Thursday, March 28, 2024

2024.03.28 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 John 2:12–14

Read 1 John 2:12–14

Questions from the Scripture text: To whom is the apostle writing (1 John 2:12a)? Why (verse 12b)? To whom else is he writing (1 John 2:13a)? Why (verse 13b)? To whom else (verse 13c)? Why (verse 13d)? Whom does he address again in verse 13e? Why is he writing them (verse 13f)? And whom again in 1 John 2:14a? Why (again!) is he writing them (verse 14b)? And whom again in verse 14c? Why (verse 14d)? Strong to do what (verse 14e)?

Who are the great ones on the earth? 1 John 2:12–14 prepares us for the second serial reading in public worship on the Lord’s Day. In these three verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that Christians are the great ones on the earth, whom we should love with a special love.

How important our brethren must be, since the Lord places such an emphasis upon loving them! And this is exactly the point that the apostle now makes in 1 John 2:12–14. Why is the apostle writing to little children? Why, then, fathers? And why youths? In each case, the answer that he gives belongs not to something in their earthly abilities or connections, but in their union with Christ and adoption by the Father. Those who belong to God are the “great ones” on the earth and the most worthy of the apostle’s attention—and yours.

Little children. Little children are often overlooked. But what a great thing a Christian child is! His sin is forgiven. He knows almighty God as “Father.” Dear Christian child, here are the A, B, Cs of the faith for you to hold to as the foundation for all other knowledge and strength: trust in Jesus’s Name for your forgiveness, and know that in Jesus, God is your heavenly Father. The tiniest child who has begun to do this is greater than the most intelligent, strong adult who is without forgiveness and adoption. How much, then, ought we to love and respect those brethren who are little children!

Fathers. Among those to whom this was originally written, those who were elderly might have been famous for whom they knew. When Polycarp was martyred in 155 at the age of 86, one of the things he was most famous for was having known the apostle who wrote this letter. But elderly Christians know someone even greater than an apostle of old. They know “Him Who is from the beginning”! 

There are many old and interesting connections that an elderly unbeliever may have, making him worth spending some time listening to and caring for. But none of them have so great a connection as an elderly believer. Perhaps you, dear reader, are an elderly believer. Here is something of great value that you may contribute to the church: the witness and testimony of one who knows the Creator. How much we ought to respect and love those brethren who are “fathers” in the faith!

Youths. Ordinarily, one who is interested in strength and ability would give special attention to youths: just consider how much attention athletes receive in our culture. But there is a power that is greater than the physical strength, agility, and endurance of a youth: power to “overcome the wicked one” that comes from true strength in the Lord, power that comes by His word abiding in them. 

The John 15:7 youth is more powerful than any college or pro athlete. Christ’s words abide in him or her, and those words overcome even the devil himself (cf. Revelation 12:10–11). Perhaps you are a young person as you read this. Here is the greatest strength that you can have: to abide in Christ and have His words abide in you! How much we ought to respect and love those brethren who are youths!

And these three groups are meant to cover all believers. For, indeed, those who belong to the Lord are the excellent ones on the earth, in whom we ought to delight (cf. Psalm 16:3). 

Dear reader, I hope this passage has rehabilitated for you the way you view and think about people. Let a believers’ connection to the Lord provoke you to great love, respect, and service for him!

Who are some little children in the church? Who are some elderly? Who are some youths? How should we think of them, feel about them, speak of them, and treat them?

Sample prayer:  Lord, forgive us, for we have not valued Your people like we ought. We have treated little children in the church as if they were of little importance, even when they are trusting in Jesus’s Name for forgiveness and have come to know God as Father. We have treated the elderly as if they were of little value, although they have lived a life knowing the Creator of all things. And we have treated the young adults of the church as if their value was in the strength of their youth, rather than in the word of Christ’s power that dwells in them. Indeed, we have not even considered ourselves according to these values. So forgive us, we ask, and grant that we would be conformed to Christ, we ask in His Name, AMEN!

 Suggested songs: ARP197 “Christian Unity” or TPH409 “Blest Be the Tie That Binds” 

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