In the few days between Break Forth and my next training assignment in Edmonton, I committed to studying First John.
The book of First John is filled with amazing truths. Try this, read through the entire letter and put a “K” over the word know, you’ll be amazed! Many of these “knows” indicate the marks of a true believer.
As continued my study and marked the repeated phrase “children of God” in chapter 3 I found five truths that we as children of God can benefit from knowing. Grab Your Bible and let’s look at these key truths, but first read through 1 John 3 and underline the phrase children of God.
Now, take a look at the following truths with me:
Truth 1 – Because God loves us, we can be called children of God. — 1 John 3:1
John starts this letter with, “See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God.”
The word “see” that John uses is not the same as we use it today. I might use the word see this way: “See, I told you the Toronto Maple Leafs will never win again.”
The word “see” in the Greek is a strong, “behold, pay attention, be in wonder and awe.” John is amazed at the fact that because of God’s incomprehensible love for us, His sacrifice and our profession of faith we are His children.
This love we experience changes everything about us, to the point of not being recognizable by the world.
Truth 2 – When Jesus returns, children of God will be like Him — 1 John 3:2
John continues his focus on being a child of God in verse 2, reminding us that, we have hope now because we know that our future is secure and one day, when Jesus appears, we will be just like Him.
Look around, watch the news, but don’t be dismayed! We are children of God and one day we will finally be free from sin and this sinful world.!
Truth 3 – Children of God won’t be deceived — 1 John 3:7
John’s love for his readers is brought out in this verse as he writes “make sure no one deceives you.” This can also be read as, “Let no one engage in deceiving you.” How important is it for us to know the truth!
The warning against false teachers and deception is clear and it applies today in 2015 just as much as it did when John wrote it. As we move closer to the return of Jesus we must be aware of those who choose to malign the truth of God’s Word. This is why our ministry is so important. We exist to establish the children of God in His Word so they know the truth..
Truth 4 – Children of God stand out in the world — 1 John 3:9-10
No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: Anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.
When I teach teens I use this example: “When you are with your peers at school you see how they act towards you and others. If you see those same peers at a city-wide youth meeting with their hands raised in worship, is your reaction is ‘I didn’t know they were Christians!’ or is it ‘That’s why they are so kind to everyone.’”
John makes it clear that children of God and children of the devil are obvious. Those who practice (habitual) sin are children of the devil and those who practice (habitual) righteousness are children of God.
children of God and children of the devil are obvious
One of the clear markers of those who practice righteousness becomes our fifth and final truth about the children of God.
Truth 5 – Children of God love one another — 1 John 3:11-24
John wraps up chapter 3 explaining the importance of loving one another. The verb tense that John uses implies that “we should continuously love the family of God.” John characterizes the child of God as a person who pursues righteousness, abstains from sin, and loves the brethren. As the chapter concludes, John gives us examples of how to love the brethren: Be aware of their needs and step in to help—this is what it means to love in deed and in truth.
How are we doing as beloved children of God?
I know that as a child of God it is vital for me to love the brethren. Not just my inner circle but all those who profess Jesus Christ and actively pursue righteousness. God has called each of us to love in deed and truth.
I, like John, desire passionately to bring the truth of God’s Word to the brethren so they won’t be deceived by the rise in false teaching and doctrine. Will you join me in establishing more people in God’s Word through Precept Ministries? This is love in action: Establishing the brethren in God’s Word.
It is through your prayers and God's faithfullness that we are on the verge of expanding the work of Precept like never before in the history of the Ministry. God gave us a vision to reach 30,000 new Canadians with Inductive Bible study. And we can see that it is truly His vision.
Have we met our goal? Not yet. But we are well on our way, and I know God will continue to be faithful as we follow His leading. Thank you for hearing God's call and partnering with us in this incredible opportunity.
Blessed by your partnership,
Mark Sheldrake, National Director