Exploring 1 John Session 19 1 John 3:9

 

Exploring 1 John Session 19 1 John 3:9

 

We are in session 19 of your exploration of the letter of 1 John.  We are going to consider just one verse-- 1 John 3:9. 

 

1 John 3:9 (MSG)

People conceived and brought into life by God don't make a practice of sin. How could they? God's seed is deep within them, making them who they are. It's not in the nature of the God-begotten to practice and parade sin.

 

We could wrap this session up quickly by just saying followers of Jesus don’t make a practice of sin because believers have been born again spiritually.  We can read into verse 9 a biological reference, followers of Christ are conceived spiritually, God’s seed is half the DNA you need be transformed into the likeness of Jesus.  How’s that for a divine-human partnership?  As a result the children of God neither practice nor parade sin. 

 

Got it?  Well, now that you know where we are headed, let’s get into it.

 

Jesus told an influencer that:  “Unless a person is born from above, it's not possible to see what I'm pointing to—to God's kingdom" (John 3:3 (MSG).   Nicodemus asks a very logical question if you choose to understand what Jesus said literally.  “Literally” means what the words read are what the words mean.  Understanding Jesus “literally,” Nicodemus asks “How is it possible?” 

 

John 3:5-6 (MSG)

Jesus said, "You're not listening. Let me say it again. Unless a person submits to this original creation—the 'wind hovering over the water' creation, the invisible moving the visible, a baptism into a new life—it's not possible to enter God's kingdom. When you look at a baby, it's just that: a body you can look at and touch. But the person who takes shape within is formed by something you can't see and touch—the Spirit—and becomes a living spirit.

 

The path of submission, the path to becoming born again, generally follows the kind of experience characterized by acknowledging that you are not born again, not a member of the Kingdom, not a follower of Jesus.  That acknowledgment comes from the examination of your own life.  A lack of or a refusal to love God and or to love others is a real good indication that you are indeed of being born again.  With that acknowledgment comes a belief in the ministry of Jesus, that he came to show us how to be human, he came to reveal God’s nature, he demonstrated his love for God and others by sacrificing himself to make it possible for you to be born again. Not only did he die, that you can be reconciled to God, but Jesus also rose from the grave and now empowers those who are his to live lives the resemble his own in thought, word, and deed.  Acknowledging, believing you make a vow, a commitment to model your life after the example set by Jesus.  Acknowledging, believing, and committing you ask God to accept your faith. 

 

Romans 10:13 (MSG) & 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT) & 1 John 3:1 (MSG)

"Everyone who calls, 'Help, God!' gets help."  “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”  “What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we're called children of God! That's who we really are.”

 

1 Peter 1:23 (MSG)

Your new life is not like your old life. Your old birth came from mortal sperm; your new birth comes from God's living Word. Just think: a life conceived by God himself!

 

Have you experienced acknowledging, believing, committing, and asking to be born again?  If not, today is a good day to make that decision because there are two inevitabilities in your future and I want you in the light before they come to pass.  If you don’t know what those inevitabilities are, check out session 18.  You can find that session at www.hbcc.life or on YouTube channel HBCC LIFE. 

 

When you are born again, made new on the inside, made spiritually alive, the Holy Spirit of God has taken residence inside you to influence you, to guide you, to reveal the way you are to grow spiritually.  You are empowered to live a devout and holy life which simply means you get to be like Jesus in this world. 

 

It may not be made any simpler to than to say to be like Jesus in this world is to love God and love others.  You know our definitions for love.  Love for God is demonstrated by our obedience to His commands, which by the way are to love Him and to love others.  Love for others is treating everybody with respect and out of our abundance meet their need as the opportunity arises.  The congregation expresses this love by extending to every believer acceptance, and belonging, and encouragement, and support.  Within the congregation, we call this loving one another. 

 

Jesus schooled us in love.  He said love as I love.

John 13:34-35 (MSG)

Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way, I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other."

 

Because God has changed us to be lovers those committed to Christ do not practice sin, the do not parade sin. 

 

Jesus told us these were the two commands upon which the rest hang: Love God, Love Other. When we fail to do so, we’ve sinned.  The Bible reveals that sin is a serious matter.  We don’t get to say the “devil made me do it” expecting God to smile, wink, and give us a pass.  Right belief, right action, and right words are the result of knowing God, which is eternal life.  When those rights are not in your life you get left.

 

Ezekiel 18:20 (MSG)

The soul that sins is the soul that dies… If you live upright and well, you get the credit; if you live a wicked life, you're guilty as charged.

 

Romans 6:23 (MSG)

Work hard for sin your whole life and your pension is death.

 

Proverbs 6:27 (MSG)

Can you build a fire in your lap and not burn your pants?

 

Sin is a serious business that destroys. We know that John has written to refute heretical teaching.  Part of that heresy is that once you believe in Jesus, what occurs in the material is of no consequence.  You can say what you want, do what you want, and it doesn’t matter, because God has made you spiritual.  Sin is inconsequential. The Gnostic Christians taught that once your soul has been set free you never sin.  John tells that the disciple of Jesus is a lover, and where there is no love, there is no following of Jesus.

 

John is also well aware of the human condition.  He wrote to encourage the congregation to tell them that they did not have to sin, but rather they could live devout and holy lives.  John taught that if anyone did sin that they have an advocate with the Father, Jesus (1 John 2:1).  Because of God’s great love, we can confess our sins and find forgiveness (1 john 1:9)  We’ve been encouraged to 1 John 1:9 it if we fail to love God and love others.  Here in chapter three, John tells believers “don’t practice sin.” 

 

Practicing sin is a willful choice not to love.  Practicing sin is of volition. Sin is what you want to do, so you do it, knowing that it is not following the mandate to love.  That’s pretty clear and straight forward.

 

We’ve discussed habits, attachments, and addictions.  Again if you need a refresher you’ll find it in Session 18.  Often these habits, attachments, and addictions are against Christ, they are thoughts, words, and deeds that are anti-love.  These anti-love behaviors are a choice, even when you want to refrain, you find yourself right back enjoying them.  After you feel guilty and try to repent, for a while you may be free, but sooner or later you are beset again by those old habits, attachments, and or addictions. Something believer has got a hold on you. What’s got a hold of you is a besetting sin. 

 

Hebrews 12:1 (KJV)

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, …

 

“The sin that easily besets us.”  A besetting sin is one in which you are particularly susceptible to commit.  It’s a type of sin in which you easily and frequently fall into.  Besetting sins damage your testimony. Besetting sins hinder your ministry.  You grieve because you know that your besetting sin breaks the heart of God.  You long to overcome your besetting sin, to be free of it.  When you remain in the fight to overcome a besetting sin, not submitting to it, not justifying it, you are still in the light.  You’re not some kind of second class citizen in the Kingdom of God.  You’re a child of God in need of deliverance.  You are not “practicing sin” when you are actively working to be delivered from it.  No excuses, no justifications, no compromise you are in the battle to “lay aside every weight” the encumbrance of besetting sins.  God is not disgusted with you.  God is the one who has called a great cloud of witnesses to cheer you on.  Get the help you need you to get free.  

 

Deliverance is not a solo job.  You will need extra grace and the help of others to overcome besetting sins. You will need a support group to help you on your journey of deliverance. You will need encouragement and accountability to get free.  Don’t fool yourself into thinking you can be delivered by your own strength of will—if so, why aren’t you already free?  You will need the help of the congregation to achieve victory.  Seek it out.  Get free so that you can be pure as He is pure.

 

John has made it clear to us that if you are right with God, you are practicing the basics, you parading love.  You are determined to love God and to love others.  When you do you shine.  If you are shinning there is no way you can be sinning. Sin is serious stuff, it steals, it kills, it destroys, it will devour every good thing in your life, leaving you nothing but pain, regret, and suffering.  I want you in the light, I want you walking in the light, I want you to shine.  The good news is that this is what God wants too and He has empowered you to do it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes that didn’t make it into the message

 

The dictionary definition for sin is that sin in “an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law.”  A teacher of the Hebrew Bible our Old Testament will tell you that sin means to go astray, to leave the path (averia, avone, hata).  An oft-heard definition of sin by teachers of the New Testament is that sin is “missing the mark” accompanied by an archery illustration, if you missed the bullseye, you missed the mark, you sinned (hamartia).  The conception of sin these definitions leave us with the idea is that sin is anything that leads us or keeps us, in darkness.  Darkness is always the result of disobedience to God, either by commission through choice or omission through neglect.

 

We can break sin down into general categories, original sin, and actual sin.  Original sin is best understood as estrangement from God. {H.Ray Dunning, Grace, Faith and Holiness, pp 290-294} Genesis explains that the Adam chose to disobey the result being that all of us enter this life estranged from God. {Dunning, p 297}  Original sin is why we find the evil in the world and in ourselves when all was created good. Original sin accounts for actual sins.

 

Actual sins are our behaviors that are an affront to God and to get technical we can break down actual sin into categories two types, volitional and non-volitional. John Wesley (d. 1791) instructed that sin is a willful transgression of a known law of God.  We can call that volitional sin, the situation in which you know what God requires but refuse.  There is non-volitional sin, this situation occurs when there is no intent on your part to transgress God’s will, but you discover you did anyway. 

Both volitional and non-volitional sin requires you to repent and confess and make things as right as you can.  It is the practice of volitional sin that destroys one’s relationship with God and others. Wesley is really strong on intent.

 

John Wesley’s mom Susanna (d. 1742), instead of making a list of sinful actions told her son: “Whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, takes off your relish for spiritual things, whatever increases the authority of the body over the mind, that thing is “sin” to you, however innocent it may seem in itself.”  It’s wise to heed momma’s advice.  If a thought or behavior doesn’t bring you closer to God, why entertain it, why do it?  It, whatever it is, has the potential of destroying your relationship with God and others, plunging your life into some great mess or misery, suffering, or pain.  Those that have ears let them hear what the Spirit says to the followers of Jesus.

 

The definition that we’ve been using here at HBCC is that sin is anything that deters, damages or destroys right relationships.  This definition is useful in helping folks see that there is a sin problem in their lives.  Where relationships are not right it’s because of sin.

 

 

Wesley “did teach that so long as men and women were the creatures of free will. They were able to respond obediently or disobediently to the grace of God. The would never be free from the possibility of deliberates, willful sinning in this life. They could. However, be delivered from the necessity of voluntary transgression by living in moment-by-moment obedience to God’s will.” 

[Melvin Easterday Dieter, Anthony A. Hoekema, J. Robertson McQuilkin: Five Views on Sanctification, p 14]

 

Many times people get the idea that Wesley had but this one definition of sin. That definition is given as "a voluntary transgression of a known law." It is true that Wesley gave this definition of sin and considered it to be the only proper one. For an act to be really a sin, then, in Wesley's mind, there must first be a knowledge of the law and second, the disobedience is willful. Wesley defined this kind of sin in these following words,

By sin, I here understand outward sin, according to the plain, common

acceptation of the word; an actual voluntary transgression of the law; of the

revealed, written law of God; of any commandment of God, acknowledged to be such at the time it is transgressed.

 

[Leo G. Cox, John Wesley’s Concept of Sin, p 20-21]

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