.
The sacrifice has been made and thus we have been made worthy of being in His presence. We have been made worthy to be Sons and daughters of God! The Veil was torn in the Holy of Holies.
This is so that when Jesus comes, those who are in Christ, His adopted family, are not consumed by His judgement but we are transformed by His glory!
When He returns He is coming with salvation in His hands. He is not coming to pay the price but to claim the prize! He is coming back in glory and He’s going to bestow that glory on all who are in Him.
I have to show you what Spurgeon wrote on this:
“We shall not see Him abased in His incarnation, but exalted in His glory.
We shall see the head, but not with its thorny crown. We shall see the hand, and the nail prints too, but not the nail. It has been drawn out once and forever. We shall see His side, and its pierced wound too, but the blood shall not issue from it. We shall see Him not with a peasant’s garb around Him, but with the empire of the universe upon His shoulders. We shall see Him, not with a reed in His hand, but grasping a golden scepter. We shall see Him, not as mocked and spat upon and insulted, not bone of our bone in all our agonies, afflictions, and distresses, but we shall see Him exalted.
He is no longer Christ the man of sorrows, acquainted with grief, but Christ the Man-God, radiant with splendor, effulgent with light, clothed with rainbows, girded with clouds, wrapped in lightning, crowned with stars, the sun beneath His feet. Again, we shall not see the Christ wrestling with pain, but Christ as a conqueror.
We shall never see Him as when He stood foot-to-foot with His enemy, but we shall see Him when His enemy is beneath His feet. We shall never see Him as the bloody sweat streams from His whole body, but we shall see Him as He has put all things under Him, and has conquered hell itself. We shall never see Him as the wrestler, but we shall see Him grasp the prize.” (Spurgeon)
He is not just going to display that glory. He is going to pour that glory out on all who are in Him. As such we are going to be transformed and made like Him.
These bodies that are broken and torn apart, under the curse of sin and death, will be replaced by bodies just like the one Jesus came up out of the grave with.
Body and soul will be totally transformed and unified in such a way that the Glory of God will abound on us and in us. All that is perishable and corruptible will be permanently and forever changed by His glory to be made imperishable and incorruptible! All the Glory of the father will be poured out on us to dwell in forever. Our forever is the glory of God!
So listen, as you face all the uncertainty of a world under the curse of sin, if you are in Christ, you can know that just as Christ walked in suffering, in pain, in humility, He walked in our shoes. All that we go through he went through. We too will go through what he went through.
We will suffer rejection. We will suffer betrayal. We will suffer heartbreak. We will even die. We will go through everything Jesus went through. But, that also means, we will rise from the grave and be made just like Him!
Your future is not the chain of bondage it is the joy of freedom!
Your future is not the painful suffering of this world, but the soothing grace of His!
Your future is not the defeat of sin and death, but the victory of righteousness and life!
Your future is brighter than the sun. More secure than a mountain and more guaranteed than taxes!
Your future is as glorious as He is. He is King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. He is the one and only all powerful eternal loving God. He is my present and even more so my future.
And that’s more awesome than anything in this world. That is an out of this world future!
How is the clarity the Gospel gives you about your eternal future transforming your decisions and attitude now?
We were trying to convince Remi there was no monster in her room.
We took her into her closet, looked under her bed, showed her everything in her room. And that it was all her stuff in her room.
But, as long as she believed there was a monster in her room she would not go to sleep. Why would she? She needed to be ready to fight or run away!
But, when she finally believed there was no monster there. When she finally let the facts dictate her decision and attitude, then she finally closed her eyes, relaxed and went to sleep.
So, do you believe your present adoption as God’s child and the future resurrection and life that is in store for you is guaranteed? Do you believe it to be out of this world awesome? Do you believe it’s real?
If you say you do, then how is it shaping your decisions? How is it shaping your attitude?
Are you frustrated and bitter about life? Then you don’t truly believe what the Gospel has made clear about your present and future!
Do you feel like you don’t matter? Then you don’t truly believe what the Gospel has made clear about your present and future!
Are you living in sin and rebellion thinking it’s the best life you can live? Then you don’t truly believe what the Gospel has made clear about your present and future!