1. Introduction

A. This section deals with the problem of sin in the believers life

1. It is brought up in connection with Christ's return

a. I John 3:3 - everyone looking for His return purifies himself even as He is pure

b. the fact that purification is necessary indicates to us that pollution is possible.

2. It is unnecessary to ask whether a believer can sin; nor can we determine how much or how little a believer does sin

3. The Christian ideal is "that ye sin not"

B. There are two opposite ideas in regard to sin

II. The Perfectionists Idea

A. This states that the believer neither can or does sin

1. This idea is answered by this epistle. It is the apostle himself who raises the issue of sin in believers

2. This letter is not written to non-believers but to believers

B. It is to little children that John writes concerning the remedy for sin in the family

I. It would be pointless to write them about a problem that didn't or couldn't exist among them

III. The Antinomian Idea

A. This states that the believer can go ahead and sin if he chooses

1. Because Christ died to pay the penalty for sin it frees the believer from any obligation to remain separate from sin

2. John conclusively answers these statements in several places namely I John 2:1 - 3:4 - 3:9.

B. Between these two extremes there is always a balance of truth

1. John says, though a believer can sin, his attitude should be "That he sin not"

2. It is possible for a believer to commit an incidental act of sin - for such there is the advocacy of Christ

3. It is not possible for a true believer to habitually, continuously, practice sin

C. The general principle stands: Sinning is inconsistent with our faith and our birth

IV. To Sin is Unlawful (3:4)

A. This verse means more than sin is some transgression of a known law

1. It should be translated - sin is lawlessness

2. A Sunday School teacher asked a little boy this question - Just what is sin?

a. the little boy answered, I think it is anything you like to do

b. he really wasn't too far off, was he?

B. Sin is insubordination, it is in subjection to God

1. Isaiah puts it this way, all we like sheep have gone astray - we have turned everyone to his own way

2. Sin then is self will, getting my own way

C. E. A. Brooke put it this way: The test of spiritual progress is obedience and this progress does not confer the privilege to sin

1.So john tells us what sin is (3:4)

a. sin is obeying my own will rather than obeying God will

2.He tells us what sin does (3:5)

a. it undoes the work of Christ

b. Christ is the Lamb of God who takes away our sin

c. to sin is to bring back what He came into the world to abolish

3. He tells us why sin is (3:6)

a. it comes from the failure to abide in Christ

b. so long as we live unaware of His presence we will sin

c. Sheldon said, we need to practice the presence of God, continually bring Him into focus

4. He tells us whence sin comes (3:8)

a. it's source is the devil; he is the original sinner

b. it is his business to get you to do the same thing

c. I don't think anyone wont to be the tool of the devil. Yet often we unwittingly are used for his nefarious purposes

d. It is a fact of universal experience, that there is a power in this world that is hostile to God

e. to sin is to obey that power rather than God

5. He tells us how sin is conquered (3:8-9)

a. it is conquered because Jesus Christ destroyed the works of the devil (Heb. 2:14)

b. He has broken the power of evil and by His grace that same victory can be ours

c. we have to live in His Word and have close fellowship within meditation and prayer (3:6)

C. John is not setting before us a terrifying perfectionism

1. But he is demanding a life which is ever on watch against sin

2. A life in which sin is not the accepted norm of life but the abnormal moment of defeat

3. He is not saying the man who abides in God cannot sin - but he is saying that the man who abides cannot continue to be a deliberate sinner

V. The Mark of God's Children (3:10)

A. The only thing which proves that a person belongs to God is:

1. Righteousness of Life

2. Love of the brethren

B. The Christian ethic then can be summed up in one word - LOVE

1. From the moment we receive Christ as our Savior, we pledge to make loving our brothers the mainspring of life

2. A. E. Brooke said, Life is a chance of learning how to love

3. No person can look at Christ and say he does not know what the Christian life is

a. Peter says, He left us an example that we should follow in His steps (I Peter 2:21)

b. C. H. Dood - Not all of life is tragic, yet the principle of laying down our lives for the brothers applies

c. it may be the simple expenditure of money that we might have spent on ourselves

d. it is the same principle of action at a lower intensity

e. it is the willingness to surrender what has value to our lives to enrich the life of another

4. Fine words that talk about love will never replace fine deeds that demonstrate love

5. In the action of the giving of ourselves, the principle of the Cross is operative again.