Summary: The glorious relationship we have with God, the benefites of it, and the means of maintaining the relationship.
Living a Worthy Life I John 2:12-17
INTRO.: Nehemiah was a great leader and motivator among the Jews during the rebuilding of Jerusalem. Just before the completion of the wall was a time of great stress. The enemies of Judah did all they could to dishearten and intimidate Nehemiah and his workers. There were threats on his life. His enemies sent a false prophet to warn Nehemiah men were coming to kill him and he should flee to the temple and lock the doors to be safe. His reply was, "Should a man like me run away? Or should one like me go into the temple to save his life? I will not go!" (Neh. 6:11.)
Nehemiah would not behave like a coward and give his enemies an opportunity to slander him. This kind of behavior was beneath him.
Likewise, there are some things unworthy of the Christian. Foremost among them is the love of the world. This is what John addresses in the verses we are studying.
The best defense the Christian has against falling in love with the world is to remind himself who he is and what has been done for him. In this passage, John reminds us of
I. The glorious relationship we enjoy with the Father in Heaven:
A. Notice, we are referred to as "children."
1. This is one of John’s favorite designations. He refers to his readers as "dear children" nine times in this little epistle.
2. It expresses both his paternal concern for young Christians and the fatherhood of God. 5 times he refers to us as "children of God." (NIV.)
3. A Christian begins his spiritual walk as a "babe in Christ. " God, His Father, is concerned for his spiritual growth.
B. We are also called "young men."
1. This describes growingstrength and developing maturity.
2. It is the young men who win battles. We need the vigor of youth to overcome Satan in our personal lives.
3. God gives the strength we need at each age in life.
C. John also designates his readers as "fathers."
1. This describes the development of spiritual maturity, growth, wisdom.
2. It also relates to our responsibility to reproduce Christians and serve as leaders.
3. Every Christian is a child in regard to innocence and trust before God, a young man in regard to God-given strength, and a father because he is to beget spiritual children by the Word of God.
II. The benefits of that glorious relationship:
A. Our sins have been forgiven: v. 12
1. This means a new life without the burden of guilt. A fresh start like children.
2. Forgiveness of sins is what the Gospel is all about. Luke 24:46, 47
3. When a crippled man was brought to Jesus, he was told to "take heart" for his sins had been forgiven. Matt. 9:2. No matter how dire the circumstances, we can find consolation in the forgiveness of our sins.
B. We have come into fellowship with God. We have "known Him." v. 13
1. To "know" someone implies more than a distant acquaintance. It is more than being introduced and shaking hands.
2. I may say I know someone because I grew up in the same youth group as he, I was a guest in his home when I was a child, I went to camp with his sisters. I played ball with him. But, since I haven’t been with him for 50 years, none of that means much.
3. This is not what the Bible means by "knowing" God. It means living in relationship with Him.
4. This is a wonderful privilege. Knowing God gives us access to joy, peace, eternal life, etc.
C. We have "overcome the evil one." v. 14b
1. Our enemy is real and personal. He is "the evil one." life is constant conflict with him.
2. No Christian ever needs to settle for less than complete victory over sin. That means, a full, outgoing, peaceful, guilt-free life in Christ.
3. Only God can give us a triumphant life and then only if we are strong and His Word abides in us.
III. The means of maintaining that glorious relationship: 15-17
A. Demas was a faithful companion of the Apostle Paul for years. Toward the end of Paul’s life, he deserted him "because he loved this world." II Tim. 4:10
1. We must not love the world: John sets things in clear black and white. There is no middle ground. No nuetrality.
2. We cannot love the world and love the Father, too. V. 15
3. John means the world without God, living in rebellion against Him.
4. Some people live for pleasure, wealth, power. The love of the Father cannot be in them.
B. Watch out for Satan’s traps. John enumerates them in v. 16