How Little Children May Know Each Other

We are back to our study in 1 John and so far we have learned how the incarnation allows us to have fellowship with God and each other, how we are not to love the world, how little children should be growing, and the last time how we can recognize, avoid, and have victory over the spirit of antichrist.

Just as we need to realize there are anitchrist spirits that we need to stay away from, we need to be able to identify other little children, other believers and how we can get along with each other as the family of God.

Identifying Marks of a Child of God

And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him. (1 John 2:28-29)

  • Children abide in Him. Abide = G3306 meno men’-oA primary verb; to stay (in a given place, state, relation or expectancy): – abide, continue, dwell, endure, be present, remain, stand, tarry (for), X thine own.
    • If we abide in Him, if we are continuing in Him, then we are drawing our life from Him, just as a branch draws its life from the vine.
    • I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)
    • If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (John 15:7)
    • This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. (John 15:8)

Children do right just as He is right.

For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:” (1 Peter 2:21-23)

Some call it integrity, some call it character, whichever you call it, it is not made in adversity but comes out in adversity. This is like a sponge. If you dip a clean sponge in clean water what will come out? Clean water of course but if we dip a clean sponge in dirty water then when we squeeze the sponge, dirty water will come out. Adversity does not make you what you are but brings out what you are.

The best index to a person’s character is (a) how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and (b) how he treats people who can’t fight back. -Abigail Van Buren.

There was an article written that gave six ways to learn everything you ever need to know about a man before you decide to marry him: 1) watch him drive in heavy traffic. 2) Play tennis with him. 3) listen to him talk to his mother when he doesn’t know you’re listening. 4) See how he treats those who serve him (waiters, maids). 5) Notice what he’s willing to spend his money to buy. 6) Look at his friends. And if you still can’t make up your mind, then look at his shoes. A man who keeps his shoes in good repair generally tends to the rest of his life too. [1]

In the same way there are five characteristics of Jesus for us to imitate (what Jesus showed when He was squeezed like a sponge):

  • He committed no sin. He was in the likeness of sinful flesh; he looked like a sinful man, being born of a sinful woman, and keeping company with sinful men, being himself a man of sorrows, greatly afflicted, and at last put to death. He was stood condemned as a sinner by his enemies, and had all the sins of his people on him, which he bore, and made satisfaction for, and were the reason of his sufferings; but he had no sin in his nature, nor did he commit any in his life. We should not desire to sin anymore. If we are children of God our wanter needs to be changed. I remember a story of Charles Spuregon  was speaking with a lady in London. She told the great preacher how she could not be a Christian, that she like to smoke too much, like to play cards too much, like to drink sherry too much, and how she liked to go to the theater too much. To this Spuregon replied, “Madam, I smoke all I want, play cards all I want, drink all I want, and go to the theater all I want, but I do not want to!”
  • No guile was found in his mouth. He was true to His word without ulterior motives.I knew a man named Mike &use to give me gifts, a soda here and a bag of chips there, just because he was my friend.  Well one day my friend wanted me to let him go spend a weekend at his girlfriend’s house (we were both on staff at a Christian ministry, but I was his supervisor) and when I said no, that it was against our policy (not to mention immoral) he immediate response was, “what about all the gifts I gave you!”  I was naive and he was seeking favor. In the end I learned a lesson and he was disappointed.
  • When they reviled Him, He did not revile back. When he was reproached as a glutton, a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners, all the reply he made was, that Wisdom is justified of her children; and when he was charged with casting out devils by Beelzebub, the prince of devils, he defended himself, not with bad language, but with strong reasoning; and when he was said to be a Samaritan, and had a devil, his only answer was, that he had not, that he honored his Father, and they dishonored him; and when he was reviled on the cross, by those that passed by, by the chief priests, and Scribes, and the thieves that were crucified with him, he made no return, he opened not his mouth, and much less in a recriminating way.
  • When he suffered, he made no threats. when the officers in the palace of the high priests spit in his face, buffeted him, and smote him with the palms of their hands, and bid him prophesy who smote him, all which were very provoking; yet he said not one word to them, much less threatened them with what he would do to them for such usage another day, when he would let them know, with vengeance, who it was that smote him; no, he took all patiently from them, and from Pilate, and the Roman soldiers, when scourged by them; he gave his back to the smiters, and his cheeks to them that plucked off the hair; and when he suffered crucifixion, and was put to such distressing pains and agonies, he did not threaten his crucifiers with a future judgment, when he would take vengeance, and execute his wrath upon them, but prays to his Father for the forgiveness of their sins: and, as it follows.
  • Instead, he committed himself to him who judges righteously. Just as important as what Jesus did not do is what He did do. Though he could have inflicted any kind of punishment on his persecutors, yet to give us, in this respect also, an example that we should follow his steps, he committed his cause to him who is the righteous Judge. To avoid evil tempers, and the uneasiness and danger of avenging ourselves, it is a great advantage in all such cases to be able to refer our cause to God, and to be assured that the Judge of all the earth will do right.

Just as we need to be able to identify who has the spirit of antichrist, we need to be able to identify who is a child of God so we can know who we should have fellowship with just as we need to know who to avoid. We know that little children:

  • Must be born again.
  • Must not only be born again but continue in Him, to abide and live in and through Jesus.
  • Do Right!
  • Keep pure
  • Do not live a life of sin.
  • Display Christ like characteristics.

These are the people we should seek out and have fellowship, and friendships with, not those of the world, that is important, especially in a place like this. One bad apple does spoil the whole bunch (sorry Michael Jackson!) or as the Bible says, “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” (1 Corinthians 15:33)

Excerpt from the sermon How Little Children May Know Each Other. You can hear the entire sermon here.

[1] Lois Wyse, Good Housekeeping, April 1985. From http://www.sermonillustrations.com/a-z/c/character.htm. December 3, 2013

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