A sermon on Right Thinking (orthodoxy) and Right Actions (orthopraxy), based on 1 John 3: 1-7 (Easter 3B).
John, Jesus cousin, the disciple Jesus loved as a brother, urges us to think about the extraordinary gift of love the Father has given us in allowing us to be known as God’s own children. The world around us has never recognised God, and so it doesn’t recognise us as being God’s children either [v1].
Right Thinking, or Beliefs
So, he reassures us, his friends [v2-3]:
- We are God’s beloved children already;
- What we are destined to become goes beyond even that, but the details have not yet been made known to us.
- We know Christ will return to centre stage in clear view of everyone;
- Then those who recognise who he really is will be just like him; so
- Everyone waiting will work at making themselves pure, like Him.
You see, false teachers were trying to separate the spiritual from the mundane, to separate God from humans, saying religion was a matter of secret knowledge (magic?), not living ordinary life the right way.
Everyone who does what is wrong is rightly charged with opposing what God wants. ‘Doing wrong’ and ‘opposing what God wants’ are one and the same thing. We know that [v4-6]:
- Christ was brought onto the scene to wipe out our wrongdoing. There is nothing corrupt in him at all.
- Those who live their lives in him do not do what is wrong; and anyone who does do what is wrong has obviously not recognised him and does not understand him.
- We are God’s little children, so do not let anyone pull the wool over your eyes about these things.
How? By Knowing HIM
How do we know? We practice! We read the Bible, we pray, we live together in community and tradition, we use our minds to reason about all these things. Thus, we feel the Holy Spirit at work in us and we get to know Him.
‘Everyone who is doing the right thing is on the right track in just the same way as Christ himself is on the right track’ [v7].