Sermon:  Family Resemblance

Summary:  As Christians, we need to be virtuous people not because it feels good or
 looks nice, but because Christian virtues stem from the character of the God whom 
we were made in the image of.  Since God is, we are to be as well.

Know:  Our character needs to come from the character of God

Feel:  The motivation to be virtuous because it is what God is like, not just because it 
is nice, respectable, or makes us look good.

Do:  Start setting some specific personal and group goals as a small group specific 
ways to demonstrate godliness

Text:  1 Pet 1:15-16

Scripture Reading:  Psalm 34:1-9

1.  Get a kick out of watching kids and their Dads
	a.  Got to see a lot of that at Dad's N Lad's retreat
	b.  Similar looks, but also similar personalities
	c.  Can often tell which son belongs to which father - some sort of 
2.  We have a Heavenly Father
	a.  He made us in his "image"
	b.  He "re-made" us in his image through Christ
	c.  He wants us to be like him - He wants that "family resemblance"
3.  We are to be "godly" - What does that mean?
	a.  Theologians speak of God's incommunicable and communicable 
	b.  Incommunicable - God is infinitely wise, powerful, everywhere
	c.  Communicable - God is patient, kind, good, etc.
		- God created us to be these things
		- This is what it means to be "godly"
4.  What we are to be stems from God's character.  Here is an example:
	a.  Rev 4:8 Reminds us that God is Holy.  What does that mean for us?
	b.  (1 Pet 1:15-16) - Like the Holy One who called you, be holy in all your 
	     behavior,because it is written, "you shall be Holy, for I am Holy" Lv 19:1
	c.  We are to be devoted, dedicated, or "different" - we are special
	d.  Will look at some characteristics of God and what it means for us…

I.  (Ps 34:8) God is Good
	A.  Heard a Sermon that said God is good
		1.  Preacher strung bunch of verses that stated God is good
		2.  But God demonstrates his goodness more than this
		3.  Example from Egyptian Bondage
			a.  Rescue Israel from Egyptian Bondage
			b.  Provided Manna and Water in the Wilderness
			c.  Protected them from enemies in the wilderness
			d.  Brought them to the promised land
		4.  Jas 1:17 - Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from 
		     above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there 
		     is no variation or shifting shadow
	B.  (Mt 7:7-11) - God is the ideal Father
		1.  Jesus uses the analogy of a Father
			a.  Son says - "Dad, I'm hungry and starving"
				- Dad is not going to give him a pet rock instead
				- Even an evil Dad would get food for his son
			b.  What about our Heavenly Father?
				- Even more so will he give what is good
		2.  God has demonstrated his goodness time after time 
			a.  God promised Abraham in Gen 12
				- Promised him Canaan, but not yet
				- Gen 15:16 - Sin of the Amorite is not yet complete
				- Abraham around 2000 B.C., Exodus around 1300
				- At least 700 years of patience!
			b.  God was patient with his own people for centuries
			c.  Most of all, he provided redemption through the cross
		3.  So what should we do since God is good?
			a.  Used to here prayer - "Good is great, God is good, let us 
			      thank him for our food"
			b.  Since God gives us what is good, should we be thankful?
			c.  Of course!  We in this country are very prosperous
			d.  But there is much more…
		4.  (Mt 7:12) - Therefore - Be good to others
			a.  God is Holy, therefore we are to be holy
			b.  God is good, therefore we are also to be good
			c.  Gal 6:9-10 - Don't lose heart in doing good
				- In due time will reap if not grow weary
				- Do good to all, especially the household of faith
	C.  ILL:  A mark of a Christian is one who does good works
		1.  Remember growing up, send aid to Ghana, Africa
		2.  Back in the 80's, several thousand dollars
		3.  Churches of Christ got official recognition from government
		4.  This is not unusual for us Christians to engage in good works
			a.  Long has been known that Christians do a better job that 
			     many official agencies
			b.  Perhaps it has to do with motivation
	D.  Jesus engaged in all kinds of good works
		1.  Examples:
			a.  Fed hungry people, showed kindness, 
			b.  Friend of the sinner, outcast, the humble
			c.  Healed the broken
		2.  We can engage in the same kinds of things
			a.  We can feed hungry people, show kindness
			b.  We can be friend to those who need a friend
		3. Why?
			a.  Not just because it is nice, makes us feel good
			b.  It is because our God is good

II.  God is Forgiving
	A.  Christians often have the wrong idea that God was more vengeful in 
	      the Old Testament
		1.  That is wrong on several levels
			a.  First of all, have you read the book of Revelation???
			b.  Second of all, he is no more vengeful in the Old 
			     Testament than in the New
			c.  He is the SAME God
		2.  (Dt 5:9-10) - Moses recounting scene on Mt Sinai
			a.  This is God's self revelation
			b.  Visits iniquity to the third and fourth generation
			c.  But his lovingkindness is to thousands
			d.  His lovingkindness is bigger than iniquity
		3.  (Ps 103:8-12) - God is a forgiving God
			a.  He forgives completely and fully
			b.  God is compassionate and faithful
	B.  ILL:  A Christian was talking to a Jewish friend of his
		1.  Christian asked, "I wonder why God was so hard on people in 
		     the Old Testament"
		2.  Jew was flabbergasted - "No" he said, "We do not ask such 
		     things.  Our question is why God has been so merciful to us!"
		3.  God has been merciful from day one
		4.  So, what should we do with this?
	C.  (Mt 18:21-35) - God forgave us a huge, huge debt
		1.  This tells us that he expects us to be forgiving
		2.  We need to truly forgive from our heart
		3.  Remember the Amish community that suffered deaths at the 
		     hands of a gunman?
			a.  They forgave the gunman and prayed for him and his 
			b.  Many media people were confused and even appalled
		4.  That is exactly the sort of thing that Jesus calls us to do
	D.  But how can we?  
		1.  Sometimes it seems so difficult
		2.  Maybe that is the time when you need to consider our Lord
			a.  He forgave far worse things
			b.  He died on the cross for far worse things
		3.  Is it really such a big deal for me to hold on to something as little 
		     as feeling left out, or someone being insensitive to me?
		4.  If God was that gracious to me, surely I can be more gracious 
		     than I am to others!

III.  God is Loving
	A.  John 3:16 - Most can quote it
	B.  Let's go to 1st John
		1.  (1 Jn 3:1-3) - God has great love for us
			a.  He adopted us as his children
			b.  We were a mess, but he cleaned us up
		2.  (1 Jn 3:14-16)
			a.  A sign of passing from death to life - love
				- Life is about knowing God
				- If we know God, we will be like him - loving
			b.  v.16 - Since he loved us, we need to love others!
				- 1 Jn 3:16 is practical implication of Jn 3:16
		3.  (1 Jn 4:7-11) - God "IS" Love
			a.  If you Love God, you know God
			b.  If God loved us, we need to love others
		4.  Gal 5:22- Spirit empowers us to be godly
			a.  First fruit of the Spirit is - LOVE
			b.  To be godly is to love as he loved
	C.  Jn 13:34-35 - A "new" commandment - love one another
		1.  What was new? - Love one another as Jesus loved
			a.  Means loving even when not reciprocated
			b.  Means loving even when it is undeserved
			c.  It means gracious love
		2.  C.S. Lewis said - Don't waste time trying to figure out whether 
		     you love your neighbor or not, acts as though you do
			a.  When you do this, you will discover a secret
			b.  When you act as though you love someone, you will 
			     come to love him
			c.  If injure someone you dislike, will dislike him more
			d.  If love someone you dislike, will dislike him less
		3.  Christian love is not necessarily a feeling, but an act of the will
	D.  We need to love as Jesus did
		1.  Not because it is a nice thing to do
		2.  It is part of God's character

1.  Many other characteristics we could talk about
2.  Point is made, we need to be godly
3.  Begins with response to the Gospel (invitation)
4.  Need to be Godly - We are made and re-made in God's image
	- That is the family resemblance we need to have


Small Group Questions:  Family Resemblance

Summary:  As Christians, we need to be virtuous people not because it feels good or looks 
nice, but because Christian virtues stem from the character of the God whom we were made 
in the image of.  Since God is, we are to be as well.

Open:  (choose one)
- What is the characteristic you admired the most in your father or mother (or authority figure 
in your life)?
- What is the most prominent feature you inherited from your parents?


1.  Read the following passages and make note of the character of God in each one and 
discuss how this impacts the lives of believers
·	Eph 4:32
·	Rom 2:1-4
·	Mt 20:25-28
·	Dt 32:4
·	1 John 3:15-16

2.  List as many other characteristics of God (or Christ) that you can think of and discuss 
their impact on how we are to live our lives in a "godly" way.  (Not incommunicable ones that 
we cannot imitate, such as all-powerful or all-knowing)

3.  Describe how Christian virtue is different from virtue among unbelievers.  How are they the 
same?  How are they different?  What is the basis?  What is the motivation?  etc…

4.  Does motivation for virtue make a difference?  Why or why not?


5.  What are some specific ways you personally can be more "godly" in your life?  What are 
some ways the group can help you with this?

6.  Brainstorm:  What are some ways you as a group could demonstrate the character of God 
to each other, in ministry, in outreach, etc…

7.  Pick an idea and formulate a plan to begin to put it into practice

Read Lev. 19:2 and use it as a prayer meditation
(Note:  Don't forget the empty chair - Who can you invite and pray about to fill it?)