Faithlife Sermons

How Do You Respond to Your Sin? (1 John 3:19-24)

1 John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Do you struggle with feelings of condemnation? Learn how our hearts can deceive us but how Jesus gives the solution to a guilty conscience. This sermon will help you understand the difference between conviction and condemnation and will explain the way of finding victory!

Notes & Transcripts

INTRO

LifeWay research just released results of a survey done at the end of the Fall in 2016. When asked, which best describes you?, they found these results from 1,000 people surveyed:
34% = I am a sinner, and I work on being less of one.
28% = I am a sinner, and I depend on Jesus Christ to overcome sin.
10% = Sin does not exist.
8% = I am not a sinner.
5% = I am a sinner, and I am fine with that.
15% = I prefer not to say.
(http://www.bpnews.net/49369/survey-spotlights-american-views-on-sin)
How do you respond to sin in your life? Do you ignore it or celebrate it? The director of LifeWay research said that they did this survey as a result of what he heard when walking to a Nashville Predators hockey game. Some street evangelists were preaching, telling people they were sinners and then he heard some people cheering that, taking that label with pride.
Does sin cause you to become paralyzed in your faith? Do you feel like you can’t even get near to God.
Or does sin cause you to be humbled and sorrowful, repentant, and trusting in God’s forgiveness and restoration?
I want you to think about how you respond to sin because your answer carries eternal consequences.
One of the traps we can fall into is to allow our hearts to condemn us—we can fall into condemnation, which
Our passage today speaks a powerful lesson on this topic and I want to organize it into these two main points: 1) Christians can be deceived into condemnation, but 2) Christians aren’t stuck in condemnation.

Christians can be deceived into condemnation

Take a quick look back at what we’ve studied. V.16— By this we know love. V.18 tells us to love in action and truth.
V.19— By this (referring back to loving in action and truth) we shall know we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him.
We want to know that we are of the truth and we want to reassure our heart before him. When we are loving, we’ll know that we are of the truth. God’s truth is in us and is coming out in our lives. This should reassure us in God’s presence.
What does it mean to reassure our heart before God? In a general sense, the word used here means “To persuade, particularly to move or affect by kind words or motives.” (Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).
To persuade, particularly to move or affect by kind words or motives.
In this specific context, this persuasion means “to conciliate, to pacify or quiet an accusing conscience.” So here’s the situation: you do something, and then you feel bad. Your conscience, is telling you there’s something not right about this.
It might be while you’re in the middle of doing something. You might get a strong idea in your mind that it’s not right. You might experience a physical sensation: burning inside, color goes flush, heart is beating rapidly.
It might be while you’re in the middle of doing something
It might be before you do something, when you’re thinking about it and you get that feeling like this is just not right.
It might be feelings that linger after a sinful act is commited.
You have an accusing conscience and are left trying to figure out how to pacify it. We’re back to our question: how do I respond to sin in my life?
We know the answer of how we can know we are in the truth and how we can reassure/persuade our heart: whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart. So we know that the answer lies in the character of God and the role he plays in our lives regarding sin and righteousness.
But before we unpack that, let’s answer another question: Why do we need to persuade or conciliate our hearts?
Let’s start here: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (, ESV)
Why do we need to persuade or conciliate our hearts?
Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).
Your heart will deceive you. All people are naturally depraved. Our hearts have a natural bent toward wickedness. And not only that, but it is also sick, meaning here that it is incurable in this condition on our own standards—who can understand it?—this is beyond human intervention.
But listen to God’s promise for his covenantal people: He promised to write his law upon our hearts. We see it in : “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (, ESV)
And in : “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (, ESV)
, the deceitful and sick heart, is a description of people who have not entered into the covenant family of God. God’s promise is true though for people who come to Him by faith: He will give you a new heart, and He will put His Spirit within you.
While all people have a sense of moral right and wrong because all are made in the image of God, the unregenerate do not have God as the basis of their morality. One of the blessings of receiving the gospel is having a new heart awakened to the righteousness of God’s law and enabled by His Spirit to pursue it.

Christians aren’t stuck in condemnation.

We are not stuck in that state of condemnation. Whenever our hearts condemn us—when the unrighteousness is obvious and before us—don’t forget that God is greater than our hearts.
He has redeemed us from the natural wicked bent of our hearts. But we so often buy the lie that we are condemned and we have no hope. We’re back to our question: how do I respond to sin in my life?
We buy the lie that we are condemned and we have no hope.
Have you ever been in that spot where you feel like you can’t pray; you can’t approach the Lord, even worship with your church? We know the answer is that we should turn to the Lord with a broken and contrite heart, and John already reminded us (1:9) that if we confess our sin, God is faithful and just and will forgive us our sin.
So we know the right thing to do is to go to God, but our natural wicked heart tells us we can’t. How absurd is that! God is greater than our hearts!
While all people have a sense of moral right and wrong because all are made in the image of God, the unregenerate do not have God as the basis of their morality. One of the blessings of receiving the gospel is having a new heart awakened to the righteousness of God’s law and enabled by His Spirit to pursue it.
This is why the truth of Christ will reassure our hearts. And exactly how? Now
We’ve already
In , Satan is called the accuser of the brethren. Our naturally wicked heart will cause us to do the same thing to ourselves that Satan does. Accusing us. Trying to convince God that we are not worthy. That’s the tactic of Satan, yet there can be times that we walk around the same way: I’m not worthy, I’ll never be able to live righteously.
But God is greater than that! He rescued us from that kind of hopelessness. Let me remind you that says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (, ESV)
There is a difference between conviction and condemnation. You might start thinking, it doesn’t matter what I do then—I shouldn’t feel bad about myself because God will forgive me. Not at all!
Conviction is good. The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin (). You need to feel convicted when you sin. The Holy Spirit pointing out that you’re wrong. When you’re convicted, you need to repent and stop those wrong ways.
But we cannot let our hearts get to a place where we allow them to feel condemned. Condemnation carries eternal consequences. : “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.” (, ESV)
Born again believers in Christ are not condemned. Don’t buy the lie when your heart condemns you—God is greater than that! He regenerated that heart, making it new and making it alive so that you would no longer be condemned!
When we don’t give in to feelings of condemnation, then we can have full confidence in Christ. When we pray. When we love others. By these traits within us, we know that we belong to the truth.
Christians: maybe you struggle with feelings of condemnation. Like God doesn’t love you or you’ve messed up so bad that somehow God isn’t greater than your heart. You need to repent of your sin and humbly submit to Jesus and let him redirect your new heart to the right things.
Non-Christians: Whoever does not believe stands condemned already. There is only one way to escape condemnation that leads to an eternal torment in hell separated from God—that is to believe in Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us to repent of our sin and believe in Him. You can make that decision today to become a new creation in Jesus; to have that regenerated heart.
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