Sermon #20 1 John Series
Title: A Purifying Hope
Text: 1 John 3:1-24
Subject: The Believer’s Hope
Date: Tuesday Evening — October 2, 2012
Tape # 1 John #20
Readings: Mark Henson and Larry Brown
My subject tonight is — A Purifying Hope. Our text will be 1st John 3 — 1st John 3:1-24. In these twenty-four verses of Holy Scripture the Apostle John tells us what that hope is that causes chosen, redeemed sinners to walk before God in purity. Read verses 1-3 with me, and you will see how God the Holy Spirit inspired John to deal with and explain this matter of A Purifying Hope.
“1 ¶ Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” (1 John 3:1-3)
The purity here spoken of is a derived purity not a performed purity, a purity bestowed upon us not a purity accomplished by us. No one can purify himself, let alone make himself pure as Christ is pure! Being quickened into a new and spiritual life by God the Holy Ghost in regeneration, every child of God that has this hope in him beholds himself pure as Christ is pure, pure in Christ’s purity. We see, by faith in Christ, that we are accepted before God in the Beloved. This is the well-grounded and assured hope of our complete justification before God and our complete sanctification in Christ, who of God is made unto us, “Wisdom and Righteousness and Sanctification and Redemption!”
Proposition: Christ is our Hope. He is our assurance, our confidence, and our joy.
Divisions: May God the Holy Spirit be our Teacher as we look at these twenty-four verses of Holy Scripture. I want to call your attention to five things in this chapter.
a cause for wonder (v. 1).
First, in verse 1 John gives us a cause for wonder.
(1 John 3:1) “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.”
John was a man whose life was filled with wonders. It is unlikely that any other mere man on earth ever saw and experienced such wonders as this man.
· He walked with the incarnate God.
· He witnessed the Lord’s miracles, as he walked on this earth.
· He was with the Lord of Glory on the Mount of Transfiguration.
· John was present in Gethsemane.
· He was there when the Son of God was nailed to the cursed tree.
· He saw the risen Christ.
· He was an eye-witness of the Lord’s ascension.
· The Revelation of Jesus Christ was given to this man, John.
He saw it all! He experienced, first hand, all those great wonders we talk about! Yet, as he contemplated the great love of God for his people, it seems to have struck him as the greatest wonder of all. He says, —“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us!”
Here is a great wonder indeed! Sinful, wretched worms, though we are, God almighty, the great God of Glory, infinite, glorious, eternal, and holy, has bestowed his love upon us! I am not amazed by the fact that God loves. — “God is love.” I expect him to love. But I amazed that he loves us. We do not deserve his love. We are unlovely and unlovable by nature; but he loved us. — Imagine that!
Our Father bestowed his love upon us in eternity. He loved us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3; John 17:23-24). The love of God bestowed upon us is immutable. God’s love toward us is abundant, boundless and free. It is unconditional, unqualified, unwavering, infinite love! This love of God, which was bestowed upon us in Christ before the world began, is an unending, uninterrupted, persevering love. It is everlasting both ways! — “Having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.” —— This love of God, so freely bestowed upon us from everlasting, is the very same love as that which the Father bestowed upon the Son from eternity, as our Surety and Mediator (John 17:23-26). —— The love of God for us in Christ is the source and cause of every blessing of grace performed for us and bestowed upon us in Christ (Ephesians 1:3-7). —— God’s love for us is the source, cause, and motivation of our love for him (1 John 4:19). —— If God loves me, everything is all right! — (Romans 8:32
The wonder of God’s love is seen in that which he has done for us because of his love. Love is measured best by its deeds. God’s infinite love is the boundless fountain from which and through which all mercy and grace flow to our souls. Because he loved us…
· God chose us and adopted us as his own dear children.
· Our heavenly Father devised a plan of redemption and grace, and entered into a covenant with his Son to save us (Jeremiah 31:31-34).
· God sent his Son into the world and gave him up to suffer the painful, shameful, ignominious death of the cross as our Substitute to save us (1 John 4:9-10).
· Then, at the appointed time of love and grace, the Lord God came to us, called us by his Spirit, and revealed his love to us and in us in Christ (Ezekiel 16:6-8).
We also see the wonder of God’s love in the effect it has upon those who know it and experience it. When a sinner is made to experience the love of God in Christ, his soul, his very life, is transformed by it, transformed to such a degree that he becomes a mystery to the people around him. Because of the love of God bestowed upon us and experienced by us, it is written, “The world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” The people of this world simply cannot understand the people of God. The believer is an enigma to the unbeliever. The unbeliever, no matter how religious he may be, cannot understand the believer’s…
· Worship and Devotion.
· Commitment to Christ and the Gospel.
· Motivation and Concern for the Will and Glory of God.
· Hopes, Aspirations, and Desires.
· Unruffled Peace Amid the Trials and Troubles of Life.
Truly, this is a cause for wonder. — “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.”
a cause for Hope
Look at verses 2 and 3. Here is a cause for hope.
(1 John 3:2) “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”
Before the worlds were made, God loved us, chose us as the objects of his grace, and adopted us as his sons and daughters in Christ. And, now, as the result of his matchless love and grace, we are the sons of God (Galatians. 4:6-7).
(Galatians 4:6-7) “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. (7) Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”
Here are four things every believer ought to know and rejoice in with confident assurance. If we are in Christ, these four things should be matters of confident and constant joy to us.
1. We are now the sons of God. Our adoption was made in eternal election, paid for at Calvary, experienced in regeneration, and shall be perfected in the resurrection. But we are now the sons of God! And the faithful God will never disinherit or disown any of his children!
2. Our heavenly inheritance, as the sons of God, is altogether beyond the scope of human thought and imagination. — “It doth not yet appear what we shall be.”
3. One day soon, we shall behold our Redeemer face to face (Job 19:25-27). — “When he shall appear, (in death or in his second advent), we shall see him as he is!”
· In His Divine Glory
· In His Mediatoral Glory
(Job 19:25-27) “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: (26) And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: (27) Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.”
4. And when we see him as he is, “we shall be like him.” In that great and glorious day, we shall be immediately changed into his likeness, perfectly conformed to the image of the Son of God! Then we will…
· Think as he thinks.
· Want what he wants.
· Love what he loves.
· Hate what he hates.
· And have what he has!
May God grant to every believing soul here an unshaken confidence in these things, that we may draw near to him in full assurance of faith.
Faith in Christ gives us a cause for hope, “hope that maketh not ashamed.” We have “a good hope through grace.” “This hope” is our hope.
· Our hope is the confident expectation of everlasting good from God.
· The basis of our hope is the finished work of Christ as it is revealed in Holy Scripture.
· This blessed hope has a purifying effect upon all who possess it. — It purges our hearts from the love of this world. — It sets our hearts upon the pursuit of Christ. — It fills our hearts with the anticipation of heavenly glory.
a cause for Joy
Third, if you will look at verse 5 you will see a cause for joy, for great, great joy in Christ.
(1 John 3:4-12) “4 ¶ Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. 5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. 6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. 7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. 8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.”
“11 ¶ For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.”
“He was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin!” — What a wonderful, joyful, blessed word of grace this is! — “He was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin!” God’s elect, as long as we live in this body of flesh, are sinners still. Sin, with us, is an unceasing, bitter, and painful, fact of life. Our sins deserve eternal damnation. We have transgressed God’s holy law. We have violated the very character of God. Unless a suitable sacrifice is found, one who can fully atone for all our sins, satisfying God’s law and justice for us, we must forever perish under the wrath of God in hell. But, blessed be God, such a sacrifice has been found by God himself in the person of his own dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (Job 33:24). —— “And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.”
Our Lord Jesus Christ was manifested to take away our sins; and he did what he came here to do. — “It is finished.” – “Now, once, in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” – “He has, by himself purged our sins.” — “And in him is no sin!”
“Did you hear what Jesus said to me?
‘They’re all taken away, away!
Your sins are pardoned and you are free.
They’re all taken away!’”
Now listen carefully. I want you to get this, rejoice in it, and glorify God for it. In these verses John tells us three things which need to be clearly understood.
1st. God’s saints are not ruled, governed, and controlled by sin (vv. 6-7; Romans 6:18).
(1 John 3:6-7) “Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. (7) Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.”
(Romans 6:18) “Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.”
Illustrations: Tennis Ball
2nd. Those whose lives are ruled by sin, by the lusts of their flesh, are children of the devil (v. 8).
(1 John 3:8) “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.”
3rd. When the believer sins, it is not him (his true self) sinning, but sin (the old man) that dwells in him (Compare vv. 9 and 10 with Romans 7:20).
(1 John 3:9-10) “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.”
The believer is a person with two natures, flesh and spirit, the old man and the new man. The old man will never surrender to the new. The flesh will never surrender to the spirit. Yet, we live not after the flesh but after the spirit (Romans 7:14-25; Galatians 5:22-23; Romans 8:1-9).
(Romans 7:14-25) “For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. (15) For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. (16) If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. (17) Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. (18) For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. (19) For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. (20) Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. (21) I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. (22) For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: (23) But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. (24) O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? (25) I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”
(Galatians 5:22-23) “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, (23) Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
(Romans 8:1-9) “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (2) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (3) For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: (4) That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (5) For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. (6) For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (7) Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. (8) So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. (9) But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”
In the eyes of God’s law, we are no longer guilty of sin. – Our debt has been paid! — Our obligation has been met, fulfilled, and satisfied by Christ (Hebrews 1:3). – “He that is dead is freed from sin” (Romans 6:7). God will never charge us with sin, punish us for sin, or treat us any the less graciously because we have sinned (1 John 2:1-2; Romans 4:8). In Christ we have no sin (v. 5; Jeremiah 50:20).
(1 John 3:5) “And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.”
(Jeremiah 50:20) “In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve.”
Near, so very near to God, nearer I cannot be,
For in the Person of His Son, I am as near as He!
Dear, so very dear to God, dearer I cannot be,
Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness,
My beauty are, my glorious dress.
Midst flaming worlds in these arrayed,
With joy shall I lift up my head.
When from the dust of death I rise
To take my mansion in the skies,
This alone, shall be my plea, —
“Jesus has lived and died for me!”
Bold shall I stand in that great day,
For who aught to my charge shall lay,
While through Thy blood absolved I am,
From sin’s tremendous guilt and blame!
Yes, I shall stand before God’s throne,
With Jesus’ spotless garments on,
Accepted in my Lord, God’s Son,
Made holy as the Holy One!
A Cause for Love
Fourth, in verse 16 we are given a cause for love, the only real cause for love, in the revelation of the love of God in the sacrifice of his dear Son, the revelation and knowledge of the love of Christ in the sacrifice of himself as our sin-atoning Substitute and Savior.
(1 John 3:13-18) “13 Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.” “14 ¶ We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. 15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. 16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? 18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”
Believers love one another because we know and experience the love of God in Christ. And the love of Christ in us constrains us by sweet grace to love one another because we are in Christ and one with Christ (2 Corinthians 5:14-16).
A Cause for Confidence
Now, in the fifth place, read verses 19-24, and you will see that John gives us a cause for confidence before God.
(1 John 3:19-24) “19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.”
“20 ¶ For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. 21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, [then] have we confidence toward God. 22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.”
“23 ¶ And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. 24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.”
If my heart condemns me, what a blessed relief it is to my soul when my very heart reproaches me, to look off self to Christ. There is more in Christ to uphold, more to bless, more to justify, more to sanctify than in all my sin to condemn! When a chosen, redeemed sinner is born again, his life in Christ sin cannot destroy! Neither death nor Satan nor hell can reach it! — “Your life is hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). — It is not our strength of faith that gives us confidence toward God, but the full and finished salvation of Christ that gives strength to our faith.
Application: If these things are so (And they most assuredly are!), then you and I who have been made the recipients and beneficiaries of such amazing grace and wondrous love should…
· Love the Lord our God with all our hearts.
· Be full of unceasing gratitude and praise.
· Hate our sins.
· Tell sinners everywhere about the great forgiveness of sins in Christ.
· Give ourselves unreservedly to our great Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
(1 Corinthians 6:19-20) “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (20) For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
(Romans 6:11-12) “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (12) Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.”
(1 Peter 4:1-2) “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; (2) That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.”
If the Lord God has done this for me in Christ, (And he has!), maybe he will do the same for you. Indeed, if you trust him, he has! God help you, then, to trust the Lord Jesus Christ., and you will receive what you ask of him.
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