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Read Introduction to 1 John

 

“I write to you, fathers,
Because you have known Him who is 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.”
 
 
John wrote five books of the New Testament: John, the three epistles and Revelation. 1 John is the sequel to the gospel of John. John wrote the gospel to show to believe on Christ (Jn 20:31). He wrote 1 John to show Christians how to fellowship with God (1:3,4). He directs 1 John toward different classifications of believers into a threefold division. 
 
1 John is the epistle of assurance. That is why the word “know” occurs 38 times in the epistle. 
 
We now come to the second series of three statements about maturity. The first series stated the minimal spiritual experience for each phase of the Christian life (2:12-13b). 
 
The second series states the highest spiritual experience for each phase (2:13c-14). 
 
·         Children know the Father in initial fellowship
·         Young men [youths] gain victory over the world system
·         Fathers [mature Christians] are in a condition of spiritual maturity
 
I write to you, fathers,
 
John writes almost 40 years after Paul visited the readers of 1 John in Ephesus (Ac 18:19). Some were established believers. They knew the Lord in fellowship through long experience. 
 
Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.
 
The words “have known” mean that they knew God with continuing experiential results. They knew more than facts about Him but they personally fellowshipped with Him. There is a difference between knowing about President George W. Bush and knowing him personally. 
 
The perfect tense in the Greek indicates that these mature believers came to a state of maturation in knowing the Lord. They fell in love the Lord because of their understanding of what He did for them. 
 
The “wicked one” is Satan (2:14; 3:12; 5:18,19). The word “wicked” means pernicious (acts that cause detriment to others). A pernicious person seeks to drag others down with him. This is exactly what Satan did. These believers in the teenage phase of their spiritual life learned how to cope with the corrupting influence around them. 
 
The Gnostics of the first century had a distorted idea of the knowledge of God. John counteracted their false claims about knowing God by putting emphasis on knowing God personally and intimately.   True knowledge of God is more than factual; it is personal. 
 
Jn 17: 3And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
 
PRINCIPLE: 
The outstanding characteristic of an adult Christian is his spiritual maturity. 
 
APPLICATION: 
One characteristic of a spiritual father is that they reproduce themselves. They lead others to Christ. Have you developed enough in the Lord that you lead others to Christ? Have you reproduced yourself in the faith even once? 
 
1 Co 4: 15 “For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.”
 
God characterizes mature believers as having 1) knowledge of the Word of God, 2) wisdom, 3) faith to apply truth to experience, 4) orientation to the principle of grace and 5) maximum edifice in their Christian experience. 
 
The ultimate aim of the Christian life is to know God fully. Those who arrive at maturity have the highest station in God’s eyes. 
 
Ph 3: 10 “…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death”
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