Exploring 1 John Session 18 1 John 3:3-8

 

Exploring 1 John Session 18  1 John 3:3-8

 

If you knew, beyond any doubt, that Jesus was coming back at sunrise tomorrow morning, how would you live out the day?  If you expected Jesus to return a week from today, next Sunday morning right after worship, how would you live out the week?

 

We are in Session 18 of our exploration of 1 John.  Previous sessions are to be found in a video, audio, and manuscript form at www.hbcc.life and in video form on YouTube channel HBCC Life.  Use those share and subscribe buttons. Help get these messages to your friends. 

 

In this time of exploration, we will learn that our expectation of Jesus imminent return motivates us to live a devout and holy life; we are going to learn that the Gnostic heresy taught that their secret knowledge lifted them out of the responsibility for moral behavior, we are going to learn that we are held accountable for the choices we make; and that we have been called to be light-bringers.

 

1 John 3:3-8 (MSG)

All of us who look forward to his Coming stay ready, with the glistening purity of Jesus' life as a model for our own.

 

4 All who indulge in a sinful life are dangerously lawless, for sin is a major disruption of God's order. Surely you know that Christ showed up in order to get rid of sin. There is no sin in him, and sin is not part of his program. No one who lives deeply in Christ makes a practice of sin. None of those who do practice sin have taken a good look at Christ. They've got him all backwards.

 

7 So, my dear children, don't let anyone divert you from the truth. It's the person who acts right who is right, just as we see it lived out in our righteous Messiah. Those who make a practice of sin are straight from the Devil, the pioneer in the practice of sin. The Son of God entered the scene to abolish the Devil's ways.

 

One of the great hopes of Christianity is the second coming of Jesus.  We know that Jesus will return in the last days and that we are currently in those days.  Two inevitabilities are in the future.  Both are going to happen sooner than you think.  One inevitability is death (Hebrews 9:27), the second, Jesus' bodily return to the earthly realm (Acts 1:11). 

 

Do you have a life insurance policy?  The reason I have one is that the statistics have proven that the mortality rate is pretty close to 100%.  The reason my policy premiums go up every year is that the insurance company knows my time on earth is short and they don’t want to pay a death benefit.  Regardless I want to be prepared, to take care of loved ones left in the face of that eventuality.  I also do things that are meant to keep me healthy and save the insurance company from that payout. I am preparing for inevitability.

 

Jesus is coming again.  When He does He will divide those who are loving God and loving others from those who are not.  He will separate the sheep from the goats. 

 

Matthew 25:46 (MSG)

"Then those 'goats' will be herded to their eternal doom, but the 'sheep' to their eternal reward."

 

Eternity hinges on your preparation for inevitability.  That preparation begins when you acknowledge that you are goatish, believe that Jesus turns goats into sheep, commit to following Jesus, and ask God to accept your faith.  Exercising this faith in Christ is the start of proper preparations for “inevitability” (Acts 2:21; Romans 10:13).  Are you properly prepared for life’s two inevitabilities?  If not today is your day to become a prepper (Matthew 25:1-13).  

 

The hope of Jesus’ imminent return plays an important factor in motivating you to make the right choices.  When you are convinced that Jesus will arrive today that thought keeps you steady in the faith, that thought helps you to shine.  If you have ever been at wits end instead of giving up you pray: “Come, Lord Jesus,” that attitude keeps you steady.  “Come, Lord Jesus,” that constant prayer motivates you to copy the model of living Jesus demonstrated—Loving God, Loving Others.  

 

“Come, Lord Jesus,” is not a cry to escape, but to share in His victory, to share in his overcoming of the world.  We keep on keeping on in the face of opposition and suffering.  It’s a cry of hope, of faith (Revelation 22:20).

 

2 Corinthians 4:17 (MSG)

These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us.

 

Jesus is coming again.  Let that thought help you stay pure, to keep on keeping on.  Also, know that death is also coming for you.  Knowing the time is short helps us to live a devout and holy life.  Be prepared for the inevitabilities of life.

 

Recall that the Gnostics taught that once the secret knowledge set your soul free from the material realm and that morality was inconsequential. But John writes:

 

1 John 3:4

4 All who indulge in a sinful life are dangerously lawless, for sin is a major disruption of God's order. Surely you know that Christ showed up in order to get rid of sin. There is no sin in him, and sin is not part of his program. No one who lives deeply in Christ makes a practice of sin. None of those who do practice sin have taken a good look at Christ. They've got him all backwards.

 

As a believer, one who is modeling their life after the example of Jesus, you are getting out of the sin business, you are not habituating sins, making a habit of them. For you, the right action is loving God and loving others. 

 

When you find sin in your life you repent and 1 John 1:9 it.  In that repentance, there is an abandonment of anything that prevents God’s will from being done through you.  Christians don’t practice sin.  Behavior is who you discern if a person is following Jesus or not.

 

When you know the will of God, when you know what is right but choose to disregard it, that’s a voluntary sin.  Refusing to conform to God’s commands of love is a sin that you chose to commit. That action is anti-Christ behavior.  Excusing your sin is always wrong.  “The devil made me do it,” wrong.  “It’s just how God made me,” wrong.  “They had it coming,” wrong.  “They have insurance,” wrong.  “My parents were horrible, the system oppresses me, I have an addictive personality,” wrong, wrong, wrong.  You have a choice and you choose not to be a lover.  If you think that, “once saved always saved and therefore if you sin it doesn’t really matter cause God has already forgiven you in Christ,” that’s a form of Gnosticism.  Remember its right belief and right behavior and right words that keep you in the light.  Your choices matter.  You will be held accountable for the choices you make.

 

Romans 14:12 (NIV)

“…each of us will give an account of himself to God.”

 

Christians by their right belief, right behavior, and right words do not continue in beliefs, behaviors, or words that are anti-Christ (Ephesians 4:24).  When you come into your new life in Christ, there are habits, attachments, and addictions that you bring with you into the light.  A habit is something we do without thinking, it takes 62 days to replace a bad habit with a good one (https://shswny.org/how-can-i-break-a-bad-habit/).  Attachments are things or people or circumstances that we need to feel normal.  These are emotional bonds and replacing them takes more work than replacing a habit.  If you have ever wondered why a friend always seems to pick the wrong people to hang out with, it’s because of an attachment, they are drawn to what feels normal.  Addiction has a physiological component as well as a psychological component, if you don’t’ get your fix you go into withdrawals.  Serial killers are addicted to their violence.  Ok, you probably don’t know any serial killers personally, or maybe you just don’t realize that you do.  Anyway, habits, attachments, and addictions learned in the old way of life become the battlegrounds in the new way of life.  Now I have heard the testimony of the incredible power of the Holy Spirit that breaks some habit, attachment, or addiction, on the spot, cold turkey.  What I have observed is that it takes a lot of pray coupled with a lot of hard work to get the victory over these old ways.  The question is heard, “I try and try and try but keep falling into this old sin, am I saved at all?”  The bible says that “those that practice sin are not in the light, am I doomed?”  Here’s my opinion on this, that’s your opinion warning, my educated guess is, as long as you continue to seek deliverance from an anti-Christ habit, attachment, or addiction, your ministry will be hindered, but you are still in the light.  It’s when you give up and give in to the situation and justify the action that you’ve stepped out of the light.  “No one who lives deeply in Christ makes a practice of sin.”

 

1 John 3:7

7 So, my dear children, don't let anyone divert you from the truth. It's the person who acts right who is right, just as we see it lived out in our righteous Messiah. Those who make a practice of sin are straight from the Devil, the pioneer in the practice of sin. The Son of God entered the scene to abolish the Devil's ways

 

The cultural myth of the devil portrayed in Hollywood horror movies is just so wrong.  The Devil’s ways, oh wait, you may not think there is such a being we call the Devil.  Jesus may disagree with you.

 

Luke 10:17-18 (MSG)

Master, even the demons danced to your tune!"

Jesus said, "I know. I saw Satan fall, a bolt of lightning out of the sky.

 

Matthew 4:1-3 (MSG)

Next Jesus was taken into the wild by the Spirit for the Test. The Devil was ready to give it. Jesus prepared for the Test by fasting forty days and forty nights. That left him, of course, in a state of extreme hunger, which the Devil took advantage of in the first test: "Since you are God's Son, speak the word that will turn these stones into loaves of bread."

 

Then in the Revelation of Jesus Christ, the Devil is symbolized as a dragon. The Church is the Woman who gives birth to the Messiah. When the dragon cannot devour the Messiah it goes after the followers of Jesus.

 

Revelation 12:17 (MSG)

Helpless with rage, the Dragon raged at the Woman, then went off to make war with the rest of her children, the children who keep God's commands and hold firm to the witness of Jesus.

 

I would say that it is a safe assumption that you have a spiritual enemy.  There is a hostile power that opposes the will of God at work in the world, in our nation, in our lives.  Not an equal power, just one opposed to the love of God. The Devil’s ways are more deadly and nefarious than people think, driving people into utter darkness.  The Devil’s way is to tempt you into doing exactly what you want when it comes to ignoring God’s will and doing what pleases yourself (2 Corinthians 11:14).  Sin? Morality?  Sin and morality are just other people’s rules to make you behave. The Devil’s way is for you to disregard God, the reconciliation offered in Christ, forget loving God and loving others and do what you want, do what makes sense to you, be your own authority, don’t let anyone tell you what to do, you know what’s best for you, and if your ego is big enough, you know what’s best for everyone in the whole world, so go ahead and shape the world after your own image.  This accounts for why there are hells on earth.  I want what I want when I want it and whatever it takes I’ll get it, regardless of the consequences for others.  That’s egoism, the principle motivating attitude of those who walk in darkness, the sinful nature, what Jesus came to liberate people from (Luke 4:18).  Jesus has come to abolish the Devil’s ways.

 

So what do we walk away with today?  Jesus is coming again.  Let that thought be on your mind throughout your day.  Find hope in the promise of the second coming and in that hope, spiritual power to model your life after Jesus who prayed, “not my will but yours Father be done.”  Choose to love God and love others. To your right belief add right behavior, to right behavior add right words.  What you do matters.  Knowing the will of God, which is love, and refusing to do it, is to sin, it is to go the Devil’s way.  The disciple having acknowledged, believed, and committed is empowered to live like Jesus.  The follower of Jesus abstains from practicing sin.  As you do so Jesus sets about abolishing the Devil’s way by empowering you to be a light-bringer.  Jesus allows you the privilege of joining Him in His liberation of humanity. 

 

Are you in the light?  Are you walking in the light? Are you shinning?  I want you in the light.  Time is running out, the inevitabilities are upon us.

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