Spiritual Developments in God’s Family
1 John 2:12-17
In today’s message, John describes the levels of spiritual developments in the family of God. The children, the newest converts, the young men, representing the growing disciples. And then the fathers as the spiritually mature Christians. This passage must be viewed as a reference to all believers, in their different stages of spiritual development. In here, you will see that it’s not written in the sequence of spiritual growth, rather, it serves as a reminder of their spiritual development.
1. Treat new Christians with gentleness.
“12 I am writing to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name… 14 I write to you, dear children, because you know the Father.” 1 John 2:12;14a.
· New Christians must be fed with spiritual milk – the basic doctrines of our faith.
· They must be reminded over and over again of their forgiveness in Christ.
· They must be reminded that salvation is solely God’s sovereign act.
· Salvation does not rest on human understanding and effort, but on God’s sovereign will and enabling grace alone.
2. Treat your spiritual parents with respect.
“13 I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning… I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning.” 1 John 2:13b;14b.
· The fathers represented the spiritual parents, the elders and the leaders of the church, those who were more spiritually mature.
· They were be reminded that they were once infants themselves, hence, they should be very considerate with new believers.
· Their goal is to see infants grow and walk with the Lord.
· Thus, they must be qualified to do the work. See Titus 1:6-9.
· Those whom God qualified must be given double honour. See 1 Timothy 5:17-20.
Though the above passage speaks of remuneration, spiritual leaders who served with excellence, knowledge of the Word, and spiritual wisdom must be acknowledged before the congregation.
3. Treat growing Christians like teenagers or young adults.
“I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one… I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one.” 1 John 2:13c;14c
· Young, energetic Christians are to be encouraged in the church.
· Leaders must affirm and acknowledge their work before the Lord and the congregation.
Spiritual parents should continue to mentor and provide guidance and counsel growing Christians.