Summary: sermon 3 in 1st John series

The Stages of the Christian Life



Have you ever had a multigenerational family portrait taken?

Sometimes people have them taken at weddings.

I find it interesting to look at those type of family portraits.


You get to see all the generations of a family and imagine somewhat what they currently do.


You typically will see the patriarch of the family, Grandma and Grandpa in the center.

They have lived long and done the hard work of raising the family. They have walked and lived and now are able to enjoy the relationships with their children and grandchildren.

Getting together with them,

spending time with them,

dispensing advice to them.

They know what it is to live life and they have walked the walk.

Adult Children

Then you have their kids. Younger. In their prime. They are working at raising their own families. They are the ones who are out

earning a living,

teaching their kids,

busy with the necessities of their life.

They have the energy and the strength that their parents used to have and are now using that energy and strength to raise up the next generation.


Then you have the grandkids. They are young and don’t yet do a lot of work, but they are enjoying the fruits of the labor that their grandparents have put in and that their parents are putting in.

They get to enjoy the love of their parents while they can be nurtured and grown in the safety of their family.

Each of these generations has different roles at the stage of life they find themselves.


In the church, we see similar role distinctions in the stages of life we find ourselves as Christians.


This morning, we are continuing our study of 1st John, and we are going to take a look at these different stages and what John has to say to each of them.

Turn with me to 1 John 2:12-14 (p. 862)


As we read this, you may notice that what we read is offset like poetry in your Bible.

And you will also notice that John seems to repeat himself.

What he is doing is writing in a poetic form using a type of what is known as parallelism that is often found in Hebrew poetry, such as the psalms. In that form, you will repeat what you just said in a different way or perhaps give a little further information.

That is what John does in these verses.

Now John has just finished talking about being honest with ourselves and with God about sin and some tests to see if we are in the faith.

Now he turns to the church and offers them some encouragement at the stage of their Christian walk they happen to be on.

So read with me as we begin.

1 John 2:12-14

12 I write to you, dear children,

because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.

13 I write to you, fathers,

because you have known him who is from the beginning.

I write to you, young men,

because you have overcome the evil one.

I write to you, dear children,

because you have known the Father.

14 I write to you, fathers,

because you have known him who is from the beginning.

I write to you, young men,

because you are strong,

and the word of God lives in you,

and you have overcome the evil one.

Ok, we see John address what appears to be 3 types of individuals in this section, children, young men and fathers.

He is not actually talking to specifically children, young men, and fathers, but this is more addressed to people, both men and women that happen to be at different stages of their Christian walk. In the patriarchal society that they were in, it was not uncommon just to address things only to the men, but was also for women.

In the church that John is writing to, much like any church that you will find today, you are going to have people that are at different places along their journey.

This is who John is addressing.

Ok, so lets take a look at some of the specifics and see what we might be able to take from this for where we are in our stage of the Christian life.

First, we see John addresses children. Who are the children?

Children are Newer Believers in Christ


He addresses these newer believers in Christ to encourage them.

John has just finished talking about sin and how we shouldn’t be sinning. He was actually addressing a problem with some false teachers who were claiming that they didn’t sin and were encouraging the church not to worry about what they did because it wasn’t sin.

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