Reasons for Reminders
17 March 2019 PM – 1 John 2:12-14 – 1Jn2019 – Scott Childs
Introduction: Perhaps you have taken one of those bush walks where at every fork in the trail there is a coloured arrow attached to a tree as a reminder of the direction you must go to stay on your trail. Those small reminders are a great help.
In our text this evening, John was not questioning the salvation of his readers. Instead, he was giving them some loving reasons for his reminders to keep them on track spiritually so they could enjoy constant fellowship with God.
Transition: In these verses, John pauses to give his readers three reasons for his reminders about fellowship.
The first reason for reminders about fellowship is …
1. As little children, they needed guidance.
a. Every Christian begins as a little child.
1) In both verse 12-13, John addresses little children. Virtually all of John’s readers were younger than he was. Thus, this charge may apply to every Christian. However, many of them were also young spiritually.
2) He uses two different Greek words for little children.
a) In verse 12, John uses the word teknia. “Teknia has more of an emphasis on a child’s relationship of dependence on a parent.” Guzik Little children have a relationship with their parents. They are offspring!
b) In verse 13, John uses the word paidia. “Paidia has more of an emphasis on a child’s immaturity and need for instruction.” Guzik Little children are immature and need the guidance of their parents.
b. As God’s children, they had a new relationship.
1) In verse 12, John said he was writing little children because God has forgiven their sins for His name’s sake. He forgave all our sins and made us His child the moment we trusted Christ. Those sins all remain forgiven and always will be. God does not bring up forgiven sins. (Psalms 103:12) “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” God forgave us, not primarily for our benefit, but for His name’s sake. He did it so that we could and would glorify His name. Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus our blessed redeemer.
2) In verse 13, John said he was writing because we have (experientially) known the Father. John was confident that they knew the Father’s forgiveness at salvation, but also that they experientially knew the Father by walking in the light with Him. They had tasted of the sweet fellowship with God the Father as they spent time with Him in the Bible, in meditation, and in prayer.
3) John was writing in order that young Christians, who were truly saved and who had begun experientially to know the Father, might continue on that path. They needed guidance. His many warnings in this book are to keep young Christians going in the right direction.
The second reason for reminders about fellowship is …
2. As fathers they were experienced but not immune
a. As fathers, they had a solid foundation
1) Here, John writes to the fathers or the mature Christians – men and women. They had been saved for years. The doctrines of Christ were well known to them.
2) In both verses 13-14, John says the same thing to the fathers. He must have repeated himself for emphasis.
3) John said that they had experientially known him that is from the beginning.
a) This takes us back to the first verse in the epistle (1Jn 1:1). Jesus, being eternal, was from the beginning of time. John knew Jesus from the beginning of his ministry on earth. Some of these “fathers” may have known Christ when He walked on this earth as well.
b) Certainly, they had experientially known Jesus Christ, just as he knew Him. They had for years been walking with Christ in the light and abiding in Him.
c) Their spiritual lives were built on the solid foundation of fellowship with Jesus Christ.
4) John’s reminders in this book were not at all intended to question their walk with God. Instead, as fathers they must continue in that sweet fellowship with Christ that they have enjoyed for years. They must not allow any of the hindrances mentioned in this book to keep you from that fellowship. Experience is not immunity to sin.
b. As fathers, they must pass on their faith and walk.
1) Fathers and mothers have a huge responsibility to pass on their faith and walk with God to their children.
2) Passing on your faith in your children’s lives is no passive task. It takes constant action and great determination.
a) You must live your faith and fellowship with God before your children every day. Our actions always speak louder than our words.
b) You must teach your faith and fellowship with God to your children continually. This is an ongoing process. Daily family Bible time will help, but that is only the beginning. Earn their friendship and trust. Answer their questions. Always point them to God when they sin. (e.g., What did God say about that attitude? Would God say that was a kind response? How would God want you to treat that person?) Never assume your child would never do __. Begin early to warn them about moral sins and their consequences.
c) You must evaluate your child’s faith and fellowship with God. Avoid questions that allow “Yes” and “No” answers. Ask them questions that stimulate the conscience. Anticipate difficulties they will face, and seek to prepare them.
The third reason for reminders about fellowship is …
3. As young men they were fighting a persistent foe
a. They had overcome the wicked one
1) The Christian life is a constant battle. We are all soldiers fighting the enemy of temptation. It seems that the hottest battles are during our young adult years, between the age of children and seniors.
2) John knew his young adult readers well enough to know that they had overcome the wicked one. They had enjoyed many spiritual victories in their lives.
3) Unfortunately, the fight against temptation is not just one battle; it is an ongoing war. We will face many battles in this war. We must face each battle with the same dependence on God. Overcoming once does not guarantee victory next time.
4) John’s warnings in this book are important for all of us, especially for young adults. You may be walking in the light and enjoying God’s fellowship today, but tomorrow’s battle with threaten you again.
b. How had they become overcomers?
1) They were strong. True Christians have the Holy Spirit living in them to give them strength. They are strong because of their time spent with the Lord. You cannot be physically strong without healthy food, nor can you be spiritual strong without a good diet of spiritual food. Daily personal Bible study, meditation, prayer, memorising verses, listening to good sermons, etc. will make you strong.
2) The Bible was abiding in them. Not only did they spend time in God’s word, but they were abiding in it. They remained close to God and His Word. Just as a physical diet will do you little good if you do not stick with it faithfully, the same is true spiritually. Pondering on God’s word and truly trying to live it is what gives victory over temptations.
3) They had overcome the wicked one. Again, John complements them for overcoming evil. Though they had experienced victory, the war was not yet over. More battles lie ahead. Thus, John wrote this book to map out areas where the enemy is hiding waiting to attack us and disrupt our fellowship with God.
Conclusion: Whether spiritually you are as a little child, a father, or a young adult, the strengths and victories you have experienced will not guarantee that you will not trip and lose your fellowship with God. Pay close attention to the many warnings John gives in this book.
Song: Victory in Jesus – 496