Your Actions Display Your Heart Condition

Your Actions display Your Heart Condition (1 John 3:4-14) *Verses in KNJV*

Recap of the themes so far in 1st John: 

– The Apostle John says that he had heard the truth from the beginning and seen God’s promise in Jesus fulfilled before his own eyes. So, we can believe what he tells us is true and accurate.

– If you walk in darkness, you don’t have fellowship with God, and you are a liar if you say you do.

– God is light, and walking with Him in the light means that you have fellowship with one another, and that the blood of Jesus has cleansed us from our sin. Jesus is faithful to forgive our sins!

– We know that the definition of someone who “knows God” means they keep his commandments. If they say they love God but don’t obey his commandments, then they are a liar. 

– If you “hate your brother”, you are in darkness, and will cause other believers to stumble.

– If you “love” the things of this world, you don’t really know or understand God. That means you are prideful and lustful. All of this stuff is passing away, but those who obey God will be with him forever.

– John has been saying this from the very beginning. If you practice truth, obey God’s commands, love you brother, and teach others to do the same… then you know God and are forgiven.

– If you believe false teaching about Jesus, walk in the darkness (live a lifestyle of sin), and disregard you fellow brothers/sisters in Christ, your actions show that you don’t really know Jesus or his truth.

– Read 1 John 3:4-12

Clarify what this says:

* “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness… Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him… Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.”

– Being “born of God” requires purification, the pursuit of righteousness. A life of continual sin is the opposite of this, and evidence that someone is not truly born-again, but still the “old man”.

– Those who are children of God do not make a practice of sinning, but this differs from the idea of “sinlessness” that the false teachers claimed. The false teachers/Gnostics claimed that they were, or could be, sinless since Christ had abolished sin once and for all, and their higher knowledge would lift them above the sinful realm. (This prioritizes spirituality over scripture, hyper-grace perspective!)

– This “abiding” includes “remaining”. To the extent that we live in continual dependent fellowship in Christ and faithfulness to the apostle’s teachings, “we will not sin”. The idea of “does not sin” or cannot sin” does not focus on a solitary act, but continuous acts. 

– John isn’t saying that if you sinned once then you don’t know God. All people sin from time to time! This means that those who persist in,making it a habit, demonstrate a lack in relationship w God.

– “His seed remains in us”, meaning if God’s life, the Holy Spirit planted in our hearts, and growing good fruit, then we will be able to avoid sin by HIS power, not just by our own (Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit!!)

– We can’t live perfect lives, but we can do better, if we keep ourselves in close relationship with Jesus.

*And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin… For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.”

– Christians do still sin when they live in their old nature and give in to their flesh. The true Christian both acknowledge their sin and trusts in Christ to take it away.

– Christ’s blood was shed to “forgive all sins” past, present, and future, but that doesn’t mean you are out of the woods or should let your guard down. 

Romans 6:1-4, What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

* “Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother11 For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.”

– John again states one of his primary points in this letter. What it looks like to be a child of God.

1. Cain was the example

– What was his real sin that John wants to be an example to us? Cain’s sin Murder and Jealousy… basically, he didn’t love his brother.

1 John 3:1212 not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous.

– In Deuteronomy Chapter 4 there is the story of Cain and Abel. The first kids of Adam and Eve. 

– The story shows that Cain brought God an offering of grain/crops from the field, and God did not think it was a good offering. Abel brought a lamb/meat and God blessed him.

Gen. 4:3-4, And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.

– It wasn’t grain vs meat! There was nothing wrong with Cain’s offering, but it was offered out of abundance, not sacrifice. vs Abel’s prized possessions, first fruits, best gift.

– Cain was mad, but the God told him he shouldn’t be, and that if he continues to do well he will be accepted, but that wan’t good enough for Cain.

Gen. 4:8, Now Cain talked with Abel his [f]brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.

– Cain murdered his brother, obvious action of sin, but the root of that sin was his jealousy of God’s favor that Abel received, instead of him.

Matthew 5:21-22, “You have heard that it was said to those [d]of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother [e]without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. 

– The sins of the heart: Jealousy and contempt for his brother is akin to murder.

– Don’t be like Cain! God’s blessings are fair, but not always equal!

2. Sin was displayed in action

– Our actions illustrate our real heart condition. John shows us Cain’s sin by his actions. 

– Consider the root sin… the sin under the sin we display. Like murder is the action, but jealousy was the root. Infidelity is the display, but lust is the root… Ungratefulness for what God has given you!

– John is telling them that their actions are telling him where their hearts are at. He says that if you actions are sin, that it means that you must not know God or have a relationship with him, because, if you did, you wouldn’t do those things. 

– Like reading body language. If you practice rightness, you are like Christ who is righteous. If you continually sin, or make a lifestyle of sins, then you must not know who God really is….

**Your actions display your heart condition. Sins begin in your heart.

– When you have the Holy Spirit in your heart, the fruits of the spirit grow. If you are without God’s spirit, then sin is planted in your heart and will grow.

Gal. 5:22-25, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 [g]gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

3. Application: adjust your expectations and reconcile with reality.

– I think it is important to recognize that God calls you to work on YOU, not to focus on the issues, blessings, or failures of others. You need to control and work on yourself. God will work on them. The only reasons you should be concerned with them are:

1. They are your brother, and your correction could bring them back to God.

2. They are an example that God is warning you not to follow.

– Your jealousy of others, and satisfaction with the life God has given you are based on your biased expectations and wrong thinking. Judging by your flesh, not by the spirit.

– You expect things will always go right. That hardship is the exception, but it is the rule. Your baseline is to never have want, always have joy, and never have to struggle. When that isn’t the case, you complain and feel God is treating you unfairly.

– As Americans we deserve it, expect it, are owed it, “It is our right to have access to… xyz.” 

– Daily favor will follow the believer, but what does that look like? Hardship was always present for believers, pain, suffering, etc.. for one reason or another. Naturally because of life, or for their faith. 

Example: Developing nations seem “happy and content”, but they know true suffering. They do not have your expectation that things will always be well. They rejoice in God’s blessing, not matter how small, because it is significant to them. Their actions show their heart condition. What about yours??

– The prefect life does not exist on earth, and can only come close through Jesus (and look how that turned out for the disciples! You shouldn’t expect more, but if you get more, and all of us have gotten more than they did, then rejoice. Let God’s goodness towards you make you smile.

– Those in foreign countries are simply realists. They aren’t day dreaming about some perfect earthly future, sweet job, or any of the material things we think of for our comfort. They don’t say, “I deserve this by now”, or “God, why did I not get what the other guy has?” (Maybe they do sometimes, but I never heard that or saw that attitude. I never felt a lick of jealousy out of anyone I met or did life with in the developing nations. I feel that from people all the time around here.)

1 Peter 4:12-13, Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 

– This has to do with suffering on Christ’s behalf, because you are serving him, but I think the idea can extend to overall life condition of hardship. Why are your expectations different?

– Is your expectation to always have peace? Jesus didn’t come to make your life peaceful.

Matt 10:34-39, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 35 For I have come to ‘set[j] a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; 36 and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ 37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.

– Consider the concept between your expectation and the reality Jesus presents. Set your expectation of this life in Christ, and what is fair, on the truth of the bible, not on your feelings, thoughts, and emotions.

– Our culture now praises and idolizes the victim (it used to be the accomplished…). We have created a culture of victimhood that convinces people that it is who they are or should want to be.

– You do not need to remain a victim if you are in Christ! You may have begun life oppressed, but you can overcome! You do not need to be a victim, because you can be victorious in Christ!

2 Peter 1:2-4, Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the [c]corruption that is in the world through lust. – prayer –

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