We Shall Be Like Him
1 John 3:1-3
2 Cor 7:1
1 Peter 1:13
What do I tell you are the two ideas that are the foundation of what we believe? Number 1…? Number 2…? As we read our passage of Scripture from 1John this morning think about these two foundational ideas.
1 John 3:1 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. (NIV)
Do you see both of our foundational ideas here? What does John say here that corresponds to our number one? (God lavished his great love on us. He allows us to be called His children. We are His children!)
What about number 2? Do you see anything is these Scriptures that remind you of our number 2? (we purify ourselves)
“All who have this hope” – What is this hope that John speaks of? The hope is that when Christ appears, we shall be like Him.
Is this our hope? Do you hope to be like Jesus? Are you looking forward to the coming of Jesus so that you will be like Him?
John says that those of us “who have this hope purify themselves, just as He is pure.”
What does that mean? How do we purify ourselves?
I want to look at some other passages of Scripture to help us answer these questions. Two are from the writings of the Apostle Paul who wrote most of the letters in the New Testament. One is from Peter, one of the closest disciples to Jesus when He walked among us. One, a longer one, is from the Old Testament.
First let’s look at the two passages from Paul’s writings. The first is
2 Cor 7:1 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (NIV)
Paul says that because of the promises God has given us, we are to cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit. This will perfect our holiness as we fear or respect or give honor to God. Cleanse ourselves from all defilement of the flesh and spirit.
One of my favorite passages of Paul’s helps me to understand how we cleanse or purify ourselves is found in Romans.
Romans 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will. (NIV)
In the Old Testament days the Israelites were taught to bring animals, the best of their flocks to make offerings to God. They were told to bring to the temple the first fruits of their crops. These were sacrifices that foreshadowed the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Paul says that our sacrifices now are to be even more personal and in a way more complete. We are to offer our very selves, our bodies to God. When we do so we acknowledge that He is Lord. Worship of God is to include giving ourselves completely to God.
Paul continues to explain how we purify or cleanse ourselves or offer ourselves to God. He says we are not to conform any longer to the pattern of this world. We are no longer to think like the world thinks. We are to be transformed, changed from people who live for themselves, into people who live as Jesus lived, for the glory of God.
Look at how Peter puts it.
1 Peter 1:13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;16 for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."
I think of hope as faith for the future. What are your hopes for the future?
Peter tells us to set our hope fully on what God will give us when Jesus Christ returns. In the meantime, we are to live as obedient children. We are no longer to allow the evil desires we had before we knew about God’s love, grace, mercy; before we had a hope to look forward to; before we knew that God loves us and that He is our Lord. We are to no longer allow those evil desires to shape us. We are to be holy, because God is holy.
One of the earliest passages where the command to be holy is found in the book of Leviticus in the Old Testament. God, through Moses tells us:
Leviticus 19:1 The Lord said to Moses,2 "Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: 'Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.
We are to be holy, to cleanse ourselves. We are no longer to conform to the way we thought before we came to Jesus Christ. Remember what Jesus said the two most important commandments were? (Love God with all your being, and love people.) Look at how the Old Testament puts this. This is how we cleanse ourselves. This is how we are to be transformed in our hearts and minds. This is how we are to be holy. Look what the Lord told Moses as we continue reading this passage in Leviticus:
3 "'Each of you must respect his mother and father, and you must observe my Sabbaths. I am the Lord your God.
4 "'Do not turn to idols or make gods of cast metal for yourselves. I am the Lord your God.
(Jump down to verse nine)
… 9 "'When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest.10 Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the Lord your God.
11 "'Do not steal.
"'Do not lie.
"'Do not deceive one another.
12 "'Do not swear falsely by my name and so profane the name of your God. I am the Lord.
13 "'Do not defraud your neighbor or rob him.
"'Do not hold back the wages of a hired man overnight.
14 "'Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but fear your God. I am the Lord.
15 "'Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.
16 "'Do not go about spreading slander among your people.
"'Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor's life. I am the Lord.
17 "'Do not hate your brother in your heart.
“’Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in his guilt.
18 "'Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.’” (NIV)
Some of those are exact quotes from the Ten Commandments. How do you love God? How do you love people? These things, these attitudes, these ways of relating to God and other people are how we are to change our thinking. The world, that is, people without God, do not think like this. These are the ways we are to no longer think like the world thinks. These are the ways we are to purify ourselves.
These are how we are to be moving toward being like Christ. When He appears, when He comes again, we shall be like Him. In the meantime, we are to purify, to cleanse ourselves from the defilements of the world. These are very practical ways we are to Love God and love people.
What is God’s will for your life? He wants you to become more like Jesus.
We need God’s grace. We need His power for this to be completed in us, but we are to be moving in this direction while we wait for Him to come.
We are to offer ourselves as living sacrifices. Sacrificing is never easy. If it were easy, it would be no sacrifice.
God loves us and He is our Lord. Are you trusting Him? Are you living with Him as the Lord of your life? Are you struggling to know what He wants you to do? Here is the place to start.
If you want to remind yourself of what I have said today, you can go to our website later this week and read my message again. The passages of Scripture we read today are in the bulletin. Read them over as you pray about what God is asking you to change in your life, as you pray about the sacrifices He is calling you to make.