This message was shared by Chris B at Word of Grace Church on February 4th, 2018. To listen/download the audio please click here. To listen to the Sunday's worship and prophetic contributions please click here.
Story from my own life- May 19, 2007- Just after midnight, I approached a young lady whose name was Jennifer Johnson and asked her to marry me. I won’t spoil the ending for you.
Q. Why did I ask her to marry me?
Not because she could make perfectly round chapattis. The answer is that I wanted to spend the rest of my life in her presence. I didn’t want to go a single day without being refreshed by her presence.
That did not happen for some time, but finally we did get married. We had a small celebration that night with some friends and we went to sleep. That Sunday I was scheduled to preach something that I will be preaching today.
1 John 3:1-3 “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.”
In verse 2, what we will be has not yet appeared. It doesn’t mean we will be disowned later. It means that we are not children of God in these bodies, but when Jesus returns, what we will look like and how we will be with him, we do not know. We will be in a body like him, not prone to sin or sickness. While we can describe what it wont be like, what we will be is harder for us for we have not seen it.
We will be like him. We know that because we will see him as he is. This is an important principle. To the degree that you see Jesus as he is, to the same degree, you are sanctified. The world doesn’t know us because it did not know him. As we go from death to life, we begin being transformed. 2 Corinthians 3:18- “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” As we behold him, we are being changed from one shade of glory to the next.
That’s why in 1 John 2, he says that whenever he appears we will be like him because we will see him as he is. The transformation will be complete as we see him completely. This is a work that is done through the spirit. This is a spiritual discerning and not a physical seeing. It is a perceiving.
Q. How do we do that?
3 categories of things that are going to help us:
1. This July Jenn and I will celebrate our 10 years. Recently I was away for 8-10 days and I was feeling disconnected from her. We were not communicating, I didn’t know what was happening with her- we were just not in step. Have you ever felt that way with a family member? When we went out for one day, we reconnected. It is super-important for my marriage. In the same way, we need to regularly connect with God. It happens by experiencing him in his word.
2. We also need to talk. We go to God and pray. God is an infinitely patient listener.
3. Together- together with him. When we corporately gather to do together-together with him- to sing songs and worship him, be encouraged by others testimonies, the gifts of spirit encourage us to move forward together.
If we want to see growth, we need to be doing this regularly! These means of grace are very valuable for us. Think back to the verse 1 John 3:3. As we gather together- together with him, it strengthens our hope in him. It gives us greater desire for him. We are more delighted by him than the world.
Q. What does this look like?
When we have this hope, 1 Peter 1:3-9 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls”.
There is a fourth idea, which I think is equally important- i.e. suffering: In this letter Peter is writing to a people who have lost everything. He speaks about the living hope. Even though they are suffering there is inexpressible glorious joy. When we are suffering we get a chance to come together and ask God for a miracle. But if you have joy even when you are suffering, it is sign to you that God is working in your life and that you are growing. When you have every reason to be unhappy, you rejoice instead of complaining, then you see the Lord grow in you in your walk. It is through the lens of suffering that we get to see how we have grown in Him.
Joy in the midst of suffering is a gift that is given to us. That is an excellent sign that we are children of God. I recommend that we do these things to grow and mature in God- to be transformed by him through seeing and knowing him.
Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again), Spirit filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that have people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. To know about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org