Monday Preverb – 08April2024


This week’s theme is new identity, new power.

The selected passages are Psalm 4:1-8; Luke 24:36b-48; Acts 3:12-19; 1 John 3:1-7 

  • In our call to worship psalm, we are reminded that we can rest in peace knowing that the Lord hears us when we call.
  • The reading from Acts recounts Peter reminding others that healing power only comes from Christ.
  • Our epistolary text from 1 John explores the implications of our identity as children of God.
  • The Gospel text in Luke records the startling appearance of Jesus, who confronts the disciples with the reality of his resurrection and charges them to be his witnesses to all nations.





Jesus Goes Viral
Jeff Broadnax

Have you ever seen a video that moved you so much or made you laugh so hard that you just had to share it with someone else?  If so, you may have participated in making that video “go viral.”

When a video “goes viral” it spreads exponentially with little effort or expense.  This is a dream come true for advertisers or artists.  In fact, many try to produce this phenomenon by implementing various strategies or tactics but there is no sure way of guaranteeing a video will “go viral.”  It only happens when the video connects with people in a significant way and it is shared.  A particularly moving video can get shared around the globe and viewed by millions in a very short time.

We could say this is similar to how the Gospel gets spread around the world.  It’s not that someone came up with some brilliant marketing strategy – or perhaps some ONE did – but rather it happens when a person has seen and been moved by Jesus.  That personal encounter, I call those divine appointments, leads to a natural sharing of the Good News of who Jesus is and what he has done.  Like seeing that amazing video, seeing Jesus compels us to share with others in hope that they too will see Jesus.  He’s just too good not to share.

Unlike a video that goes viral, seeing Jesus is not a short-lived experience.  It’s a lifelong relationship of seeing and coming to know him and his Father by the Spirit, day in and day out.   The more we turn to him and come to see and know him the more our witness of him will naturally flow out of us.  We won’t need any fancy marketing campaigns.   We will just tell that epic story as we experienced it.

Listen to the interplay between experiencing God personally and witnessing to him publicly in this Psalm:

Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God.
Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer.
How long will you people turn my glory into shame?
How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?
Know that the Lord has set apart his faithful servant for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him.
Tremble and do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent.  Offer the sacrifices of the righteous and trust in the Lord. 

Many, Lord, are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?”
Let the light of your face shine on us.
Fill my heart with joy when their grain and new wine abound.

In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Psalm 4:1-8

When we see Jesus, we will also see that Jesus is the true Witness in the World.  He has known the Father for all eternity and knows just how good he is.  Since Jesus sees the Father, he is compelled to share him with us.

We could say that Jesus is the Someone who shared the “visual” of his relationship with the Father.  Let’s celebrate the One who shines the light and love of the Father and join in on Jesus going viral.

I’m Jeff Broadnax, Speaking of Life.



Being Who You Are

1 John 3:1-7 ESV

For today’s message on the third Sunday of Easter, we will remain with the Apostle John’s writings, only we are going to change books.  Instead of looking at John’s Gospel, we are going to look at a letter John wrote to a close community of believers who had been exposed to some false teachers.  These false teachers were former members of this community who left and took some followers with them.  So, John is writing to remind those who remained loyal to the community of believers the truth that goes back to “the beginning.”  This Truth, as John begins his letter, is Jesus himself, who came down as the Incarnation to bring us into eternal life.  So, for the season of Easter, we can read John’s short passage today as a reminder of the new beginning we are given in Jesus on account of his resurrection.  Easter changes everything.  And one of the key changes it makes for us is defining our true identity and helping us live out of that reality every dayJohn reminds them, and us, of whose we are, so we can live being who we are.

I’m sure we can all recount times in our life that our identity has been challenged.  A time of crisis or challenge can shake our beliefs down to the roots and cause us to question who we are.  When it comes to the reality of our identity in Christ, this becomes an issue of having our faith shaken.

In the wake of false teachers who have inflicted losses on those John addresses as “little children,” John knows he needs to build their faith by reminding them of who they are in light of their relationship with the risen Lord.

This letter is included in the canon of scripture as the Holy Spirit knew we too would need this constant reminder.  As was stated in last week’s sermon, the Easter season is a time when the church can once again revisit the biblical witness of the risen Jesus along with the blessing that comes to those who put their trust in him.  John is trying to restore the trust of his “little children” in Jesus, by writing a letter that we now can read for restoration of our own.  As we read, we will discover some beautiful blessings that come to those who live in trusting obedience as “little children” who belong to the Father on account of the risen Lord.

As a backdrop, it is good to be aware of a hideous practice that was common in the Roman Empire at the time of the writing of this letter.  John is writing to people who understood the Roman practice that took place when a child was born to a Roman family. The child would be placed on the floor at the father’s feet.  If the father accepted the child, he would reach down and pick the child up to indicate that the father has accepted the child as his own.  The child would then become part of the family, taking on the family name and all the benefits thereof.  If the father did not choose to accept the child, he would walk away, leaving the child to be cast out on the streets.  This barbaric practice may have been the norm in the culture of the time, but it was not the message of Good News about Jesus’ Father.  This is why Christians during that time were known to rescue these abandoned children that had been so inhumanely cast out.  John, in this passage, grounds our identity in the Good News that the Father has reached down into our humanity and lifted us up in his Son, Jesus Christ.  The Father is one who loves all his children, and he never turns his back on us.  This is a Father we can trust, who places his name on us, and who gives us all the blessings that come with that trust.

If we are going to grow in our trust in the Father, we must come to see more and more who he is.  Is he like the Roman fathers who may or may not turn us away and leave us for dead?  Or is he the Father Jesus reveals to us?  This is a big reason Jesus had to come in the flesh.  The Incarnation provides for us a revelation of the FatherEverything we see Jesus do and say reveals something about who the Father is.  Understanding God as Trinity is essential for this understanding which the early church grasped and passed down to us.  It springs from Jesus’ own words to us when he says, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9), and, “All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”  On this biblical and theological foundation we have the historically orthodox understanding of Jesus as the self-revelation of the Father.  Jesus never does anything or says anything that would contradict the Father’s own heart and character.  It is from this foundation that John is going to boldly proclaim the love of the Father for us and remind us what we have been given as his children.

Specifically, as we go through the passage, we will be able to see four aspects of our identity as children of God.

  1. Peace
  2. Permanence
  3. Personhood
  4. Participation

A reminder of who God is as our loving Father can safeguard us against the lies and deceptions that false teachers, and the evil one pulling their strings, use to lure us away from the community of faith.  If you have struggled with your faith and identity because of some confusing rhetoric from outside the church, and even more disturbing, from within the church, then listen to John’s words of affirmation of who we truly are in Jesus Christ.  We will be reminded that we are the Father’s children who have been claimed, loved, and eternally embraced in the death, resurrection, and ascension of his own beloved Son, Jesus Christ.

Let’s begin with the first verse of our text to see the first of four realities about our identity established in Jesus Christ:

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.   The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. (1 John 3:1 ESV)


There is no conflict between being “called children of God” and actually being his child.  Our identity as belonging to the Father is not in label only.  The Father calls us children and we know the Father does not tell a lieBeing a child of God is the most fundamental truth of our identity.  We may not always experience being known by others in this way, but it does not change the reality of who we are.  We cannot expect the world to tell us who we are.  We do not belong to the world; we belong to the Father.  The world with all its allure will clamor to have you place your identity in anything other than Jesus, the true Lord and King of this world.

The next verse contains two realities regarding our identity in Christ:

Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2 ESV)


Being a child of God is not a potential or some idealistic dream for the futureIt is our identitynow.”  We may not fully see our identity now, but we can trust that it is who the Father made us to beWe are included in the Sonship of Jesus and therefore share in the very life and relationship between the Father and his Son in the SpiritOur identity of being a child of God will never be revoked any more than Jesus will cease being the Son of the Father.



The full revelation of who we are as children of God is grounded in a face-to-face relationship with Jesus.  Our personhood is fully seen in the person of Jesus.  We are not fundamentally “individuals” but rather persons in relationshipWe do not realize or actualize our own identity from a center within ourselvesOur identity is centered in Jesus Christ.

  • When we look elsewhere, we remain confused about our identity as children of God.

The final four verses give us our fourth reality regarding our identity along with some implications of living this reality out in our daily lives:

And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.  Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.  You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.  No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.  Little children, let no one deceive you.  Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous.  (1 John 3:3-7 ESV)


The Father did not claim us as his children just so he could put us on a shelf for decoration.  He created us to be real participants in the divine lifeWe are made to participate in the very life the Son has with his FatherAs we participate, we are truly being who we are intended to be.  This is the good life of faith, hope and love.  We don’t have to create this life for ourselves.  We can participate in it as blessed children of the Father for that is indeed who we are.

Children receive all their Father has to give themThey do not have to earn it by making a name for themselves.  The Father’s name has already been placed on them.  The lie we may be tempted to believe is that the Father really wants slaves, not sons and daughters.  This is a false teaching deeply embedded in our world, tempting us to ground our worth and value in what we can do or produce (for the Master) rather than who we are as children of the Father.  If you ever seen the 2005 Batman movie, Batman Begins, you may recall the scene where Batman reveals his identity to his childhood girlfriend by saying, “It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.”  This can illustrate how we too can go through life hiding behind the mask of “good works,” finding our identity in what we do (or don’t do).  Like Batman, we can become vigilantes by taking of the fruit of “The Knowledge of Good and Evil.”  We decide for ourselves what is right and wrong and choose to be the source of our own identity.  But, unlike Batman who lives a double life, we do not define ourselves by an identity we can carve out by our own worksWe do not achieve our identity, rather we receive it from the one we belong to, our Heavenly Father.

This is the context John has in mind when talking about sin.  Sin, which is nothing short of thinking and acting as if we are not the children of God, has no place in the life of his children.  When we participate in sin, we are not participating in the life we have in Christ.  We are not receiving our identity he gives us in his Son.  We may be trying to achieve our personal identity for ourselves, in one way or another.  However, the Father has placed his name on us.  John’s pronouncement that sin is lawlessness reminds us to live out of the true identity of who we are.  The word “lawlessness” comes from the Greek word “anomia” which means “without name.”  We are not without name.  The Father has lifted us up, claiming us, placing his name on us and giving us full fellowship in the family.  John doesn’t want us to be deceived about our true identityHe wants us to live out the identity we have already been given in Jesus Christ.


36 Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” 37 But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. 38 And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.”

40 [a]When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. 41 But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, “Have you any food here?” 42 So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish [b]and some honeycomb. 43 And He took it and ate in their presence.

44 Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” 45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.

46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, [c]and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And you are witnesses of these things.



17 “Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers. 18 But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. 19 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,




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