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We Will Be Like Him! A Sermon on 1 John 3:1-3

Concordia Lutheran ChurchWe will be Like Him!

1 John 3:1-3

In Jesus Name

 Opening Blessing/Prayer

May the grace and peace of God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ be with you, as you realize you are the Father’s beloved, blessed children!

Awfully Big Shoes to Fill!

Jesus often taught in parables, so it makes sense that pastors should use them on occasion.  Stories and words that paint a picture, and that we get the lesson of, intuitively.

I also like to use them because I can then address them as “Pastor Parker’s Panoramic Parables.

I bet that doesn’t sound quite as nice in Chinese!

Well here is today’s parable, the kingdom of God is like this,

The kingdom of God is like a child trying on their Father’s shoes!

We are just kids who can’t resist trying on Dad’s shoes.

And while the desire to be “grown-up” seems a good thing, we far too often want to try on God’s shoes and walk in them.  And the usual result is that we fall down and hurt ourselves, and others.

We Can’t Walk in them Yet!

As children, we often want to be like our parents, to act like they do, and putting on their shoes is symbolic of that.  It is a cute thing, but not so much when we try to put on God’s shoes.

It happens, we play God when we want that parental level of authority, we want to be in charge.  Usually, there is another brother or sister involved, and if we have God our Father’s authority, we can judge them and put them in their place.

Instead of being responsible we want to condemn them, or get revenge, or just make sure everything is fair, according to what we perceive!

I mean, even as adults we have trouble loving our neighbors as we are supposed to love them.  Can you imagine the temptation and the damage we would do if we were actually God?

I mean – it would be nice to get on the freeway and command everyone else to get off, so we wouldn’t be stuck in traffic!

Really, we are still kids, we still can be a little self-centered, we can still do things where we try and play God.   We still mess up – we still get self-centered, we still want things our way, and will do things to try and make it happen. We even still throw tantrums when we don’t get our way – if you don’t believe me, wait until Tuesday, when some adults will be poor winners, and others poor losers.  Either way – there will be tantrums, arguments, accusations of cheating and people saying “It’s not fair!”

And God will still be God, and He will look on us and show us mercy and love, and as that love leads us to repent, our sins will be washed away

That is why the Father sent the Son to the cross – to draw us into Jesus, to restore that relationship, to make us again His children,  and to show us what we will be like when Christ appears, for we will be like Him.

But We will – This is assured!

Hear the words of the Apostle Paul that were written to the Colossian Church.

1  Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 2  Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. 3  For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. 4  And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.
Colossians 3:1-4 (NLT)

This is the same thing the apostle John wrote that we heard today

But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.

Holiness, purity, is simply living like Jesus, being like Jesus, and that is the transformation that happens, starting when the Holy Spirit brings us to life, gives us faith and cleanses us in baptism.

It comes as the Holy Spirit transforms us, as we gain that hope, that expectation that God will complete the work, the transformation He has began in us, as He promised.

We like all children will grow up – spiritually, this happens when we arrive at being completely like Christ Jesus.  The good news, is that is His work, and the world of our loving Father.  Want to know what you will be like – you will love the Father like Christ loves the Father, you will love each other the way Christ loves us.

So trust God, depend on God, and know that in Him we have a peace that goes beyond all understanding –  that guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  AMEN!

We Are His!

Alleluia!  He is Risen…thereforeSAMSUNG

We are His!
John 17:1-11

In Jesus Name

 As we walk through this life together, may we know the grace and peace of God, for He has made us His own…

 

He is Risen, and therefore…

There is an old tradition among God’s people, to greet and respond to each other during the seven weeks between Christ’s resurrection and Pentecost with the following words,

Alleluia!  He is Risen!

(Some respond “He is Risen Indeed!  Alleluia!”)

Let’s all try that – English and Chinese at the same time

Alleluia!  He is Risen!

(response)

We’ve added something to that, this year in our congregation.  It is that I respond, “therefore” and the congregation responds, “we have risen indeed!  Alleluia!”

In each of our sermons, then, we’ve looked at what it means to be the people of God who are united to Christ in His death and in His resurrection.  Today is the last day of that series, and in our gospel reading we see the incredible truth,

He is risen and therefore we know we are His!

If there is something that should cause our praises to be heard throughout California, through the world, it is this.  You and I are Christ’s, and therefore dwell in the presence and glory of God!

Let’s look at how this is laid out in John’s gospel….

But first I want to hear it one more time.

Alleluia, He is Risen (response)

therefore, ((response)

The Son Gives us Eternal life

In verse 2, we are reminded why Jesus came, what the moment of His glory was all about.  It says there,

For you have given him authority over everyone. He gives eternal life to each one you have given him.

But what is eternal life?  My first funeral sermon was done back in 30 years ago at a church in Yorba Linda.  Since then, I have done hundreds, and I’ve heard people talking before and after the services about what heaven is, or at least asking the same questions.

“Will my dog be there?”
“Will there be golf?”
“How old will I look?”
“Will we know each other?”

Or one of my favorite comments,

“When I get to heaven, I am going to ask God, (or maybe the Apostle Paul) why….

Most of the questions, we can’t respond to, they aren’t dealt with in the passages that describe heaven, like 1 Corinthians 2:9 – which says it is beyond our ability, or the passages in the Book of Revelation, where it talks its perfection.

Jesus describes eternal life here though, in this passage, in a way that is simple  and clear.

And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.

Eternal life is simply knowing the Father and the Son, to be in a relationship with them, to dwell in their presence, to dwell in their glory.  This is what it is, this relationship with God that is described here eight times in these verses, that we are His!

I think that deserves a Alleluia!  Or if we translate that – a “Praise the Lord” or in Mandarin (teach English speakers to say it  J )

Eight times as Jesus prays we are described as being God’s, either the Father’s or that we’ve been given to Christ by the Father!

  • Keep His Revelation

We are God’s people, that has been the plan since before the foundation of the world, it is what Jesus accomplished on the cross, and it is there that we are united to His death, and to His resurrection.

We see that relationship described in verse 6 as well, as we are described,

6 “I have revealed you* to the ones you gave me from this world. They were always yours. You gave them to me, and they have kept your word.

We are described here in a way that is incredible. We have kept the Father’s word,

“Kept His word.”  Some translations in English translate this as obey, as if God’s word is simply about obeying the Ten Commandments, checking each one off, one by one.  The words go deeper than that – the word for kept is to guard, to observe, to value and treasure and protect.  In English it goes back to the most secure place in the community, the castle keep, where you put all of your treasure.  TO keep something was to secure it, to guard it with every ounce of your strength, for it is precious.

It is the same word as in verse 11, where Jesus asks the Father to protect us by the power of His Name.  The word for word is rhema in Greek – God’s declaration, God’s official statement regarding the issue.

In this context, I think of the word, as that which we find in Moses writings, and in the prophets, the statement that God makes to us.

“You will be My people, and I will be your God” or “You will be My people, for I AM your God”.

That is a declaration of God that should be at the core of who we are, for it completely defines who we are.

We are His!

And that is worth treasuring, not just with “a” Alleluia, or a Praise the Lord, but a life filled with praises, a life glorifying Him, as we live in complete awe of His love for us!

  • Keep/protect Us

I mentioned before, that the word translated as “kept” was also seen in verse 11 as “protect”, when Jesus prays,

11 Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, you have given me your name;* now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are.

This word, keep/protect, brings up the last point of our message, our reason to celebrate today.  The power of God seen in our lives again, as God protects us, as God guards us, protects us with the full power of His name.

That is something to have confidence in, to be in awe of, and to contemplate.  That God cares about us so much, that we are protected and His treasured people. That He would take the time to cleanse us of sin, to deliver us from the bondages of that sin, and of Satan, that He would free us of our anxiety and fear of death, for we know we have life eternal.

It is from this place of security, this place of peace, this walking with Christ daily that holiness and unity flows.

We are one, not because of our work, nor are we holy because we decided to be holy.  We find our unity, our eternal life, in God, in His making us His people.

All because God the Father send Jesus to us, to claim us for we are His.

For jesus Christ was born of Mary, was crucified, died and Alleluia! He is risen!  (let them answer) and therefore ( We are risen indeed.)

Hear it as Paul wrote to the churches in Colossae,

1  Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 2  Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. 3  For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:1-3 (NLT)

So treasure the eternal life you’ve been given, know the blessings of God revealing that you are His children, His people, and be confident, that you are kept in Christ and we are one in Him!  To sum it up,

He is Risen, and therefore We are His!

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