Faithlife Sermons

1 John: Children of God: Part 2

1 John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  37:11
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Introduction:
Last week, we discussed the first two points in this two-part mini series. We saw that:
When Abiding in Christ…You Can Confidently Await His Return
and
When Abiding in Christ…You Can Cordially Be Part of His Family
Today we will be getting into the final point that will be broken down in detail.
Last week we also spent a great deal of time discussing what it is to be adopted as children of God. We talked about the blessing of this great standing that we now have with God. We fleshed out what that means in our lives toward the end of the sermon. Today, we are going to spend some more time fleshing out what it means to be an adopted child of God.
Many will amen the fact that they are an adopted child of God. But what exactly does this mean? How does being an adopted child of God change our lives? What is the practical application of this wonderful truth?
Lets go ahead and dive into the Scripture as it answers these questions and more:
Read Full Scripture:
1 John 3:4–10 ESV
4 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. 8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. 10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
Prayer
Future Hope - Confidently Awaiting His Return
Past Blessing - Adopted as Children
Present Working - Walking with Christ
In this mini series:
We have talked about our future hope when abiding in Christ and the fact that we can confidently await his return. We have talked about our past blessing of being adopted as children of God and part of His forever family. Today we are going to talk about the present working of this amazing walk of abiding in Christ.

When Abiding in Christ…You Can Courageously Stand Against Sin (3:4-10)

a. By Avoiding Lawlessness (3:4-6)

1 John 3:4–6 ESV
4 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.
In verse 4 here we see John bring up a unique word - lawlessness. This word in Greek is anomia (an-o-mia). It is derived from the Greek word nomos meaning law. Similar to English, adding the prefix -a means without. So John is saying that those who make a practice of sinning are without law or having no law - hence lawlessness.
However, John also likely uses this word to associate these persons with the man of lawlessness - namely the Antichrist and antichrists.
2 Thessalonians 2:3 ESV
3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,
These persons are set against the laws of the Lord. They refuse to abide in Christ. They refuse to obey Christ. They are aligned with the evil principalities of the world.
1 John 3:4 ESV
4 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.
In this fourth verse we are also introduced to different level of sinning. Instead of the typical Greek word meaning “to sin” that we normally see, we have the phrase “practice of sinning.” This phrase is only found in 1 John chapter three and is seen three times (verses 4, 8, and 9). This is an important distinction as we study this verse. Many can read this verse and be very discouraged that they may not be saved because all of us continue to sin even after being saved. However, this phrase ‘practice of sinning’ has a different connotation. This is a willful, habitual action of sin. It is a state of unrepentance. This leads to lawlessness - meaning that one is entirely opposed to God and His character.
1 John 3:5 ESV
5 You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.
Verse 5 then moves into the Gospel. It parallels beautifully with 2 Corinthians 5:21 which states:
2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV
21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
As we have discussed before and will always circle back to - we must be Gospel-centered. Everything comes back to the Gospel. Jesus Christ came to save sinners like us. He lived a sinless life and yet took on our sin at the cross to pay our penalty. We deserved death but He took it for us. He rose three days and now is exalted at the right hand of the Father in heaven. By repenting and turning from our sin. By denying our allegiance to the man of lawlessness and even Satan, himself - and turning to Jesus as the only means of salvation - we can have eternal life. What a beautiful interlude in this difficult passage. John doesn’t want his readers to forget the Gospel!
1 John 3:6 ESV
6 No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.
After his brief interlude he gets back to confrontation of sin. As has been his theme throughout this book, he admonishes his readers to abide in Christ. No one who abides in Christ keeps on sinning. This is similar to his phrase practices sinning. It has a habitual ring to it.
Because of the doctrinal issue at stake here, I find it important that we dive into an important doctrine while we traverse this difficult passage. There is a divide among some groups of evangelicals regarding perseverance of the saints and backsliding. This dialogue has gone on for hundreds of years and went back and forth among many denominations. Our church and the Southern Baptist Conference in which we belong, carries the stance that all true believers will persevere. I want us to be clear on why we believe this and the dangers we must avoid in the improper use of this and other doctrines.
The Bible Clearly Teaches that True Believers Will Not Lose Their Salvation
John 10:28 ESV
28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.
John 6:37 ESV
37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.
Philippians 1:6 ESV
6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Romans 8:1 ESV
1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Romans 11:29 ESV
29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
We could keep going but it seems clear that those who are truly saved cannot be removed from salvation. But what about those who appear to make a decision for Christ and end up leaving the church and Christ altogether? I’m sure we have all seen that person that seemed to legitimately make a decision and we even saw what we thought was some fruit of that decision. Sometimes those changes can last a long time. Yet, after the loss of a loved one or a loss of a job or another sad event in their life, they fell away.
In understanding doctrine and the Word of God, we must make one clear rule as believers. If you don’t remember anything else that I say today please remember this.
EXPERIENCE CANNOT TRIUMPH OVER EXPOSITION. (repeat)
I received the heart of this teaching from a former pastor of mine and it is of utmost importance in our spiritual walks. Many of us have experienced a lot. Yet it is only the Bible - the inerrant Word of God that is flawless and always true. Our experiences can be beneficial. But our experiences can also be harmful.
We may see someone who does a lot of nice things and think they are a wonderful person. That is what our experience tells us. Yet the truth may be that they are a murderous person. We must not allow our experiences and our understanding of things ever be exalted over the perfect Word of God.
The next point is:
2. The Bible Clearly Teaches that Those Who “Fall Away” Were Not True Believers
1 John 2:19 ESV
19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.
We see even in our verses today this principle:
1 John 3:6 ESV
6 No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.
We clearly see that these people did not truly know Christ. They were not truly saved.
3. A Common Objection
Many who struggle with the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints have one major concern. That is what about those who make a profession of faith and then go on living the way they want to. Aren’t we making people feel comfortable to continue sinning by saying they are sealed with the Holy Spirit and their calling is irrevocable? If this doctrine is improperly taught - as I have seen it improperly taught among Baptist circles at times - then the concern is valid. Yet in light of Scripture, this concern is not necessary.
Believers are understood to be believers because they persevere! This isn’t a one and done decision. It is a heart change. It is a regeneration. Those who are truly saved are changed from the inside out. If someone makes a head decision to follow Christ but remains the same as before, one can clearly see that true salvation has not occured. Some may object and call that a judgmental statement. Yet, it is not us that judge them but they are judged by the Word of God.
1 John 3:6 ESV
6 No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.
The Bible is clear that those who are truly saved are made new. They courageously stand against sin. They are given power through the Holy Spirit to combat sin. Those who are truly saved will persevere by the power of the Holy Spirit.
And Finally
4. A Final Warning
James 2:19 ESV
19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!
Many have given lip service to Jesus through their false conversion. They acknowledge and maybe even believe the facts about Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. Yet what makes them any different than the demons or Satan himself! Satan and his demons not only believe that Jesus is the Son of God - they know it for a fact as they have seen Him for centuries! They watched Him die and resurrect. They saw Him take the keys of death in Hades.
So what makes you any different from them? True believers have submitted to the Lordship of Christ. They have repented of their sins and turned to Jesus alone for salvation. They have said no longer will I follow my own will - but I will do what You have for my life Lord.
True believers have true conversions which are confirmed by seeing true perseverance and growth through the power of the Holy Spirit.
I hope this was helpful in your understanding of salvation and perseverance of believers. This is such an important doctrine because of the dangers of living in doubt of our salvation. Those who worry about their own salvation all of the time are often not active or effective in evangelizing others. They are so worried about their own salvation that they don’t have time for evangelizing others. Yes, we should examine ourselves as Peter admonishes us to do - however we need to rest in the finished work of Christ on the cross and focus on telling others about this wonderful free gift of salvation.
We must complete this discussion with the realization that we are saved by grace and justified through the free gift of salvation through the work of Jesus Christ and not our own. We are only able to continue in the faith because the Holy Spirit carries us along and empowers us to do so. We must fight against any works-based salvational ideas that we have and realize that we only are able to do good works because of Him who lives inside of us.
As true believers, we can courageously stand against sin by avoid lawlessness through salvation in Christ. We can also courageously stand against sin through the power of the Holy Spirit:
Scripture References: 2 Thess 2:3, 2 Cor 5:21, John 10:28, John 6:37, Phil 1:6, Rom 8:1, Rom 11:29, 1 John 2:19, James 2:19 (Other References on Perseverance of the Saints: Romans 8:38-39, Jude 1:24, 2 Cor 1:22, Eph 4:30, Heb 10:14, 1 Peter 1:4-5)

b. By Avoiding Deception (3:7)

1 John 3:7 ESV
7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous.
John speaks again as a grandfather to his grandchildren - little children - let no one deceive you.
The Greek word for deceive here is planaō (plan-a-ou). This word means to lead astray or cause to wonder.
How applicable are his words to our modern church today? Do we see deception occuring in our churches today?
Absolutely. Mainline denominations have forsaken the inerrant Word of God and exalted the thoughts and philosophies of man.
One glaring example of this is seen in the Episcopal Church.
In 2015, the Episcopal Church’s national leadership made a resolution that they would recognize same sex marriages. However, the deception and corruption of this denomination didn’t stop there. Not only was there a push for acceptance, but in 2018, Resolution B012 was passed which went a step further. This new resolution now barred any of the leadership of the Episcopal Church (bishops) from interference regarding same-sex marriages.
Bishop William Love in Albany, New York didn’t believe that this change was Biblical. When a church in his diocese was about to perform a marriage ceremony that was same-sex, he intervened and would not approve. He stated that the diocese had not worked through this new resolution yet. His stance led to his formal discipline and eventually led to him resigning.
(https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Episcopal-Bishop-Love-will-step-down-after-15672918.php)
Sadly, many hear this account and are indignant that he would side with God’s Word and not obey his leadership in this matter. Many would say that it wasn’t his business to step into this situation, despite the fact that he had authority as a bishop over the church in question and his inaction would be an act of condoning the same-sex marriage.
Bishop Love decided that it was worth it to obey God rather than man.
Acts 5:29 ESV
29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.
Despite the clear teaching against same-sex marriages of Romans 1 (and many other areas of Scripture), the Episcopal Church has decided that man’s opinion matters more than God’s Word. They have been deceived.
There are so many other issues like this in our churches today. So many are deceived by religious leaders, demons, and even Satan himself.
1 John 3:7 ESV
7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous.
How are we to move into the second half of this verse and avoid the first half. How are we to practice righteousness? By following the inerrant Word of God. In order to practice righteousness, we must emulate the one who is righteous - Jesus Christ.
This is why regular Bible reading is so important. I have heard many pastors preach on the necessity of Bible reading. I have heard them plead time and time again with their congregations on the need to be in the Word daily. Yet, we continue to have worsening Biblical literacy. In fact, an alarming statistic is being seen in the Millennial generation with only 24% of American Millennials saying they read their Bible at least once a week per George Barna’s research. Compare this with the elder American generations who come in around 49%.
If we do not know the truth we will be deceived brothers and sisters. The evil ways of the world will seem harmless to us and benign. The false gospels of acceptance of all forms of ‘truth’ will creep their ways into our minds. The blurred lines of morality and values will cause us to doubt what really is ‘truth’ anyway?
My friends - read the Word. Keep your eyes fixed upon the Lord. Know His Word well. Do not be deceived.
Scripture References: Acts 5:29

c. By Resisting the Devil (3:8-10)

1 John 3:8–10 ESV
8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. 10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
John ends this section with a stark warning against following the ways of Satan. He clearly delineates good and evil. There is no middle ground. Those who make a practice of sinning are of the devil. No, they are not atheists - but instead they are Satanists. There is no middle ground. Any allegiance that is not to God is an allegiance to their true father. The father of lies.
John 8:44 ESV
44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Satan is the source of man’s fallen nature. He tempted Adam and Eve in the garden and brought sin and death into the world. Yet praise God for the second half of verse 8:
1 John 3:8 ESV
8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.
The Son of God - Jesus Christ came to destroy the works of the devil! The curse of sin and death was destroyed by Jesus so that by faith in Jesus Christ we may be freed from a second death - that is freed from an eternity in Hell - the Lake of Fire. And we are gifted salvation and an eternity in heaven. How beautiful is that news!
1 John 3:9–10 ESV
9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. 10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
John nails home the point on not practicing sinning again in verses 9-10. But it is in the last part of verse 10 that he makes a very important observation.
Not only are those who practice sinning and do not practice righteousness children of the devil - But also those who do not love their brother.
Let this be an admonition to us all. The righteous man and woman loves their brothers and sisters. This absolutely refers to those who are believers. But we know that Jesus goes even beyond that - we are to even love our enemies. Jesus also taught the importance of love to his disciples while on earth:
John 13:35 ESV
35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
We are to be known by our love. We love because He first loved us. When we fail to forgive and love - it shows a deficiency in our understanding of our own debt and sinfulness. We have each been forgiven much and thus we should each love much.
We must love one another.
Scripture References: John 8:44, John 13:35
Conclusion
As we come to a close in this mini series, I pray that each of us has grasped the beautiful blessing that we have in being a child of God.
I pray that each of us abides in Christ so that we can enjoy our:
Future Hope - Confidently Awaiting His Return
Past Blessing - Adopted as Children
Present Working - Walking with Christ
Please fell free to reach out if you would like to talk about how become an adopted child of God. If you need to discuss how you can better walk with Christ I would be happy to walk through discipleship steps.
Prayer
Have a blessed week!
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