Practice Makes Perfect

November 9, 2018 Preacher: Gareth Franks Series: Letters of John - Knowing, Walking & Living the Truth

Topic: Foundations, Christian Living Scripture: 1 John 2:28– 3:10

Home Group Study - Sermon Date: 09 November 2018

Text: 1 John 2:28-3:10

Opening Discussion: It can be funny and/or frustrating when the time comes to ditch the diapers and to teach your child how to use the toilet. I remember hearing from one of our toddlers, sitting on the toilet seat and looking down, saying with a worried look on their face, ‘it’s not working!' How much practice did it take your children to use the potty? Share your story.

Observation - What does God’s word say?

The title of the message is PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT. John mentions the word ‘PRACTICE’ 7 times in this passage. The word and principle of PRACTICE is key to understanding this section. John is not saying that a Christian will never sin again. Remember John has told us a number of times already, that a Christian is not marked by perfection, but rather their direction. What he’s actually saying is that a Christian does not make it his ordinary practice to keep on in sin as if there’s no consequence, as if there’s no discipline. A genuine child of God, born of God, is going to be shown his sin and will grieve over it and turn from it in repentance and run back to his Father.

What are your observations?


  • 2 Peter 1:5-10
  • Philippians 4:8-9
  • Romans 2:1-3
  • 1 John 2:28-3:10

Meaning - What does God’s word mean?

The apostle John says in 2:29, “If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him.” The thought that we have been born of God causes John to exclaim (3:1), “See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.” His point is simple and powerful:

The Father’s great love has made us His children and it distinguishes us from the world.

The Father’s great love for us as His children is probably the strongest motivation for holy living. When you contemplate the staggering truth that God gave His own Son on the cross to forgive all of your sins and to make you His own child, it should compel you to be distinct from the world and to grow in holiness. John addresses his readers as “beloved.” They are beloved by God and also by the aged apostle. Understanding our present position as children of God and our future hope of being like Jesus when He comes must motivate us to grow in holiness. God loves his children, and you and I need to be reminded of that. He loves us so much that He actually makes us His child at great cost to Himself, and in the process, He’s making us radically like Himself.

Read: Romans 8:1-11

What are your observations from these verses?

Application - How must I change?

  •  Is there a Truth to be believed?

Verse 9 has generated a lot of confusion and controversy. It’s one thing to say that no one who is born of God practices sin, but then John goes farther and states that he is not able to sin! I’m sure that my experience is like yours: I feel quite capable of sinning and years of walking with the Lord have not lessened my ability! So what does John mean? Does he mean that we will no longer desire to sin or have to struggle against it?

  • Is there an Attitude to be fostered?

As believers, our hope is not in circumstances or in some optimistic wish for a better tomorrow. Verse 3 does not say that if we have our hope fixed on Christ, we “ought” to purify ourselves. Rather, it says that everyone who has their hope fixed on Christ purifies themselves. In other words, the test of whether or not you truly understand the teaching of verse 2 will be evident in your practicing the truth of verse 3. 

How can a depressed Christian gain hope? What steps would you advise?

  • Is there a Behavior to be changed?

The apostle Paul prayed for the Ephesians (3:17b-19), “that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Practically, how can we keep the knowledge and reality of Christ’s love for Christ us, fresh and vital?


The popular false view today is that there are two options for the Christian life. “Plan A” is for the really committed: you trust Jesus as Savior and Lord. This is tough. You have to obey Jesus totally, repenting of all your sins. It means giving up the right to spend your money as you choose, because you yield it to Jesus and manage it as His steward. It means following Jesus as His servant. He may call you to go to the mission field or even die as a martyr. But, you will have rewards in heaven.

If that’s too difficult, you may want to try “Plan B.” In this option, you accept Jesus as Savior, but you don’t need to follow Him as Lord. With this plan, you will go to heaven when you die, but you just don’t get as many rewards. But, you can enjoy the pleasures of sin now and at least get in the door of heaven later. But the truth of the Bible, the truth that John emphasizes here is, “There is no Plan B!” Plan A is the only plan for eternal life. Christ calls you to follow Him as Savior and Lord. You cannot do this by your own strength or willpower, but only if He imparts new life to you, causing you to be born of God. If you have been born of God, it will be obvious. The new life in you will produce a life of righteousness. “Little children, make sure no one deceives you!”


Closing Prayer:  It’s astounding, Father, that You would love us and that You would keep us and that You would make us Your children and that one day we will be like you. Help us, empower us to live unashamed of the gospel of Jesus that has saved us from our sins. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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