Doing Righteousness

Photo by Duané Viljoen:

1 John 3:10-11 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. 11 For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.

J.K. Rowling, the author of the “Harry Potter” series of books (something I’ve never read, nor am I interested in reading) spoke up about transgender issues. Her statements were quite mild. She rejects the popular phrase, “people who menstruate” in favor of the word “woman”, as only biological women do this. Popular comedian and talk show host Bill Maher said:

{Rowling} doesn’t hate trans people. Everybody has to stop saying they hate the thing that they don’t hate. Like pro-life women don’t hate women. … They think it’s murder. And it kind of is. I’m just okay with it. (emphasis mine) I’m totally okay with that kind of murder. But it is kind of, it’s becoming a life. But they don’t hate women. That’s not why pro-life people are against abortion. They think it’s murder.”

I’ve never heard anyone in Hollywood admit what we all know, that abortion is “kind of murder”, nor say they were okay with murder. The reason I quoted this to you today is because this is where the devil as taken the world. When we disagree in America today, and do not go along with whatever is the vocal majority – then we are branded as “haters”. Yet Jesus said this would happen. Jesus calls on His people to be attached to Him. He said:

John 15:5 (ESV) I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

Since the believer in Christ is attached to Christ, then Jesus told us to expect the same kind of treatment He got. He said in the same chapter:

John 15:18-20 (ESV) If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. … 25 They hated me without a cause.

They had no cause to hate Jesus – but hated Jesus anyway. Why? Because Jesus came teaching us that we are to love God the Father and one another. Beloved, according to the Bible,

What we are seeing in the world today is NOT love,
but hatred. All sin is at heart HATRED.

John brings this out in our text today. We read:

1 John 3:10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

John asks, “How do we spot a Christian?”, and then gives us TWO criteria to determine what a Christian looks like. The Christian,

1. DOES Righteousness, and
2. Loves his or her brother

The Christian DOES Righteousness Because The Christian Loves God

Jesus said that the very first commandment of God is that:

Matthew 22:37 (ESV) You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

God is to be put FIRST in your love and adoration. When our God gave the Ten Commandments from Sinai, He wrote with His finger:

Exodus 20:2-7 (ESV) I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 3 You shall have no other gods before me. 4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. 7 You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

Since God saved Israel from enslavement to Egypt, since God elevated these people to be His, God demanded that they love Him exclusively. This meant that they were to worship no other gods or goddesses. They were to put away their past experience in Egypt, and follow where God led. They were to honor God with their life, and serve God with their hands, feet, and lips.

God hates sin, but loves righteousness. Why does God hate sin but love righteousness? Because sin is the very basis of lovelessness. Sin is lovelessness of God. When God put Adam in the Garden of Eden, He told Adam to love Him. God told Adam,

Genesis 2:16-17 (ESV) … You may SURELY eat of EVERY TREE of the Garden. But the Tree of the Knowledge of good and Evil you SHALL NOT EAT, for in the day you eat of it YOU SHALL SURELY DIE

God in his love gave Adam a parameter. God said, in effect, “I establish good and evil. I love you. I gave you life. I gave you a great job. I will give you a great wife. You have paid for none of these things. You work a job you never sweat at, and do something you can never fail at. JUST LEAVE THE GOD DECISIONS TO ME.”

When the serpent came into the Garden to tempt Adam, Adam had a choice. Would he love God and do as God said? Or would he follow his wife and the serpent, placing both above God.

You know what he did. By one Man SIN ENTERED THE WORLD, and DEATH BY SIN, and so death passed upon ALL MEN, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12).

Adam did not DO RIGHTEOUSNESS. Adam loved his wife and himself more than he loved the Lord. Adam ate what was forbidden because he put himself first above God. His bad decision brought death into the world.

Righteousness is what God has said is RIGHT. God is always right. The Bible defines what is righteous, and what is unrighteous.

You cannot say “I love God” if you do not DO RIGHTEOUSNESS. The two are tied together. The Scripture says:

Psalm 89:14-16 (ESV) Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you. 15 Blessed are the people who know the festal shout, who walk, O Lord, in the light of your face, 16 who exult in your name all the day and in your righteousness are exalted.

Because God is RIGHTeous and because god is JUSTice, God is both STEADFAST in His love for us, and FAITHFUL in keeping His promises to us. You cannot divorce RIGHT from LOVE. The Psalmist wrote:

Psalm 33:5 {God} loves RIGHTEOUSNESS and JUSTICE, the earth is FULL O THE STEADFAST LOVE of the Lord.

If you love God, you love what God says is right. If you love God, you hate what God says is wrong. Sin is bound to a loveless attitude toward God. When God reached out to save Israel from Egypt, why did He do it? Because it was the RIGHTeous thing to do. God told Israel:

Deuteronomy 7:7-8 (ESV) It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, 8 but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

God told Israel that He freed them because (1) He LOVES them, and (2) He is DOING RIGHTEOUSNESS, that is, KEEPING THE OATH He made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God’s love is tied to doing what is right.

The Devil And The World Will Demand
We Do As They Say

1 John 3:11-12 For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.

In our world today if we do not agree with whatever trend is currently fashionable, then we are despised as haters. But it is not loving to do that which God says NOT to do. God must be loved FIRST above all else. The Bible says:

Amos 5:15 Hate evil, love good

Psalm 97:10 You who love the LORD, hate evil

God does not look the other way on sin. Sin is anything that God has said is bad, and sin destroys God’s creation. The Scripture says:

Psalm 5:4-6 … You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, nor shall evil dwell with You. The boastful shall not stand in Your sight; You hate all workers of iniquity. You shall destroy those who speak falsehood; the LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man

God HATES those who reject Him, who pursue evil. Why? The Biblical story of Cain and Abel tells us why. Just before God sent a banished Adam and Eve from Eden, the Bible says:

Genesis 3:21 (ESV) … the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.

God COVERED their sin – their nakedness – with the skins of animals. In order for this to happen, God had to kill some animals, and shedding their blood use what was the innocent’s flesh to cover them. The Bible says that the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). It was from this first sacrifice in the Garden that God showed mankind that sin is no trifle. Sin caused Adam and Eve to be cast from Eden. Sin caused pain to enter the world. Sin caused the death of animals.

Cast from the Garden, Adam and Eve knew that the shed blood of the innocent would cover sin. They taught this principle to their children. This brings us to Cain and Abel. Abel was a herder of animals, and Cain a farmer. We are told in:

Genesis 4:3-5 (ESV) In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, 4 and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, 5 but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell.

Two brothers bring an offering – a sacrifice to God. Abel brings a sacrifice of the firstborn of his flock, but Cain brings to God the fruit of the ground. God rejects Cain’s offering, but receives Abel’s offering. And this makes Cain very angry at both God and his brother! Cain’s attitude is much like those in the world today who say,

God, if YOU love ME, then YOU will change what YOU say in order to make ME happy!”

This s very prevalent in the world today. But God rejected Cain’s offering, though He received Abel’s. Why? There’s a few reasons why? First, God’s example in the Garden of Eden was that “without the shedding of blood, there is NO FORGIVENESS OF SINS” (Hebrews 9:22, ESV). God covered Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden by the shedding of blood. Cain as the firstborn child of Adam would know what was expected. God would establish this much clearer later on to the Priests of Israel, saying:

Leviticus 17:11 (ESV) For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement {a covering} by the life.

Sin is no trifle, but it is a bold act of lovelessness toward God. Sin is covered only by the shedding of blood. Abel shed the blood of a lamb but Cain did not. Therefore God would not receive Cain’s offering. But there’s another reason.

Genesis 4:3 (ESV) In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground…

The Bible tells us that God would accept an offering from the ground, but it had to be the FIRST FRUIT of the field (Deuteronomy 26:5-10). Cain did not bring God the FIRST FRUIT or First Harvest of his field. Cain satisfied his own needs and the needs of his family FIRST – then and only then did he bring God an offering. Charles Pope notes:

Abel gives of the firstlings (first fruits) of his flock. There is no mention that Cain gave of the first fruits of his crop. In biblical legislation, God commanded that the tithe be given. But it was not any tenth that was to be given, rather it was the first tenth that was to be given (see Exodus 23:16,19; 34:26; Leviticus 23:10 to name just a few). Thus Cain erred by not presenting first fruits, and God did not regard his offering. We are not to give God leftovers.”

Cain brought God the leftovers. When Cain got angry, God spoke to him, saying:

Genesis 4:6-7 (ESV) …. Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.

If you DO WELL, that is DO RIGHTEOUSNESS, then God will accept it. But God does not want your leftovers. God does not want what YOU think is best. God wants you to love Him more than anyone or anything, and then He will receive you as sons and daughters.

Cain refused to DO RIGHTEOUSNESS. Since Cain could not kill God, he killed his brother Abel. Why did Cain kill Abel, the first murder in human history?

1 John 3:12 …Because {Cain’s} own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous

The evil will always want to kill the good. Cain should have REPENTED, and turned from his error, doing what God said do. He would not, and bore the consequence of his sin.

Love Always Follows God

1 John 3:13-14 Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. 14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.

We love others – especially “the brethren”, that is, other believers. But we love all people. We love God first and foremost. But we love our brothers and sisters by DOING RIGHTEOUSNESS toward them. we love the brethren by speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). God establishes what is or is not truth in his Word. We affirm His Word because we love Him. We share His Word with others – even when it is difficult.

As believers, we are commanded to live a life worthy of the calling you have received” (Ephesians 4:1). When a brother or sister moves into worldliness and sinfulness, we are to do as the Scripture says:

James 5:19-20 (ESV) My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, 20 let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

If a brother or sister wanders from the truth as God has established it, we are not to support their wandering. We are love them enough to counsel them – privately – in what the Word of God says. We are to tell them what God has said:

2 Corinthians 6:16-18 … ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

We who are saved by faith in Christ are saved to love God and do what God says. We are saved to hate sin and love righteousness AS GOD DEFINES IT. We are to be like Jesus! We are to share Jesus with the lost world. We are to share Jesus with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

1 John 3:15-16 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. 16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

As Jesus laid His life down for us, we are to lay our lives down for or brethren. We are not to compromise with sin and evil. We are to stand strong in the Word of our Lord, the Holy Scripture.

Jesus Christ is God! God laid down His life for us to save us from sin. If we would be saved, we must repent. If we would be blessed as His Children, we must love God with our all. God does not save us by the Blood of Christ so that we might follow after this world. We give no quarter to the world, but as Ambassadors of Christ tell the world to REPENT and TURN TO JESUS. We tell people that – once they are saved – they are no longer sons of Adam, but sons of God. You have His promise:

2 Corinthians 5:17-21 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

May God through His Spirit draw you into the arms of Christ. Amen and Amen!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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