Posted by Peter Thompson

I John 5:16-21

The Fight Against Sin

INTRODUCTION:  This entire book has been all about walking in the light with God and having fellowship with Him.  At one point John wrote that he was writing so that you did not sin, but if you sin you have an advocate with the father Jesus Christ.  Christian people must take sin seriously.  It is hard to not sin, because your flesh wants to sin.   So John, by the leading of the Holy Spirit, writes this last section to help Christian people fight against sin.  The world is full of sin, and you are in a fight to keep yourself in the light of God and in fellowship with God.  This morning we are going to discuss four tools that you have to fight against sin in your life.

  2. Here is the scenario, the Christian person sees another Christian person, their brother in Christ sin a sin that does not lead to death
  3. This is eternal death that is spoken about here
  4. But understand this, that any sin committed by a person who is truly saved does not lead to that death because Jesus paid the price for that sin
  5. John clarifies this when he says there is a sin that leads to death
  6. That sin is not believing in Jesus Christ and making Him Lord
  7. Those people that commit that sin are headed for death
  8. And John makes clear here that he is not discussing that here in this passage
  9. He does not forbid us to pray for lost people, but that is not the topic of discussion here
  10. And then finally he clarifies that there is sin that does not lead to eternal death, and that is possible because Jesus paid for sins on the cross and the price for the sins of a Christian person is paid
  11. What John is discussing here, is that Christian people should pray for their fellow believers when they sin
  12. This is of course, in opposition to judging them and tearing them down for their sin
  13. Instead we are to pray for one another
  14. James 5:16 covers this same topic, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.”
  15. We are encouraged in both places to pray for our fellow believers so that God will restore them back to their fellowship with Him
  16. Here in I John the idea is the same as being healed, being restored to abundant life in Jesus Christ
  17. This person did not lose their salvation, it simply needs to become real in their life again, because their sin has broken that fellowship
  18. God does not intend for Christians to fight sin on their own
  19. We have avoided letting people in the church know about our sin
  20. We have avoided letting anyone know that we sin
  21. We are ashamed
  22. But the Bible makes clear that people are stronger together
  23. That we can fight against sin better if we know about each other’s sin
  24. Not so that we can tear down, but so that we can pray for each other and build each other up
  25. The thing to do when you have sin problem is not to withdraw from your fellow Christian
  26. It is to draw closer to them so that they can pray for you
  27. And when you find out about the sin of a fellow Christian you do the same for them
  28. You can help them get back on track with God, you can help them walk in the light with God again
  29. You do that by praying for them
  30. The power of prayer was the topic in the verse before this
  31. It is always God’s will for one of His children to come back to Him
  32. Pray that God will heal them and bring them back to himself
  33. And we learned last week that God will always answer the prayer of someone who prays in His will
  34. Help them get back to God with your prayers as they do the same for you
  36. John writes, “we know”
  37. This is a certainty
  38. We know this for sure by experience and study
  39. That all people who are born of God do not sin
  40. Now, when the new birth is talked about in scripture, it is referring to your spirit being made completely new at the point of salvation
  41. You still have the sinful flesh, but your spirit is washed white and clean
  42. That spirit that is born again, cannot sin
  43. This passage is by no means saying that a Christian person does not sin anymore
  44. But look what he writes next about that Christian person that is born of God
  45. “but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.”
  46. The word that is translated keep here is “tayrayo” in the Greek
  47. It literally means “to attend to carefully, to take care of, to guard” (Strong’s)
  48. So this Christian person that is born again and has a brand new spirit, guards themselves
  49. He guards himself so that the wicked one (Satan) can’t touch him
  50. Now the word “touch” here comes from a word that literally means to cling to, or live with
  51. In other words this Christian is on guard against Satan and does not allow Satan to live with him or cling to him
  52. This Christian is not sinless, but this Christian fights against the temptations of the devil and does not allow the devil to control his life for any amount of time
  53. You see, it needs to be important to you not to live in sin
  54. God wants you to stay pure
  55. He says to His people in I Peter 1:16 “Be ye holy, for I am holy.”
  56. So you should guard against the Satan and his temptations
  57. How do you do that?
  58. James 4:7-8 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.”
  59. The way that you stand guard against the devil and fight him off when he comes is to first submit to God
  60. That means put yourself under God and do what God wants
  61. Secondly, you resist the devil, fight against him, don’t let him run over you
  62. When that thought comes into your mind that is not pleasing to God, don’t let it stay there, think on better things
  63. Here in James, we have the promise that he will run away when we are close to God and we fight against him
  64. Satan wants an easy target, give him trouble and he will run away from the power of God who controls your life
  65. Guard against Satan so that he cannot cling to your life
  1. John affirms another certainty here with the words, “we know”
  2. The thing that we know is that we are of God and the world lies in wickedness
  3. The word for lieth here is the word used to talk about someone who is buried
  4. It is often used the same way that we use it, like here lies so and so, it means that they are buried in that spot
  5. So the idea here is that the world is buried in wickedness
  6. John is saying, we know that we are different from the world
  7. They are buried in wickedness we come from God and live in God
  8. He goes on, we know again
  9. That the Son of God is come-Jesus, God the Son came down from heaven to earth
  10. Jesus has given us an understanding so that we could know Him
  11. We know that we are in Jesus Christ the truth
  12. We know that Jesus is the true God, and that we have eternal life in Him
  13. That makes us different than the rest of the world
  14. That makes us children of God, possessors of eternal life
  15. We are in and belong to the true God of the universe
  16. When you come to know the truth about who you are, it will change the way that you live your life
  17. When you understand that true fulfillment comes from serving God
  18. When you understand that the world has nothing of value to offer you
  19. When you understand that God gave you eternal life through Jesus
  20. When you understand that you owe God everything
  21. When you truly understand who you are as a child of God and servant of God
  22. Then you will want to do what God would have you to do
  23. You will want to keep the things that displease God far from your life
  24. You don’t have anything to do with that worldly wickedness anymore
  25. You are identified with the God that saved you and gave you eternal life
  26. Live like it, please God, get rid of sin
  28. The last statement that John makes at the end of this book is very interesting
  29. After all that he has said about walking in the light of God
  30. After all he has said about loving the brethren
  31. After all he has said about being sure of your salvation
  32. After all he has said about watching out for false teachers
  33. After all he has said about fellowship with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ
  34. He says, keep yourself from idols.
  35. The word idol means a false God of any kind
  36. Yes, in John’s day and still today there are images made out of wood and stone that people worship
  37. But this word idol goes deeper than that
  38. The idea here is anything that you worship that is not God
  39. There are lots of things that people worship
  40. Let me give you a few examples, people worship money, power, possessions, their families, their jobs, their girl friend or boy friend, their wives, their children
  41. None of those things should be worshiped
  42. God should be first in the lives of every child of God
  43. When you put those things above the service of God in your life, you have put an idol before God
  44. I don’t know what your idol is
  45. Think of the things you have put before God
  46. John’s point is that you cannot walk with God and in His light of you have put something in front of Him
  47. That is sin, that is wrong, that will lead you down a path that does not please God
  48. The way to stay away from sin is to make God the most important thing in all of your life
  49. Don’t put anything before Him
  50. It is easy to say, “God has first place in my life”
  51. But I want you to really examine your priorities
  52. Does the kids baseball game come before the worship of God with fellow believers
  53. Does your job come before reaching out to people with the gospel
  54. What have you made time for, while not making time for God
  55. Do you watch a TV show every night, and say you don’t have time to read your Bible?
  56. Do you call your mother every day but then say that you don’t have time to pray
  57. We show our love for God by our love for other people, do you have time to go to the lake and fish, but not enough time to help anybody
  58. Listen, when you put God first, your life will be about God
  59. Keep yourself from anything that you are putting above God, that will keep you from sinning against Him

CONCLUSION:  This is not about heaven or hell.  Once you are saved you are always saved.  John makes that very clear throughout this book.  This is about fellowship with God everyday as you go through life.  Sin is serious.  God is not pleased when His people sin.  You cannot expect God to hear your prayers when you are walking in darkness.  You cannot expect God to comfort you, give you strength, give you joy and peace if you are walking in sin.  So you must walk where God is, in the light.  You must fight against sin by realizing that you are not alone and being the helper to other Christians by praying for them when they sin.   Guard yourself against Satan and his temptations.  Know the truth that you are a child of God and should not live like the wicked world.  Most of all, put God very first in your life above everything else.