Sixth Sunday of Easter (May 6, 2018)
5 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too. 2 We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey his commandments. 3 Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. 5 And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
6 And Jesus Christ was revealed as God’s Son by his baptism in water and by shedding his blood on the cross—not by water only, but by water and blood. And the Spirit, who is truth, confirms it with his testimony.
1 John 5:1-6 New Living Translation (NLT)
How do we become a child of God? Most of us would answer to believe in Jesus. John wouldn’t disagree here. John says that those who believe in Jesus have become a child of God. At McCrae Brook we have been doing a series on 1 John, called Love Illuminated. John calls to walk in the light as God is in the light. One of the ways that we walk in the light is through showing the characteristics of God. Love is a characteristic of God and it should be a characteristic of the child of God. John makes it very clear that if we love God we must love his children – our brothers and sisters in Christ. One of the ways that we love God’s children is to obey his commandments. To love God, means to obey his commandments, says John.
Think about the human child/parent relationship. We have to wonder if, when the child doesn’t obey the parent, if there really is love. I realize that there are many scenarios, but the point is this. If we love someone – I mean – truly love – we will want to please them – we will want to do the things that they want us to do. Yes, this gets tricky, but notice what John says next. God’s commands are not burdensome. The dictionary defines burdensome as difficult to carry out or fulfill; taxing or undesirably restrictive. If God desires us to fulfill and obey his commandments, wouldn’t he give us everything we need to obey them?
God gave us Jesus, God in the flesh. Jesus came as our example. We need to follow his example. Jesus shows us that it is possible to follow God’s commands through the power of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes we wonder why Jesus had to be baptized.
It is through Jesus baptism that he was revealed to the world. Remember at Jesus baptism, the whole of the Trinity was revealed – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Through our baptism we reveal ourselves to the world. Baptism in Christ – shows that God has forgiven our sins and it reveals to the world that we have confessed our sins and we are now risen in Christ. Baptism identifies us with Christ. It shows us that we are children of God.
Jesus was revealed to us through his baptism – the cross – and by the Holy Spirit. Through Christ we can be children of God and we can obey God’s commandments.