Living as Children of God

Scripture: 1 John 3:1-9, 1 John 1:2, John 1:29
Date: 08/15/2009 
Lesson: 7
John discusses what it means to be 'sons of God.'
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Good morning. Happy Sabbath. We're so glad that you're joining us again here at Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church for another "central study hour." We welcome you wherever you're watching from this morning, and we hope that you are having a wonderful Sabbath. Let's turn in our hymnals to our first song, and it is 475, "Balm in Gilead," 475. This is a favorite this morning.

It's from ralph in Alaska, ralph and birdie in bahamas, angeline in California, sherle in California, dorothy and salisha in england, sharon in florida, judy in Georgia, wayne in Minnesota, deirdre in New York, ogbonna in nigeria, undriana in North Carolina and she is 11 years old. Joyann in New York, pam in tennessee, henry in Virginia, rodney in Washington, mary in West Virginia and phoebe in zambia; , we're going to sing the 1st and 2nd verse and that's pretty much all there in on this one. So, we're going to sing the whole thing, 475, "Balm in Gilead." Aren't you glad for that this morning? If you have a favorite song that you would like to sing with us on an upcoming week, most of you know what to do. But just in case this is your first time tuning in, go to our website at and click on the "contact us" link and you will find The Song request form and you can send in your favorite hymn, and we will sing that with you on an upcoming Sabbath. Our next song is a favorite of mine, "guide me, o thou great jehovah," 538.

This is from kevin in aruba, carmetta in bahamas, susan in botswana, Philip in england, norma in f.m.-- Not sure what f.m. Is-- angela and John in the isle of wight in the u.k. And angela and John meet with just a small group of seven people and they watch and they're part of our Sabbath school family. And so, they love worshipping with people from all over the world. So welcome, and we're so glad that you're watching this morning on the isle of wight.

That is our first request. And then, joni and shernette in jamaica, yinka in Massachusetts, sverre in norway, reuben in papua new guinea and memory in the republic of korea; , all 4 verses-- all 3 verses. Father in Heaven, this morning, we do want to give you all the praise and the glory as we raise our voices to you in song and in studying the word this morning. We thank you so much for blessing us throughout this week and bringing us here together to worship you, and I pray that you will pour out your spirit on us this morning as we open up Your Word, that you'll be with those that are here, those that are tuning in, that you will just put your loving arms around each one, those that are hurting this morning. On a sunny day, sometimes it's easy to think that everything's fine, but we know it's not.

There is much pain and suffering in the world, and we pray that you will come soon and that we will be ready. In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time, our lesson study is going to be brought to us by our senior pastor here at central church, Pastor Doug Batchelor. Thank you to our musicians and song leaders. Good morning, friends.

I want to welcome each of you here that are at sacramental central, part of our three-dimensional class. And then, we have another very big class that is watching via these networks. And I want to thank the networks for broadcasting this program for free each week. Sometimes, the networks do it two or three times during the week to accommodate the different time zones around the world and we're grateful for that. I want to welcome our extended class that is part of the central church.

We have members of Sacramento central that are now scattered around the world because they don't have a local congregation that they can worship or attend, and we're just glad to have you part of the class too. How many of you are there part of the class? Raise your hands. Not you here, one in the other class, see I can see them. Just kidding. We're glad that you're here, and we're going through our lesson dealing with the epistles of John; 1, 2, 3 John.

And today, we're on lesson number seven, and we're going to get to that in just a moment. I guess we're going to get to it right now. Chapter--lesson number seven, "living as children of God," and we have a memory verse. The memory verse is 1 John 3:1. John 3:1, and in the lesson here, it's quoting from the niv version.

Why don't you say that with me? You ready? "How great is the love of The Father that he's lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is because it did not know him." Now, I messed that up. You know why? I've got this verse memorized in the King James, and my brain is sort of on autopilot. And it kept wanting to go back to what I've memorized, and I was doing that automatically. But, "behold what manner of love The Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called sons of God--" and I like it that it's basically inviting us to consider, to look at it. It's like John says, "I can't find words for it, so just look at it, you'll get the idea.

" You've heard the expression before, "a picture is worth a thousand words." It says, consider, "behold what manner of love The Father has bestowed on us that we should be called sons of God.'" So, this lesson today is going to talk about living as children of God. Now, it uses an illustration at the beginning of the lesson. And I've done a lot of thinking about the illustration in particular about this man who came to see a preacher and he said, "no matter how much I pray or what I do, I just can't seem to find peace that God has really adopted me as his child." And the pastor said, "see, I've got this dog in my house and this dog, he listens to everything I say and he's house-trained and he fetches when I tell him to fetch. And then, in the other room, I've got a son and that son makes a mess and he's still a baby and we have to change him and he gets his food scattered everywhere. Now, when I die, who do you think is going to get my inheritance, The Son or the dog?" Well, I'd have to think about that.

No, obviously it's going to be the baby. And so, they illustrate that to say, you know, when you're adopted, you can have confidence in the fact that God is going to accept you as his child into his kingdom. You know, they reminded me--i knew I was forgetting something. I forgot the free offer. It's up on the screen.

For all of our friends who are watching, each week we have a free offer to enhance your study. This week, the free offer, it's called "the Holy Spirit, the need." And it's offer number 723. We'll send that to you for asking. And that's 1-866-788-3966. Call that number, and request it.

We'll send it to you. Alright, so back to our lesson. When I was thinking about this illustration, I began to think that--that's when I actually copied it and used it. I've got a big collection of illustrations in my sermon notes. I said, "I'm going to save that one.

I can think of some places where I might use that." But then, I also thought, "that could be flawed if we misapply it in today's study." Because there are really--we're not talking about whether or not God is going to adopt dogs or children into his kingdom. We're talking about true and counterfeit children. It's not a question between children and dogs. And so, the very beginning of the Bible deals with two sons, two sons of adam. The posterity of adam split with The Sons of God and the children of men.

You see a split in the posterity of God's remnant with the descendants of esau and the descendants of Israel. You see a split in the posterity of God in the children of Israel between spiritual Israel and physical Israel. And so, both claim heritage. And so, we've got to make sure we understand what the real issue is here in the adoption. Now before we get into that, I want to go ahead and talk about our first section a little bit, sons of God, and then we'll dive into this principle a little more.

In Genesis 6:2, there is a verse that is very troubling to a lot of people. Genesis 6:2 talks about this split in the very beginning of the world in the posterity of God--of adam, in particular. And it says, "The Sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful, and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose." Then, it goes on to say that they had children that were giants, mighty men. Who are these sons of God? Now, let me read you another version just so you know where some of the confusion comes in. I'm now going to quote from the new living version of the Bible, "The Sons of God saw the daughters of the human race and they took all they wanted as their wives.

" Now, it would imply here that The Sons of God are not humans 'cause they're seeing humans, and they're having intimate relations with the humans. It goes on and says that in the next few verses. How many of you have heard before that some believe these verses are saying that either aliens from other planets or fallen angels had intimate relations with the human race and then they had these kind of half-breed children that were giants? Just raise your hand if you've heard that before. We get this question at "Bible answers live" at least once a month. As a matter of fact, we can't even take it every time we get it 'cause we get it so frequently.

It's almost redundant. People get confused and part of the confusion comes from the version of Bibles they're reading. And so, you can see some translations do have some dangerous slants to them. You know, if you want to understand, Matthew henry's commentary makes it very clear. In the beginning, there was a split.

It says cain took his wife, and he left adam and eve and their family, and he left the region of eden. And he went and he built a city, and they turned their backs on the worship of jehovah and basically, they became carnal. They were The Sons of men. The Sons of God were the ones who stayed true to God. They were the descendants of adam now through seth and his seed.

And you can see the genealogy of cain is given there in Genesis, and the genealogy of seth, two separate groups. And as long as they reMained distinct and they did not intermarry, The Sons of God were true to God. But when The Sons of God, the descendants of seth, saw the daughters of cain, the daughters of men--that word "men," "enos," they were mortal, the mortals, they didn't have eternal life. And they began to intermarry, then the distinction of holiness was lost. And when the people in the world--when the people in the church began to intermarry with lost, un-converted/saved people, what happens to the state of the church? When they're unequally yoked, it begins to gravitate down.

And after it says that the children of seth that were following the Lord began to intermarry because cain, whatever reason he had beautiful daughters, began to intermarry with them, then spiritually, they went down fast. They took a dive. And that's when it says in the same chapter, God saw the wickedness of man was great in the earth. He said, "my spirit will not always strive with man." He's got 120 years, and the God calls Noah and he sends a flood. So, it has nothing to do with people intermarrying with fallen angels or aliens from other planets.

So if you hear that, I hope you'll quickly reject that bizarre teaching. Hasn't Jesus made it clear that angels do not procreate? Well, that's settled in the new testament. And there's nothing in the Bible that tells us we're being visited by aliens. So, those are some really strange things. Now, let me give you some further evidence for this.

Who are The Sons of God? Well, we know from our verse, John chapter 3, "behold what manner of love The Father has bestowed on us that we should be called sons of God." You can read in Isaiah, tells us that we are The Sons and daughters of God, "those who are the saved are The Sons and daughters of God." Revelation 21:7, "he that overcomes shall inherit all things and I will be his God, and he shall be my son." Now, let me give you a little more information on this. In Luke 1:35, this is what the angel said to mary in relation to the birth of Christ. Someone read for me Luke 1:35. Just grab it. If someone up front here, maybe? "And the angel answered and said unto her, 'the holy ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the highest shall overshadow there; therefore, also, that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called The Son of God.

'" Alright, here's something very important to understand. What is the primary difference between The Sons of God and non-sons of God or the counterfeit sons of God? He says the Holy Spirit conceived Jesus, therefore he will be called a Son of God or "The Son of God." Now, look in Matthew chapter 3 at the baptism of Jesus. The baptism of Jesus, was Jesus baptized for washing away his sin or for our example? It also tells us what we might expect at our baptism? Matthew 3:16, "when he had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting upon him--" what does the voice say after the Spirit comes upon him? "This is my beloved son." So, what is the criteria to being a Son of God? The Holy Spirit. You know, I heard a radio program, Christian program, call-in program, and this lady was calling in and saying, "you know, we need some advice." And they're asking these Christian counselors, "my son is beginning to suspect that the child that he and his wife have is not his." And this is the grandmother calling in, "and we're thinking about asking her to have a dna test." And the counselor said, "why? Have you made a decision to love that child and treat it as your own? Is your son going to keep the child and treat it as his own? Then, why do you want to know if it's--if you're going to treat it as your own and love it as your own, better off you don't know. If you're going to disown it, well, maybe you want to know.

" And she said, "well, I never thought of it that way." And so sometimes, to find out if a person is really a son, today they do a dna test. And you might find out whether they are or whether they're not. I'm talking about a biological son. But something different happens--you know, you might get adopted. I've got a stepbrother, John Batchelor, took my father's name, Batchelor.

My father never legally adopted him, but he treated him like a son in every other way and he still works for the company that still is in existence. And we have a good relationship. But if he took the dna test, he has no Batchelor blood. And no matter how long he lived with my father, he would never develop Batchelor blood. But that doesn't affect the relationship.

But there's something different with God. When you are adopted by God, you begin to develop the dna and you take on the image. Now, wouldn't that be strange if you adopted a child? You know, they're 6 years old and by the time they're 10, they start to look like you. But isn't that what happens with the Christian? When you receive the Holy Spirit, you begin to get different dna spiritually. You start to take on the image of a new father and you change.

See, man originally was made in the image of God and then the devil infused his dna of selfishness into the human race. And man began to take on the image of the devil with the fall and starting acting like the devil and looking like the devil. If you ever want to know what the epitome of that is, look at the demoniac there by the sea of Galilee and he was filled with devils. And what did he look like? He was living with pigs and tombs and covered with chains and naked and bruised and just-- I mean that's the image of the devil, self-destruction. But after he met Jesus, Christ cleaned him up.

The chains fell off. He was in his right mind. He began to take on the image of Christ. And this is what happens. So, it really is--it's a flawed analogy because when God adopts us and he gives us the Spirit, that is the criteria for being a real Son of God.

So, I'll tell you why I think this is important for us to understand. There's a lot of false teaching out there. It's sappy and it's wonderful, I mean it sounds wonderful, but it's not true. And the idea is that once you say you accept Jesus, you automatically are adopted into the family of God whether or not you've got the Spirit leading you. That's not true.

Now, I want to give you more Scripture for that. Romans 8:14-16, how do we know who are the real sons and daughters of God? "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God." So if someone is going out there saying, "look, I got baptized and I joined the church and so, I'm a Son of God and it doesn't matter, you know, what I might do wrong." You know, you're going back to that illustration of the messy son or the obedient dog, "my father's going to adopt me." That's a flawed illustration there because if you're not led by the Spirit, you are not a Son of God. "Now Pastor Doug, why'd you say that?" I didn't say it. Jesus said it. You take it up with him.

"As many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are The Sons of God." They pass a new kind of dna test. They've got the Holy Spirit. "For you did not receive the Spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by where we cry out, 'abba, father.' the Spirit himself," notice the emphasis, "the Spirit, the Spirit, the Spirit." "the Spirit himself bears witness," there's a witness of the Spirit in our lives when we become children of God. We are new creatures. We've been transformed.

There's going to be a visible difference. "the Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God." Alright, let me ask you a question. Samson, did Samson have the Spirit of God? The whole time of his life or did he lose it at one point? And when he lost the Holy Spirit, did he lose his power? And was he lost at that time? He was. He grieved away the Spirit. I mean he took a while, but he did a lot of really dumb things and he, finally, sold his soul for delilah's--to get some peace from her.

And he lost his strength. He repented near the end. How many of you think that Samson will be in heaven? I do. I just wondered what you thought. Does anyone not think he'll be in heaven? It says in Hebrews, he's in the hall of faithful.

Kinda had an 11th hour conversion. What is the best evidence that he will be there? The last act of his life was a filling of the Spirit. the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he pushed down the philistine temple. By the way, that's what Christ did. When Jesus died, he stretched out his arms and he knocked down the temple of the devil.

And so, there's a wonderful analogy there. Samson is a type of Christ. And so, the filling of the Spirit is evidence that he was adopted at the end. We need to have that spirit. And that's what gives us peace.

Alright, Galatians 3:26, still talking about children of God, I gave that to somebody. Who has Galatians 3? "For you are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus." Alright, so the Holy Spirit is one indicator that we are children of God. What is another one? What'd we just read? By faith. We have the Spirit and we have faith. And this is the evidence that we are his children.

So when it's talking about sons of God there in Genesis, is it talking about aliens, fallen angels? No, it's talking about those who have the Spirit of God. And then, in Ephesians 1:5, "having predestined us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will." So, we're adopted into the family and he looks upon us as we're his. Now in the history of Israel, especially by the time that Jesus came, there was some discussion about who were The Sons of God because the jews said, "we are sons of God by virtue of being children of Abraham. We are church members on the rolls. Our parents and grandparents were in the church, therefore God is going to save us.

We've got the tradition and heritage of the church, so that means that we're saved." And one of the big struggles that the new testament preachers had was, "that's not true." They said, "you are not saved by virtue of your physical genetics or biology. God is no respecter of persons. You're saved by virtue of your faith in Christ." As many as receive Christ, they are children of Abraham. John the baptist said to the jews, they thought, "we're saved because we're biological jews," he said, "God is able to raise up from these stones children unto Abraham." And so, they put too much credibility in their physical heritage. And Jesus over and over through the ministry of Christ, he said, "many will come from the east and the west," meaning the gentiles, "they'll set down in the Kingdom with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the children of the Kingdom, the natural children, are in outer darkness.

" And so, he's saying, "it isn't just because you've been in a church. Are you in Christ? That's what makes you spiritual Israel." Now, I'll bear that out here with John 8:42. These are the words of Christ here. John 8:42, I'll be reading through 44, "Jesus said to them, 'if God were your father,'" he's speaking to the scribes and pharisees here, "you would love me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of myself, but he sent me. Why do you not understand my speech? It's because you are not able to listen to my word.

" They weren't even able to hear His Word. "You are of your father the devil," ooh, that's not very kind. That sounds like hate speech. Those are the words of Jesus, "you are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you will do." So, here are church members coming to Jesus saying, "we're Abraham's seed." Now, we do that today too, you know? "We got the heritage. Grandfather, fourth generation, in the church, gotta save me!" And Jesus is saying, "you don't listen to my word, you're not my children.

You're of your father the devil." So, a lot of people out there saying, "hey, praise the Lord, I've been adopted because I've been baptized." There's more to it than that. We'll do what our father says. One more verse on this, I gave somebody Matthew 13:38, Matthew 13:38. "The field is the world, and the good seed is the children of the Kingdom. The weeds are The Sons of the evil one.

" Alright, so in the parable of the wheat and the tares, you've got two groups that are mingled up in the field of The Father, right? In the parable, it's the husband's field, the husbandman's field. He's The Father, God. And the wicked one sows weeds or tares among the wheat, and they look the same. But in the harvest, we're going to find out who are the real children of God, it says here, and then you've got the children or The Sons of the wicked one. So, not everybody that is in the church really is genuinely adopted.

The Holy Spirit, faith in Christ, those are the criteria. And there's a lot of other counterfeit ones out there. But the good news is he's promised to adopt us and if we surrender to him, he fills us with the Spirit and enables us to do his will. Amen? And he loves us, even though we may have been out there in the world. We may not have been raised in the church.

He will then adopt us, and he begins to change our dna. Alright, let's move on here. And then, of course, there are some who are adopted. They've got the right, but they despise it. They don't appreciate it.

It's something that should be cherished, and you've got the story, of course, of Jacob in the Bible and esau. And that battle, they had Jacob wanted the birthright. He wanted that adoption. His brother sort of spurned it, and it said here in Genesis 25:30, "and Jacob gave esau bread and stew of lentils. Then, he ate and he drank and he went his way and esau despised his birthright.

" There are some who are natural born--they're born in the faith, but they don't appreciate it. And Jacob, he didn't have the right of the first born but he went after it with everything he had. He ultimately had it. He received that blessing. Hebrews 12:16 says the same thing, "lest there be any fornicator or profane person like esau who for one morsel of food sold his birthright.

" We are adopted by faith, but can we sell our birthright? And a lot of people, for some temporary passing pleasure, they say, "oh well, it doesn't matter. God The Father will give it to me when the time comes." Did esau sell his birthright and then later come to receive it and found out it was too late? Yeah, he did. He came in and Jacob, he had got it before him. And Isaac said, "your younger brother beat you to it." And so, he sold it but then he still thought he could get it later. And there's a lot of people in the church that do that and we've got to be very careful to cherish the birthright by being spirit filled and keeping the Spirit.

Don't grieve away the Spirit. Did I make that point clear? That's very important, I think. Alright, so let's move on. Results and responsibilities, John 3:2-3, "beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be," you know, now we look through a glass darkly, but then face to face, "but we know that when he is revealed, we will be like him." I'm going to pause right here. That further bears out my point that when you are adopted by God and he gives you his spirit, you go through a metamorphosis.

You really do begin to take on-- you ever heard someone say that after people are married for 50 years, they start to look alike? Have you ever seen that--it's an array of pictures of people that look like their dogs? [Laughing] it's kinda hilarious. After a while, it seems like they start to look alike. But they do say that, you know, after people live together long enough, they start to look alike. Well, I think there's part of the reason for that theory is the older we get, we all look alike. You know what I mean? Babies all sort of lookalike when they first pop out.

They're kind of wrinkled, and they got cone heads. And then, they start to take on their distinctive identities. But, and you're kind of like that when you enter the world. You're kind of like that on your way out. We all turn into a kind of graying mass of wrinkled flesh when we're old.

That wasn't very nice, was it? But anyway, when you are adopted by God, the longer you follow Jesus, the more you become like him. Didn't they say when Peter, James and John were being tried before the sanhedrin, they took knowledge that they had been with Jesus? Because they answered and acted like Jesus. And so, we do take on the mold of our master as we walk with him. Now, it says something here. Let me finish reading this one more time.

John 2:2-3--I'm sorry, John 3:2-3, "beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when he is revealed we shall be like him; for we will see him as he is and everyone that has his hope in him purifies himself as he is pure." Two things I want to think about, "we shall be like him." Didn't the devil want to be like God? What's wrong with wanting to be like God? Did the devil want to be like God or be God? Is it okay to want to be like God? Is there a difference in wanting to be like God and being God-like? The devil wanted the power of God, but he did not want the character of God. So, you should want to be like Christ. You should want to be Christ-like. Do not seek to be Christ. That's the difference, and it's a very fine difference.

I'll be talking a little more in the message to follow today about when you study the beast's power. It's one thing to want to be like Christ. It's another thing to want to claim to be Christ on earth. And that's really a title that the beast's power claims. And so, big difference.

I want to be like Christ. I want to be like Jesus. I want his character is what that means. And then the last part of that verse again, it says, "and everyone that has this hope in him purifies himself as he is pure." Now, I know I've been hammering this point, "beloved, now we are the children of God." The last part of it says, "those that have this hope purifies himself because they're spirit filled as he is pure." We become pure in heart like him. Didn't Jesus say, "blessed are the pure in heart"? If you keep your eyes fixed upon Christ, your soul is something like a photographic plate.

You're transformed into the image of what you look at. And as you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, we are purified. We are changed by beholding into his image. You know, there's another verse. Ephesians 5:26, Ephesians 5:26-27, I'll have someone else read that.

"That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish." Alright so, would you say when he comes, he's coming for a pure church? What is it that washes her? "Washing of the water by the word." You know, the word has a purifying influence. It really does. And you know, you can't just read it once to have that purifying influence. You've got to read it frequently. It reminds me of the old story about the boy who came out.

He saw his grandpa rocking on the porch reading the Bible. He says, "grandpa, you've been reading that Bible my whole life." He says, "don't you know it now? How many times have you read it?" "Oh, I can't say. I've read it through many times." He says, "well, don't you know it now? You don't need to read it anymore." He says, "I've got to read it all the time." He says, "do you remember it all?" He says, "no." And he says, "I don't see where it does any good to just read it all the time." He says, "well, it cleanses my heart." And he says, "that doesn't make any sense to me." And the grandpa said to the boy, he said, "tell you what, I want you to go out to the well." He said, "I want you to take the coal basket by the stove in the house, and I want you to fill the coal basket with some water and bring it to me as quick as you can." And so, the boy obediently-- he didn't understand. He took the coal basket, and he pumped water from the well into the coal basket and he's trying to run up to grandpa. But all the water ran out before he could ever get there.

He said, "now, come on," grandpa said, "you can do better than that. You've got to pump it faster, and you gotta run quicker." So, he tried again and he went back to the well and he pumped and pumped and pumped and filled up the basket and he ran back to the porch where grandpa was. Sat it down, and it was just kind of all draining out the bottom when he got here. And he said, "one more time." He said, "you can go really fast." And so, the boy pumped it and he ran as fast as he could to grandpa and still the water had all drained out. He said, "I'm wasting my time, grandpa, I'll never be able to get the water to you in time.

" He said, "yeah, but I want you to look at the basket." He said, "when you first picked it up, it was black with coal dust." He said, "it's clean now." He says, "that's what happens when you read the Bible." He said, "it goes through you, but it cleans you on the way." And so, you got to just keep on reading it. It has a purifying influence. Alright, the definition of sin is our next category. Now in a group like this, and we've talked about this in other lessons, but it's in the lesson again today. When you think, especially in a Seventh-day Adventist Church where we're champions of the Ten Commandments and I say, "please give me the definition for the law.

" What is the most common dictionary definition we pull from the Bible--for sin rather? Sin is transgression of the law. And by the way, that is a good, % accurate definition. But I need to remind people it is not the only definition. There's some others I'll give you. John 16:9, Jesus said, "the Holy Spirit will come to convict the world of sin because they believe not on me.

" It is sin to not believe in Jesus, another definition of sin. If you look in Romans 3:23, sin is "falling short of the glory of God." And then, I believe I gave someone Romans 14:23. Why don't you read that other definition of sin for us? Romans 14:23, "for whatsoever is not of faith is sin." When we're not living by faith, it's sin. We are to be people of faith. And you know, probably a more specific way to define that is if you're doing something that goes against your conscience, you're not doing it in faith.

You could be sinning against your conscience. It's kind of like the guy who's going through the checkout stand at the Market. Sees a dollar on the ground, looks around, wonders who dropped it, casually leans over, picks up that dollar, sticks it in his wallet and goes out the door and thinks he made a dollar. He doesn't know it was his dollar that he dropped. But because he didn't ask, "did anyone drop this?" He just sinned and stole his own dollar.

See what I'm saying? His conscience was bothering him. He was trying to hide it and he thought, "just in case it was somebody else's." Well, it was him. No, he didn't steal a dollar because it was already his dollar, but his heart was not right. Does that make sense? Do you see what I'm saying? And so, if you're doing something that violates your conscience, that's sin. Even though you technically may not have been breaking the law like in our illustration, it was not of faith.

And so, that's another definition. But we're not done yet. John 5:17, another definition for sin, 1 John 5:17, this is one of the lessons from our study this quarter, "all unrighteousness is sin." Anything that is wrong is sin. The opposite of righteousness is wrong-teousness, and that's all sin. Proverbs 24:9, another definition for sin, "the thought of foolishness is sin.

" Now, we can't all control everything we think. Is that right? Sometimes, thoughts may flit in and out of your mind and you're not always responsible for that. Can the devil put things in your mind? So not everything you think is a sin. But when it says, "the thought of foolishness," it's talking about when you deliberately choose to think on things. Let me give you another example.

Jesus said, "sin is not only an action, it's an attitude." It's not just something you do. Yes, it's a sin to commit adultery. But Jesus said, "if a man looks on a woman and lusts in his heart, he can commit adultery in his heart." But let's take that a little farther. Let's examine that. I won't ask for a show of hands because I don't want to put any men on the spot and make 'em lie in public.

But I would venture to say that every man has been tempted with impure thoughts when it comes to the opposite sex. It's not always a sin when the thought first enters your mind. If a man is driving down the road and there's a billboard of some girl in the bikini and he sees that, if he's a healthy, normal man, it will attract the compass that God has put in all healthy men that's there and he'll notice that. And the thought will be in his mind, "wow, there's a naked woman or almost naked." And that doesn't have to be sin. As soon he recognizes that, he can turn away and still keep himself pure.

It's when you dwell upon those things, it becomes sin. So dwelling on these foolish thoughts, that's another definition for sin, and it's not just talking about the impure thoughts. But all things that are sinful, if you dwell on those things, it's sin. So, the thought of foolishness is sin. James 4:17, one more definition, and there's probably others in the Bible I don't have on my list here.

James 4:17, "knowing to do good and doing it not, to him it is sin." Now that's talking about sins of omission and commission. I remember when I first hear this, I didn't understand it. So, I want to just explain. Typically, we think of sins, things you commit: you killed somebody. You lied.

You stole. You robbed. You did something wrong. You broke the law. But in the great judgment, in Matthew 25 when he separates the sheep from the goats, the criteria of that parable is not sins of commission, it's sins of omission.

He's saying, "I was hungry, you didn't feed me." They didn't do anything to the hungry to hurt them, they just did not help them. They omitted, neglected a Christian responsibility, "I was naked, you did not clothe me. I was sick, and you did not come to me or in prison, and you did not visit me." And so, sin is not just avoiding the bad things. Sin can be neglecting to do the good things. And so, the definition for sin is very broad in the Bible.

How can I know I'm living a righteous life? You've got to be led by the Spirit. It's the only way you can know. You can't remember all that stuff, all those details, unless you're spirit led. The Holy Spirit will guide you in what your responsibilities are. That's why it's so important.

If you're spirit led, it becomes easy. You missed a good chance to say amen. By the way, John says that he wants us to keep his commandments and his commandments are not a burden. When you've got love, Jesus said, "if you love me, keep my commandments," and you've got his spirit, doing his will becomes a delight. It doesn't mean there's not temptation.

It doesn't mean there's not challenges, but it's a lot easier to walk with the Lord towards heaven and be saved than to be a slave in Egypt and be lost. Alright, the appearance of sin, and I'm running out of time here. John 3, now I'm going to read through from 5 right through 8 here, 'cause I've got several points. John 3:5-8, "and you know that he was manifested to take away our sins," he's talking about the manifestation or the appearance of Jesus. "And in him there is no sin.

Whoever abides in him does not sin," I'll talk about that in just a moment. "Whoever sins has neither seen him nor known him," that doesn't mean anyone who's ever sinned doesn't know him. It's talking about whoever lives a life of sin hasn't seen or if they're captive by sin or known him. "Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous," is that clear? Say, "amen.

" He said don't be deceived. There's a lot of people saying, "I'm righteous because I've, you know, made a claim of righteousness, but I'm living a life of sin but I'm still righteous." You can be justified and come to the Lord just as you are and be declared righteous. But then when God gives you the Spirit, he will sanctify you and you will live a different kind of life. And that life you live is an evidence that the Holy Spirit is in you and you are a new creature. Old things have passed away.

All things are made new. But the popular theology today is "I'm going to live an unrighteous life and still be righteous." No, John is saying--they had that theology even back then. He said, "don't be deceived. He who practices righteousness is righteousness." Can a third grader understand that? Then, we ought to understand it, right? It's a very simple truth. "He who sins is of the devil.

" Now if I'm tempted and I fall, am I of the devil? Not necessarily, but it's talking about he who practices sin. There's a difference between falling in the occasional sin and a life of sin. The Bible says, "if you're saved, sin shall not have dominion over you. Sin shall not reign over you." How many think we might have some terrorists that have been planted in our country that are biding their time that would like to attack us? I believe it. Do they have dominion? We might experience an occasional terrorist incident.

There are criminals in our country, but they don't have dominion. Well, who knows? It's kind of getting that way. Some towns, you wonder. But you understand the principle I'm saying. It's one thing to be under attack by the devil and to occasionally fall.

That's why John says, "if any man sins," you know when he says "if," it's not the pattern. But it should not have dominion. That's why he says, "do not let sin reign." Reign is on the throne. When you're saved, Christ is now on the throne in your life. And so, if a person is still captive by sin, there's some addiction, some habit in your life that you haven't gotten the victory over, sin is reigning in your life.

God wants us to have a consistency of victory. Acts 3:26, let me read this to you, "to you first, God, having raised up his servant Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities." So, it's not just that you're declared righteous, we are to be turned away from our inequities. A new path, a new life. Amen. Alright, read for me 1 John-- no, I said, Matthew 1:21.

"And she will bring forth a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." Is there a difference between being saved from sin and being saved in sin? Sin is our problem. It causes all the trouble in our life. It brings misery and sickness and death and division. He wants to save us from that. He doesn't want to just put a band-aid over it and say, "I'm going to declare you're healed and you still got cancer.

" That's not going to help you. You want to be delivered from it, right? Hebrews 9:26-28, "then he would have had to suffer often seeing since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, he has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. As it has been appointed for man once to die, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for him he will appear a second time, without sin, for salvation." The idea of Christ is to save us from our sins. He will appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

We must be cleansed from our sins. And read for me 1 John 1:7 please, jessica. "But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship, one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, his son, cleanses us all from all sins." Light has a purifying influence. When you're out in the desert, your clothes can actually get sterilized if you leave 'em out on a dry rock. The desert has a sterilizing influence.

"If you walk in the light as he is in the light, the light of Christ," that means walking in the light of His Word, right? A person can't be walking in darkness and sin and say, "I'm walking in the light." And so if you're walking in the light of His Word and following his teaching, his blood and his truth has a purifying influence on our lives. Now, we're going to go back and dwell on that verse, 1 John 3:9. This is--we only have 2 minutes for a troubling verse. Who did I give that to? Right here, hold your hand up, renee. "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.

" Now, this has really troubled people. Does that mean that once you've been baptized and you join the church, if you sin, you never were born again? He's not saying that. He's saying if anyone practices a life of sin--that means, as a matter of fact, if you look in the new American standard Bible, it says, "if we go on sinning willfully after we--" that's Hebrews 10:26, "if we go on sinning willfully after we've received the knowledge of the truth." So, that's what it's talking about, continuing a life of sin. God wants us to have the victory. People will say, "Pastor Doug, it sounds like you're preaching perfectionism.

" Well, I am because I'm preaching about Christ and he's perfect. What is our example as a Christian? Is our example a perfect example? If it's anything less than Christ, then it becomes an imperfect example. You know, one of the big problems that we've had in North America with the education system is because some students perform poorly, and others felt sorry for 'em, they said, "well, our standard is too high. Even though some students are still getting 'a's, we need to lower the standard so that everybody can feel more loved." And so, what they called, they "dumbed down" the curriculum, and they continued to dumb it down so that more and more of the students would feel like, "well yeah, you know, I'm really a 'c' student but I'm getting an 'a' and I'm hardly studying, so I feel like I'm doing well." Well, what happened to the overall academics in the country and the--not the iq is not the right word, but the academic excEllence, the scholastic ability, it plummeted. Because they tried to make everybody feel good by lowering the high expectation, that happens in the church when you have anything other than Christ as our standard.

Now, I don't think there's anyone here, myself included, that will claim perfection. But I'll freely tell you that I have a perfect goal: Jesus. We are to strive to be like him. And do not ever become satisfied failing. You get complacent and comfortable when you fall, that's very dangerous.

You become presumptuous. You will fail to genuinely repent if you take sin lightly. And if you fail to genuinely turn away and repent and feel sorrow for your sins, you'll become comfortable with your sins and that's how you begin to grieve away the Holy Spirit. That's very dangerous, friends. Amen.

We've run out of time. I want to thank our friends who have studied with us for joining us. By the grace of God, we'll be back again next Sabbath. I want to remind you also about the free offer. It's offer number 723, "the Holy Spirit, the need.

" Just call 866-788-3966. Thank you very much. Hello, friends. I'm supposing that you know that "Amazing Facts" is 100% viewer supported. If you appreciated these programs, if it's been a source of encouragement for you and if it's blessed your life, we'd love to hear from you.

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