Summary: Consider the different groups to whom John wrote and what he wrote. 1- I write to you children 2- I write to you young men 3- I write to you fathers
INTRO.- I write to you. Does anybody write anymore? What has happened to the art of writing? One reason is poor penmanship.
ILL.- Penmanship And Brilliance. A handwriting study made at one of our large universities has come up with the discovery that the smarter a person is, the worse his scrawl. It’s thinking faster than you write that makes handwriting messy. The faster you think, naturally, the poorer your penmanship. What about you? What does your penmanship say about you?
ILL.- A young reporter called on Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) to interview him. He found the writer comfortably snuggled in bed, reading. The reporter asked Twain for the story of his life. “Well,” drawled Twain, “in the days of George III, when I was a young man I used to...”
“Pardon me,” interrupted the young man, “I know that you are no spring chicken, but you couldn’t possibly have been living in the time of George III.”
“Fine, my boy,” exclaimed Mark. “I heartily congratulate you. You are the first and only reporter I’ve ever met who corrected a mistake before it appeared in print.”
Wouldn't it be great if all corrections were made before they were printed? So with my sermons. So with everything we write OR EVERY WORD WE SPEAK! Wouldn't it be wonderful to speak without error?
ILL.- A young American preacher was induced to publish a book of sermons. The first copy was mailed to him. After he read the volume, he said: “I am never so reminded of the sow returning to her wallowing in the mire as when I undertake to look at what I have written or preached.”
He literally kicked the book out the window. His name was Henry Ward Beecher, who was considered to be one of the greatest preachers of his time.
Beecher, by the way, was the seventh of 13 siblings, some of whom were famous in their own right: Harriet Beecher Stowe who wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin.
ILL.- It was Joseph Pulitzer who offered the following advice on writing to editorial writers, columnists and reporters: “Put it before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it and, above all, accurately so they will be guided by its light.”
That's good advice for not only writing but also for preaching. Make it clear, make it brief, make it accurate, and I might add, make it simple.
Let's write more! Writing can bless others if we let it! Let's not lose this art that God gave us.
PROP.- Consider the different groups to whom John wrote and what he wrote.
1- I write to you children
2- I write to you young men
3- I write to you fathers
I. I WRITE TO YOU CHILDREN
12I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name. 13 I write to you, dear children, because you have known the Father.
Dear children. Our children are very dear, are they not? But then they grow up! They are still very dear but not nearly as cute as when they are little and seemingly innocent. DID I SAY 'INNOCENT'? Little ones lose their innocence so quickly.
Why? They see and hear far too much from TV, the internet, from other kids at school and maybe even from mom and dad.
ILL.- I had a Mennonite family in one church where I served. The wife came from a Mennonite family and she said she never heard her parents ever argue or speak ill of each other. She said they may have had words behind doors but never in front of the children. WOW! We would do well to imitate this.
Now obviously, the children in our text are not little children but rather children of the faith. I think we all recognize that Christians have varying degrees of faith. Some are quite new to the faith. Others have been in Christ for many years and hopefully, have matured in the faith. Some are strong and some are weak in the faith.
We assume that John is probably writing those who are young in the faith.
12I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.
Aren't all Christians forgiven of their sins? Yes, but it may be that new converts are more acutely aware of their forgiveness. In fact, I know they are! I remember well the excitement!
ILL.- It’s like the guy who was so excited about being baptized that when he was raised up out of the water, he hollered, “Hot dog! Hot dog!”
After a period of time, however, we tend to take our forgiveness for granted, but the newly converted are much more aware that they have been forgiven and are excited about it. REMEMBER?