Summary: As Christians we need to practice righteousness and not sin.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
Text: 1 Jn. 3:4-10
1. Illustration: There were two doctors with the same name who lived a few doors apart. One doctor was a Christian and a lay preacher; the other doctor made no profession of faith.
One night a rather sick person, who was also a Christian,
and wanting help from a fellow believer, knocked mistakenly at the door of the non-Christian doctor.
When the door opened the patient asked, "Are you the doctor who preaches?"
"No", the medic replied, "I am the doctor who practices."
"Oh", said the sick person, "I've always understood the two things were inseparable."
Good doctrine should lead to good practice;
John wants to ask his readers; "Do your actions match your profession?"
2. There's an old saying that says, "Practice makes perfect." But the question is what are you practicing.
3. According to John you can practice righteousness, in which case God is your Father, or you can practice sin, and if you do the devil is your father.
4. So according to our text today there are three things we want to consider...
A. Practicing Sin
B. Children of the Devil
C. Children of God
5. Let's stand together our respect for the Word of God as we read 1 John 3:4-10.
Proposition: As Christians we need to practice righteousness and not sin.
Transition: First we want to talk about...
I. Practicing Sin (4-6).
A. Everyone Who Makes A Practice Of Sin
1. Now before everyone works themselves into a tissy, let's ask ourselves what John is referring to in this text.
A. If John is saying that Christians can never sin then we're all in trouble, because we all recognize the fact that we are not sin free.
B. So what is John talking about?
2. Let's look at what he says in v. 4, " Everyone who sins is breaking Gods law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God."
A. This is one of those rare occasions where I really don't care for the way the NLT phrases a verse.
B. 1 John 3:4 (ESV)
4 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.
C. The present active participle (poion) means the habit of doing sin (Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, Under: "1 John 3:4").
D. If you look further in the NLT text in v. 6 it says, "keeps on sinning," and in v. 8 it says, "when people keep on sinning," and then twice in v. 9 it says, "do not make a practice of sinning," and "they can't keep on sinning."
E. There is a difference between committing a sin and continuing to sin.
F. Even the most faithful believers sometimes commit sins, but they do not cherish a particular sin and choose to commit it. A believer who commits a sin repents, confesses, and finds forgiveness.
G. Those who continue to sin, by contrast, will not repent of what they are doing.
H. Thus, they never confess and never receive forgiveness. They live in opposition to God, no matter what religious claims they make (Barton, 1159).
I. In classical Greek the word for sin (hamartia) means to "miss the mark." It was used of a warrior who missed striking his opponent or of a traveler who missed the right path.
J. In the New Testament, however, hamartia is more active in nature. In other words, sin is an intentional breaking of Gods moral standard.
K. It is a willful rebellion arising from the deliberate choice of the individual, a direct violation of Gods laws. Sin is "missing Gods mark" (Rom 3:23); it is a direct offense against the known will of God (Akin, 139).
L. So practicing sin means to know something is wrong and deliberately do it anyway.
M. Like when someone says, "Now, I don't mean to gossip, but...". They are admitting that they are about to do something that they know to be wrong, because gossip is sin, but they're going to do it anyway. That, my dear ones, is practicing sin!
3. Then in v. 5, John gives us a huge word of encouragment when he says, "And you know that Jesus came to take away our sins, and there is no sin in him."
A. Besides the fact that sin is rebellion against God, another reason that Christians should not practice sin is because Jesus came to take away their sins.
B. In other words, to know of such a sacrifice and then to keep on sinning depreciates that sacrifice.
C. The reason Jesus came to earth was to take away peoples sins. This could only happen because there is no sin in him, so he could provide a suitable sacrifice.
D. Under the Old Testament sacrifice system, Jews offered a lamb without blemish as a sacrifice for sin.