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Summary: The importance of rightoeusness in our lives.

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Living Out Righteousness

1st John 3:4 – 3:12

Jeff Hughes

I. Introduction

a. Turn with me in your Bibles to 1st John, Chapter 3, and verse 4.

b. Tonight we are going to look at eight verses in the Book of First John, chapter three, that shed some light as to how we as believers are to live out righteousness in our lives.

c. Follow along with me starting in verse 4.

d. 4 Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. 5 And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. 6 Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. 8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. 10 In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. 11 For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, 12 not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous.

e. Clearly, God’s Word tells us to practice righteousness. Tonight, we will see how righteousness is lived out in our lives.

II. Illustration

a. While preparing this message, I ran across this little snippet that really spoke to me concerning righteousness in our Christian life. At the end of an evangelistic service conducted by D. L. Moody, a young man approached Moody and said, "Mr. Moody, I feel I would like to be a Christian. However, I am afraid that I cannot give up my undesirable companions. What shall I do?" Moody responded: "Young man, you just decide to live a Christian life, and your undesirable companions will give you up."

b. How true this is. The world does not understand those of us who have forsaken all to follow Christ. Romans, chapter 8 verse 7 tells us that the carnal mind is at enmity with God. If we are of God, by accepting Jesus into our heart, it is little wonder that the world rejects us. But, unless we are living out righteousness in our lives, we are falling right in with the world. Tonight, in our study we will look at God’s blueprint on how to walk free from sin.

III. Study

a. Sin Defined – 3:4

i. 4 Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.

ii. Well first off we see that sin is lawlessness. The word sin in the Greek is Hamartia. It means “to wander” or “to miss the mark”. We get the word today from the Middle English of about 1100AD. It was an archery term used to describe shots on a target. If you were off the bull’s-eye by one ring, it was said you were 1 sinne out, 2 rings 2 sinnes, etc.

iii. Romans 3:23 tells us that all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God. We have all missed the mark, and we are much more than 1 or 2 rings out, because God’s target is perfection.

iv. Lawlessness is the state of not being restrained or controlled by the law. 1st Timothy 1:9 tells us that the law is not for the righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate.

v. So, really, at the root of it, sin is our rebellion against God. It is a matter of our own will set against God. That rebellion is the root of sin. Why did God make the Children of Israel wander in the desert for 40 years?? REBELLION – sin.

vi. Sin is not manifested in lawless behavior, but it is the attitude and inclination of the heart towards rebellion that is the essence of sin. This is illustrated in Scripture when Jesus confronts the scribes and Pharisees in Matthew chapter 23. Starting in verse 27 - 27 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness

vii. So it is clear that we can appear righteous on the outside, but be full of sin on the inside. It is our hearts and attitudes that have to change, not our outward appearances. So, how do we change the inside?? Jesus – look down at verse 5.

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