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1 John: part 4

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Assurance of fellowship

From 1 John: part 3
I. Evident by the willingness to obey
II. Evident by love for one another
1 John 2:7–11 NKJV
Brethren, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning. Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining. He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
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III. A Pause for Encouragement

The group to be encouraged
The Letters of John: An Introduction and Commentary c. A Digression about the Church (2:12–14)

The author divides his readers into three groups, whom he names dear children, fathers and young men, and addresses each group twice. He is indicating not their physical ages, as some have thought, but stages in their spiritual development, for God’s family, like every human family, has members of differing maturity. In view of John’s use of the title dear children elsewhere in this letter to embrace all his readers, many (including the Greek fathers, Calvin and Luther) have thought that here the phrase has the same inclusive reference to all church members who are subsequently divided into two groups only, namely fathers and young men, the mature and the immature, corresponding to the familiar Pauline ‘babes in Christ’ and ‘mature in Christ’ (e.g. 1 Cor. 3:1; Col. 1:28, RSV). Certainly the order (children, fathers, young men) may also suggest this. But the distinctive content of the message addressed to the three groups favours the view of some ancient Latin commentators such as Augustine that they represent three different stages of spiritual pilgrimage. The dear children are those newborn in Christ. The young men are more developed Christians, strong and victorious in spiritual warfare; while the fathers possess the depth and stability of ripe Christian experience. Since the description of each group is similar on both occasions when it is addressed, it will be simplest to take the corresponding pairs together. The repetition of the three groups and of the messages addressed to them, which if not the same are similar, is no doubt intended for emphasis.

Quote Martyn Lloyd-Jones
“Now I shall not go into a detailed discussion as to the mechanics of the way which John puts this great conspectus of Christian doctrine. You will find that commentators spend most of their time in doing that—debating as to what John means by ‘little children’, ‘fathers’, and ‘young men’ and why he repeats himself as he does. Such discussion is all quite interesting as far as it goes, but it seems to me that it is not very important and not very profitable....We cannot decide all this, and it does not matter....what really matters is that clearly the Apostle is telling us that these truths of the Christian life and of the Christian faith must be understood by all of us. At the same time, there are particular emphases that are more important at particular ages and stages. (page 204)
Little children
Young men
Fathers
I am writing to you
Things that John believed about them
Things that they should already know
Things that the false teachers had no clue about
Six simple and solid principles to hold on to
Because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.
Because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.
The Letters of John: An Introduction and Commentary c. A Digression about the Church (2:12–14)

Their sins have been forgiven on account of his name (12), that is, they have been and remain forgiven (perfect tense, apheōntai) because of the name of Christ, our atoning sacrifice and advocate (1–2), whose name represents both his person and his saving work (cf. Acts 4:12

The New King James Version. (1982). (). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.Your sin’s are forgiven
Because you have known Him who is from the beginning. (2x)
Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.
The New King James Version. (1982). (). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.You have known Him who is from the beginning (2x)
Because you have overcome the wicked one. (2x)
Psalm 90:1–2 NKJV
Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever You had formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.
Psalm
Malachi 3:6 NKJV
“For I am the Lord, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.
Malach
Because you have known the Father.
Because you have overcome the wicked one.
The Letters of John: An Introduction and Commentary c. A Digression about the Church (2:12–14)

Further, they have known the Father (13c), literally, ‘have come to know’ (another perfect tense) God as their Father.

Because you are strong,
Because you have known the Father.
The Letters of John: An Introduction and Commentary c. A Digression about the Church (2:12–14)

You are strong, he says, and your strength is due to the fact that the word of God lives in you (14b). They have grasped the Christian revelation.

The New King James Version. (1982). (). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.You have known the Father
Because the word of God abides in you,
Because you are strong,You are strong
and the word of God abides in you,
The New King James Version. (1982). (). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.The word of God abides in you

IV. Evident by a Biblical lifestyle

The Letters of John: An Introduction and Commentary d. A Digression about the World (2:15–17)

What is the world? John here mentions it for the first time, but he refers to it many times later. His teaching about it in the letter, supplemented by our Lord’s recorded teaching on this subject in the Fourth Gospel, is summarized in an Additional note (pp. 105–107). Suffice it to say here that sometimes John simply means ‘the universe’ (John 1:10) or ‘life on earth’ (John 3:17; 1 John 4:17), but usually he is referring to ‘the life of human society as organized under the power of evil’ (Dodd), ‘the order of finite being regarded as apart from God’ (Westcott)

The Letters of John: An Introduction and Commentary d. A Digression about the World (2:15–17)

But since everything in the world … comes … from the world, we may not love any of it. John selects for special mention the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does. These appear to him ‘the essential marks of the pagan way of life’ (Dodd).

The Letters of John: An Introduction and Commentary d. A Digression about the World (2:15–17)

The second seems to indicate temptations which assault us not from within, but from without through our eyes. This is ‘the tendency to be captivated by the outward show of things, without enquiring into their real values’ (Dodd)

The Letters of John: An Introduction and Commentary d. A Digression about the World (2:15–17)

Dodd’s summary is ‘base desires, false values, egoism’.

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