- Little children- sins are forgiven; known the Father
- Fathers- Known Him from the beginning
- Young men- Overcome the wicked one; strong & word of God abides in you.
What is John's purpose in addressing these groups?
Many commentaries have stated that these verses are addressing the literal age groups of these believers in the church. But most commentaries suggest that John is addressing the spiritual maturity of the believers in the church. We will agree with this latter view for the purposes of this study.
As written in our opening verse, Paul states his purpose very humbly: that through his works others may see the glorious riches of our Lord Jesus Christ. Similarly, John is hoping that the believers who read his words of encouragement will lead others to see the mystery of God that is now revealed through Christ.
2 Cor 1:20-21
1 Cor 6:11
John wants us to remember the privileges we have in Christ Jesus. He wants us to remember the foundation of our faith.
The young converts are affectionately called "little children" by John. By calling the new convert, "little child" he gently reminds them that all things are new to them. All that they are learning is just in the beginning stages as with a little child. Where do you think he received this notion?
Matt 18: 1-5
Remember our author walked with Jesus and learned from Him.
John understood what Jesus was saying: approach God with the faith and meekness of a small child.
Think back to your own conversion. I was 7, so I cannot remember when I wasn't saved....but try and remember that feeling of when you were new in Christ. How excited were you to know more about Jesus and the Bible? Who did you turn to to get answers to your questions? How did it feel to see more and more of God revealed to you in Scripture.
I know for me it was so exciting to learn more about who Jesus is in the Bible. I was 15 when I truly began reading the Bible. I loved having my questions answered by my youth Pastor at the time. He always turned to the Bible for the answers.
But I did not fully comprehend who God was and that Jesus and God were one in the same until I was in my 30's. Why did God wait 15 years to reveal Himself to me? I think I had a lot of unconfessed sin in my heart that needed to be dealt with first. Once it was dealt with, the Lord began to show me who He is in the Bible. And it was, at times, horrifying and at other times wonderful.....and still is!
Once I learned that God is holy....I saw myself as depraved. But I began to mature in Christ and the act of confessing sin daily really began to change my walk with the Lord.
How has your walk changed since you first received Christ as Lord and Savior?
"Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, And you have overcome the wicked one."
To be described in such a way is what every Christian should strive for: having overcome the wicked one.
In the book of 1 John, you will see the word "overcome" many times in the last chapter. John clearly wants us to become Overcomers.
Rev 12: 10-11
John wants to remind us of who we are in Christ. We can be Overcomers of evil by doing good. We can perserver through the trials of this world and be rewarded, like the martyrs are rewarded.
We were once young believers in Christ, but then we were strong in our faith and we did abide in God's word. Now, we may be older in Christ, but 1 John reminds us to remain BOLD in the faith and strong in the Lord.....so we may overcome.
Today we looked at who we are in Christ. How can we apply what we have learned?
1 Pet 4:7-11
Peter reminds us that the end of all thigns is near and that we should be serious and watchful in our prayers. Like the soldier posted on the tower: we need to be watchful of the enemy but also for the return of the Lord. We need to take prayer seriously and remember that we are indeed talking with the Holy God of the universe.
But he, like John, reminds is to love one another fervently. Remember, Simon Peter also walked with the Lord and learned from Him:
Peter learned the importance of putting Christ's words into action. We are to always remember that we carry on us the cloak of Christ....His very identity is written upon us.
Peter urges us to serve the Lord and use the gifts the Lord has given us, but to be good stweards of the grace of God. All so that the glory of Christ will be magnified.
So when we have overcome and receive the crowns that Jesus places on our heads, we cast those crowns down at His feet so that only He receives the glory, honor, and praise He readily deserves.
1 Cor 10:31
Until next time.....
"Under the new covenant, the Holy Spirit works in a most vital way to bring Christians into conformity with the will of God. But the believer is responsible actively to make use of the means of grace available to him. If he does not obey God's law, he will not live in the fullest state of God's blessings...Christians shall be judged according to the deeds they have done. Scripture is quite consistent on this point. While salvation comes by faith in the work of Christ alone, judgment will be dispensed according to a man's own deeds, whether they be good or evil."
-O. Palmer Robertson (The Christ of the Covenants, 1980, p. 184)