This Week's Gospel Sermons
Listed Below Are Sermons Presented By Paul Earnhart During Our October 2012 Gospel Meeting At Jackson Drive. Click On The Links Below To Listen Or Download The Sermon In MP3 Audio Format:
Jackson Drive 2012 Fall Series
"Early Parables Of Jesus From Matthew"
Wednesday @ 7:00 PM
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November 18, 2012
The Inclusiveness and Exclusiveness of
Living the Christian Life
If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him … Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother. (1John 2:29; 3:4-10)
Living the Christian life includes:
The doing of righteousness (1John 2:29). This is the idea of this verse. It is not trying to explain how one becomes a Christian. Righteousness is right doing—following the straight line of God’s standard. While there has to be some right doing (righteousness) to become a Christian (Matthew 7:21; Mark 16:15,16; Romans 6:17,18), this text tells us that right doing is the very way of the Christian life. By this anyone ought to be able to tell whether or not the one claiming to be a Christian has been born again. The world may choose to treat us as it did Jesus. The world may see us, but choose no to know us (1John 3:1-3). Some might live like a Christian is supposed to live without being a Christian, that is, they may live a “good” life without doing the “right” things. However, every one who is a biblical Christian becomes one by right doing and lives in right doing.
Loving brethren (1John 3:13,14,23). A major portion of the book of First John involves the theme of loving brethren. There is no real Christian life which does not include the love of brethren (1John 3:14). There is one way we can tell if we are really Christians. This is not stated as a condition of becoming Christians but rather as a product of it. We can know what love is by considering the example of love: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son …” (John 3:16). This love of the brethren is to be in deed and in truth (1John 3:18).
Willingness to suffer for brethren (1John 3:16). Christ is the Christian’s example of this. “I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.” (Mark 10:14-15). “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45). “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13). “And walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” (Ephesians 5:2).
Proper demonstration of love with action (1John 3:18). Just like God’s love, our love is to be in deed. Consider James 2:14-16 in this connection. When such action is included in living the Christian life, it helps those who are in need, and it also helps the helper to know he is of the truth.
Commandment keeping (1John 3:22-24). This is the doing of the things which please Him (1John 3:22). This gives assurance to the Christian that he is abiding in the Father and in the Son (1John 3:24).
Living the Christian life excludes:
Lawlessness or sin (1John 3:4). This is the opposite of right doing. The Christian life is to be a life which is absent of lawlessness or sin. The Savior came to take away sin (1John 3:5). The Savior set the example with a life which excluded sin. Does this mean that in the life of a Christian there will never be a single act of sin? Of course not! Recall statements that John made earlier: “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.” (1John 1:8). “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (1John 2:1). It does mean that he does not continue in sin but purifies himself when he does sin (1John 3:3). Recall how the Christian does his part in purifying—pray, repent, confess sins (Acts 8:22; 1John 1:8-10).
Hate of brethren (1John 3:15). This is a very serious matter. Such action exhibits the spirit of the murderer. Is it any wonder that such is to be excluded? This attitude has never been right before God. Remember Esau? “So Esau bore a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing with which his father had blessed him; and Esau said to himself, ‘The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob.’” (Genesis 27:41).
Disregard of brethren and their needs (1John 3:17). Such disregard of brethren is altogether incompatible with the Christian life. Again, this attitude has never been right before God. Remember His law’s for Israel? “If there is a poor man with you, one of your brothers, in any of your towns in your land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks.” (Deuteronomy 15:7-8).
Loving in word and in tongue only (1John 3:18). Jesus certainly taught what will happen to those who love in word only: “Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:44-46).
In seeking the inclusiveness and exclusiveness in the Christian life, we see the principle stated (1John 3:6). In the original language the tense in these verbs shows the idea of continuing or abiding. The idea is “an act of continuing,” not a single act of sin.
John drives home his point. A restatement of the inclusiveness of living the Christian life is given. He who keeps on doing righteousness is righteous (1John 3:7). A restatement of the exclusiveness of living the Christian life is given. He who keeps on doing sin is of the devil (1John 3:8).
John’s powerful verdict is now reached in 1John 3:9. The one who has been born anew does not keep on sinning. The reason is that the seed [God’s word] remains in him (1John 3:9; Colossians 3:16). As long as the source of guidance remains in him he does not keep on sinning. One cannot engage in righteousness and sin at the same time.
That which is included and that which is excluded in the lives of those who have been born again tells whether or not they have really been born again (1John 3:10). Cain is given as an example of that which is to be excluded in the life of the Christian (1John 3:11,12).
Are you a Christian? If you are not, but you know the truth of God’s word, why have you excluded obedience?
—S. Scott Richardson Sr.