12 I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake. 13 I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, children, because you know the Father. 14 I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one. – 1 John 2:12-14 (ESV)
I thought 1-2 Peter would be hard to beat, but it seems we are enjoying our new sermon series on 1 John! As we get older, and especially as we deal with health issues, we all can use some encouragement in the faith. This past Sunday, John took a break from this teaching to simply offer encouragement. And this idea of encouragement is so important, I decided to summarize it again for you this month!
I like what Warren Wiersbe writes about the Christian living in this world. He reminds us that this world is not a natural habitat for a believer. The believer’s citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20), and all his resources for living on earth come from his Father in heaven! Sort of like a scuba diver in water, we need special equipment to survive in this world. And were it not for the Holy Spirit living within us, and the spiritual resources we have in prayer, Christian fellowship, and the Word, we could never “make it” here on earth! And in our fellowship as believers, encouraging one another is a vitally important activity!
Pastor Steven Cole sums up today’s Word well, “Most of us probably remember our defeats much more easily than we can remember our victories. God doesn’t want your defeats to sabotage your Christian walk. His grace means that your sins are forgiven and that you are now his child. Knowing that should not lead you to sin more, but rather to be encouraged to grow more.”
And Cole quotes the German poet, Goethe, who said, “Correction does much, but encouragement does more.” Of course, the Bible has both, in proportion to what we need. Here, John wants to encourage us, no matter where we’re at in our level of maturity. But to be effective, encouragement must be true, not mere flattery.
The truest thing about you is what God says in his Word. If you have trusted in Jesus Christ, God says that your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake. He says that you have come to know him as Father! He wants you to grow strong through his Word, so that you will overcome the Evil One. And as you do, you will grow into a mature believer, who knows him who is from the beginning. And that’s why John wrote these encouraging words!
This summer and always, let’s remember to take the time to encourage one another by reminding each other who we are in Christ: forgiven and with knowledge of God the Father, overcomers of Satan – the Evil One, and also, with intimate knowledge of Jesus Christ – the Eternal Word!