4/30/06, Easter 3-B
We Will Be”
n his effort to explain how we are united with God through our faith, John reminds us that we are already his children. We are not strangers or servants. We are not temporary tourists. We belong to God's family already.
“Beloved, we are God’s children now; WHAT WE WILL BE has not yet been revealed.” (v.1, NRSV)
We are a part of the Kingdom of God and are mutually bonded together by our common experience with Christ's redeeming death and resurrection. Our souls have been captured by the same story of the Cross, his suffering has forgiven our sin and his resurrection has given us hope. As sons and daughters in the family of God our elder brother is Jesus Christ himself. Together, as one, we are all kindred souls bound by love into one family.
As children of the King we are a part of His royal family. This means that we are special in his sight. We have privileges. We can approach the throne of God anytime we please. The Father will listen to our requests and will answer every prayer. As a Father, God wants the very best for us and will provide Divine Grace to enable us to excel. He monitors our progress. You might say that he reads and signs our report cards. However, our Heavenly Father has given us free will and we must cooperate with his plan and do our part in spiritually growing up toward maturity. As adults we will always be our Heavenly Father's adult children.
Just as with our earthly families in which we grow up to become, in many ways, like our parents, when we are children of the King we naturally want to be like Him. God Almighty, who created the universe, is our example of virtue and morality. He is absolutely perfect and we have a desire to imitate him. From our genetic history and from our Christian Education, we know that there are limitations. God will help us become the best that we can be.
Most children select role models whom they set out to imitate. As a Little Leaguer I wanted to be like Mickey Mantle. This unattainable goal made me a better player than if I had set out to hero worship a mediocre player. Seeking to be the best will get us farther along than if we just settle for mediocre.
When I felt called to preach I changed my major from Business to Religion. My business courses have not been wasted; however, I was on fire for spiritual knowledge and was consumed by this new field of study, which became my joy that continues to this day. I was fortunate to have as my major professor, Dr. Marling Elliott. I thought of him as a Saint and a Scholar, and I still do. I made Prof. Elliott my new role model. I began to dress like him and adopted his vocabulary and began to imitate his approach to life. I dived into his New Testament Greek class with gusto and was amazed at how much I was being remolded by my new love for learning. Yet, Dr. Elliott pointed me to a higher role model than he, in Jesus Christ.
John the Beloved Apostle is sharing this same kind of experience in his first epistle. To paraphrase, "Whenever we give our lives to the Father, and accept Christ as our role model, we have a new desire to overcome sin, and all else that has made us less than what we can become through God."
So, the question that haunts us today is, "Do we really identify ourselves as being children of God's family?" If we can answer that question affirmatively we can have spiritual growth.
Another grace that God gives us to enable growth is our hope of glory. Just as we know that we belong to God's family here on earth, we also can know that we will continue to abide in his family in heaven. God's family can never get too big: The Church never hangs out a "No Vacancy" sign. God wants all of his children to do all they can to help build up the Kingdom on earth and in heaven. As King’s Kids we are like one child telling another child where to find free ice cream.
do not yet know exactly what heaven will be like, one of the images
that I have is of a bunch of kids frolicking in a crowded swimming
pool on a hot summer day all hollering out to me, "Come on
in the water is great!"
Since all human beings have an innate longing for eternal life, one bit of experiential evidence which has meant something to me is that since we have this natural longing which life can never satisfy, is it not logical that we were made for another level of existence? Although it is taught in most cultures that we will survive death, in Christ we have the only real example of a man who died but was resurrected as an example of our future state. It is Great News when John says that, "We will be like him" (v. 2) If that were all the advanced insight we had of heaven, it would be enough.
sermon synopsis by C. Robert Allred, Th.D., Pastor