Summary: Exposition of 1 John 3:4-18 regarding authentic faith. It is 2 of 6 sermons that are related to our churches mission statement. The mission point that it is about is the "demonstration of authentic faith."
Text: 1 John 3:4-18, Title: Free Demo Faith, Date/Place: NRBC, 6/15/08, AM
A. Opening illustration: Talk about downloading the free demon of a game on the computer, explain how it works to get you interested, but stops before you get any real satisfaction; So that you will pay up and buy the game. Like it to South Georgia Joe (ill file) and his free demo faith, “Throughout its history the true church has always maintained that Scripture clearly sets forth certain basic standards of belief and behavior as necessary marks of genuine saving faith. An affirmation and acceptance of the biblical gospel, and a life that is characterized by a worthy walk have rightly been seen as accurate indicators of the work of the Trinity on a person’s heart. And when such fruit is absent in an individuals life, the church has appropriately called into question his or her profession of faith.”--JM
B. Background to passage: The book of 1 John is written to a congregation that is in the middle of a split. Part of the split is a power struggle, but the more serious reason is heresy. The ones that left John’s Ephesian congregation were teaching falsehood about the person of Jesus, that was leading people to sin and damnation. Therefore John wrote the book, not only to help the true church survive, but to help all the congregation know the truth and discern if they are really “in the truth.” Twenty-six times in his letter does John give discerning truth about whether or not one is truly in the faith. And our passage today deals with the differences between genuine children of God (believers) and children of Satan (non-believers). Our first point in our mission statement here at NRBC is that we exalt Christ and change Tifton by demonstrating authentic faith. After the opening ill, explain how we have a long way to go in getting our town and culture to see the genuine, life-altering, transforming, new creature faith because of our casual churchianity here. One of my prayers is that God will raise up people who will take these things on as a personal ministry to the church to partner with me to bring about the fruitfulness of these mission points. It’s Father’s Day!
C. Main thought: in the text we will see the top two ways the NT says that we will demonstrate genuine belief
A. Authentic Faith Practices Righteousness (v. 4-10)
1. Explain verse six and the present tense (habitual nature) of sin, and the perfect tense of “known” and “seen.” Explain righteousness, both senses. Explain which sense is referring to which word in the text. Speak to the deception that John warns them from falling prey to which is the opposite of what John teaches: You can be righteous and not practice righteousness. Answer the question “why” one can’t sin if he has been truly born of God—desire, hatred of sin, new nature. Thus conclusively John can argue that what clarifies, makes manifest, demonstrates, verifies, and proves the legitimacy of one’s profession of Lordship is their life.
2. Jam 2:14-19, Matt 21:28-32, 2 Cor 5:17, 7:11, Rom 6:17-18, Col 3:5-7; Tit 3:3-6; 1 Pet 4:2-3, 1 Cor 6:11
3. Illustration: Boys (lads), let no one deceive and lead you astray. He who practices righteousness [who is upright, conforming to the divine will in purpose, thought, and action, living a consistently conscientious life] is righteous, even as He is righteous. –Amplified Version, reading an otherwise good commentary on this text, and how he spent very little time on the heart of the text, telling Martine after discussing someone who she was witnessing to that claimed to be saved, although no fruit nor evidence was in her life, and I told her that I am going to develop an evangelism plan to use with people that are convinced they are OK, but obviously they are not, Live it Live it..
4. If you are really saved, you can’t be comfortable with sin. There must be a new relationship to sin if you say that there is a new relationship to Christ. Reminder this is not to say that Christians never sin, nor that they cannot be trapped in addictive behaviors. This has more to do with their desire. To willfully, blatantly, unconvictedly participate in sin should make us question the reality of our faith, cause John says you are a liar, James says your faith is dead and similar to Satan’s, Jesus would say depart from me, Paul would say you have never been a new creature. Maybe the lights will come on today, and some of you may realize that you have been deceived. Believe, trust, repent, surrender, sell out, and warn others to do the same. My prayer is that when people give you the excuse about people in churches being hypocrites, you can honestly and proudly say, “not at my church.” Let’s destroy hypocrisy in our midst, and be the church. In fact, I hope that people all over our county and region, and state will exalt the name of Christ because of the lives that we live, because of the desires in our heart to live for Christ, and because of the willingness to sacrifice everything for Him. Reminder, this is not a change your behavior, attitude, speech, thought message. This is a be genuinely born-again, and God will change those things, and demonstrate to a world that so desperately needs to see something real. This is a get really saved and God will help you hate your temper, hate internet pornography, hate gossip, hate selfishness, hate skipping church, hate robbing God of his tithe, hate being harsh to your wives, hate grudges, hate your filthy language, hate racism, hate your cigarettes and dip, and maybe even your own life also, all because Jesus looks so lovely, and you so want to please him.