Fatherly Resemblance

Young Adult Sunday School Class - August 14, 2011

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. I John 3:1

There’s a baby shower being planned for this weekend even as I write this; my oldest daughter will deliver a daughter of her own in a month or so. It’s a blessed time in both her and her husband’s lives, and I’m not going to fret one tiny bit over the addition of another grandchild to my progeny. Judging by my first granddaughter through my oldest son, they are pretty special—a whole new experience to one who felt he knew all there was to know about children in general. These tiny creatures have a precious side effect of capturing your heart. They really do.

Witnessing the births of my own children, and many nieces and nephews along the way, the question that always seems to arise in those beautiful moments is who do they look like? Do they have their mother’s eyes and lips? Do they favor their father? As they grow up and character and personality traits come into play, it’s often asked who do they take after? Did the apple fall far from the tree? Are they in fact a chip off the old block? In more than a few subtle ways, I’ve noticed Parker is truly a female clone of my son, but I’m not going to go into any details here. Sorry Scott, but she truly is you made all over again… and I mean that in a good way.

This week we’ll be looking into the multi-layered depths of the 3rd Chapter of the Book of First John. There are many paths we can study in this chapter, and I’m not sure which road we’ll travel, yet all of the routes are laid out before us and are viable options to both learn and grow from. Most importantly, each verse we personally analyze will enable us to walk closer with the One who loved us first.

The first verse of the chapter opens with a bold statement from John, and I truly believe he was smiling through tear-filled eyes as he wrote it down. Behold! Is there any love greater than this? That we unrighteous and doomed sinners can literally become the sons of G_d due to the Heavenly Father’s love for us? Ponder that verse before class—it’s a deep one! We’ll look into the verses that follow and take a gander at how we are supposed to act and who we are supposed to emulate in our own lives. John lays out a wonderful pattern for us to follow here: although on the outward appearance of our carnal bodies we may look no different than others, there is something within us that makes us the very opposite of those who live in the world. At least it should be that way.

Reminds me of a story I read the other day about the famous Greek philosopher named Socrates. It seems one day as he was teaching his pupils, into the class walked a great physiognomist. This is a fancy term for what we would know today as a profiler, you know—someone who can tell you all you need to know about a person by simply studying their features. Obviously, because of his credentials, the students in Socrates philosophy class wanted a demonstration of his talent and skills, so they asked him for a quick, on-the-spot profile of their teacher. After a careful observation of the philosopher, the profiler pronounced him as “the most gluttonous, drunken, brutal, and libidinous old man that he had ever met." The class, who really respected Socrates and knew that he was none of these things took offence and began to insult the profiler, deriding him for his poor judgment of their much-beloved leader.

But Socrates raised his hand and stopped them, smiling, and said that the renowned profiler was correct by strictly using science in an observational manner, but that he (Socrates) had “conquered those visible traits of my body by utilizing my philosophy.” This is pretty good, coming from a man who had never heard of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

When others look at us, what do they see? Better yet, who do they see? John uses a ‘take no prisoners’ approach in this chapter, reminding us that as Christians we should strive to control the sinful nature that is ever-present in our lives, refuse to budge when it comes to temptation, and most importantly—through our love for each other in the church—we should do our best to display the same personality and spiritual traits that Jesus exhibited while He walked on the earth. That’s a tall order, and one we can never accomplish on our own. We need Christ in our lives in all that we do for this to happen.

But in so doing, together we can make ‘The Chapel’ a place to go for so much more than just a weekly meeting. It can be a haven for strength and support, and a source of knowledge; all of which will enable us to achieve a noticeably closer resemblance to our very own Heavenly Father.

Other Things To Check Out Before Class:

1. Compare John 3:16 and 1 John 3:16. Is it just me, or is there a correlation between these verses? Hmm.

2. This is an example of how church members (and leaders) should not act. (Click on "This")