Knowing God - 1 John 2:12-24
Passing From Death to Life
When John takes pen in hand and begins to address the people in a local assembly, he covers all the people who know the Lord in these three groups: little children, young men, and fathers.
All of us qualify to be little children if we are saved. He says, in verse 12, “I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.” This is the qualifier. Do you know that your sins have been forgiven for His name’s sake? If your sins have been forgiven for His name’s sake, you are one of God’s children. We are not saved by our works; we are saved by God’s grace. We do not work our way to heaven; it is all of God’s grace.
There is a beautiful story in Acts 16 about a man who was a jailer. He was so convicted of his sin that when God began to move circumstantially in the place where he was keeping the jail, he brought Paul and Silas out of that jail and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Notice their simple answer. They said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shall be saved, and thy house.” (Acts 16:31).
In 1 John 2:13, notice what he says about these little children. “I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.” God says that the first thing His little children should recognize is that God is their Father. They can speak to their Father.
New converts are one of God’s little children. They are a babe in Christ. The reason you are a Christian is because you have trusted in the name of Jesus Christ. You have recognized that there is no salvation apart from Him. You have believed that He is the only way of salvation. Now you are one of God’s little children. The very first lesson you learn is that now you have a Heavenly Father.
He says in Romans 8:14-15, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God…For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”
Speak to God openly and freely from your heart. He is your Father and you are one of His children. He desires to hear us. Tell Him what is on your heart.
Here we find the second group to whom John writes. He says in verse 13, “I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one.” The wicked one is the Devil.
Again he says in verse 14, “I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.” Here he not only tells us that the young men are the strong ones and have overcome the wicked one, but he tells us how the young men have overcome the wicked one—because the Word of God abides in them. Have you hidden God’s Word in your heart? Does His Word abide in you?
As we look into the heart of a church we see those who qualify as young men. They are strong in their faith, bold, and courageous. They are longing for God to move in a mighty way.
When studying the history of God’s work through the centuries, we find that young people have marched forward boldly for the Lord. For example, David Brainerd, who died before he reached 30 years of age, spent only five years in ministry, but was used of God in such a great way. You do not have to wait until you are older before you step out boldly for the Lord.
When I was 18 years of age, God spoke to me about preaching His Word. I immediately recognized my inability. As a matter of fact, I wrestled with it as I thought, “Other men can do this, but I cannot.”
We must recognize that we cannot serve God in our own strength; we can serve God only in the strength of the Lord. We must have God’s power to do His work. Abiding in God’s Word gives us His power to do His work and to have victory over the devil.
Remember what the Bible says in Ephesians 6:10-17? “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
There is no other way to be strong and to overcome the wicked on but to have the Word of God abiding in us. We must read the Bible. We are to memorize Scripture. We are to meditate upon Scripture. We are to obey the commands of Scripture.
There are many people who have professed faith in Christ for years, but are not strong in the Lord. They do not overcome the wicked one. There is no victory in the Christian life apart from abiding in the Word of God.
The Bible is not a book to be added on to life. We ought to know the Scripture and be so thoroughly saturated with God’s Word that we can do battle with the devil just as the Lord Jesus quoted scripture to the tempter.
“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 1 Corinthians 13:11