Last week we looked in 1 John, and the importance at looking at our lives in the light and spiritual knowledge of God’s Word. We saw that we must Walk In The Light “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness [in the absence of God’s truth], we lie and do not practice the truth.” (1 Jn 1:5-6) If we don’t stop to examine ourselves in the light of God’s Word, we will certainly walk in darkness. We were shown The Truth About Sin And Being Cleansed that says, “IF we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). We must recognize our sin as sin, not a weakness, and humble ourselves before the Lord in repentance; His grace covers our sin, not our excuses.
We saw The Test of Knowing Him is “whoever keeps His Word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.” (1 Jn 2:3-6) We must KNOW Him, and walk with Him in order to know HOW He walked, so that we can follow in His steps. And we saw a Tell-Tale Sign of Walking in Darkness is not loving one another (1 Jn 2:9-11) Jesus commands us to love one another as He has loved us “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)
John isn’t speaking to the world at large, He is speaking to Christians (1 John 2:12-13) Because:
- your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake
- you have known Him who is from the beginning
- you have overcome the wicked one
- you have known the Father
Here John reveals the secret of growth. “I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the Word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one.” (1 John 2:14b) What makes one who is a spiritual child become a spiritual young man? The Word of God abiding in him! What makes a young man become a father? The Word of God abiding in him! That is what will move him from one stage to another until at last he becomes a father, able to reproduce himself in others.
We have children to advance God’s kingdom: “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Prov 22:6) We begin the Great Commission beginning at home: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matt 28:19-20a).
Ray Steadman says, “Here is the divinely designed instrument of growth: the Word of God. It is absolutely impossible to grow up as a Christian, or as a real man or woman, unless the Word of God abides in you. This is why the devil fights this whole matter of Bible study, the building of your life around the centrality of the Scriptures, and why there is loosed a constant barrage of attack at this level. It is the supremely important thing to move us into maturity. Though the devil cannot stop us from being Christians, he can certainly keep us from becoming strong Christians, and this is exactly the way he does it. He tries to divert our attention and get us off onto spiritual sidetracks. He brings in certain apparent shortcuts that offer to bring us to maturity in an instant. Instant spirituality, instant maturity!”
This passage, remember, says the Word of God “abides” in us. That means a knowledge of the Bible plus obedience to the Spirit. When the Scriptures speak of knowing the Word of God, the meaning is the Word understood in the light of the illuminating, searching power of the Holy Spirit. It takes these two together to produce maturity. It is not a matter merely of taking the teaching of the Word into the mind, but it is something deeper. The Word lays hold of us. We first lay hold of it, and then it lays hold of us, and thus the Word lives, it penetrates to the conscience, it lays hold of the will, it exposes “the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb 4:12b), and that is what produces maturity.
We must be deliberate in our study of God’s Word, asking for the Holy Spirit to reveal His truth so that we can repent of our sin. “But God has revealed [His mysteries] to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God…Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.” (1 Cor 2:10, 12) It is only when we are aligned under God’s truth which abides in us that we are able to “overcome the wicked one.” (1 John 2:14b).