The following sermon was prepared by Ps Lucas Stoltz. Click here: 1 John 3:4-10, to download or stream the audio sermon, or click here: 1 John 3:4-10. for the video version. Alternatively, you can read the notes below, or follow along as you watch or listen.

1 John 3:4-10, The Assurance of Deliverance:

  • Last week our focus was on the assurance of hope, and one of the comforts of this assurance, is to remain in righteousness. However, John isn’t done with the idea of practicing righteousness as it also points to the assurance of deliverance. That is God delivering us from sin & its consequences, Satan, and works of evil.
  • That’s the main idea here, Jesus Christ came to redeem and renew sinners by paying the penalty of sin and overcoming the Evil One. And now, in Him, the Christian does not, cannot habitually and persistently sin. He will sin sometimes. He will sin wilfully. But he will not sin habitually, persistently and relentlessly.
  • So last week John word’s informed us that we have been born of God and are now His children (2:29–3:2). He also taught us that the practice of righteousness provides evidence that one is a child of God. Now he proceeds to show how being a child of God is incompatible with the practice of sin.
  • John has challenged us to live a life of righteousness grounded in the promise of the second coming of Christ. Now John gives the same challenge based on His first coming. John Stott put it this way:
  • If Christ appeared first both to “take away our sins” and to “destroy the devil’s work,” and if, when he appears a second time, “we shall see him” and, in consequence, “we shall be like him,” how can we possibly go on living in sin? To do so would be to deny the purpose of both his “appearings.”
  • So this morning we’ll be looking at three truths of assurance in Christ’s work of deliverance…

1. Deliverance from Sin:

  • Text – 1 John 3:4-6
  • Explanation – Sin is the great enemy and problem of humanity, and only God can rescue us, only He can deliver us from its grip! Sin is lawlessness, rebellion, a defiant disregard and rejection of God’s rightful rule as Lord over your life.
  • We could say that sin is nothing less than personal treason against the Sovereign of the universe. So it is not a one-time offense, but a habitual and settled nature of your heart and your life that makes you rebel against God. Therefore, John says that sin is lawlessness!
  • Illustration – Lawlessness is living as though your own ideas are superior to God’s. Lawlessness says, “God may demand it but I don’t prefer it.” Lawlessness says, “God may promise it but I don’t want it.” Lawlessness replaces God’s law with my desires.
  • Lawlessness is rebellion against the right of God to make laws and govern His creatures. It is direct and open rebellion against God and His ways. Lawlessness describes one who has the quality of not being regulated by, restrained by or controlled by law.
  • Application – It is anarchy, rebellion, chaos, disorderliness, and recklessness. It is the opposite of pursuing holiness as it is living in a life of sin. It is the rejection of God’s word. And when we pursue a life of sin, we show that we prefer to do it our way as opposed to God’s way. Therefore John says those who practice sin are practicing lawlessness.
  • This brings us to John’s words in verse 5. We know that Christ came to deliver from sin! I mean this was John the Baptist’s herald at the Jordan River, shouting at the top of his lungs, “Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” How did He do that? Well He delivers from sin by His bloody death on the cross, providing the full and everlasting forgiveness of sins to all who trust in Him.
  • And only He could do this because of His sinless state, in other words – His perfect righteousness! John himself has already taught us He is the righteous one (2:29) and the pure one (3:3). Now he explicitly identifies Jesus as the sinless one.
  • Conclusion – And so it leaves us with the following implication: Because there is no sin in Jesus, no one who abides in Him keeps on sinning! In fact, we can go head and say that if one does continue in a pattern or practice of sin, such a one has not seen Him or known Him in a personal, saving relationship.
  • Listen, if the sinless Son of God appeared in history to take away sin, how is it possible to abide in Him and sin at the same time? The answer is, you can’t. I’m not trying to confuse anyone here. This does not teach sinless perfection in this life. That would contradict what John said in 1:8, 10.
  • No, the use of the present tense verb in verse 6 is to help us see what John is saying. Because of the new birth, we have a new nature. Because Christ has taken away our sins, we have a new freedom. Sin no longer dominates us or enslaves us. Sin is no longer the character and conduct of life.
  • Bridge – In other words, because I now abide in Christ and in the power of His person and work in the gospel, I may fall into sin, but I will not walk in sin. Sin will not be my habit; it will not be my normal practice. I no longer love sin; I hate sin. I no longer delight in sin; I despise sin.
  • So in my union with Christ, I have been delivered from the power of sin. It no longer rules me. Christ does!

2. Delivered from the Devil:

  • Text – 1 John 3:7-8
  • Explanation – Maybe to help us understand better, we could say that the flesh is our internal enemy and the Devil is our external enemy. See in Christ, we wage a spiritual war on two fronts. Yet, Christ’s deliverance has defeated sin as well as Satan.
  • This means the Devil is doomed! And not just he, but all false teachers who promote the lie that one can be born of God, and still practice a lifestyle of sin. Because behind the false teachers is the father of lies himself, the Devil (John 8:44).
  • Illustration – Remember, deception can take many forms. But the purpose of deception is to trap you. Therefore John gives us a counter-argument to such deception: “The one who does what is right is righteous, just as He is righteous.”
  • Deception is defeated by a righteous life that gives tangible, visible evidence that we have been born again through faith in Christ. Remember, doing what is right is not what enables us to be righteous, rather – it is proof that we are righteous, just as Jesus, in whom we now abide, is righteous.
  • Application – Verse 8 then says that the Devil is also a sinner and here we also read one of the clearest statements in all of God’s Word telling us why Christ came, to destroy the works of the Devil. Now what are his works? For one, he is the “accuser or slanderer.” The Hebrew meaning is “adversary.” So Jesus came on the scene to take away sin (v. 5) and also “to destroy the Devil’s works.”
  • That’s combat language. Jesus, so to speak, invaded enemy territory and took our enemy down in a complete and total victory. And it’s nothing like to boxing play you may have seen in Primary school. I remember a play, where Jesus & Satan box, and Jesus loses in a sense – I believe that was the reference to dying, but then Jesus gets up and knocks Satan down and the demons ran away.
  • Conclusion – Listen, put verse 8 next to verse 5 and you’ll see that the works of the Devil, which our Savior came to destroy, are sins. And so by means of Jesus’ atonement, sin’s penalty has been nullified for the child of God. So in our new birth, sin’s power has been neutralized.
  • And, by virtue of His two appearings, sin’s presence will soon pass away forever. Not only did Jesus overcome Satan in the wilderness, but Jesus delivered a knockout punch to the Devil on the cross, by leaving an empty tomb which is an eternal monument to His victory, and ours in Him.
  • Bridge – Christ is my righteousness positionally and experientially. He is my redemption and my sanctification. Galatians 2:19–20 righty puts it, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
  • Do not be deceived into thinking you can practice sin and be righteous before God. That is a satanic lie! Jesus delivers us from the works of the Devil so that we stand in His righteousness. Yet, there’s one more!

3. Delivered to be Children:

  • Text – 1 John 3:9-10
  • Explanation – We’ve looked at who and what Jesus delivers us from, but now we get to answer the question; ‘what are we delivered to?’ John says we are born unto God. Conversion changes everything. Paul says, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation and all things become new (2 Cor 5:17).
  • So Christ not only delivers us from evil, but delivers us to the Father. We are regenerated! Regeneration is the work of God’s grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Illustration – Now without the new birth it is impossible for us to live like new people. Sin will dominate us and Satan will have his way with us. But because of the new birth, the Bible says we cannot make “a practice of sinning” and we “cannot keep on sinning because we have been born of God.”
  • Listen, we’ll surely stumble, even fall on occasion, but we know “the One who is in [us] is greater than the one who is in the world” (4:4). Our Lord will pick us up and lead us in the right direction, as He conforms us into our likeness. Which means, any righteousness we do flows from the righteousness of Christ poured into our lives by means of the new birth.
  • Application – Which brings us to John’s test in verse 10. Do you do what is right? And do you love others? Now those who hate sin, who have been set free from the Devil, and who are born of God will do what is right and love others.
  • That’s what Jesus did on the earth, that what God still does, and that is what His children must do. Sadly, if the Devil is your spiritual father, you will live in the practice of sin and hate others.
  • Conclusion – However Philippians 3:9 tells us that we are “found in Him(Christ), not having [our] own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith.”
  • So when we receive Christ, His death and resurrection sets us free from the penalty and the power of sin, thus enabling us to say no and yes in everyday life. We can say no to the desires of the flesh, and we can say yes to “righteousness,” “faith,” “love,” and “peace” as the child of God.
  • Bridge – Desiderius Erasmus (1466–1536) once said, “By a carpenter mankind was made, and only by that Carpenter can mankind be remade.” The carpenter from Nazareth, the Son of God, has remade us in God’s children. He has redeemed us by His blood, regenerated by the Spirit, reconciled with the Father, and now we are ready for His service.
  • He has delivered us to experience the joy of being a child of God! Our blessing is to have been saved and set free from the shackles of sin and the tyranny of Satan!