John 3:4-24; 4:1-3
1st John 3:4-24, "Whoso committeth
sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression
of the law. [That,
folks is the Bible definition for sin, given by John the apostle. A lot of Christian denominations don't
like it, sounds too legalistic, but there it is folks.] And ye know that he was manifested to take
away our sins; and in him is no sin.
Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth
hath not seen him neither known him.
Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth
righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.
He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil
sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested,
that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit
sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because
he is born of God. In
this the children of God are manifest, and the children of
the devil: whoever doeth not righteousness is not of God,
neither he that loveth not his brother. For this is the message that ye heard
from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one,
and slew his brother.
And wherefore slew he him?
Because his own works were evil, and his brother's
not, my children, if the world hate you. We know that we have passed from death
unto life, because we love the brethren.
He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer:
and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in
him. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life
for us: and we ought to lay down our
lives for the brethren.
But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother
have need, and shutteth up his bowels of
compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?
My little children, let us not love in word, neither
in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall
assure our hearts before him.
For if our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our
heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us, God
is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not,
then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of
him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things
that are pleasing in his sight.
And this is his commandment.
That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus
Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.
And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in
him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in
us, by the Spirit which he hath given us."
1st John 4:1-3
"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try
the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets
are gone out into the world.
Hereby we know the Spirit of God:
Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come
in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that
Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this
is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have
heard that it should come; and even now already is in the
chapter 3, I believe we got to the third verse.
We'll start in verse 1 and read to there.
"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.
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not
yet appear what we shall be:
but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be
like him, for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him"-in
even as he is pure." (verses 1-3)
So John pointing us to the blessed hope of the church,
saying it is a great purifying factor.
And again, certainly for these Christians who were
really putting their life on the line by proclaiming their
burning Christians at the stake at this time. Persecution is mounting against the church,
and these believers lived looking for the coming of the Lord. They found nothing, as it were, in this
world that they would attach their hearts to. And yet John, now he moves on, as we get
to verse 4, and he begins to exhort us in regards to the relationship
we have with Christ and the way we live.
here he really takes us from living for the coming of the
Lord to living for the Lord that's coming.
Both of those things are necessary.
Certainly, as Christians, we are living for the coming
of the Lord, and looking forward to that.
[But some denominations have their heads so buried
in the prophecy sections of the Bible, and current events,
trying to tie all of that together-that living for the Lord that's coming
gets pushed aside. John
brings balance into our worship and focus-helping us all to
become more Christ-centered in our walk.]
But as we're doing that, we're to be living for the
Lord that's coming, and that is hard for us, because we're
to live as though Christ were coming this evening, because
he said 'in an hour that you think not', and how many of you
when you left your home this evening thought you would never
be coming back to it again, because the trumpet would blow
in the middle of church and you'd be caught up into his presence?
[Dispensational view, the Rapture.
The Classic Pre-Millennial view shows there's a lot
that must happen prophetically before that "Trumpet" blows.
for the Classic Pre-Millennial interpretation.] So he may come this hour because
you didn't think that.
So this is an hour that you think not.
Now if you think it now because I've said it, he won't
come [laughter]. But the idea is, we're to be living as
though he could come now, and yet we're all supposed to be
living responsibly like he may not come for 50 years, and
that is a very difficult thing to do.
It is a very difficult thing to do, and we are to continue
in our careers. And
again, people will say "Should I pursue this medical career? Boy, it's going to be eight years in college,
by that time, they'll be putting the diploma in my hand, the
Trumpet will blow, I'll be outa here, it'll all be for nothing." Or what happens if on my third trimester,
do I stay pregnant forever?
You know, the thing is, Jesus is going to come. We know that. And when he comes, some generation must
be interrupted. [I
would honestly have to say that some pretty nasty preliminary
things will happen before "that interruption" takes place.
Even Matthew 24:7, which many feel details the side-effects
of global warming (see http://www.unityinchrist.com/warming/warming1.htm), coupled to the cycle of world wars we're
already in, then verses 8-13 persecutions, massive ones against
Christians, and then a falling away of those 'who were not
really of us' looking at Matthew 24:7-13.]
There will be some student that is finishing up his
intern in medicine that will be interrupted.
There will be pregnant women that will be interrupted.
There will be people that are just finishing a career
that are interrupted.
There will be people who said "I do" on the reception
on the way to the honeymoon and get Raptured before the honeymoon
starts. It has
to happen to somebody, and it might as well happen to our
generation. It's gonna happen to some generation.
And the idea is, it isn't spiritual for us just to
set everything aside and be sitting here waiting for the Lord.
We have to live like he's coming this evening, but
we have to live responsibly too. That's why John moves into this exhortation
that he moves into now.
Because, the important thing is that you are about
the Master's business, that you are doing what he has set
in front of you-in your marriage, in your homes, in your career,
whatever it might be-because that is the most sacred thing
you can do, and it is the most sacred place you can be in. It doesn't matter what he interrupts when
he comes, as long as he interrupts what he asked you to be
doing. And that is the point. So John now will move on and exhort us.
Yes, he is speaking to us about the coming of the Lord,
but now he really begins to speak also about our walk in a
very practical way, in verse 4, when he says "Whosoever", and I'm going to read down,
I think, to verse 9 and we'll back up. "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also
the law, for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested [Jesus]
to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not:
whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you.
He that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he
[Jesus] is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil,
for the devil sinneth from the beginning.
For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that
he might destroy the works of the devil.
Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin, for his
seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born
of God." (verses 4-9) Now as we read into these passages,
I'm going to reiterate the tenses that the Greek is in. Now that's not always important. My job as a pastor and a teacher is to
do those things when they might be an encouragement to you. Because just to read through that, "whoever commits sin is of the devil",
you know, half the congregation just went 'Whoa' you know,
'I thought I had a funny feeling this afternoon.' you know.
Charles Spurgeon said 'there are sermons in tenses',
and in that language that it was written in, it helps us to
get a picture. So I will, as we go through these verses,
try to remove the condemning sense of that, because it's written
to God's children, and it is not saying that if we make a
mistake we are damned or we are not in the light.
Because the first chapter clearly told us 'that if
we say that we don't have sin, we deceive ourselves and the
truth is not in us.' 'If we confess'-the tense is-'continually
confess our sins, then he is continually faithful and just
to forgive us, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, if we've
never given evidence of our fallen nature, then we make him
a liar, and the truth is not in us.
So these things I'm writing to you' John says, 'that
you sin not. But if any man does sin, we have an advocate
with the Father, who is the propitiation for our sins, and
not for our sins only, but for the sins of the whole world.' So he deals with the fact, that yes, we're
in that struggle, yes, we do deal with those things. And we'll look at that as we move in here.
So he says "Whosoever
committeth sin"-and it is, the tenses are-"Whosoever continually or habitually commits
sin, transgresseth the law" or "commits lawlessness" your
translation might say.
"For sin is the transgression of the law."
"And you know that he [Jesus] was manifested to take
away our sins, and in him is no sin." Now we know that. "Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not"-is
not practicing sin habitually, that's what it says. "Whosoever sinneth"-or practices sin
seen him, neither knows him." (verses 4-6)
So this is not legalism, this is what it's saying
to us. It's saying that if you know someone who claims to
be a Christian [or Messianic believer in Yeshua], and they
habitually live in sin, you know, every day their lifestyle
is that way and they're giving you that 'Oh, sure, I love
God and God is love, and sure I'm a Christian. What do you think I am, an Eskimo?' The Bible says 'that if you know someone
who habitually lives that way [i.e. lives habitually transgressing
God's law, for sin is the transgression of the law (1 John
3:4)], that they are lawless, that they are breaking the law-they
have not known him, and have not seen him. "Because
in him is no sin, and he was manifested to take away our sin."
(verse 5) 'Whosoever abides in him does not practice
sin habitually.' Now
does this mean that we never get mad [angry]? No, at least it doesn't for me, I'll say
it for myself. Does
this mean there won't be a day this week sometime when you
get a bad attitude or you do something stupid.What it means
is, you used to have a lifestyle where you lived for yourself.
When you did something that was a transgression of
God's law you didn't feel bad about it, there was no conviction,
you didn't feel terrible about it. As long as numero uno (that's number one,
that's you and me) got taken care of, that's all that mattered. When you become a Christian, there is
a new nature now. It
says 'his 'seed' remaineth in us'.
Peter tells us "we're born again not of corruptible
seed, but of incorruptible which is of the word of God."
And he says "We are partakers of the divine nature."
So you and I now have a new nature.
[Just what Pastor J. Mark Martin told us in the Romans
6 study. If you haven't read it go back and read the study
on Romans 6-8 at http://www.unityinchrist.com/romans/Romans6-1-5page1.htm.] And when we try to do the things we used
to do, we find out we are not happy in those things. We are miserable. We come under conviction, we think 'Boy,
this is not right. Boy,
I hope the Lord doesn't come until this
wears off, or while I'm doing this.'
And there is no longer an ability in us to continue
in that lifestyle because our nature has changed.
was manifested to take away our sin, and there is
no sin in him", so if he comes and dwells in our hearts [cf.
John 14 & 16] and controls our lives, it is impossible
for us to continue in sin habitually. Does that mean that we never make a mistake?
No, and I'm not giving you license for the flesh.
But I am describing to you the Christian liberty that
the New Testament tells us about, that we are now involved
in a covenant, unlike the old covenant that was dependant
upon man's faithfulness to God, and it says that that covenant
was flawed because of our humanity and our inability to keep
the law of God. The new covenant is a far better covenant
because it is based on God's faithfulness to man and not man's
faithfulness to God.
[The strict Bible definition of the new covenant, and
the only Bible definition of the new covenant is found in
Jeremiah 31:31-34 and Hebrews 8:6-13, which basically states
that God promises "to write his laws upon the hearts and into
the minds of his children."
It is truly God doing the work through the indwelling
Holy Spirit, cf. John 14 & 16 and Romans 6-8.] And because God has changed us, because
he has indwelt us, as we come and we ask for forgiveness of
sins, Christ comes to dwell within us-there is a change that
takes place in the inner man. And we start to hunger for things, we
start to desire [spiritual] things, we start to look forward
to things we never looked forward to.
We now have a heart of flesh.
We'll now watch certain things on the news or see starving
children and all of a sudden realize tears are running down
our cheeks, and we think 'That never happened before.'
Where all of a sudden the cursing stops and the anger
starts to die away, and as time goes on Christ is being formed
within us, and there is that evidence of the new nature. And when we do do something wrong, there's conviction,
so we go before him, we confess. But the idea is, if we habitually live
in sin and there is no change, we have not been born again. There is no new nature in us then. Because he was manifested to take away
our sin, and if we abide then in him, and there is no sin
in him, we no longer go on in that kind of lifestyle.
And I'll tell you this, there are some Christians who
try to prove that's wrong.
And they end up to be miserable, period, until they
come back [into the sheep-fold]. No sense on elaborating on that. So, he's changing us, we're in-process.
We are not always what we should be, but we ain't what
we used to be. And we're not what we're gonna be. That's encouraging, if you think about
verse 7, "let no man deceive you, he that
doeth righteousness"-someone who lives righteously-"is righteous, even as he [Jesus] is righteous.
He that continually commits sin"-or practices sin
habitually-"is of the devil, for the devil sinneth from
the beginning."-has never ceased-so someone who constantly
practices that gives evidence that he is of the evil one. And that's a hard thing for us to read.
Jesus tells a parable about a man who went and sowed
wheat in his field, and as he slept the evil one came and
sowed tares among the wheat.
I have always wondered exactly what that means.
I know the interpretation Jesus gives us in Matthew
13, but that's a strange idea, that there are those humans
sown among us who are not what they appear to be.
Is that what it's saying?
Like aliens or something?
I don't know. Jesus said to the Pharisees and the Sadducees
"You are of your father, the devil." Now this is one of the reasons the Bible
encourages us that we should be 'separate', I think this is
one of the reasons it's very important how you choose friends. Again, not just making friends with anybody
that says 'they're born-again'. It's almost as if the language
has become cheap as we say 'born-again', and some of the people
on TV who are portrayed as being born-again are certainly
not people I want representing me and my personal relationship
with Jesus Christ.So I think when you build friendships, you build
friendships with godly people.
He who practices righteousness is righteous.
That's your responsibility, not just to make friends
with somebody who says 'they're a born-again Christian'
and they're living in sin.
Outside of that, it becomes more obvious why it says
that we should not marry an unbeliever.
Because it says "those who do not believe are of the
devil." And if you marry an unbeliever, you're
gonna have trouble with your father-in-law [i.e. the devil],
I guarantee ya. [laughter] Don't come crying to me, I warned you.
And isn't it interesting the way John just says that.
He doesn't say, 'Now I know the devil's.'
go through all of the apology we do sometimes, as we talk
about the fact that there are spiritual realms.
And you know, it's funny, when we talk about the devil,
I think sometimes unbelievers immediately want to mock us,
because they think the devil's a little guy on a tuna-fish
can with a pitchfork and a pointed tail, you know, a guy in
a comic book or something. And they don't know that that is exactly
what he wants them to think that he is.
But there is genuinely a very malevolent force that
has great animosity toward you because you are the children
of God. And I want to tell you something, one
of the reasons that he's constantly in a rage towards you
is because you are sealed with the Spirit of promise, and
the Bible says the evil one comes, but he touches us not,
he has no part in us.
And there are places in the church [different denominations
which have inferior or improper Biblical understanding on
this] where they give you the impression that we got an even
battle going on here, like the Eagles and the Redskins.
And it's a tie score, 34-34.
It ain't a tied score. Jesus when he rose said "All authority in heaven and earth is given unto
authority and power and dominion are his.
And the enemy only works with as much chain as the
Father allows him to have. Now do I understand all of the dynamics
of that? No. And I only need to understand as much
information as God has given us.
And we are not ignorant of his devices, but John says
clearly that there is this force, and those who continually
live in the sins that this world promotes are of the devil.
The devil sinned from the beginning, so that is what
he does manifest. "He that committeth sin is of the devil;
for the devil sinneth from the beginning: "For this purpose the Son of God was manifested,
that he might destroy the works of the devil." (verse 8) "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit
sin"-does not practice
sin habitually-"because his seed"-God's
seed, the Holy Spirit-"remaineth in him: and he cannot
sin, because he is born of God."
Speaking of the believer, he cannot continually
practice sin because he has a new nature. Though we sin, though we make mistakes,
we can no longer find ourselves at home in those patterns
because we have a new nature.
The Bible says that we should set our affections on
things above and not on things of the earth, and I'm telling
you something, that has happened to us. And I can speak generally for most of
us. I can say
that probably most of us are looking forward to standing around
the throne of God and seeing the cherubim there, and seeing
the sea of glass and a sea of fire. And seeing the saints and the angels,
multitudes gathered around singing the praises of the Lord
Worthy art Thou, Oh Lord, for Thou hast redeemed
us by Thy blood from every nation, kindred and tongue! Are we looking forward to that? And if we are, we're either nuts, or something
has happened to us.
There is a new nature, and because there is a new nature
there are new desires. And we have been ruined for this world.
And if you as a Christian are still out there trying
to fill yourself of the things of this world, you're beating
a dead horse, it's just not gonna happen because you have
a new nature that will never be satisfied, because God is
gracious, with the things of this world.
And there is an upward call now on our lives.
He says that.
Verse 10, "In this the children of God are
manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not
righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his
brother." We're family, we're born of the same
seed, if we're the family of God there should be a genuine
love between us. And I think for most of us, there is.
"For this is the message that ye have heard
from the beginning, that we should love one another." (verse
11) Not very complicated. "Not as Cain, who was of the wicked one, and slew his
wherefore slew he him?
Because his own works were evil, and his brother's
righteous." (verse 12) Now, interesting, by the way, that's
where we get the phrase "raising Cain".
Because this kid was trouble, was trouble for Adam
and Eve to raise, and when you get around somebody whose raising
trouble or causing trouble, 'raising Cain'comes from this
idea. "Marvel not my brethren, if the world hate
13) Now he ties that to Cain. And again, from the Garden of Eden we
see two fountainheads, we see Cain and Abel come to sacrifice
before the Lord. We
see one sacrifice accepted, and we see one sacrifice rejected. It was not that there was, as it were,
inherent wrong in Cain's sacrifice of the fruit of the ground,
the problem was he did not offer it in faith.
Somehow God had demonstrated to Adam and Eve that there
must be the shedding of blood for the forgiveness of sin. So as Adam and Eve worshipped the God
they had walked with and they were separate from, they taught
their children 'This is God's religion, there is no other
religion that there will ever be, that is effective-religion,
relingary, to re-link is what the word means. God's re-linking takes place if man and
God will be re-linked, it will take place through the blood
of an innocent substitute [had to be a lamb or goat] and that
foreshadows the Messiah, the Deliverer that will come.
Well when Cain came, he came with his own works and
with his own ideas, and not honoring that [method of re-linking]
and not having faith-and there is where the two fountainheads
parted. And since
then there has only been two religions as it were on the earth,
God's and the enemy's.
And every other form of philosophy, every other form
of trying to come to God through any other means is at enmity
with God's plan. So
don't marvel if the world hates you, it flows from this fountainhead,
and now you are embracing God by saying 'In and of myself
I am nothing, it is only the blood of Christ that has made
me acceptable.' And
the world does not want to hear that kind of philosophy. The world wants to hear 'You're OK, I'M
OK, you practice your sex, I'll practice my sex, you raise
your kids the way you want to, except don't tell them what
I'm doing is wrong.' I mean, it's crazy what's happened.
Again, as Isaiah says, "Wrong has become right, right
has become wrong", and he [John] says then, 'Because Cain
was of that wicked one, because the children of God and the
children of the devil are manifest in these things, then don't
marvel if the world hates you' is what John says.
And you should not marvel.
And by the way, I know one of the things that makes
this tough is, we get saved, we're excited, we go running
home to our parents and our friends and relatives, and we
think 'this is going to blow their minds, this is the most
exciting thing that ever happened, wait till they hear this,
oh they're gonna love this!
This is great, look at this, Jesus is in my heart!'
crazy, you go to church in the morning in a
meter factory, you go at night, you go Wednesday night. Don't you go to the bar anymore? Don't you hang out with your friends anymore,
or go to Atlantic City?
What's wrong with you, have you flipped your wig!?' And you're excited, 'I'm going to read
in the Bible, mom, and Jesus, I get up in the morning and
I talk to the Lord.'
And they're going 'Aaugh.'
you know. And the amazing thing is, the thing you
think they're going to be the most excited about and receptive
to is the very thing that causes animosity between you.
And the Bible says it's because the god of this world
has blinded the minds of those who believe not, Satan has
done that (2 Corinthians 4:3-4). So, by the way, if you're praying for
people that you love, it says "the effectual fervent prayer
of a righteous man availeth much", the on-target prayer you
pray is that their minds would be un-blinded and that they
might see the light of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ.
You pray specifically that way, because you make a
lousy Holy Ghost, you ain't gonna wear them down with your
wisdom, [but] you get on your knees and start to cry out to
God and I tell you this, some amazing things will happen.
And even if they bug you, pray for them. And I don't mean, 'vengeance is mine,
you get 'em,' that's not what I'm talking about. You pray 'Lord, let me see them through
your eyes', and if you begin to pray for them, you know a
remarkable thing happens, you start to see them completely
different. But don't be shocked when that animosity's
there. John says
'don't be surprised about those things.'