Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

1 John: True, Fulfilling Fellowship With God
Part VIII: Growing From "Little Children" To "Young Men"
(1 John 2:18-27, 28)
  1. Introduction
    1. We learned in 1 John 2:14-17 how "Young Men," believers in the intermediate spiritual maturity level, are to grow into "Fathers," becoming spiritually fully mature in Christ.
    2. Well, immature "Little Children" are to grow into "Young Men," and 1 John 2:18-27, 28 explains this:
  2. Growing From "Little Children" to "Young Men," 1 John 2:18-27, 28.
    1. 1 John 2:18-27 addresses immature believers irrespective of the KJV and NIV translations (as follows):
      1. The KJV uses the term "little children" and the NIV "dear children" in 1 John 2:12 and 18, but the Greek New Testament word in those verses is teknia, that is, offspring of ANY age. (U. B. S. Greek N. T., 1966, p. 815, 817; Abbott-Smith, Manual Lexicon of the N. T., 1968, p. 441-442)
      2. However, the term paidia, "YOUNG children," appears at 1 John 2:14a and 18 in the Greek New Testament; Ibid., U. B. S. Greek N. T., p. 815, 816; Ibid., Abbott-Smith, p. 333.
      3. Thus, John addressed ALL believers in 1 John 2:12 and 28 first to open (v. 12) and then to close (v. 28) his remarks to those in all maturity levels, but he wrote to immature believers in ONLY in 1 John 2:18-27; John G. Mitchell, Fellowship: Three Letters From John, 1974, p. 70-75.
    2. Thus, we study John's remarks to immature "Little Children" in 1 John 2:18-27 (as follows):
      1. The immature have permanently (perfect tense) come to know by experience (egnokate; Ibid., U. B. S. Grk. N. T., p. 815; Ibid., Abbott-Smith, p. 92) God the Father, 1 John 2:13b. The perfect tense signals an act that occurs in the past, the effects of which last up through the present and on into the future, so the perfect tense here also implies unconditional salvation security (J. Gresham Machan, N. T. Grk. For Beginners, 1966, p. 187-188), which truth is expressed later in 1 John 2:25. (See "II, B, 6" below.)
      2. However, such immature "Little Children" often rely on other professing Christians for stability, so they are shaken in disillusionment as some go apostate and deny Christ, or are tempted to follow them and deny Christ. Thus, John explained these are antichrists who plague the local church, 1 John 2:18.
      3. Indeed, John noted God even lets antichrists be exposed by their departure from the body, 1 John 2:19.
      4. Yet, when such professing Christians apostatize, showing they are unbelievers, immature believers are tempted either to doubt their own salvation or to follow the antichrists and deny Christ (1 John 2:20), so John revealed the Holy Spirit gives all true believers absolute knowledge (oidate; Ibid., U. B. S. Grk. N. T., p. 816; Ibid., Abbott-Smith, p. 311) of the truth (1 John 2:21) that those who deny Christ (as God Incarnate, 1 Cor. 12:3; 1 John 4:1-3) are not true Christians, 1 John 2:22-23 with 2:14a.
      5. Immature believers must then let the Scriptural test of Christ's deity and incarnation remain in them, and so fellowship with God the Father and God the Son like "Young Men" do, 1 John 2:24, 14b.
      6. Meanwhile, immature believers must remain confident they themselves still possess eternal life and not let the departure of antichrists make them question their own salvation or Christ's deity, 1 John 2:25.
      7. Immature believers should also trust the discernment provided to them by the indwelling Holy Spirit by which they have been anointed of God (1 John 2:27) to offset the effects of defections by antichrists, 1 John 2:26. Like "Young Men," immature believers must learn to rely on Scripture and the Holy Spirit's power in God's grace for discernment and enabling to offset the temptation for disillusionment or deception due to the acts of those who are actually in Satan's realm, 1 John 2:27 with 2:14b implied.
    3. Closing his section on the maturity levels, John addressed all believers at 1 John 2:28, urging "Little Children," "Young Men" and "Fathers" alike to fellowship with Christ that they might have confidence and not be ashamed before the Lord at the coming of Jesus Christ [at the rapture], 1 John 2:28.
Lesson: Immature believers must shift from relying on other professing Christians for spiritual stability and instead use Scripture and rely on God the Holy Spirit to discern and overcome Satan who tries to lead professing Christian antichrists in the local church to upset the unwary and hurt them spiritually.

Application: If we are immature, "Little Children," may we thus grow into spiritual "Young Men."