Summary: This is the fourth test that proves if one really believes in God.

Today we look at the fourth and final test that proves that one really believes in God. That test involves living free of sin. Are you living free of sin or not? If we continue to live in sin it is a pretty good sign that you don’t believe in God the way you should. But if you work at living as righteously as you can every day, that is a pretty good sign that you believe in God and want to please Him.

This goes along with the first of three misconceptions that we discussed way back in chapter one of this book. That misconception was that a person can fellowship with God and still live in sin. And we found that it can’t be done. No person should ever think that he can live a life of sin and be acceptable to God.

It’s no secret to us that sin can slip in the picture of our lives and overcome us if we are not careful.

It was reported in an Associated Press article a few years ago that Russia had developed a hybrid plant as cheap cattle feed. However this designer has an unusual effect on the milk it produces—bitter taste!

Now they’ve also discovered the plant, once established, is virtually unstoppable and causes burns and stinging for those who come in contact with it. Sounds to me like the Russians have just discovered Bull Nettle.

The effects of sin are much like this! What seems a good idea to man, turns into a disaster in the end. Once sin has a foothold, it can spread like wild fire. The book of Proverbs teaches us that “There is a way which seems right to a man, yet its end is the way of death.” (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25)

In the last few verses of the book of 1 John, we are going to talk about how to live free of sin. Verses 16-21 give us five ways of living free of sin. READ v. 16.

First of all let’s quickly clarify what that sin is that leads to death because as verse 16 says we are not talking about that at this time. The sin that leads to death is the sin of denying Christ. That sin is committed by those that John calls the antichrists—those who don’t belong to the true body of Christian believers, the unsaved.

Have you ever wondered about those who come to church, walk the aisle, say they accept Christ as their Savior, follow Him in baptism, and then the very next day you see them going back into that bar, or cussing and using God’s name in vain just like they always did, or still chasing other women or men even though they themselves are married? Have you ever wondered how we should view that? Will God reject them after they say they have accepted Christ?

The answer to that is YES God will reject them. But I thought Baptists believe that once you’re saved you’re always saved. That’s right. But the key words in that is ONCE YOUR ARE SAVED. I strongly believe that a person that does what I have just described are as doomed as they ever were. Why?

Because that person made a profession but is was a false profession. They still don’t know the first thing about what it means to be saved and to accept Christ. That person was never born again, never felt the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, was never filled with God’s divine nature, was never indwelt by Christ and was never made a new person, never created a new creature.

That’s why that person was so easily persuaded back into the world and into sin. He still stands opposed to Christ because he never accepted Him in the first place.

John says we are not talking about that sin.

1. We first live free of sin by praying for our sinning brothers. If we are praying for believers who are living in sin, then we are concerned about sin and about living righteous lives. And if we are concerned about those things, then we must believe in God. Continuing to prayer for our brothers and sisters who have backslidden into sin is one of the best ways to stay in touch with God.

2. Another way to live free of sin has to do with keeping ourselves free from sin. READ 17. There are two things that are essential in order to live free of sin.

First, we must know that all wrongdoing is sin. Some people think too lightly of some sins. They tend to rank sins. They fell that some sins are not so bad and are more acceptable to God. They feel that:

• Some sins are small; others are big. For instance, shoplifting is bad but it’s Ok to snitch a grape or two as you walk through the produce area.

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