Sermon notes for 1 John 2v12-14

This is part 13 of a series I am doing at the York Elim Pentecostal Church. If you want to listen to the podcast go directly to YorkElim.com.

I never used to put my sermons on my blog, content to have them posted on the York Elim site, but as both sites have different people visiting I might as well start doing so.

1 John 2:12-14

Intro

This section is laid out in many translations in the form of a poem. It is certainly different from what comes before and after. The verses seem to belong together having a common style. They address the different sections of the community using a common structure.

Could this have been from another source? There is as clear degree of continuity with what comes before and after. Previous themes are carried on here such as forgiveness of sins, knowing him ‘from the beginning’, ‘the word of God remains’ in you.

There is a warning coming in verses 15-17 and this section prepares the reader for it. In this section the false teachings seem to get little attention as the focus is now on proclaiming truth. The letter, having led up to this, now seems to have come to a summing up in the form of this poem.

There is a change of mood here after stern warnings. See the affectionate beginning to this part, “I write to you dear children.” The Elder is addressing the church in general. That is what is meant by ‘children’ in this context.

A father in the faith. See his continual use of the term “little children” (1 John 2:1, 12, 13, 18, 28; 3:7, 18; 4:4; 5:21). It is generally believed to have been written in his old age, perhaps about A.D. 90.

This section is exclusive. It is addressed to the those within the community of faith. After speaking to them about false doctrine, authentic experience of Jesus as oppose to the fake, he now gathers them close as children around their father in faith. He gathers them close and assures them of the wonder of their experience, and the wonder of grace.

The Scripture:

children
12 I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.
fathers
13 I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning.
young men
I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one.
children
I write to you, dear children, because you have known the Father.
fathers
14 I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning.
young men
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.

Notice the structure of this poem, it is addressing three groups twice. Reading it as it written brings one impact. Another way to read it is to shuffle the verses into their categories.

children
12 I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.
I write to you, dear children, because you have known the Father.
fathers
13 I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning.
14 I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning.
young men
I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one.
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.

 

1) children
12 I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.
I write to you, dear children, because you have known the Father.

Earlier in 2.14, the children have been reminded that their ‘sins have been forgiven on account of his name’. Now the children are told that they ‘have known the Father’. This is again challenging the false teachers by reminding the believers of what they have experienced in Christ. ‘A believer with an experience of Christ is not at the mercy of a person with only an argument.’

Their knowledge of the Father had a definite beginning, the effects of which they are still experiencing in the present.

In 1 John, knowledge of the Father implies that one has:

  • Eternal life, which resides with the Father (1:2)
  • Fellowship with the Father and Son, as the Elder has (1:3)
  • Has experienced forgiveness of sin by the Father through Jesus (2:1-2).

Mention of having ‘known’ reminds the readers of the emphasis on previous assurances about how they can know that they have known him, by having a transformed life (2:3).

In that section, knowledge of God is very closely connected to keeping his commands, and keeping the commands closely connected to loving one’s brothers and sisters. Thus, in being assured that they have known the Father, the readers are assured that they are keeping his commands and love their brothers and sisters. Such knowledge stands in stark contrast to the false claims to know God described earlier in this section.

 

2) fathers
13 I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning.
14 I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning.

If they have known from the beginning, and still know, why say it? It assures the mature in faith. It also encourages the others to have confidence on the role models among them who have modelled consistent faith and stability. A weakness of young churches is that they can have too few older people. The healthy ballast of older people is of value to a congregation.

 

3) young men
I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one.
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.

This is an assurance to those who have been exercising faith. It would not be surprising to hear the young men being addressed as strong, but notice that their strength is being mentioned in the context of knowing the word and being victorious over temptation.

Hear the contrast between the quality of the lives of the young men having the word of God dwelling within them and the false teachers (1:10) who deny this by their life-style.

 

Conclusion
We are back to the theme of knowing. We can all know that we know.

 

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