Welcome to Wednesday’s Podcast. Our reading today is 1 John 2:28-3:3
Today we’ll focus on verse 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…’
Here’s a question – how do you learn to embrace your God given identity that He is our Father and we’re his children?
It seems to me there are two ways that Christians can discover this: Download or discovery.
And honestly, I think it’s tempting to get hung up on one – and neglect the power of the other.
For example – take the download. It’s super easy to get hung up on this…
Whenever I’ve heard people describe experiencing ‘God as their father – the understanding that they are his child…’ It’s often come through a very deep, intimate and occasionally dramatic personal spiritual experience – like a download from God. Scripture calls this an impartation. I’ve read books, heard sermons and even been in church meetings when God is moving powerfully – bringing great healing – where people have reflected afterwards that they have deeply experienced God’s love and sensed a real impact on their lives. All those experiences are wonderful and really beautiful! But sometimes it can be tempting to think that’s really the only way that God reveals himself like that –a dramatic download, and if it doesn’t happen to you- you’ve somehow missed out. If you feel like you’ve missed the download – you can feel like you’ve missed our or you’re just not as good a Christian.
I began to think that that is the only way God proves we’re His and His children – was through deep spiritual encounters – often in church. Let me be clear: God has met me powerfully from time to time – and I long for more, but the place where I’ve really discovered that God truly is my father and I am his child – has been literally just that – through discovery! Not always in those download moments.
Let me tell you a story that started the journey in me where I really began to see that I am God’s child and He is my Father.
In my previous job – our church was pretty close to centre of Cambridge. In fact, it was one of the main routes into the city centre. Cambridge is a lovely city and it has a steady stream of tourists throughout the year. We were situated near the train station and the grounds at the front of our church were the perfect place for what the local Police called ‘street life’ to gather. In that city – at certain times of the year – you can make £200 a day begging from generous tourists. There were often fights; a lot of anti social behaviour and a fair bit of trouble and as it was on private property – the police wouldn’t do much – it felt like a real spiritual battle. Drug dealers would come from London to push drugs on the local addicts and would openly sell drugs on church property; verbally abuse people who challenged them.
There were some dark things happening. We knew it wasn’t right and we knew it had to stop.
Our prayer was the violence would stop, the drug dealing would stop and we would see a genuine transformation of people through the gospel.
As we prayed one day a lady said to me ‘Tom I see you walking and everywhere you place your feet – I see fire…’ God has given you an authority – He is your Father. You are his Child. He will go before you.
We began talking to the people who congregated outside the church. We had a motto – discipleship starts at the door – and began to see the area as Holy Ground. We challenged illicit activities; we moved on violent people and so on… That didn’t go down well and was often confrontational.
Was I nervous? You bet! Sometimes there was only me and my Labrador!
Then over time we noticed that there were less and less people hanging about – less violence and a change in the atmosphere. I prayer walked that place every day pretty much for nearly 5 years. There were lots of factors for the change – we landscaped the grounds; we prayed away the dodgy shops selling stuff they shouldn’t but one thing really made me chuckle: there was a rumour among the ‘street life’ was that there was a policeman in the local area.
Turns out – they thought that policeman was me.
When one of the homeless people told me that I laughed out loud. I said – she said – you walk like a copper.
And then it struck me – the prophetic word – there was something about walking as I walked fire would be left on the pavement.
I discovered – through those sometimes scary encounters with hostile people – that God is my Father – I am his child – I knew his protection and that he had given me an authority. They saw it – they just thought I was the police – I think it was God’s power at work – although I feel a bit daft telling you – I genuinely discovered that God truly is our authority.
When John tells us in verse 27 we are anointed – it’s not some mysterious ethereal thinking – it’s not just a spiritual download to make us feel good – it’s truth for people who are facing serious challenges. And as we step into those challenges – anointed – embracing God within us – that we discover the truth that he really is good – He is our Father – and we can trust Him like a child trusts a parent.
Don’t get hung up on whether you’ve had the download – too many Christians do! Instead – embrace John’s truth – you’re anointed – walk into the situation and you’ll discover just how good He is and that He has good gifts for his Children.
Help us to walk in your anointing – that we may discover the truth the wonderful truth that you are our heavenly father!
BIBLE READING: 1 John 2:28-3:3 (NIV)
And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.
If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.
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. 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. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.