Fellows, Pastor John is really trying to teach us to carefully separate real stuff from the fake goods that are everywhere. And that ability is no more important than when we are talking about what matters for all eternity – faith.
So, last time at church on-line he read 1 John 3:19-22 “This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him”
Okay: that word “condemnation” - what does that mean, especially for us?
Pastor John made brief visual reference to Judge Judy, who has been dispensing justice in small-claims court on television for many years. As Pastor John said, in her courtroom it gets pretty intense because when two people are in a dispute, she must eventually condemn the position of one party and uphold the position of the other.
Pastor John also made reference to cultural condemnation: you fellows may recall that he explained briefly how “cancellation culture” is affecting our society today. Maybe you yourselves have seen it is popular entertainment and social media. If so then you know better than teacher Rand how that is. Anyway, the point is that in these contemporary situations moral condemnation is levied against this person or that. I must say though that today often the persons or parties doing the condemning have the least standing to do so from a Christian perspective.
Having reminded us of the current worldly scene in its dark colors, Pastor John then went on to give us God's perspective. He read Romans 8:1 “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
“...are in Jesus Christ” meaning “have put their faith in Him” !!
And 1 John 3:20 “If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.”
And Romans 9:1-2 “I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit”
Conviction to a follower of the Christ: Pastor John urges us to rejoice because of our conviction that the Holy Spirit is at work in each of us, drawing each of us closer to God.
Pastor John contrasted the Christian conviction to a non-christian conviction, where one must suppress or excuse the sin. Pastor John further illustrated the point with Paul writing to the Corinthians, (again): 2 Corinthians 7:8-10 “Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while— yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”
How about that last sentence? “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” This is at ground zero of Pastor John's message here.
What do you think about that word “condemnation” now?
To sum up his teaching on condemnation and repentance as a mark of genuine faith, Pastor John reminded us that godly grief leads to repentance, while worldly grief leads to death because we are being desensitized to real evil, coaxed step-by-step to compromise with sin.
To put it another way, the devil knows you by your name but calls you by your sin. God knows your sin but calls you by your name.
Years from now, the time may come when one or another of us believes that he has fallen badly in his walk with God and “really done it” and that there is no way back to God.
At that dark moment must remember this: the devil knows you by your name but calls you by your sin. God knows your sin but calls you by your name.