Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm20111026.htm
THRU THE BIBLE EXPOSITION
1 John: True, Fulfilling Fellowship With God
Part VII: Growing From "Young Men" To "Fathers"
(1 John 2:14, 15-17)
Lesson: Spiritual "Young Men" are to grow into "Fathers" in going beyond relying on God's power, equipping and Word to stop loving the world and its lusts, for the world and God are separate entities, the world is transitory, and fulfillment by fellowship with Christ makes one stay blessed unto eternity.
- We learned in our last lesson out of 1 John 2:12-14, 18-19 that there are three stages of spiritual maturity in believers, that of "Little Children," then that of "Young Men" and finally that of "Fathers."
- 1 John 2:14, 15-17 offers directives for "Young Men", believers in the intermediate level of maturity, to grow on into full spiritual maturity into the "Fathers" stage, and we view it for our edification as follows:
- Growing From "Young Men" To "Fathers," 1 John 2:14, 15-17.
- 1 John 2:14, 15-17 is John's address to "Young Men" identified in 1 John 2:14b that they shift on into spiritual "Fathers." (John G. Mitchell, Fellowship: Three Letters From John , 1974, p. 65-70)
- Accordingly, by way of review, we recall that the believers in the "Young Men" intermediate level of maturity are those who have become spiritually strong and have overcome the Evil One (as follows):
- To be "strong" means one has learned to rely on God's gracious provisions for victory in the angelic conflict (Ephesians 6:10-12) and for Christian life and service (2 Timothy 2:1-2; 1:3-18). He has learned to rely on the Holy Spirit's power (Romans 8:3-4) and gifting (2 Timothy 1:6-7) to function.
- Such "Young Men" have thus overcome the Evil One as they also have relied on the authority of Scripture, becoming well-versed in its contents to cite it in times of need under angelic conflict in particular, much as Jesus did in Matthew 4:1-4, 5-7, 8-11 in His temptation, 1 John 2:14b.
- However, though settled on these things, "Young Men" have the need to stop loving the world and its lusts of the flesh, the eyes and pride of this earthly (bios) life (1 John 2:15-17), for 1 John 2:15 calls them to stop (present imperative with the subjunctive adverb, may, U. B. S. Greek N. T., 1966, p. 815; Dana & Mantey, A Man. Gram. of the Grk. N. T., 1957, p. 301) loving the world and the lusts that are in it.
- These lusts are illustrated in the temptation of Eve in Genesis 3:6: (1) Eve saw that the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was good for food (a lust of the flesh), (2) that it was aesthetically pleasant to the eyes (a lust of the eyes) and (3) that it was desired to make one wise (a pride of life). Ideally, there is nothing wrong with desiring to eat food, to enjoy aesthetic beauty or to want to be wise, but to gratify these desires in violation of God's will as in the case of Eve (see Genesis 2:16-17) makes them lusts.
- John gave three reasons for "Young Men" to stop loving the world in 1 John 2:16-17 (as follows):
- First, the world system and its unbiblical lures toward gratifying the desires of the body, the aesthetic appeal of the mind and the pride of this life, is not of God the Father, but is of the world, 1 John 2:16. In other words, the Lord Who made us and from Whom we gain our existence, sustenance and blessing is absolutely distinct from the realm of this lost world system and the things in it that comprise ungodly lusts, making it foolish for the believer to seek spiritual gratification from the world.
- Second, the world is always passing away, leaving all who love it constantly disappointed, 1 Jn. 2:17a:
- The verb "passeth" (KJV; "pass" NIV) is in the present tense (Ibid., paragetai), meaning the world along with its lusts is constantly in the process of passing away or passing out of fashion.
- Love of the world then leaves one perpetually frustrated as his source of pleasure keeps fading!
- Third, in contrast to the world, those who do God's will are always remaining forever, 1 John 2:17b:
- The verb "abideth" (KJV; "lives" NIV) is in the present tense (Ibid., menei), so that in contrast to the world that is constantly in the process of passing away, he who does God's will, which will in this context is not loving the world and its lusts, is constantly in the process of remaining unto the eternal age of blessing and honorable reward from the Lord, 1 John 2:17b with Revelation 22:12.
- It is thus in the believer's best interest to stop loving the passing world, to find all his fulfillment in fellowship with Christ, "Him that was from the beginning," to be a spiritual "Father," 1 John 2:14a.
Application: May we who are "Young Men" heed 1 John 2:15-17 to become "Fathers" in Christ!