Sermon Illustrations

FALSE TEACHING: SINLESSNESS

The Apostle John wrote:

"My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense-- Jesus Christ, the Righteous One."

Now I want to digress for a moment and address a false teaching that has arisen out of this issue. Some have taken passages like this, which say we don't have to sin, and have come up with the false doctrine known as "perfectionism".

"Perfectionism" is the false teaching that says Christians can reach a point of ultimate and unchanging sinlessness. From that point on in their lives they NEVER sin.

I know of at least one denomination that has made this a central teaching of their churches. And I know of at least 3 or 4 of our brotherhood's preachers who've taught this.

It ain't true.

It never was true.

It's built on a false understanding of Scripture.

It's a very appealing doctrine, but it can't stand up to real life application.

ILLUS: One of my preacher friends who taught this false doctrine invited me out to eat with him years ago. Now, I was there to eat. He was there to talk doctrine. But I knew I was in for a long theological debate when he asked me "Jeff do you believe that you can ever be sinless?"

Of course I knew what he was asking. And I knew WHY he was asking it. He wanted to enlist me in his cause.

I just wanted to eat.

I didn't want to get into an argument at the dinner table.

So I cut to the chase.

"Well Fred (his name wasn't Fred by the way) have you reached that point of sinlessness in your life?"

He thought about that for a moment and then quietly said "No, I haven't reached that point in my life."

"Well, Fred, do you know anyone else who's reached that point of sinlessness in THEIR lives?"

Again he gave it some thought and finally said "No" he didn't know of anyone who was sinless either.

"Well, I tell you what Fred, when you find someone who's reached that point in their lives, you come talk to me again about this and we'll discuss it."

That ended the discussion... and allowed me to finish my meal.

My friend was being honest with me.

A pure life where a person NEVER sins is a pipe dream.

No one manages it, and those who do drive themselves to distraction because they can't attain it.

But now, if we can't attain total sinlessness, if we can't reach a point in our lives when we never sin again... what did John mean by saying:

"I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense-- Jesus Christ, the Righteous One."

Well, John meant that our aim in life should be to avoid sinning.

ILLUS: I have often had conversations with people who want to be baptized into Christ, but they're afraid that after becoming Christians, they'll mess up and sin again and it will all be for naught. This is a real stumbling block for many people.

Years ago, I came up with a way of helping people to understand what Christianity is all about. I say, "here's the deal. The more you walk with Jesus, the less you're going to sin."

And I ask them if they've ever skated? (yes, they'll say)

Did they ever "fall down"? (yeah a lot)

If they skated again today, would the fall down as much as they did to begin with? (no)

Then I talk about professional ice skaters.

Do they ever fall down?

Well, yeah, but a whole lot less than you or I would if we tried those...

Continue reading this sermon illustration (Free with PRO)

Related Sermon Illustrations

Related Sermons

  • Pulling Down Strongholds Series

    Contributed by Rick Pendleton on Mar 18, 2013
    based on 1 rating
     | 21,141 views

    3rd in the series of sermons that discuss winning the battle Paul spoke of in Romans 7:15

  • Trapped By Sin Series

    Contributed by Steve Shepherd on Feb 19, 2015
    based on 56 ratings
     | 20,018 views

    God’s wisdom says that anyone can be trapped by sin. Sin’s entrapment is listed in this chapter. 1- Entrapped by our words 2- Entrapped by our laziness 3- Entrapped by our hearts 4- Entrapped by our lust

  • Adam And Eve

    Contributed by Mark Aarssen on Jul 13, 2012
    based on 1 rating
     | 7,777 views

    We once had it all living with God in a Paradise but one creatures fall set into motion another’s and we are caught up in making our way back to the garden. You see we can not just blame Satan for what happened in the Garden of Eden. We had a choice and

  • Thoughts For The New Year

    Contributed by K. Edward Skidmore on Apr 23, 2013
    based on 1 rating
     | 7,596 views

    This message deals with the danger of negative thinking and how to retrain our minds towards more a more faith filled mindset. 2 Cor. 10:3-5 is the text.

  • Admit You Are A Sinner Series

    Contributed by Alvin Hathaway, Sr. on May 20, 2011
    based on 1 rating
     | 6,293 views

    While sin is an act, much like to drink or to drug; sinning is a state of being, just like being an alcoholic or being a drug addict. Therefore, if one wants to be rehabilitated from the state of being a sinner, then one needs a 12 step program to support

Browse All Media

Related Media


Bondage 2
SermonCentral
Preaching Slide