Knowing We are Dearly Loved Children of God

If you did a web search for the phrase “a new you,” you would find all sorts of interesting results. You would find anti-aging treatments. You would find opportunities for cosmetic surgery, body slimming, or laser hair removal. You would find self-help gurus and inspirational speakers offering solutions to your problems. You would even find car dealers and clothing shops offering you a much-needed new look.

How many of us have not at some point wanted a new look, a new identity, or a new persona? Now, listen to these words of the Apostle John from 1 John 3:

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:1-2)

Who are we, according to John, here? We are children of God.

That new identity begins with the outpouring of God’s love upon us through Jesus Christ.

What is God’s love like? John tells us, first of all, that God’s love is “great,” a Greek word which conveys astonishment and wonder. God’s love is shocking—amazing—it has a greatness that surpasses our understanding.

Second, John tells us God’s love is “lavished on us.” We may not use the word “lavish” very often, but it conveys an extravagant generosity. It’s the word we use to describe an over-the-top gift someone gives us. God’s love is a great, gift-love. That shocking gift-love is at the very center of our lives through Jesus Christ. It establishes who we are. It determines our identity.

So much of our lives is spent trying to feel significant; to feel like we’re “someone.” We seek that through the love or attention of others, through our accomplishments, through standing out from the crowd in some way. But here, we are told that the limitless love of God is generously and shockingly poured into our lives. It’s not something we have to search for all our lives, it’s something that is readily available and given to us through Jesus Christ.

Settle into that for a moment. The God of the universe, who created us, loves us lavishly, shockingly, and personally.

How powerful it is to know that we are God’s children. I can’t help but think of the way Paul describes this reality in Romans 8:

The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father. The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. (Romans 8:15-16)

Today, take some time to rest in the truth that through faith in Jesus Christ we are God’s children, dearly loved and held in the divine embrace by our Abba Father no matter what comes.

Living Like We Know Who We Are

This past weekend I had the privilege of preaching at Meadowbrook Church in Wauwatosa, one of our sister churches in the Brook family of churches. When our family first moved to the Milwaukee area in 2003, while I served as Elmbrook Church’s College Pastor, we lived on the east side of Tosa and knew a lot of folks who were part of the community at Meadowbrook. More recently, I have gotten to know and deeply respect Bryan Marvel, the Lead Pastor at Meadowbrook, and it was a joy to speak as part of their current series on 1 John, “Walk in the Light.”

I spoke from 1 John 2:28-3:10 and focused on ways in which the Apostle John answers a fundamental question of our human existence: “Who are we?” As John unfolds his answers to that questions, he also offers an exhortation to his readers—and us—about what it means to live like we know who we are.

You can view the message video and outline below, and access discussion questions and sketch notes from the message here. You can take a look at Meadowbrook’s entire series here.


“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1)

Knowing We Are Children of God (1 John 3:1-2)

  • Based in the love of God
  • How this happens
  • Aspects of the new identity

Continuing with Hope (1 John 2:28-3:3)

  • A crisis of hope
  • The future appearing of Christ
  • The future transformation of life
  • Tomorrow’s hope and today’s living

Living Free and Victorious Now (1 John 3:4-10)

  • The first appearing of Christ
  • The freedom and victory in Christ
  • Living in Christ and apart from the devil

Live Like Children

This weekend at Eastbrook Church I continued our series, “Love Letters,” with a message entitled “Live Like Children” on 1 John 2:28-3:10. This was an interesting message to prepare for as it dealt with issues ranging from the Antichrist to heresy, and a number of things in between. You can listen to my message online […]