Monday, March 14, 2011

Commending the Family

Commending the Family

Intro.: We live in a culture where “family” can mean many things.

  1. For some here at Royal Gardens, the closest thing there is to family is the community here at Royal Gardens.

  2. For some it may be their work.
  3. or their church.
  4. For others it may be just their children.
  5. Regardless, family is important.

I'm so glad I'm a part of the Family of God, I've been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His Blood! Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod, For I'm part of the family, The Family of God

    You will notice we say "brother and sister" 'round here, It's because we're a family and these are so near; When one has a heartache, we all share the tears, And rejoice in each victory in this family so dear. From the door of an orphanage to the house of the King, No longer an outcast, a new song I sing; From rags unto riches, from the weak to the strong, I'm not worthy to be here, but PRAISE GOD! I belong!

Read: I John 2:12-14 Pray

T.S. John writes to three audiences in I John 2:12-14

  1. John writes to the “dear Children”

    1. At one level – it sounds like John is writing to a family. He is – the family of God – the church.

    2. Fourteen times in this short book John addresses the church as children. John is writing to all those who have placed their faith, their lives, into the hands of Jesus.

    3. We are the children that John was writing to – we are the church that he was concerned about, even though we are living nearly 2000 years after he wrote – the same truths that he wrote then, apply to us today.

    4. And what does he say?

    5. He reminds them “Your sins are forgiven.” The secret to receiving forgiveness is to realize we are in need of forgiveness.

(Ill.) Jesus plainly stated that he came to save sinners. The man who refuses to be called a sinner puts himself beyond the possibility of salvation. A wealthy industrialist was traveling in California in search of better health; while spending a few days in an inland town, he learned that in this village there resided a man who owed him a large sum of money. The young man had come here after an unsuccessful career in the East, and was beginning to prosper in a small way. “The young man seems to have been trying to help himself,’ said the rich man, “and I am going to destroy the note I hold against him.” The note, however, was miles away among his papers, and he realized that he might not live to return. Not knowing the exact amount of the note, he sent his private secretary to the young man, to make inquiry concerning it, and to offer to give the debtor a receipt against it; thus protecting him from proceedings that might in future be entered against him, should the capitalist die before he reached home. To the surprise of the secretary, the young businessman put on an indignant manner and denied the debt. “When I owe your employer it will be time enough for you to be talking to me about forgiveness,” he said. The debt remained unforgiven and the heirs of the rich man insisted upon the collection of the note. This was done, to the ruin of the man who remained unforgiven because he was not willing to admit that there was anything to forgive.1

    1. He also reminds them that they know the Father – another characteristic of all believers. As a member of the Family of God, we do know the Father.

    2. The children's sins are forgiven – and they know the Father.

  1. John writes to the Fathers

    1. Which sounds very much like the comments John makes about the fathers – the fathers “know Him who is from the beginning.

    2. The children knew The Father, but the fathers knew Him even longer.

    3. I have no way of knowing, bu tI suspect that there were a group of people that knew or had met Jesus before his crucifixion. They may have heard him preach the Sermon on the Mount, or maybe they were in the crowd when Jesus fed the 4000 or 5000. They may have been in Jerusalem that Friday when Jesus was put onto the cross. Or maybe they had caught a glimpse of Him during the 40 days between his resurrection and ascension. I don't know for sure – but they had known “Him from the beginning.

    4. Their faith had grown from what they had seen, heard, and experienced.

    5. They were the kind of leaders we want in the church – men and women who have lived with Jesus. Those who “know” Jesus – not just about Him, but who have taken time to let Him teach them and mold them into what He wants them to be.

    6. They were the kind of people we should all strive to be -

  2. John writes to the Young Men

    1. Finally, John writes to the Young Men. These are not new believers, but they have not had the privilege of having spent significant time with Jesus. But what they will be is the next generation of leaders within the church.

    2. They are in a battle – a spiritual battle. A battle that John recognizes that is being won as they spend time in the Word of God.

    3. Listen again to John words, “You have overcome the evil one, you are strong, the word of God abides in you.

    4. There are some things that challenged me early in my Christian life – I struggled when believers talked about being healed – after all it was doctors and hospitals that provided medical care. I struggled when people spoke about answered prayer – after all coincidences occur all the time. And then, there were times that people spoke about spiritual warfare – and I took it all with a grain of salt. After all, we all have difficult times.

    5. Maybe you have some of the same issues – when other speak of answered prayer or healing or spiritual warfare, you shudder just a little. Maybe it makes you feel a little uncomfortable.

    6. Two things contributed toward my becoming more accepting of God working in miraculous ways in peoples lives:

      1. The first was my firm conviction in the authority of God's word – if God said it, it had to be true.

      2. The second was what God's word said. It spoke of answered prayer, it spoke of healing, and it spoke, like today's passage does, of spiritual warfare.

    7. If I were to believe God's word, then I had to believe that God worked in people's lives in ways that I could not explain.

(Ill.) St. Ignatius once said, “Let fire and cross; let the crowds of wild beasts; let tearings … let shatterings of the whole body; and let all the evil torments of the Devil come upon me: only let me attain to Jesus Christ.”2

One of the subjects you study in seminary is Church History. Dr. David F. Wells was one of my professors. He writes, “Petitionary prayer … is rebellion—rebellion against the world in its fallenness, the absolute and undying refusal to accept as normal what is pervasively abnormal.”3

Conclusion: Pray

1 AMG Bible Illustrations. 2000. Bible Illustrations Series. Chattanooga: AMG Publishers.

2 Larson, C. B., & Lowery, B. (2009). 1001 quotations that connect: Timeless wisdom for preaching, teaching, and writing (104). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

3 Larson, C. B., & Lowery, B. (2009). 1001 quotations that connect: Timeless wisdom for preaching, teaching, and writing (234). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

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