December 18, 2011

Love Divine

Christ's propitiation for our sins is perpetual, and so we are His beloved children.

Scripture: 1 John 4:7-5:5

Sermon Notes:

  1. John's writing is both profound and simple, laying out fundamental biblical truths (cf. John 3:16).
  2. The love of God is revealed at Christmas in the new life that we have in Christ.
  3. We celebrate our union with Christ through baptism (Romans 6:3-5).
  4. And we celebrate our new birth into the family of God (Galatians 3:26-29).
  5. Our new identity as children of God is based on Christ's sacrifice to pacify the wrath of God.
  6. God is faithful to the terms of His covenant and so He must punish covenant breakers.
  7. Because God is holy and just, He cannot simply ignore sin.
  8. God's righteousness is satisfied in His loving, merciful provision in the cross where Christ bore the wrath of God for our sin (see Psalm 85:10).
  9. Christ's propitiation for our sins is perpetual, and so we are His beloved children (cf. Ephesians 5:1).
  10. God delights in His children (Psalm 103:13).
  11. Love is the fruit of our new birth in Christ, confirming our faith (1 John 3:16-19).
  12. The grace of God toward us is not in vain, and like Paul, we will bear fruit (1 Corinthians 15:10).
  13. As you celebrate Jesus' birth, remember who you are, remember your new birth, remember your baptism.

Application Questions:

  1. What's the connection between the birth of Christ and our re-birth in Christ?
  2. How does it benefit us to remember and meditate upon our baptism and our re-birth into Christ?
  3. Explain the paradox of how God's wrath and His love meet in the cross.
  4. How is the wrath of God against our sin a necessary backdrop for understanding the gospel?
  5. On what basis can God call us children of God (1 John 3:1-2)?
  6. Do you rejoice in the righteousness of your brothers and sisters, or do you resent the way it exposes your sin?
  7. How do we know that we are children of God?
  8. Is my faith being confirmed by my sharing in the practical needs of others? See 1 John 3:16-19.
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