Love Letters: Lessons in 1,2 & 3 John. Lesson 4 of 8/ 1 John 3:1-24, 4:1-6
There is a lot flapping lips in this years race for the presidency. By flapping lips I mean lots of political promises. The best way to discover the truth about a candidate (or anyone else for that matter) Is to look at their record of actions. The old adage: Actions speak louder than words Is true after all. You can check out any presidential candidate by going to the web sites listed above. On Vote-Smart you can not only see their votes (or in some cases their lack of any vote at all) but you can also double click on that vote and find out the explanation on exactly what they voted for or against in simplified detail. I highly encourage every one of you to do this before casting your vote in the primary and on election day in November.
Hopefully, we as Christians will vote Biblically based on What Would Jesus Do (WWJD) . Jesus was never one to flap His lips. He never said anything without demonstrating it with His own actions. This fact brings us to our study today in the First letter of John where John reminds us of just how great the love is that God has lavished on us and our responsibility to reciprocate that love with our actions…and yes, that action should even spill into how and who we vote for.
Lavishly Loved! 1 John 3:1-3, Ephesians 2:8-10, John 8:42-44
God did not simply extend mankind His love through a nice gesture or an act of kindness. John said: He “lavished” on us His great love!
Lav-ish : 1. abundant; profuse 2. generous 3. a deluge of generosity (a wash)
In other words, where God could have graciously given us a second, third, fourth or even a fifth chance to live rightly according to His law, He instead chose to erase our debt entirely and adopt us as His own children through the adoptive, redemptive work of Christ in His own blood!
We are saved by His amazing grace, which He “lavished” upon us! The Apostle Paul made it clear that we had nothing to do with God’s Generosity. We could do nothing to earn it
(Ephesians 2:8-10). He has called us His child, rescued us from our Father, the devil, (See John 8:34-36, 42-44) and created us to do good works to those around us.
What should be our response to such a love? How can we reciprocate such lavish love?
Like a child who looks up to his father with admiring eyes, we can not know all that God knows or what is in store for us in this life. But like that child, we know that we will be like Him, for we are His child. Unlike our earthly fathers, He is a perfect example. As we hope (trust, follow and example Him to others) in Him we become pure (righteous) in our living.
This is how we He wants us to respond. His love for us becomes our love for others. We love because He first loved us (we reciprocate His love) Do you love God?
The Children of God Vs. The Children of the devil 1 John 3:4-17, 1 John 3:18
John reminds “God’s children” that those who “willfully sin” break God’s law and therefore break His heart. Those who continue to sin without remorse prove that they do not belong to Him, because once we are “born of God” (receive our adoption as His child) we want to love Him and our new siblings (brothers/ fellow Christians). John reminds us of Cain (Gen. 4:8) who murdered his brother because he was jealous of his love for God. When we refuse to love God as we should it is we who need correct our behavior and not to hate those who are doing it right. This is where Cain failed.
John reminds us that our love and care for other Christians and the example of Christ we bring to the world is the most important part in our living. A child of God should not be about his “material possessions” but about God’s lavish love expressed through our selfless living. This should extend into every part of our living including how we spend our money, what we do with our free time, and yes, even how we vote.
Like a politician…words are empty without action. What does your record say?
“Bad Politics” 1 John 1:8-9
If you have been watching any of the presidential debates (or the president for that matter) you will hear inconsistencies, popularity posturing, and even some down right lies. “That’s why I don’t vote”, you may say, but are you a hypocrite? Are any of us always consistent, unswayed by public opinion and truthful without fault? All of us are guilty of incorporating “bad politics” into our living. Jesus is our only true standard of righteousness.
Are we engaged in a serious search to find leaders who at least seek after Jesus?
Your Record: Truth or Lie? 1 John 3:19-24 , 1 John 4:1-6
Responsible voting is checking out the candidate’s records and making an informed choice. Responsible Christian living is determined by how much you love your lavish Father. How is your record? Are you at “rest” in His presence or does your heart condemn you? John reminds us not to believe every spirit (worldly teaching) that helps us justify our sins. Why would God’s child listen to a message that is anti-Christ? The one who is in us is greater and He expects His children to obey Him.
The viewpoint of the world is self-centered. The voting of the world is also self-centered…is it any wonder that the top two candidates on either side are also highly self-centered? We, however, are from God—if we are indeed His children. Will we live in His truth our live out a lie? Let your record show the world that you are His Child.