Summary: In this passage as John writes to the different age groups maybe chronilogically and spiritually, we see three different destinations that every Christian should reach on their Christian journey.
So far as we have been going through the book of I John we have seen different tests and indications that you can know that you truly belong to Christ. Once again these tests were to reveal the false teachings that were going on and bring comfort and reassurance to those in the true church fellowship. John has told us that if you are really in fellowship with God and his Son Jesus Christ that you will not walk in darkness, other words you will not live a life of sin. He has also told us that if we really know Christ that we
will obey his commands. Then last week in our scriptures he said that if you claim to be in the light but hate your brother then you are still in darkness. We looked at the effects of what hatred for our brother creates in our lives.
As we continue in the scripture, John goes from these different tests into addressing his Christian children and reminding them of their position as a believer. It seems that John is addressing them from the standpoint of their chronological age and their spiritual age.
There seems to be three different groups that he is talking to. He addresses children, young men and Fathers, although not necessarily in that order. Now at times when he says dear children he is referring to the whole group and that it certainly a possibility here. But either way when I look at what he says here to the different age groups I see a spiritual journey here that each Christian should travel. So today I want to look at three places that every Christian should reach on their spiritual journey in this life.
John writes, “I write to you dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.” That was true of everyone in the true fellowship of the church then and that’s true of everyone in the true fellowship of the church now. But it’s only the beginning in the journey of a Christian. The first stop on the journey of being a Christian is reaching the road of redemption. To become a Christian and enter the fellowship a person must experience the forgiveness of their sins through the redemptive work of Christ. So there is no way to avoid this first destination of the journey. Without the work and acceptance of redemption there is no Christian journey. It’s the very beginning of the Christian experience. It reminds me of Nicodemus when he came to Jesus in the middle of the night and Jesus told him that no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again. Of course we all remember the story, Nicodemus was perplexed because he was thinking that Jesus was talking of physically being born again and he just didn’t see how a man could go back inside his mother’s womb and be born again. But what Jesus was talking about was a spiritual rebirth, becoming a new creation. But when someone is born again spiritually it’s a lot like being born physically because there is a newness of life. The baby comes from the womb of his mother and he comes into an existence and life that he knows nothing about really. He has to learn and grow through his mommy and daddy and learn what he needs so that he will be able to grow up. He has to go through those beginning stages of being fed either breast milk or formula so he can begin the process of maturing. Later on he can graduate to what we call real food, the food that doesn’t come in jars that you have to heat up. I was always so thankful when my kids were able to eat real food. That formula and other stuff is expensive. But when a person is first born they can’t come out of the womb and be fed steak and potatoes. They would choke and it could possibly be fatal. The same can be said when someone has experienced new birth spiritually through their faith in Christ. They aren’t ready for the steak and potatoes of God’s words and his teachings. If you give them the meat and potatoes too early they will begin to be choked on all of the things that are too much for them to grasp yet. And it can be fatal in our spiritual life as well. They might begin to feel overwhelmed when they can’t understand everything and might become so discouraged that they walk away. They can only handle the basics in the beginning. When Paul was writing to the church at Corinth he said, “I gave you milk not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it.” These were still baby Christians who couldn’t handle solid food and Paul was sensitive to that. But through the spiritual family around us we are fed the basics so that our faith can gain a healthy foundation and from there we can be fed the steak and potatoes of the faith. This week I removed the training wheels from Chase’s bike. It wasn’t exactly smooth sailing all the time but he was ready for it. The training wheels had served their purpose. They enabled him to ride without falling over. If we had given him his bike without training wheels when he was two or three years older, after falling skinning his knees and arms a couple of times he would have given up and would’ve never had anything to do with it again. But the training wheels kept him steady and provided the safety he needed. In the same way, if we had never taken those training wheels away he would never grow up in the way that he should like other boys and girls. How many teenagers or adults do you see riding bikes with training wheels on them? Yet as Christians there are too many people who have kept the training wheels on their spiritual life. They’ve never left the infant stage of their faith. They never have left the milk and gone to solid food. And even though the road of redemption is necessary your journey as a Christian shouldn’t stop there. When it does you are so limited in what you are experiencing. You must grow up in your faith. In Hebrews the author who many believe was Paul wrote to some Christians who were not reaching maturity as Christians like they should. He writes at the end of chapter 5 and the beginning of chapter 6, “In fact, by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, in not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity…” There are some of you out here this morning that have never left the infant stage of your faith. You are still on milk because your not ready for the solid food of the Word yet. Those of you who are still in that infancy stage are the ones who come to church and usually that’s the only spiritual food you get. You aren’t feeding yourself daily at home and growing in the knowledge of the Lord. I have a message for you this morning. You’ve been in that stage way too long now. It’s time for you to leave those elementary teachings about Christ and go on to the deeper truths of God’s Word. You need to grow up in your faith. You need to move on in your journey as a Christian.