In the past few weeks we have been looking at Johnís first epistle and seeing what God has to say to us concerning Ďtrue fellowshipí. A couple of weeks ago we looked at the characteristics of fellowship in relation to our prospect or future. Tonight we want to consider the characteristics of fellowship in relation to our position. Note: 1 John 3
I. We need to recognize the rebelliousness of sin v 4-9
A. Sin and sinner is defined. v4
1. A sinner - whosoever committeth sin.
a. This isnít referring to a single act, but a continual lifestyle which is characterized by sin.
b. The contrast is made to verse 6 where John speaks about "whosoever abideth in him"
2. The sin = transgression of law.
a. Sin is the breaking of Godís commandment.
b. We are not under the dominion of the law, but Godís law reminds us that we have obligations.
Romans 6:14-15, "For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid."
c. Godís grace fills the heart of the true believer so that he wants to meet those obligations.
3. All of us, at one time or another, fit the definition above of a sinner.
However, a Christian is not just a sinner, he is a sinner saved by Grace!
4. The difference is in the lifestyles - one is characterized by sin the other by righteousness.
B. The mission of Christ is declared. v5
1. His sole purpose here on earth was to deal with sin.
a. Jn. 1:29, "Behold the Lamb..."
b. Lk. 19:10, "The Son of Man..."
2. In Him was no sin.
a. Note: 1 Peter l:18-20
b. This was not just fact, but it was a divine necessity.
C. The comparison of lifestyles. v6
1. Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not:
a. If we abide in Him (who is sinless) we will not make sin our lifestyle.
b. The problem John was dealing with is one that confronts us today, that whether YOU sin or not makes no difference.
c. Thatís a lie of the Devil!
2. Whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.
a. Again the word "sinneth" refers to a continual practice of sin.
b. The person who adopts this type of lifestyle, John says, has never seen him as the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world.
c. John says this person has never known him as their Savior
d. Another problem that confronts us today are those who say that if you commit a single sin then you are no longer a child of God.
e. This to, is a lie of the Devil! f. In l John 2:1 John deals with both of these lies.
D. The Source of these lifestyles. v7-8
NOTE: A warning is given, "let no man deceive you" when God prefaces a passage with such a warning we need to take notice, because it is something that we are likely to be deceived about. Note some similar warnings: Gal. 6:7; lCo. 6:9; Eph. 5:6 (5)
1. The source of righteous lifestyle is He that is righteous.
a. That righteous living stems from the new nature within us. cf. the fruit of the spirit. cf Gal. 5:22
b. It is not our righteousness that is considered righteous, but the righteousness of Christ.
2. The source of a lifestyle of continuos sin is the Devil.
a. The devil sinneth from the begin- ning; he is the source of sin. NOTE: He was not created as the source of sin, but became the source when he coveted the position of God. cf. Is. 14:12-15
b. Again John states the purpose of Christ to destroy the works of the devil (which is SIN).
E. The main characteristic. v9
1. Identification = whosoever is born of God.
a. Does not refer to any one group of Christians.
b. Does not refer to their spiritual growth.
2. Characteristic = doth not commit sin.
a. Again refers to the continual practice and not a single act of commission.
b. Leaves no doubt, no conditions, positive.
3. Reason = for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
a. The seed = the new nature (Holy Spirit)
b. The flesh (old nature) can sin but not the spirit. cf. John 3:6
c. The new nature or the inner man is born of God. cf Romans 7:15-25
d. Paul writes of the conflict of natures.
II. We need to recognize the manifestation of righteousness. v 10-18
A. Our lives are on display.
1. Children of God:
a. Doeth righteousness.
b. Loveth his brother.
2. Children of the devil:
a. Doeth not righteousness.
b. Loveth not his brother.
B. Our orders have not been changed.
1. The message is the same as it was from the beginning. cf. John 15:10-12
2. Love one another.
a. Not a suggestion or an option.
b. A direct command.
c. True love is more than emotional, it is motional: true love produces action, it must do something, it must give, it will practice in walk what it declares in talk.
d. God is our example: John 3:16 Where would we be if God loved but didnít give?
C. An example of an abnormal family. v12-13
1. True believers do not find it difficult to love one another. Love between the brethren is natural.
2. A family where no love exists is not a normal family. If one brother dislikes another, if one sister dislikes another it is unnatural.
3. For illustration John refers to Cain and Abel.
a. Cain was of that wicked one. (Jn. 8:44; Eph. 2:3)
b. Abel was of God. (Heb. 11:4)
c. Why did Cain kill Abel? Because his works were evil and Abelís were righteous.
d. Cain and Abel lived in two different spheres of life: one in darkness the other in light cf. John 3:19-20
4. Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.
a. You cannot love the world and love God too.
b. If you love God then the world will hate YOU.
c. If you are living like the devil and canít see anything wrong with it take a look at 2 Cor. 2:14. You are blind to the spiritual.
D. True love will produce assurance. v14-15
1. We know that we have passed from death unto life.
a. No doubt about it we know!
b. A child of God knows whether he is a child or not by one, any, or all of these ways:
1) Testimony of the Word. cf John 5:24, 1 Jn 5:10-13
2) Testimony of the Spirit. cf Ro. 8:16
3) Testimony of our own heart-the new heart God puts within us at the new birth. 1 John 3:20
4) Testimony of our love for the brethren.
Note: We are not saved through loving the brethren; we love the brethren because we are saved. cf. Jn 13:35
2. He that loveth not his brethren abideth in death.
a. This is said with the same certainty.
b. If you do not love fellow family members then you are not part of that family.
3. If you hate then you are a murderer: you know that murderers do not have eternal life!
E. The supreme example of love. v16-18
1. The example: "Hereby perceive we the love of God..."
a. We can say God loves you.
b. We can quote Scripture after Scripture that God is love, For God so loved...
c. The only way we can understand with any degree of understanding is to realize that "He laid down His life for us..."
d. Our understanding of that will not really mean anything until we realize it on a personal basis. He laid down His life for ME!
e. The love of God is personal NOTE: Ro. 10:9 - The salvation of God is Personal salvation.
2. Our Response: "we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren"
a. Not in the same manner that Christ laid down His life for us, we cannot be anyoneís Savior!
b. He illustrates what He means in the following verses: (17-18)
1) If you have the wealth of this world, and see a brother in need
2) If when you see a brother in need YOU have no compassion for him.
3) Then, how does the love of God dwell in You?
c. There is nothing wrong with being rich - the sin against God is having wealth without any compassion for the brethren .
1) Note the example of Christ:
Matthew 9:36, "But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd."
Matthew 14:14, "And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick."
Matthew 15:32, "Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way."
Matthew 20:34, "So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him."
Mark 1:41, "And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean."
Mark 5:19, "Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee."
Mark 6:34, "And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things."
Luke 7:13, "And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not."
2) Jesus was compassionate, He is our example, Christian means Christ-like.
3) His only motivation was compassion.
4) Our admonition: My little Children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
a] In plain and simple terms He is saying, "Donít just talk about it-do it!"
b] James 1:22 says you deceive yourselves if you arenít doers of the Word.
c] Faith is justified by works. NOTE James 2:18-24
1] Abraham could have stayed near the camp and told God all about how much He loved Him and wanted to obey His commands.
2] But: He was justified when he set out to do what God had commanded him to do.
True fellowship, in relation to our position, is characterized by our recognizing the rebelliousness of sin and the manifestation of righteousness. Righteousness is manifested by our obedience, love, and compassion.