1 John 2:12-14

A. John's first epistle was written that believers' joy might be full. 1JO 1:3-4. 1. The epistle emphasizes the Person of Christ and true Christian love while giving much warning against deception and apostasy. 2. Jesus equated fulness of joy with abiding in His love, which is keeping His commandments. JOH 15:10-11. 3. Therefore to be deceived so as to break His commandments or to apostatize from His commandments would be antithetical to full joy. 4. The comprehended reception of the law of God facilitates joy for strength. NEH 8:8-12. 5. This underscores one of the chief values of doctrinal instruction. B. In 1JO 2:12-14, John writes believers at various stages of growth. 1. John gives the same instruction to little children, young men, and fathers; he feeds the sheep and the lambs. c/w JOH 21:15-17. a. These categories can consider chronological age or level of knowledge in Christ. b. A possible overlap is evident. In a church, someone young in years may be further advanced in Christ than someone old in years. 1TI 4:12. c. Gospel instruction in the church is performed with this in mind. 2. The little children are described as those whose sins are forgiven and who have known the Father. a. These words are written to such as have conscious recognition of the gospel facts John presents; this text is not justification for infant baptism or the belief that all "little children" are deemed without sin. b. Their sins are forgiven for God's name's sake. c/w EZE 36:21-27. c. They know God as Father. d. The basic knowledge required for baptism is knowledge that Jesus Christ is the Son of God: God is His Father. ACT 8:36-37. 3. The young men are described as being strong and as having overcome the wicked one. a. The wicked one is the devil. MAT 13:19 c/w MAR 4:15. b. Connected with their strength and victory is the fact that the word of God was abiding in them. (1) It is by the word of God that Satan is overcome. REV 12:11; PSA 17:4. (2) The word must be abiding IN us if we are to overcome Satan. PSA 119:11. (3) This is more than study since one can in that sense be constantly in the word yet the word not be in him (2TI 3:6-8)! Satan knows the Scripture very well. (4) It is in the good and honest heart that the word taken in is abiding and so brings forth positive results. LUK 8:15. c. In believers, growth in knowledge is connected with growth in grace. 2PE 3:17-18. (1) Grace is the source of the believer's strength. 2TI 2:1. (2) This growth stands in contrast to being led away by the error of the wicked. (3) He who truly grows is he who overcomes the wicked one! 4. The fathers are described as those who have known Him from the beginning. a. Consider that the fathers are so addressed according to their knowledge. (1) Days should speak wisdom (JOB 32:7) but it is not always so. JOB 32:9. (2) A man may be advanced in years yet a babe or child in the knowledge of Christ. HEB 5:12-13 c/w 1CO 14:20. b. These fathers know the Incarnate Word of God that was from the beginning. 1JO 1:1. c. The growth of these fathers accords with their knowledge of the Person of Jesus Christ. 2PE 3:18. 5. Growth through doctrinal preaching is the preventative to being carried away in the drift of apostasy. EPH 4:11-15 c/w 1TI 4:16. a. John has much to say about apostasy in this epistle. b. Little children are more impressionable than young men and fathers. c. There is a depth of knowledge of God's Person and works that needs to be attained to avoid error. d. Christians must progress beyond the baby stage of the principles of the doctrine of Christ. HEB 5:11-6:3. (1) Principle: Origin, source; beginning; that from which something takes its rise; a fundamental source from which something proceeds; a fundamental truth or proposition, on which many others depend. (2) This does not mean abandoning the doctrine of God's Person and works to teach practical Christian duty. (3) Those who achieve this deeper knowledge are able to discern good and evil whether in conduct or creed. (4) Many errors are not discerned until one delves into the deeper points of doctrine. (5) 1CO, which is full of teaching on practical matters, was written to believers at the milk stage. 1CO 3:1-3. (6) It is little children who need lots of rules and constant reminders. (7) Expect Satan's ministers to be good when it comes to teaching about practical righteousness. 2CO 11:15. (8) Some ministers and churches which are noted for their emphasis on practical righteousness and holiness are amongst the worst for doctrinal purity (Mormons, Pentecostal Holiness, Worldwide Church of God [old Armstrongism], etc.). (9) Good conduct MUST be backed up by a sound creed! e. There are costly growing pains in the knowledge of Christ. PHIL 3:8-10. 6. No matter what one's level of spiritual growth may be, he still needs to be taught.
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