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Summary: A little sin is a big problem.

Shiloh Bible Church

1 John 3:4-6

Big Problems


A little matter can be a big problem. Take blood clots, for example. We don’t even like to hear the term—because they’re dangerous.

A blood clot forms when blood cells and fibrin strands clump together. Now, most blood clots dissolve on their own. But there are situations in which they can cause medical problems. Blood clots become dangerous when they block the flow of blood through an artery or vein. When a blood clot blocks blood flow to an artery in the heart or the brain, a heart attack or stroke may result.

It’s amazing how a little blood clot can be such a big problem. But the same is true of sin. Sin—even a little sin—in the life of a believer is a big problem. And the Apostle John tells us in his first epistle why this is so. Please turn with me in your Bibles this morning to the book of 1 John chapter 3. In 1 John 3, John gives us three reasons why a little sin is a big problem. First of all, John says that when you sin …


John puts it in these terms in 1 John 3:4: “Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.”

And that’s what sin is—sin is breaking God’s law. We’re living in a day when many people do not believe in God’s law. They don’t believe that God has commanded man to act in certain ways. They don’t believe in moral absolutes. They don’t think that there is such a thing as right and wrong. Rather, they believe that everyone creates their own truth and that we should live by whatever moral code that we are personally comfortable with. And that when we act badly, it is not an offense or affront to God. But that’s not how God sees it.

Someone wrote:

• Man calls it an accident; God calls it an abomination

• Man calls it a blunder; God calls it blindness

• Man calls it a defect; God calls it a disease

• Man calls it a chance; God calls it a choice

• Man calls it an error; God calls it enmity

• Man calls it a fascination; God calls it a fatality

• Man calls it infirmity; God calls it iniquity

• Man calls it a trifle; God calls it a tragedy

• Man calls it a mistake; God calls it madness

• Man calls it a weakness; God calls it wickedness

• Man calls it liberty; God calls it lawlessness

“Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.” God has revealed Himself to man in the Bible. The Bible is the Word of God. And the Word of God contains propositional truth. In the Bible we discover the laws of God—rules to govern the life and behavior of man. And when we violate these standards that God has given, the Bible calls that sin.

There is a small tree which grows in Southeast Asia known as the Judas-tree. From its branches grow gorgeous blossoms. These blossoms look like scarlet sunbeams. The brilliant beauty of the crimson flowers attracts thousands of tiny insects. Wild bees also try to draw honey from their exquisitely shaped cups. But every insect that comes to rest on the edge of its blossom is overcome. It is overcome by a fatal drug which the flower-juice contains. And the insect drops dead upon the ground below. So, when you walk around a Judas-tree, you often see the soft grass littered with dead and dying insects. The Judas-tree reminds us of sin. Sin may look bright, pleasant, and attractive to our eyes. It may appear harmless to indulge in it. But lurking behind the pleasure of sin is a fatal poison. And sin is a poison—a wickedness that acts as a drug to take away your motivation to live for God.

So, a little sin in the life of a believer is a big problem. When you sin, you disobey the law of God. Not only that, but John also says that when you sin …


He tells us this in verse 5: “But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin.”

Christian author C. Neil Strait wrote: “Sin does not serve well as a gardener of the soul. It landscapes the contour of the soul until all that is beautiful has been made ugly; until all that is high is made low; until all that is promising is wasted. Then life is like the desert—parched and barren. It is drained of purpose. It is bleached of happiness. Sin, then, is not wise, but wasteful. It is not a gate, but only a grave.”

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Ted Tinker

commented on Sep 29, 2012

The Judas tree illustration is very touching but cannot be found in this context on the internet. The judas tree refers to a variety of redbud found in parts of the middle east including Israel. The illustration can be found on a church website in list of hypocritical sermon illustrations.

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