John changes his tone now and even introduces four verses of poetry. He has spoken strong words on sin and challenged the heresy that has crept into the Church. Now he wants to reinforce the Truth that the Gospel is all inclusive. Here in these few verses John shows us the keys to living and growing in God’s Kingdom. We have the keys of the Name and the Word, so we have to learn to use them before the devil has us tied up in knots.
He addresses all the readers as ‘dear children’ from the position of a senior church leader. His pastoral heart speaks on a softer more intimate level and shows his love and excitement for all those who have overcome the evil one and received forgiveness for their sins. He sees them coming together as his family. He has got over the difficult issues now he tries to focus on ‘life issues’ like the right attitude in the world, dealing with the devil and loving one another.
The Name of Jesus, 1 John 2:12
‘Forgiven on account of His Name’ 1 John 2:12. This is the basic foundation of the Gospel and cannot be compromised. The Name of Jesus is the only way we can have our sins forgiven. This amazing gift must be received for ourselves, no one else can make this choice for us not even our parents, or family or country it is a completely personal decision. When John talks about the name of Jesus he understands a name to be a picture of the nature of that person, so Jesus is the rescuer and Saviour.
In Acts 2:38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”. So the power for forgiveness of sin was found in the Name. Then Peter pointed out in Acts 3:16 “By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through Him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see”. So all we need for healing is faith in the Name of Jesus Christ. The Name of Jesus is totally vital to the guarantee of our eternal future and our victory over all the wily ways of the devil, Acts 4:12. If someone we love calls us and says ‘please pay my massive debt as I can’t’ providing we have the ability to clear that debt we would willingly do so. So Jesus by going to the Cross paid everyone’s debt of sin willingly so all we have to do is call out His Name, “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved….” Romans 10:9.
Salvation is that simple so then it is open to all, children, young people and ‘fathers’. “Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth” Philippians 2:9-10. The name of Jesus is also available to use for our growth from children, through our youth, to being fathers and mothers in the family of Christ. It is the name of Jesus that gives us the authority as a child of God, to reinforce Satan’s defeat that Jesus already bought at the Cross; but the devil keeps deceiving us to believe he still has some power. It is time to put the devil under our feet, and take this authority and remind the devil of the Name of his Victor. Bind yourself to the love and power of God, and the Name of Jesus, then loose angelic forces in His Name to work on your behalf by speaking the Word and see changes to problems in your home, job, Church, money and health Matthew 16:19; Hebrews 1:14. We have heard the Name of Jesus being used every day as a swear word; we forget how powerful His Name is in our mouths as His children. It is a tremendous key to walking in victory and remembering who we belong to and where the enemy should be.
‘The Word of God lives in you’ 1 John 2:13-14
This has to be another key to our growth through all the stages of our Christian journey. John points out that in their growth they have resisted temptation and so they have built themselves up in their faith. They have found that obedience to the Word and using the Word as a weapon (Ephesians 6:17) gives them victory over all the temptations of the enemy. Jesus Himself needed the Word in order to overcome Satan (Matthew 4:1-11) so how much more do we need to put the Word in our hearts. It is so important that the ‘fathers’ in the Church should teach the ‘young men’ the Word of God. Nothing matters more for the future health and strength of Christ’s body. This is the greatest weapon against error in our day and we neglect it at our peril.
Uses for the Bible
- The Bible is the inspired Word of God – 2 Peter 1:20-21
- As we see prophesy fulfilled we know that it is true – Acts 1:16
- God uses the Bible to speak to us daily – Hebrews 4:12-13
- The Bible is our food for our whole life – John 6:35
- The Bible straightens out our thinking – 2 Timothy 3:16-17
- The Bible helps us to stop sinning – Psalm 119:11
- The Bible enables us to have wisdom – Philippians 2:16
- The Bible gives us real life, peace, direction, and encouragement – Romans 15:4; John 6:63
- We receive spiritual victory when we live by the Word – Ephesians 6:13-18
- The Word gives us direction as to how to pray – Ephesians 1:15-22
- The Word is vital for giving us guidance – Psalm 119:105
- If we are given any words of prophecy for our personal situation we can check them against the Word – 2 Peter 1:19-21
- The Bible needs to be studied and searched out – 2 Timothy 2:15; Hebrews 5:11-14
It is so simple to be a growing Christian if we take the authority of His Name and speak the Word, and this only!! Keep note of the verses you do know and keep using them, believing them, and speaking them. As you read the Word (Joshua 1:8) ask God to speak to you and when He does keep a note of what He is saying to you. You will be amazed at how quickly your verses increase and you have a really big arsenal of weapons when the attack comes.
This passage in John shows the right way for our growth, from children to young people, to parenthood. One of the biggest problems for division in the Church today is immaturity. There is a real sense of independent rebellion in the world that has crept into the Church. Immaturity is ‘behaving like a child after you know there is not an excuse to behave like a child’. John repeats his encouragement here to grow up. Just like in the world we would think it peculiar if a child was being fed by a bottle aged fourteen years old, so it is not right as Christians to be still going over the basics of the Christian faith when we have walked with Jesus for some time, Hebrews 5:12-14. The writer to the Hebrews says the same as John that Christians use the solid food of the Word to train themselves to know good from evil. This is vital for all believers. When we look at young people coming to Christ today we see a new zeal for the things of God and a real hunger for the Word of God. They are growing to maturity in Christ far quicker than people who have been Christians for many years. Older ‘fathers’ must not despise the young (1 Timothy 4:12) as age is not an indicator of maturity in Christ, but fruit of the Holy Spirit and zeal are the thermometers of maturity.
Language of the immature is ‘I didn’t mean to hurt you’; ‘It’s not my fault.’ I couldn’t help it’ ‘It’s my past so I will cry if I want to’: ‘Friendly fire’ has killed so many people in the Church more than the enemy fire ever did, and has an amazing ripple effect. We need to be much less tolerant to immaturity in ourselves and to grow up. Galatians 5:15 ‘If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other’. Immaturity can wreck the house of God and we keep making allowances for this even though it is destroying all that some mature members have worked hard to establish in the Church.
The attitude of ‘If I am not getting my way neither will anyone else’ is so far from Jesus Christ. It is the same in a natural family as in the family of God where homes and relationships can be destroyed by those who should be behaving in a mature way and adults not taking their responsibility. Immaturity will always be in the majority both in our homes and in the Church, but we must encourage Christians to grow up fast as this is vital for this day we are living in. There has to be accountability built into our Church structure so that although opinions should be respected, those who feel Church is not going their way can express their opinion. These opinions can be dealt with respectfully and justly without destroying or dividing the house of God.
What are some causes of immaturity?
- Unbelief – Matthew 17:17
- Carnal behaviour – Romans 7:23-24
- Self-centredness – Galatians 5:19-21
- Wrong image of themselves in Christ – Ephesians 1:3-7
- Wrong relationship with God – John 15:5-6
- Rebellion – Romans 13:2
- Laziness – Hebrews 6:12
- Comfort – Luke 12:19-21
- Criticism – Galatians 5:15
- Traditions of men – Matthew 15:6
- Hardness of heart – Ephesians 4:17-18
Some cures for immaturity.
- Establish your beliefs – James 1:2-8
- Walk in the Holy Spirit – Galatians 5:16-18, Galatians 5:25.
- Be God centred – John 17:23
- Focus on who you are in Christ – Romans 8:1-2
- Draw close to God – Hebrews 10:22
- Obey all He tells you to do – 1 Peter 1:14-15
- Enjoy the journey – Psalm 119:105
- Die to self and live for Christ – Romans 6:8-10; Galatians 2:20.
- Live by the Word – Hebrews 4:12-13
- Praise in all things – Philippians 4:4
- Take responsibility – 2 Peter 1:3-4
When lots of immature people get together it can be very noisy, with whining, complaining, strong opinions and fighting over people’s positions. Being immersed in God’s Word and His Presence has got to be the answer to this problem as it is so serious in all churches. “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires”. 2 Peter 1:3-4 Paul spent some of his life trying to rescue Churches which were in danger of dying because of immaturity, like that at Corinth, ‘When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me’. 1 Corinthians 13:11 Put immaturity behind you; don’t be infatuated by position and gossip and your own way.
“Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good”. 1 Peter 2:1-3 God intends for us to grow up so He wants us to feed on the Word. If we wanted to learn about a new subject we would follow a self-help book or get a tutor, how much more when learning about our eternal future and Who has paid the full price for us, should we grow up into Christ. We must move from the milk of the Word described so well in Hebrews 5:12-14 ‘In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil’. So grow up!!
We can only be the women God has designed for us to be in Titus 2:1-8 and we can only be the women this generation needs if we put immaturity behind us and ask the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us, giving us a passion for His Word and then obey it
06 A message for all ages -1 John 2:11-14 Challenge Questions
Read the beginning of these notes on 1 John 2:12 The Name of Jesus
1. Do you realise the importance of the name of Jesus?
2. Is there an area in your life where you feel the devil is having some victory? Read Matthew 16:19 and consider what another verse in the Word says about the situation. Then bind yourself to God’s will for the situation and loose yourself from the enemy’s hold. Ask someone to pray with you if you need this.
Read the notes on 1 John 2:13-14 ‘The Word of God lives in you’.
3. What two points in the list of ‘Uses for the Bible’ do you find most encouraging? Read the verses and write them out here.
4. What area are you not using the Bible for? Write out the verse here.
5. Think of a situation that suddenly happens (eg. Someone is nasty to you; child is bullied) how would you go about finding a relevant Word for that situation? How could you use this to pray?
Read the notes on Grow Up!!
6. What spoke to you from this section?
7. Do you see how immaturity can be a problem in a Church?
8. Do you know other causes for immaturity?
9. What do you think is the best cure for immaturity?
Read the Bible verses 1 John 2:15-17.
10. What do you think is worldliness?
11. What do you think is the best fruit of the Holy Spirit to deal with this problem, Galatians 5:16-26?
12. According to John what cannot live in our hearts alongside worldliness? See also James 4:4
13. What do you think are a) ‘cravings of sinful man’?
b) ‘lust of his eyes’ ?
c) ‘boasting of what he has and does’?
14. Where do these come from according to the Word?
15. How long will the world last? How does this make us see and feel about our precious things?
Read Mark 4:3-9 and Mark 4:13-20
16. What happens to the Word that is given to us if our hearts are full of desires for wealth and other things according to this Word?
17. What could be the long term effect of this?
18. What spoke to you from this passage and how will you act on this?
Read Matthew 6:19-24
19. Where should our treasure be? How do we put it there?
20. What is the test for where our treasure is according Matthew 6:21?
21. How do you think we can choose whom we serve?
22. Read Romans 12:2. How do you see this as an answer to the worldly sin that so easily overcomes us? What do we have to do?
Read the prayer in Lesson one and focus on His love.
Memory Verse ‘Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.’ Romans 12:2