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1 John 1:1-4 New England Series
1 John 1:5-7 New England series
1 John 1:8-10 New England series
1 John 2:1-2 1 John 2:3-6
1 John 2:7-11
1 John 2:12-17
1 John 2:18-27
1 John 3:1-9 1John 3: 10-23
1 John 3:24 to 4:6
1 John 4:7-16
1st John 4:17-21
1st John 5:4-13 1st John 5:14-15
  1 John 5:16-17   1 John 5:18-21  
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1st John 2:12-17


“I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake.  I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning.  I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one, I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.  I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning.  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.  Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.  If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (1 John 2:12-17). 


“Let’s open in our Bible’s to 1st John chapter 2.  Welcome if this is your first-time visiting with us.  If you’re a father, I hope you grabbed a cookie when you came in.  But that’s for the Dad’s (and I’m sure, probably for the Mom’s, that chocolate thing ladies have, you know).  Ooops.  You know, as you’re turning to 1st John, imagine with me just for a moment, sitting here in the sanctuary, and walls are painted, and wonderful carpet on the ground, the sound doesn’t sound hollow anymore, it’s got that nice full sound, we have this stained glass, beautiful dove in the back, those windows in the back, the top here is finished, the cross and dove here with some brick.  Imagine it being like that and bringing your family and friends on Father’s Day.  I don’t know about you, but for awhile it’s been like that, I bring visitors and people to the church, and I’ve got to tell them, well, ‘We’re in the process of doing this…’ and apologize for this over here, you know, I kind of go through this whole thing.  It’s just really been on my heart, I pass it on to you, you know as we’ve been reading through 2 Chronicles and the life of Solomon, Solomon and his life.  And I guess it encouraged me.  His life was just a big building construction project.  That’s basically what it says, he went from one construction project to another.  But yet he was faithful in doing it, and it says he was very orderly in what he did.  And if you remember, too, the Queen of Sheba comes to Solomon, and she had heard certain things and she didn’t believe it was true.  And she came to check him out, and when she met with him and heard all his wisdom, but also it says when she saw the order of everything and the excellence of everything, she said, “I know what they said is true, in fact, it’s even more so than what I heard.”  It’s been on my heart, I even heard a story of somebody who was here on our building dedication night, I remember Mike McIntosh mentioning, ‘Hey, he’s going to buy carpet for a church’, which he did,  Horizon San Diego gave us money for carpet.  But then this person came later, a long time later, it’s been awhile, and saw that the carpet wasn’t here, and they’re not a born-again believer, and they began to just question, and there was a sense there, they were wondering about our integrity, maybe Mike McIntosh’s integrity.  And there is a statement that we make, and I’m not trying to put a trip on you or anything, but as a brother and a pastor, I just want to encourage you that we need to be faithful in all that we do.  And our lives are full, and I know what that means, and you need to do what you need to do in your life, that’s for sure, I couldn’t tell you.  But I just pray that as we look at our schedule over the summer, we would kind of think together ‘How can we represent the Lord in the way he wants to be represented?’—and that’s in excellence.  And we really don’t have far to go at all, to be honest with you.  Some of you are a little skittish after last April and May when you lived here for two months, set up your tents you know.  But we’re not looking [at doing] that again, we’re just looking at moving along and getting things done.  So, just a thought to consider.

          We are in 1st John chapter 2.  We are going to pick up with verse 12 where we left off last week.  I mentioned a Scripture last week and I’ll mention it again, and we’ll look at this as we continue here.  But Jesus declared in Matthew chapter 24, verse 12, he said in the latter days, lawlessness will abound.  And as a result, and maybe also as the cause of that lawlessness abounding, he said the love of  many will grow cold.  That is, a love for God and a love for other people.  I think of an individual, of course I could give all sorts of stories, I know a number of individuals.  But I think of one man whom I’ve known in the past who was at one time very zealous for the things of the Lord, it was so clear.  He had a real beautiful heart for God, a wonderful hunger in his heart and passion to serve the Lord in any way he could.  And it was clear, as you look at this man’s life, he was just laying his life down for God.  But then for some reason, I’m not sure why, but he started to get wrapped up into his appearance, the way he looked.  And with that, and that certainly seemed like an innocent thing at first, something that was harmless, something that was fine, but as I watched his life, it started to consume him, he started to invest a lot of his energies and time and his means to just work on his appearance.  And then I remember when this individual started to hang out with some of the old gang, some of the old friends, friends from before Christ.  And then even hearing him tell stories of how on the weekend he’d been at a nightclub or whatever.  I remember hearing these things, and I began to warn him, I began to tell him, ‘It seems you’re getting on a dangerous path here.  Your heart seems to be getting distracted.  You seem to be drifting.’  Of course, he had excuses, he had his reasons, didn’t see anything wrong in what he was doing.  Of course there’s freedom in Christ.  But then the course continued on, and he really started to change, and in an interesting way, he started to become and appear like he used to before he was in Christ.  Eventually his life appeared in a way that there seemed to be very little hunger for the things of God, very little dedication to the Lord.  And rather, he was all wrapped up into the things of the world.  And I’m not sure how he is today, but I watched that.  And the last I knew him, that’s where he was.  Of course I could think of others just like that, people I have known.  I had a list of stories, and I had to just cut them down so we could get through this study.  But I’m sure we all could think of stories, people who at one time seemed to have a real sweet love for the Lord, some even being greatly used by God, maybe being used by God in our own lives.  But now instead they’re consumed with the worries and the ways of the world.  Of course, this is something that isn’t unique to this time period, in this modern day.  It’s been something that’s been occurring since the start of the Church, even Paul in his epistles and letters, he mentions people that he knew where the same thing occurred.  There’s this man, Demos, that Paul mentions.  Evidently this man served with Paul.  And when Paul was there under house arrest in Rome, he mentions Demos, he sends along greetings from Demos to Philemon when he writes the Epistle, the letter to Philemon.  And then when he writes the church in Colossi, he sends along greeting from Demos, and we assume that Demos was with him while he was suffering, while Paul was suffering and going through such a hard time.  He was a man, evidently comforting him and serving him, a man that clearly loved the Lord, to be set apart with Paul at that time.  But then when Paul writes his final words that he contributes to the Bible, his 2nd letter to Timothy, just a little bit before Paul’s death, he says to Timothy, he says, “Be diligent to come to me quickly…”  And why?  He says, “for Demos has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica.”  This man was with him through some hard times.  This man seemed to have a zeal for the Lord.  But then there’s this note, one of the last things Paul even notes, that we have in the Bible, is this man Demos seems to have turned his heart from the Lord, and is now seeking after the world.  This man’s love was stifled somehow by the love of the things for the world.    We think, too, of the church at Ephesus, the entire church, you know, Jesus later admonishes this precious church [the very church the apostle John made his headquarters at, as the last living apostle].  He admonishes them in Revelation chapter 2, verse 4, he says “I have this against you, that you have left your first love.  Remember therefore from where you have fallen and repent and do the first works, or else I’ll come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place unless you repent.”  And of course these things are sad to see, though it certainly does happen.  And so it is when the light and the fire that is in a believer’s heart is then stifled, as they are lured back into seeking after the things of the world.  And so, in the Scriptures, we have the repeated warnings to ourselves about not allowing this to happen to us.  And I can say to you this morning that, you know, I look at my life, and I desire very much, I tell the Lord, “I want to be faithful to the end, I don’t want to be one of these statistics, Lord.”  And I know, just because I’m a pastor today that doesn’t mean that there isn’t the potential in me to become one of these statistics, one of these folks that like a Demos, that is like in one place and then later is kind of back to where they were before.  I don’t want to be one of these statistics, but I can also say to you this morning, and I’m sure we would all agree, there is a great battle going on all around us.  So many things seeking to distract our attention.  So many things seeking to allure us away from following God and doing what is right.  In fact, I wonder at times, in this present hour, in this present age, if there’s not more instruments and tools in the hands of the enemy, resources that he has available to seek to distract me and allure me from the ways of the Lord.  Weapons and tools to deceive and draw people and their hearts, Christians from the ways of the Lord.  Our TV’s are screaming at us, our radios are blaring, our computers are flashing their images and their messages.  We walk the streets, we go to work, we drive to the store, and there’s the billboards and the magazines and the advertisements calling out to us.  Even the people around us, their conversations, their actions so often seem to battle against our understanding and our desire to follow after God.  But this is what Jesus said, he said “in the last days lawlessness will abound…” and it’s either as a result or maybe it’s part of the cause, “but the love of many will grow cold”, the love of many.  I think that’s a statement about the condition of the Church.  The love of many, in the other translation, says “shall wax cold”, you know, when it’s like liquid, when it starts to solidify, when there isn’t that heat anymore.  I guess the heat and the fire going out of a heart, it starts to wax cold.  Well with that, what are we to do?  What can we do, what can we learn that will help us not become part of these statistics?  What will enable us to run the Christian race faithful to the end?  I started it that way, because I think John has some things to say here, some things that will give us insight today, and some encouragement that will help us in this matter.  So let’s say a word of prayer and we’ll begin with verse 12.  ‘Lord, as we look at these Scriptures together it is a true statement that you say, in fact, Jesus you say in another time that when you return to the earth, ‘Will the Son of Man find any faith?’, referring just to the state of that time, that men will grow worse and worse.  There’s another Scripture, and men, rather than loving others, will love themselves, and love pleasure, and love the things of the world.  But yet, Lord, as Christians, in our heart we want to be faithful, we want to love you, we don’t want to be distracted, want to faithfully serve you, have passionate hearts for you.  But at the same time, there’s such a battle.  So many things, even that have moved into our own homes, our workplace, all around us, seeking to grab our attention, seeking to knock us off course.  But Lord, as we have this time in the Word, we ask even now you’d give us just eyes to see, help us understand.  I pray that we would grow in faith at the of hearing and studying your Word.  That when we depart this place today, we would be better equipped for the battle, and we’d run and press on all the more in our faith.  And we ask this Lord, in Jesus name.  Amen.’ 


Words of encouragement


          Verses 12-14, “I write to you little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake.  I write to you fathers, because you have known him who was from the beginning.  I write to you young men, because you have overcome the wicked one.  I write to you, little children, because you have known the Father.  I have written to you, fathers, because you have known him whose from the beginning.  I have written to you, young men, because you are strong and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one.”    Now John does not want his audience, that includes you and I today, to become discouraged in this battle that’s around us.  So now he seeks to encourage us by reminding us of certain realities that will help us press on in this race.  You remember, he already told us about having a true relationship with God.  And that relationship with the Lord will be proved through obedience to God’s commands, and that includes love, of course a sincere love for God, that command to love, and also a love for others.  At the same time, John understands, man the struggles we face as believers in a dark world.  So before he continues, before he continues with those very strong points he has been making, he now stops and gives some words of encouragement, some things that will help us, get us up, maybe if we’re discouraged.  The first thing he reminds us of is (1) true grace.  That is, as believers in Jesus Christ, we can be confident that our sins are forgiven.  You know, as we note here in verses 12 to 14, he addresses three groups of people in the Church, that is the little children, the fathers, and the young men.  Now at the beginning of that verse 12 he mentions “little children.”  What does he mean by “little children”?  Is he talking to the little kids downstairs?  The word literally means “born ones”.  And commentators take it either to mean “the young believers in the Church”, or maybe “all of the believers in the Church”, you know, all the “born ones”.   As you look at commentators, they go back and forth.  But either way you take it, whether you take it as young believers or all believers, you can still apply it to all believers.  And that is because all believers were once young believers.  And the truth is, John has already shown us, as born again Christians [or Messianic believers] we have an advocate, verse 2 of chapter 2, with the Father.  We have an advocate when we sin, Jesus Christ the righteous, who is also the propitiation for our sins, and therefore we are forgiven, forgiven of our sins.  So John, he’s been exhorting us, and possibly he knows, possibly as he’s making some of these strong statements, maybe some have become heavy hearted, some have become discouraged, just due to the battle that’s raging around them in the many things that they struggle with.  They want to obey, they want to love, but they find themselves being lured so often, being distracted so often, find themselves in places they don’t want to be.  But if so, before John continues, he wants to remind us of God’s grace.  I tell you, that can bring wind back into the sails of our boats, you know it can get us going again.  There’s a story of Robert Robinson, the author of the hymn “Come Thou Fountain of Every Blessing”.  This man lost the happy communion of the Saviour which he once enjoyed.  And in his declining yeas he wandered into the byways of sin.  As a result he became deeply troubled in spirit.  Hoping to relieve his mind, he decided to travel.  And of course, in his journeys, as he became acquainted with a young woman on spiritual matters, she asked him of what he thought of a hymn she had just read.  To his astonishment he found it to be none other than his own composition.  He tried to evade her question, but she continued to just press him, she wanted some insight, she wanted some answers.  Well suddenly he began to weep.  With tears streaming down his cheeks he said “I am the man who wrote that hymn many years ago.  I’d give anything to experience that joy I knew then.”  Although greatly surprised, she then reassured him that the streams of mercy mentioned in his song still flowed.  Mr. Robinson was deeply touched, turning his wondering heart to the Lord, he was restored to full fellowship to Jesus Christ.  Amazing, huh?  I mean, we sing that song, you know, in churches.  Beautiful song, what a place he was in when he wrote that song, but later, in the midst of sin, living in the world.  But then, the grace of God is really what got him going, the grace of God.  I’m sure he’d gotten discouraged living the way he was, but it was the grace of God, that was a reminder, there was still streams of mercy to you, man.  And maybe you’re here today.  John’s been speaking to you as we’ve been going through, and you’re discouraged and heavy hearted.  You maybe remember better days, where you walked with the Lord.  But this morning, understand the grace of God, and the truth is again, as we’ve been told each week, if you confess your sin right now to the Lord and repent of your sin, you sure can, he’ll forgive you and cleanse you and heal you, and he’ll bring that sweetness, flood that love right back into your heart again.  It is true.  It is true.  Well if you can relate to Robert Robertson’s story, then I pray John’s word here, “Little children, I write to you because your sins are forgiven you.”  Interesting, he says, “for his name’s sake.”  I like that part.  He’s just saying it’s all about Jesus, Jesus is everything.  My forgiveness isn’t dependant on how I feel right now, forgiveness is dependant upon Jesus and his name sake, it’s dependant upon the work that he’s already accomplished on the cross.  It’s a done deal.  So that’s the basis of my assurance and confidence that I’m forgiven.  Well, the next group that John addresses in verse 13 is the fathers. 


The fathers

That Greek word that he uses implies an older person, we would assume somebody mature in the faith.  John reminds them of how they have “known him”, that is Jesus, who is from the beginning.  So this is a statement about true relationship.  We have true grace and we have true relationship that John writes about to encourage.  These mature believers over the years have grown in their knowledge, their experiential knowledge of their Lord.  Their walk with Jesus has grown tighter and more intimate.  They have learned that there’s no greater or more exciting thing than knowing Jesus Christ intimately.  That’s what he’s saying, “You’ve known him from the beginning.”  You’ve known him, not just about him, you’ve known he’s God, he’s existed forever, you know him in his awesomeness and his goodness.  They know, these fathers, they know there is nothing in the world that comes close to comparing with Jesus, that he indeed is more precious than silver, more costly than gold, and more beautiful than diamonds, as we sing in that little praise song.  You know, it being Father’s Day, this is the text we end up in.  I take the opportunity here just to exhort the dads for a moment, and my own self.  God is saying to us, just in his timing here on Father’s Day, that there’s nothing more in life.  There’s nothing more in life.  There’s nothing better in life than knowing God, knowing Jesus Christ intimately and walking closely with him.  And truly, today on Father’s Day growth in my relationship with the Lord, that’s where it’s at, if I’m going to ensure that I’m going to be a good dad, a good husband.  That’s where it’s at, man, a walk with Jesus Christ, an intimate walk with him.  That is what ensures victory.  So, to the dad’s, the question, is growing in intimacy with the Lord your greatest desire?  Is it your greatest desire?  Is that how your wife, is that how your children will highlight your life, I mean, there on your tombstone they’ll say “This man loved Jesus Christ.”  Will they note the golf?  Will they note your hobbies? Will they note your cars, your collections?  [Speaking of that reminds me of this large tombstone, built like a display case, with a glass front on it, and on display is a model sailboat, and all this guy’s sailing trophies.  It is in  a roadside graveyard on the right, in Kittery Maine as you drive down Route 103 towards Kittery Point.]  Or will they say “This dad of mine, man, he loved Jesus, and what an effect it had upon my life…”  You know, it’s Father’s Day, and God says to the dads, “you know him, as born-again believers, you know him.”  But man, may we grow in that knowledge of Jesus Christ.  Sure there’s a lot of distractions, but we also have choices we can make.  That is for sure.  Having a true relationship though with Jesus Christ obviously isn’t just limited to older people, older in the Lord, more mature believers.  So as you see there, John also says in verse 13, “I write to you little children, because ye have known the Father.”  I mean, they have a relationship too.  All these things can be applied to any believer.  Certainly they know God.  So John is just giving this gentle reminder that there is nothing else that is needed, we have all that we need.  We have grace, and we’ve got God, we’ve got a relationship.  The word for “little children” in verse 13 is not the same Greek word that he uses in verse 12, however, it’s the patia in verse 13, and in verse 12 it’s the word technia.  The Greek word technia indicates more than anything, birth, being part of a family by virtue of birth.  But the word patia simply stresses immaturity.  So as commentators go through, and I’ve seen them reverse it, one will take it as meaning the young in the Church, spiritually, those that are new in the Lord, and the other one they’ll take to applying to all the Church, like verse 1 of chapter 2 where John says “My little children”, he’s talking to everybody.  Or they reverse it the other way, and patia itself, that word can mean a term of endearment, just like technia can for the young and old.  So they both can go both ways.  Well, the last group in these verses that John writes to is “the young men.”  The Greek word here indicates those who are in their prime, vigor, the vigor of manhood to age 40 or so.  And if you are well beyond that, I don’t mean to say you’re old, that’s just what the Greek word means.  [laughter]  But, I guess 37 years of age sort of like me, and of course he just refers to the males here, I mean, this applies the ladies too, the gals.  His reminder to them is that they have overcome the wicked one.  Man, that’s a great reminder.  Interesting, in these verses, he starts with “I write…I write” and then a little later he says “I have written…I have written.”  He repeats himself.  When the Bible repeats itself, it’s because there’s something important for us to learn, there’s an emphasis upon it.  And of course, any good teacher also repeats himself.  So John repeats himself, and he knows this is vital encouragement that the audience needs.  So he twice says to the young men, “you have overcome.”  And why have they overcome, well, he gives the reason, this point of overcoming, true strength, true grace, true relationship, and true strength, and those are all real encouragements to us today.  He’s saying to them that they have the resources which have made them strong, and that isn’t physical strength, that’s strong in integrity, strong in character.  And because of that, they have been enabled to overcome the wicked one, Satan.  What does he specifically mention as the source of their strength?  He says in verse 14, “You are strong and the word of God abides in you”, and it’s because of the Word of God abiding in them that they are strong.  These are men that have grown, these are women that have grown, they’ve gone down a distance in their Christian faith, they’re chewing on the Word of God.  And they have been growing strong spiritually and seeing victory in their life.  Of course, just knowing the Word, just knowing the Word and quoting the Word, that doesn’t give me victory.  It’s that point of abiding in the Word.  I’ve known plenty of men, even women, that can just quote the Scriptures.  You know them, maybe extended family, or neighbors, coworkers, man they just rattle it off.  But there’s absolutely no godliness in their lives.  It’s not just knowing it in your head, man, it’s abiding in the Word.  It’s rather saying “I abide by the Word, therefore I will not do these things that are contrary to the Word of God.”  [Go back to the previous three sermon transcripts to see what that means.]  That’s what he says, “you abide in the word” and therefore you don’t do these other things.  Therefore you have the strength to overcome.  We have a clear picture of this in Jesus when he was tempted.  Jesus as a man, not eating for forty days or drinking for forty days, incredible weakness.  Satan knows it, Satan comes to tempt him.  But it isn’t just that Jesus quotes the Scripture, Jesus lives by the Scripture.  So as Satan seeks to deceive him and to allure him he comes back and says “No way, man.  No way.  I obey the Word of God, and here’s a Scripture, this, what you’re telling me to do, I would violate this.  I abide in these things, so therefore Satan I won’t do those things.”  Twenty three years ago on my fourteenth birthday, 1980, February 9th, my grandfather gave me a Bible, and in the Bible, in the cover as I opened it up it said “To ……… from Herbert,” my grandfather, in fact I was going to get that name Herbert, but I got my name instead, my mom couldn’t say the name Herbert, she’s French, so she couldn’t say it, so I got my name…  But underneath that there was the date, and it said “Reading this book will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from reading this book.”  My grandfather wanted me to know then, you know, twenty three years ago, that as a young man I can overcome Satan by the Word of God, having the Word of God in me.  Abiding by it, growing.  That encourages me, because there is a battle out there.  Sometimes I’m saying, ‘Man, it’s such a battle.  I’m so weak.  What do I do?’  And God says “Get in the Word.  Chew on the Word.  Let it become part of you, the way you think, the way you reason, the things you do.  You’ll find the strength to overcome.”  So John encourages us by reminding us that we have true grace, true relationship, true strength.  And now he continues.  He continues to help us in this battle by declaring a few things about the love of the world.

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