Summary: 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 morning 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 must have 8 grandmothers. 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 today.
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 today 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.