Sermon Prepared by James McCullen
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THE RIGHTEOUSNESS TEST
I JOHN 3:4-9

(4) Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.    {5} And 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 sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.   (7)  Little children, let no one deceive you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous;     {8} the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil.     {9} No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
 

INTRODUCTION:
John presents in these verses a test of righteousness. The heresy of his day called "gnosticism" said the spirit and flesh were different and god looked on the sin of a believer differently than he did a non-believer.

John did not agree and sets forth a test of righteousness. A person can only be righteous if they are right with god in Christ.
 

I. RIGHTEOUSNESS AND THE PROBLEM OF SIN.

II. RIGHTEOUSNESS AND THE PERCEPTION OF SIN. v 4

III. RIGHTEOUSNESS AND THE PRACTICE OF SIN. v 6-9
 
 

I.    RIGHTEOUSNESS AND THE PROBLEM OF SIN. 


EXPLANATION:

A. THE CATHOLIC POSITION.

        1. MORTAL and VENIAL SINS.
 

B. THE GNOSTIC POSITION.

        1,. DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SIN OF NON BELIEVER and SIN OF A BELIEVER.
 

C. THE OLD AND NEW NATURE POSITION.

        1. NEW NATURE DOES NOT SIN IT'S THE OLD NATURE.
 

D. THE IDEAL POSITION.

        1. NEVER REALLY REALIZED.
 

E. THE HOLINESS POSITION.

        1. SINLESS PERFECTION CAN BE REALIZED. v 6 VS V 9
                a. PERFECTION, LOSE SALVATION IF SIN AND HAVE TO BE BORN AGAIN.
 

F. THE POSITION OF DELIBERATE and NON DELIBERATE SIN.
 

G. THE HABITUAL OR SINFUL PRACTICE POSITION.

        1. THE CHRISTIAN DOES NOT HABITUAL PRACTICE SIN.
 
 

II.    RIGHTEOUSNESS AND THE PERCEPTION OF SIN. v 4 


(4) Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. {5} And you know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin.

EXPLANATION:
 

A. PERCEIVED AS LAWLESSNESS. v 4

        1. SIN IS NOT JUST BEING HUMAN.

        2. SIN IS NOT JUST A MISTAKE.

        3. SIN IS LAWLESSNESS.
                a. Do not give me any rules.
                b. I will do it my way.
 

B. PERCEIVED AS LIBERATED v 5

        1. Liberated in His Coming.

        2. Liberated IN His CHARACTER.

        3. Liberated in His CHOICES.

        4. Liberated in His Cross.
 

ILLUSTRATION:
When Leonard da Vinci was painting his masterpiece "The Last Supper", he sought long for a model for his Christ. At last he located a chorister in one of the churches of Rome who was lovely in life and features, a young man named Pietro Bandinelli. Years passed, and the painting was still unfinished. All the disciples had been portrayed save one -- Judas Iscariot. Now he started to find a man whose face was hardened and distorted by sin -- and at last he found a beggar on the streets of Rome with a face so villainous; he shuddered when he looked at him. He hired the man to sit for him as he painted the face of Judas on his canvas. When he was about to dismiss the man, he said, "I have not yet found out your name." "I am Pietro Bandinelli," he replied, "I also sat for you as your model of Christ." -- Indian Christian
 

APPLICATION:

How do you perceive sin. Sin causes one to be scarred with it's hideous marks. It is lawlessness and produces lawless deeds.
 
 


III.    RIGHTEOUSNESS AND THE PRACTICE OF SIN. v 6-9 


Tonight we sang the words "be saved to sin no more" that song deals with the problem of sin emphasized in the text.

EXPLANATION:

A. Those who do not practice sin. v 6-7

{6} No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.   (7)   Little children, let no one deceive you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous;

        1. Those who abide in Christ. v 6 b

        2. The one who knows Him.

        3. THE ONE WHO PRACTICES RIGHTEOUSNESS. v 7
                a. Just as He is righteous.

        4. The one born of God.
                a. They have the seed of God in them.
 

B. Those who do practice sin. v 8-9
{8} the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil.   {9} No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

        1. One who is of the Devil. v 8 a
                a. Never submitted to the work of Christ.
        2. One who has not been born of God. v 9 a
                a.    No seed of God in them.
 

ILLUSTRATION:
Falling into sin doesn't condemn anybody who claims to be a Christian, but staying in it does. A visitor at a fishing dock asked an old fisherman who was sitting there, "If I were to fall into this water, would I drown?" It was a queer way of asking how deep the water was, but the fisherman had a good answer. "Naw," he said. "Fallin' into the water doesn't drown anybody. It's staying under it that does."
 
 

CONCLUSION:

I. RIGHTEOUSNESS AND THE PROBLEM OF SIN.

II. RIGHTEOUSNESS AND THE PERCEPTION OF SIN. v 4

III. RIGHTEOUSNESS AND THE PRACTICE OF SIN. v 6-9