Little Children = all believers
Because your sins are forgiven
Writing to those who are in Christ
John addresses 3 stages of life
He’s writing in a way that logically makes sense to us, it’s familiar
But what he is doing is he is trying to tell us something by using this type of step stone illustration
Which, you will see often throughout the Bible. You’ll see these types of illustrations or similar things to 1, help you remember, and 2, help you to understand
So, in saying that, what do you think John could be getting at here in this passage?
Now, when we become believer, “little children”, as John refers to them, we are sanctified. We are made right
Our sins are forgiven
And when we die we will achieve the ultimate sanctification, as we will be made like Christ
, “ 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
But what do we do between now and then?
We are to be on this spiritual journey, and so John gives us three phases, if you will, of this journey here in chapter 2
Child, young man, fathers
This is what would be the first stage of a Christian walk
And John says, “I write to you children, because you know the Father.”
And so to be a child of God you must know the Father
And we know that we get to that point by entering into a relationship through Jesus Christ, which we talked about in the first part of this chapter
Now, think with me about a child in a father/child relationship
You guys don’t have children yet, but I do, in fact some of you are closer to being a child then having children, but anyways
Children are very trusting in a parent, or in a father, aren’t they?
Like, you can convince your kids to do almost anything?
My dad and Rusty at the ocean
But, why is that? Because they are trusting, and also because they don’t really know the reasons why they trust.
They have some basic reasons to trust: I provide for them, I love them, I care for them, I clothe them, etc.
But they don’t have like a fully rounded understanding of why they trust
So what John is saying, as children, we trust God, we are convinced He can save us, but we don’t fully know everything there is to know about Him.
We shouldn’t be satisfied with just knowing the Father at a surface level though.
As we continue this process of sanctification, we should be longing to go deeper, and for good reason
Let’s continue the illustration, as my kids have gotten older, it becomes more and more difficult to just convince them of something without more information needing to be given to them.
Notice what John says in verse 13, “I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one.”
Now, we know upon true salvation, we will ultimately overcome the evil one, but what keeps us from falling away, from falling prey to false teachers and doctrine?
Look at verse 14, “I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.”
What is the key?
That the Word of God abides in you
And so, to move from a child, to a young man (woman), we must be in God’s Word.
We must start learning it, and allowing it to abide in us.
For that is how we stand up against the devil
Hebrews talks about this too, “ 13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.”
We can’t just be happy with minimal trust.
We are to press on into His Word, to know it, to grow in it, to stand up on it to grow strong in our faith.
This is where we should be striving to get to, never satisfied to arrive, but striving towards
Verse 13 and Verse 14 both say the same thing:
“I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning”
Now, at first glance this could seem like John is just saying the same thing that he said to the children, but he’s not.
You don’t just know God for your Savior, you don’t just know the doctrines and beliefs throughout the Bible to strengthen your faith, and to allow you to stand strong, but you know, you really know, the God eternal
The one who has been since the beginning
You’ve poured over His Word and you’ve come to the greatest realization you can of who God is and what He’s all about
You know Him as intimately as you possibly can this side of glorification.
You no longer can be swayed by false doctrine, because you won’t believe it. You’re so sure that God is God and you live your life in awe of Him
And this is one reason why we as believers should have spiritual fathers to disciple us, to help guide us.
This is why God designed the whole discipleship method we’ve been talking about on Wednesday nights.
Let me ask you, which level are you at?
It’s not dependent on age
Are you a child just dependent on God for salvation, and not pursuing Him through His Word?
Or are you in His Word, learning His truths, deciphering false teaching and really beginning to stand on your own two feet?
And are you pursuing spiritual maturity, where you know God intimately, know His Word inside and out, and live life fully in accordance with those two things?