Summary: This test involves remembering your spiritual growth as is mentioned in 1 John 2: 12-14. This test involves remembering. It’s a good thing to remember.
This evening we take test #3 for proving if we really know God. That test involves remembering your spiritual growth as is mentioned in 1 John 2: 12-14. This test involves remembering. It’s a good thing to remember.
It’s good to remember what stories you have told so that they don’t come back to haunt you. A young man’s boss asked him, “Boy, do you believe in life after death?” “Yes, sir,” the young man answered. The boss said, “Well that’s good, because about a half hour after you left yesterday to go to your grandfather’s funeral, he came in to see you.”
I supervised a man like that once. He asked off for a total of 8 grandmothers’ funerals. He was always taking off work to go to her funeral. You see, he didn’t remember that he had already used that story.
This passage seems repetitious at first glance, especially if you are reading from the NIV. In that version a portion of verse 14 says the same thing as verse 13, word for word. This is why I encourage you to study God’s Word from several translations.
Many other translations, including the NASB that I just read from divide this passage into two basic sections. The “I am writing this to you” section and the “I have written to you” section. So this is, in part, the way we will look at this passage tonight.
In the introduction of this study, I mentioned that John never addresses a particular group or church or person in this writing. I said that this is what makes this book so applicable today. It seems to be written to the church at large.
Then we come to this passage and it appears that he is writing it to three groups of people within a church; the children, the fathers, and the young men. But there are more than three groups in any church. There are more than children, and fathers, and young men. What about the women? What about the full grown men who are older?
It is doubtful that John is addressing only the fathers and young men and children in the church. Otherwise, the rest of you could go home, and we don’t want that! This points rather strongly to the fact that John is addressing the stages of spiritual growth.
So tonight we are going to do the same. We will address each stage:
- Dear Children – the newborn Christians. We have quite a few newborn Christians in the fellowship of our church.
- Fathers – the spiritually mature with a deep and rich knowledge of God.
- Young men (and women) – the mature believers. These are not necessarily those with a deep and rich knowledge of God, but nonetheless, they are mature believers.
Now test #3 is a test of us remembering our spiritual growth. But before we get to that part, let’s categorize the different groups in our church by these stages of spiritual development.
First there are the DEAR CHILDREN. We have quite a few dear children in our congregation. Again, I am not speaking of age but of spiritual maturity. The dear children are those of you who have just received Jesus Christ and have begun to follow Him.
John’s writings speak to you this evening. He wants you to know that if you are a newborn Christian, remember this: your sins are forgiven. You are:
• No longer guilty of sin
• No longer to be judged for sin
• No longer to be condemned for sin
• No longer to be punished for sin
You have trusted Jesus Christ as the great Bearer of your sins. You believe that Jesus took your sins upon Himself and bore the condemnation and punishment for them. You believe that Jesus became your substitute in bearing the judgment for your sins. So you are cleansed of your sins, you are forgiven.
The point is this: all believers must remember that their sins are forgiven. But young believers—you who are young in the faith—you in particular must remember this. Because you are young in the faith, because you have just recently left the world and its pleasures and possessions, you are more likely to forget what Jesus Christ has done for you. And John is telling you that you must focus and concentrate upon Jesus Christ, upon the glorious fact that He has forgiven your sins. You must guard against returning to the world and its enticements.
Then there are the FATHERS. As was said, the fathers that John is speaking of are those who are spiritually mature believers with a deep and rich knowledge of God. What could John possibly have to say to this spiritual group who have walked so faithfully for so many years?