Future Hope For This Present Life: I John 3:1-3

Future Hope For This Present Life: I John 3:1-3
Pastor John Weathersby
Sunday February 27, 2022

Draft, Not a Transcript

They marvel at the volume and value of God’s love for His elect that John encourages – gives his readers a future hope for this present life.  Most of our work in our study today revolves around understanding what John has packed into this first verse of His 3rd chapter. 
John makes a hard turn from strictly presenting doctrine and defense of the faith to encouraging their enduring faith.  A natural conclusion to sound doctrine and, marveling in God’s grace, also a natural conclusion to sound doctrine.  These together offer up an encouragement to finish the race. 
1 Corinthians 9:24–25
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize?  So run that you may obtain it. 
25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things.  They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
John plots the path for a winning life in 3:4-10, a mutual life of love among the believers 3:11-18, and closes with confidence before God in 3:19-24.  John calls them to this by first recognizing the value and volume of God’s love for them, their position as members of God’s family, and their future hope for this present life.   

The path for a winning life:
1 John 3:4-10 (ESV)
4 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.
5 You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.
6 No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.
7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous.
8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.
9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God.
10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

A mutual life of love among the believers:
1 John 3:11-18 (ESV)
Love One Another
11 For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.
12 We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous.
13 Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.
14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.
15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?
18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

Confidence before God:
1 John 3:19-24 (ESV)
19 By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him;
20 for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.
21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God;
22 and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.
23 And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.
24 Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.

1 John 3:1–3 (ESV)
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 ESV starts with “see what kind of love the Father has given to us  .”The NASB “see how great a love the Father has bestowed on us,” the NIV “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us,” the NRSV “See what love the Father has given us.” 
The translators are working to bring forward, according to the guiding principles of their translation work, the power and use of see.  “See” here is working to communicate the significance of “seeing” the kind of love the Father has given to the believer.   Dwell and marvel at what God has done in you.
John is making a hard turn in now in chapter 3.  He spent much of chapter 2 battling against lousy theology and against now would-be teachers having come from within the church but who left because they were ultimately never of them (1 John 2:19).  To now encouraging the believers to see the greatness of God’s love for them, this is an evolution of his message.

1 John 2:19 (ESV)
19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.

Wuest translated this in expanded Greek translation in this way:
            Behold what exotic [foreign to the human heart] love the Father has permanently bestowed upon us, to the end that we may be named children [born-ones, bairns] of God.

See/Behold, look right now (the tense is immediate, not continuous through time), look right now and see this one the father has given.  What are we looking at here? We’re looking at the “kind of Love.”  This concept communicates the volume and value of God’s love that God has given to them.  They’re to look at the love given to them by God, right them.  Look right now and see it.
John is encouraging the born-ones by their present state before God. You can do this. You can endure you’re an object of God’s own love.  Those who John writes to don’t work for a future promise of standing before God. They have standing now.  Look at verse 11, verse 14, verse and 16
We: have heard, have passed from death to life. By this, we know His love for us.  Firm confidence is a platform John pulls them through from the pressure of false teachers to endurance by faith and abiding.
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God” 1 John 3:1a, in John’s writings every time we read: “children of God” he precedes that statement reminding the believers that they’re, “born of God” – we see it later in 3:2, verse 10, 5:2.  You see it in John 1:12 and 11:52 – he, John, distinguishes between believers as “children of God” and Jesus as “son of God’.  John describes a filial relationship as a family linkage in this as opposed to a kind of affectionate child. 

1 John 5:2 (ESV)
2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments.

John 1:12 (ESV)
12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,

John 11:52 (ESV)
52 and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.
Look at 1 John 2:28, John says:
1 John 2:28 (ESV)
Children of God
28 And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his Coming.
John here calls them teknion “children.”  It is an affectionate use, like when you look at “little children” playing jumping in and out of the baptism and smile at their energy and joy – but when you look at John Nicholas and I jumping in, and out of the baptism, you wonder if we’re OK and no one smiles, except awkwardly.
To these teknion references, Spurgeon said:

“Because you are little, you are apt to be deceived.  There is a great blessedness in being little children, but there is also some danger connected with such a condition, so we must beware of those who would deceive us.” – Spurgeon

“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God” 1 John 3:1a little children is teknon.  “Children of God” here speaks less to the chubby cuteness of children and more to the family linkage.  We’re children of God. We’re now of Him.  The love God has for His own children is the love we’re to look at right now, and we are caused to marvel at the volume and value of God’s love for us.
1 John 3:1 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.
So, God’s love for us has a volume and value that puts us on our heels.  It is given to us.  When we give gifts at Christmas time, we think of the person we care for as we select a gift for them.  We want to give something that we know they’ll want.  Maybe they don’t specifically want it meaning that said, buy me this, but maybe we just know them so intimately we know the kind of thing they would want.  And so, we procure that thing and pass that gift, as our rightly owed possession and as the owner of the item the only one who can transfer ownership, and we gift, or freely move its possession, to the recipient. 
The recipient doesn’t walk in your house, see the object and make a claim for it – the gift giver determines to transfer ownership.  In the same way, the God who called us with a staggering volume and value of other-worldly love bringing us into His own family as very offspring – which is a gift bestowed to us, this what defines us…. “and so we are  .”Or, because it is true that we’re God’s children, because we’re called to be in the family of God called by God as a gift to us, a world around us, without linkage to God in Christ – we are NOT having their minds transformed (Romans 12:2), don’t know us and we don’t know them.  We’re of another mind (1 Corinthians 2:16). 

Romans 12:2 (ESV)
2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

1 Corinthians 2:16 (ESV)
16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
This is true, and that is why John could say at the closing of chapter 2,
1 John 2:28 (ESV)
Children of God
28 And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.
Because as children of God, our calling in election is sure (2 Peter 1:10), so we can confidently trust God with the salvation He freely gifted to us; as that gifts rightful owner, He was freely able to give it to us.
Colossians 3:3–4 (ESV)
3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
The result of all this is that we’re beloved children of God.
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.
The volume and value of God’s freely bestowed love keeps piling up.  Beloved.  Only the NIV of the ESV, NASB, and NRSV says something other than beloved. It says “dear friends.” To this beloved group of God’s children, the apostle encourages them – what will be, has not yet appeared. 
Why is this a helpful thought?
Future hope is helpful because it is the substance of that which encourages us to abide.  Future hope isn’t a hope deferred. Its hope in something we KNOW is coming.  Something promised by the very God who gifted us a familial connection to Him.  Hope as 2 John 2:28 encouraged.  So that at His return, we’ll be confident.  Not like the person who isn’t ready but line one who is fully prepared who has been waiting and abiding and Jesus Himself taught:
Matthew 25:1–13 (ESV)
The Parable of the Ten Virgins
1 “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom
Five of them were foolish, and five were wise
For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them,
but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps
As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept
But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom!  Come out to meet him.’
Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps
And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’
But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’
10 And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut
11 Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’
12 But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’
13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
This abiding from 2:28 is the hidden life in Christ from Colossians 3:3. Faith is the power behind abiding, as we see in Hebrews 11:1:
Hebrews 11:1 (ESV)
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
We hope by faith in the future things, the future life now hidden, that we abide in the hope of this describes our faith.
3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
This life, the world that doesn’t know us, the future life in Christ, which isn’t fully understood now we know God’s character and nature are true.  So the Word describes promises and a future life with God – we trust by faith, like Hebrews 11:1 promises – knowing that
1 Corinthians 13:12
12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
This very hope purifies us:
2 Corinthians 7:1
Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.
Hebrews 12:14
14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
This purposeful cleansing of every defilement is what John calls the loved children of God in verse 3.  This striving for peace these are the outworking of the hope in us.  We realize the volume and value of God’s love, having been given to us by His own decision. 
Perhaps you know of something with sentimental value.  That thing that no matter what, even if it were worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, you just couldn’t part with it.  The chances are you didn’t buy it.  The sentimental value is related to its coming from someone else.  And that connection to the object that represents love and reflection of that person is stronger than having bought it. 
John encourages his readers after connecting them to the doctrine of God and encouraging them to resist those who were never of the fold of God; a) abide and now b) in chapter 2 – to value the great gift of God given freely to them, making them Children, and giving them a future hope in this present life.

Pray, Observe, Apply.

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