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Sermon outlines
by Edward Thomason
We can stand tall before God
text: I John 3:1-23

Source: written by Edward E.Thomason – Preach today.com
Date _______  place: Church of Christ
Objective: Consecrative
Sermon Plan Theme: Our personal growth

We can stand tall before God
text: I John 3:1-23

1. All Christians desire to stand with confidence before God on the day of judgment. But if we would stand tall on that day... we must stand tall today.. Common knowledge that: "Confidence comes thru preparation and readiness. ILLUS: students do much better on tests when they are prepared. The same thing is true in many aspects of life. The more prepared we are the more confident we are in what we are attempting to do.. More importantly, we must prepare adequately for judgment if we wish to stand before God with confidence.

2. But how can we stand tall before God... sinful and weak creatures that we are?

3. How do we set our hearts at rest, when they continually remind us/ condemn us for past mistakes and deeds? I Cor 10:12 "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall" -- can be distorted / loose our confidence completely... Yes it is wrong to be over confident to point that we are reckless and blind. But Paul never taught it was wrong to be confident/.wrong to believe you stand in righteousness before God.

4. John taught, it is good if our hearts don't condemn us and we can stand confident before God. -- I John 3:21, "Beloved if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.". So many Christians are insecure in their faith.... think they are always living on the gray edges... not at peace with self... not at peace with God. One of the important lessons that the apostle John is teaching in I John 3, is that it is possible to stand with confidence and unashamed before God.

5. Let’s look more closely at this text and observe "3" good reasons why, according to the apostle John, that we can have confidence before God:

I. First, BECAUSE WE KEEP OURSELVES PURE: (3:1-3)

A. WE EACH HAVE A PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY TO OUR SELVES:

John describes a cycle: Because we keep self pure we have hope... this hope gives incentive...to purify self.... which in turn gives hope.... But just how does the Christian keep himself/ herself pure? This text, like so many in I John, is connected to I JOHN 1:7 (read). We keep ourselves pure... not by walking in the darkness of sin or in the gray areas that are questionable at best, but by walking in the light as he is in the light! In darkness we are blind and ignorant- we stumble and make wrong choices But in the light of God's Word ...we are instructed and counseled and shown the paths of righteousness. We keep ourselves pure by living our lives in accordance with the teaching of God's Word (I Peter 1:22.). We also keep ourselves pure by 'filtering" the pollution’s of evil that tempt us. 

B. ILLUSTRATION: FISH TANK with no filter (water dark, murky, stained)

We keep self pure by filtering our thoughts, words, actions. (Ask: Are these the thoughts I should be dwelling upon? or the words I should say etc.) The minds of some people are like a 'sponge' - no discretion - absorb all. Matt 12:34 'Out of the abundance of the heart..." Prov. 23:7 "As a man thinketh so is he" We must recognize that we are influenced by others and things. To walk in the light/ keep pure we must learn to shun, avoid, flee evil. (In this way we purify ourselves.) Then if we are guarding our hearts/ following the will of God our confidence is complete. I John 1:7-9, 2:1-2.

C. IF CHRIST SHOULD COME THIS HOUR... COULD WE STAND TALL, UNASHAMED WITH CONFIDENCE BEFORE GOD? 

Are there sins in our lives that need to be confessed? repented of? Are we keeping ourselves pure, preparing ourselves to stand with confidence before God? 

Remember our text shares 3 good reasons for our confidence: (As we have seen, we can have confidence, First because we keep ourselves pure....)

II. SECOND, BECAUSE WE LOVE ONE ANOTHER: (3:10-15)

A. HOW CAN PEOPLE BE UGLY TOWARD ONE ANOTHER AND STAND UNASHAMED BEFORE GOD?

 Cf., I John 4:20. Jesus taught that next to loving God with all heart... love neighbor (Matt 22:34). We have more than just a "vertical relationship" with God. We also have a "horizontal relationship" with one another. Imagine standing before Christ who unselfishly gave himself for others knowing that we did nothing for anyone else... Cf. Matt 25: 42-45. How ashamed would we be? I Peter 1:22 says, "Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently." Peter like John first discusses the need to purify you soul and explains that we do that when we obey the truth (or gospel). And like John, Peter follows that with an admonition to love one another with a pure heart and do so "fervently" (not relaxing in effort). A Christian's love for other Christians is never relaxed.... (not on again, off again... not only when things go right but even when things go wrong). It is a great tragedy to see brethren who love one another until a fault appears in that person's makeup - then ready turn love off like a water faucet. It is a common fact, that all people have their weaknesses, "flaws" - even the best of Christians. This fact does not excuse anyone from working on a weakness and growing. But our love for one another should not turn off simply because we find a flaw in one another's character or personality.

B.  POEM: DO NO JUDGE TOO HARD

Pray don't find fault with the man who limps or stumbles along the road,
Unless you have worn the shoes he wears or struggled beneath his load
There may be tacks in his shoes that hurt though hidden away from view
Or the burden he bears, placed upon your back might cause you to stumble, too.

Don’t sneer at the man who’s down today, unless you have felt the blow
That caused his fall, or felt the shame that only the fallen know
You may be strong, but still the blows that were his, if dealt to you
in the self-same way at the self-same time, might cause you to stagger too

Don’t be too harsh with the man who sins or pelt him with words or stones,
Unless you are sure, yea, doubly sure, that you have no sins of your own
For you know, perhaps if the tempter’s voice should whisper as soft to you
As it did to him when he went astray, ‘Twould cause you to falter too.
                                                                             -- author unknown

C. IF CHRIST SHOULD COME THIS HOUR... COULD WE STAND TALL, UN-ASHAMED WITH CONFIDENCE BEFORE GOD AND OUR BRETHREN? 

Does our love for one another flow thru thick and thin, with concern, compassion, empathy for one another? Does our love filter our words and actions so that they are not as likely to hurt and offend? Is our love a tough love, not easily offended (thinketh no evil.  I Cor 13:5). Are there relationships that need to be mended before Christ comes so we can stand with confidence? 

Remember our text shares 3 good reasons for our confidence:
(First because we keep ourselves pure....
Second because we love one another

III. THIRD, BECAUSE WE LOVE IN DEED AND IN TRUTH: (3:16-18)

A. ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS.

It is difficult to see how we can read the "golden rule" or "parable of the good Samaritan" and then see and know that a brother or sister is in need and then do nothing to help. Walking in the light, includes keeping self pure, loving one another but also much more..: It includes ACTIVELY SERVING... LOVING IN DEED AND IN TRUTH.

B. HOW DO WE LOVE IN DEED AND TRUTH? (here is a list that suggests a    few things). 

cup of cold water, a genuine compliment to encourage, listening to a child. showing friendliness to a person on the job, stopping to render aid, overlooking a slight, practicing good sportsmanship, waiting on the Lord's table. preparing a good meal for family, building shelves for wife, being kind to a new student at school, giving a hand to someone carrying a load, writing a letter for an elderly person, teaching a bible class, visiting the sick, shut ins, giving a car a push that stalled, fishing w/ Dad, shopping for an elderly person, baking a cake for shut ins, thinking about God, giving financial aid to needy relatives, taking an orphan to a ball game, calling to say hello to an old time friend, thanking your wife for her devotion, rejoicing over your child's progress, stopping to explain "why' to a teenager, working with your child to solve a school problem, an evening spent with wife, visiting an absentee from worship, building a better neighborhood.... etc.                                --Howard Norton, Hinton, OK.

C. IF CHRIST SHOULD COME THIS HOUR COULD WE STAND TALL, UNASHAMED WITH CONFIDENCE? 

Is there sin that needs to be confessed? Is there love in our hearts for all our brethren? Do our actions speak louder than our words?

CONCLUSION:

IF WE KEEP OURSELVES PURE... by humbly obeying the truth (walking in the light)
IF WE LOVE ONE ANOTHER... with a pure heart, fervently
IF WE LOVE IN DEED AND IN TRUTH... not just with lip service
THEN WE WILL HAVE VERY LITTLE TO BE ASHAMED OF ON THE DAY OF JUDGMENT
AND WE WILL BE ABLE TO STAND TALL
BEFORE GOD, BEFORE OUR BRETHREN, AND BEFORE THE WORLD!

INVITATION

Note: I cannot remember where nor when the idea for this sermon originated - I am sure that I got the idea from someone else and just adopted and adapted it.  - Ed

 

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