Saturday, April 06, 2024

The Vision (4.5.24): A New Friend


Image: Rainbow over the baseball fields, Madison Heights, Virginia, April 2024.

Note: Devotional taken from last Sunday's sermon on 1 John 3:7-17.

We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death (1 John 3:14).

Last Sunday I preached from 1 John 3:7-17 and suggested two main themes in this passage.

The first theme is that “the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil” (3:8). By his death, burial, and resurrection Christ saved sinners, changing their status from being son of the devil (John 8:44) to being sons of God (John 1:12).

The second theme is that this change in status results in a change in behaviors and actions. “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil” (v. 10). On one hand, the children of God desire to do what is righteous (see 1 John 2:29: “ye know that everyone that doeth righteousness is born of him”). On the other hand, “whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his neighbor” (3:10).

John suggests that the greatest evidence of our change of nature and status is demonstrated in our treatment of others: “we should love one another” (3:11). This begins with love of neighbor (all men) as Christ commanded (cf. Matthew 22:34-40) and extends especially to love of Christian brethren. 1 John 3:14 provides one of the clearest tests of assurance as to whether someone is truly in Christ, “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.”

John’s teaching calls for us to apply a test of self-examination: Is there evidence that I have moved from death to life? Is there demonstrated in me a love for neighbor, and, especially, a love for the brethren? Or do I remain harsh, unloving, unfeeling to the considerations of others?

In his book on witnessing to Muslims, Pastor Ibrahim Ag Mohamed wrote:

I know of an Egyptian, who when converted, was wondering how he could witness to his wife. By the grace of the Lord Jesus he completely changed his way of thinking and how he related to her. In his becoming a new creature in Christ his wife was amazed by his new conduct and life, service and love. When she asked him to account for this great change, he told her it was because of a new Friend Who now gave him good advice. She insisted on knowing about the Friend; and this is how he could then speak to her about the Lord Jesus Christ. Later, she too found the Lord (God’s Love for Muslims, 87-88).

Have we also found a New Friend in the Lord Jesus Christ who has changed our status, made us Sons of God, and given us good advice for living?

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

No comments: