Summary: This sermon can be used to call a congregation into closer fellowship, or to teach the believer’s responsibility toward the church family. [Key points in this sermon may have come from other sources. If you see anything that should be credited to another,

Being the Family of God

Drawn from 1st John 3

The church is Identified With God as being His Children … therefore, we make up the Family of God [John 3.1]

Many Christians have been infected with the most virulent virus of modern American life, what sociologist Robert Bellah calls "radical individualism."

They concentrate on personal obedience to Christ as if all that matters is "Jesus and me," but in doing so, miss the point altogether.

For Christianity is not a solitary belief system.

Any genuine resurgence of Christianity, as history demonstrates, depends on a reawakening and renewal of that which is the essence of the faith—that is, the people of God, the new society, the body of Christ, which is made manifest in the world— the church.

[Sermon -- Harm of Radical Individualism, Citation: Chuck Colson, The Body (Word, 1992), p.32]

1 Cor. 2:12 (NKJV) 12Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.

So, what are some characteristics of this spiritual family … CHARACTER TRAITS that will let us know that we are identified with God’s family?

I. God’s Children are Developing the Nature of their Father [3:2]

1. We have had the enormity of God’s Love bestowed upon us. [vs. 1]

1) We can bask in the rapture of His love, no matter our past.

2) We don’t boast our position as superior over others, but rather count it grace.

2. We are changing … even the world does not know us any longer (like it did before).[vs. 1]

3. We are becoming the image of Christ. [vs. 2] (not arrived yet, but making progress)

II. God’s Children are Rejecting the Nature to Sin against their God [3: 3-10]

1. John says, Christ came to take away our sins… why would we want to cling to what had (at one time) brought us death?

2. … In Him, there is no sin.

1) There was no sin found in Christ Jesus … it is not in his nature.

2) We are also to put on that same nature … that nature that rejects sin and its power over us.

Rom. 6:22 through Rom. 6:23 (NKJV) 22But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. 23For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

3) If the Father could not look upon His own Son on that day of sacrifice, because He had become our sin and was paying the penalty for our sin … do you and I think that the Father can look with favor on our hearts if we are filled with Sin against Him.?

4) [and ALL sin IS against Him … it is an insult and an injury to HIM].

a) every time we sin we are slapping God in the face and saying I am challenging your word, your authority over my life.

b) That’s why sin is so serious, it ISN’T just “my life…”

3. As we learn to abide in Him (live in Him, breath in Him, work in Him, play in Him rest in Him) we loose our desire to sin … and even lessen our ability to sin. [6]

4. John goes on to say, in fact, that a person who sins (practices sin) doesn’t really know God … hasn’t really seen the great sacrifice of forgiveness that cost God everything….

5. [vs 7-8] John’s resounding commentary on the separation of the things of God and Satan.

1) Since you and I have something God is making … God is NOT making that thing to sin against Him.

2) On the other hand, if Satan is forming something in us, you can be assured it will reveal itself as being against God … (and God will reveal that… it can’t be hidden/covered over.)

6. [vs. 9] - a theological statement of our position in Christ before the Father.

1) In context (1 John 1:9) … John is not contradicting himself.

2) John is saying, a child of God, a member of God’s family, has a position in Christ that won’t allow Him to continue in sin … Christ’s inherited nature won’t allow it … and we are of HIS seed.

3) So:

a) Practically - we will avoid sin and separate ourselves from it.

b) Positionally - we can not become unrighteous again… for we are already declared righteous before God

c) THAT IS WHY … either God will deal with His children’s sin, or He may choose to remove that child from this world. è

1 John 5:16-17 (NKJV) 16If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that. 17All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death.

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