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Detecting Destructive Doctrine (1 John 1:1-3:10a)
Sermon Notes
Sunday, 01 September 2013 00:00

This Sunday we considered John’s warning in 3:7a ~ Little children, let no one deceive you.
We drew the following inferences from the text as to what the false teaching of the “antichrists” may have involved. John does not specifically tell us, but we considered the following two concerns:

(1) God has no “dark side” to His character! Because this is true, …
… (2) Sin has no legitimate place in the life of a person who is born of God!
As the handout notes, (1) God has no “dark side” to His character.
1:5 ~ This is the message that we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all (literally, “darkness is not in Him – none!” Greek double negative is very emphatic). We may infer from John’s emphatic exclamation here that the “antichrists” may have taught that there was darkness in the Deity, that God’s nature included both light & darkness, good & evil. If “evil” as well as “good” originated from the Creator, then moral distinctions were invalid, and could lead to a disregard for God’s commandments (1:6; 2:3-4). Thus, the conditional statement in 2:29 probably carried the nuance: if in contrast to some others, you do know that He is righteous … then you also know the following: that everyone who does righteousness is born of Him.
God’s nature has no “dark side” so we should walk in the light. If you find yourself hiding from God (like Adam and Eve in the Garden) because there is something in your life that is displeasing to Him, then you can be sure you’re not abiding in Him!
2:29 ~ If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who does righteousness is born of Him. The person who performs righteousness (rather than sin) indicates that he/she has a perfect inward righteousness. If the “antichrists” taught that they could express their participation in the very nature of God through doing either good or evil, they were sadly mistaken! Sin goes against who we now really are at the core of our being as a believer.

(2) Sin has no legitimate place in the life of a person who is born of God.
3:7 ~ Little children, let no one deceive you. He who does righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. Only righteousness arises from the inner nature of one who is already righteous as God is righteous. When we sin we do act not according to who we now really are!
The children of the devil (3:8) as refers to people like the “antichrists” who are revealed as such by their opposition to Jesus Christ (2:22-23 ~ 22 Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. 23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.)
If any teaching denies the simplicity of Jesus’ statement, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life” (John 6:47) usually through adding requirements or conditions, then the teaching in essence denies that Jesus is the Christ.
The Bible teaches a “By-Grace-Through Faith-Salvation” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Eternal life is ours by grace alone (apart from works) through faith alone (plus nothing else) in Christ alone (and no one else).

As “the Christ,” Jesus guarantees physical resurrection and eternal life to anyone who simply believes in Him for it (John 20:31; 11:25-27).

“Simplicity of mind and spirit is often the best hedge for the Christian against heresies that purport to have more “profound” knowledge to share. … In some way these heretics denied the basic ideas discussed (by John) in 3:4-6. Most likely … they thought they could commit sin and still claim to be in touch with God in doing so. This claim may have been based on the notion that God Himself could experience good and evil and so those who knew God could do so as well” (Zane C. Hodges, Epistles of John, p. 137).

In order not to be deceived, therefore, the readers must keep in mind the simple fact that he who does righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous (3:7b).

 

 

 

 

 

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