REMINDER :: WHO YOU ARE
John, the disciple of Jesus, wrote a letter (now called "1 John") to the growing number of churches in the generation after Jesus died on the cross. In the first chapter-and-a-half, John reminds his readers that Jesus is real, that there is amazing power and incredible fellowship with him, and that Jesus is the light in the darkness of this world. John also says that believers in Jesus Christ are to be pure in heart and action because Jesus has saved the world from sin. John encourages those who say they follow to Jesus to actually obey God by walking as Jesus did: WAJD. It was very important to John that followers of Jesus Christ would never suffer from Identity Amnesia. He wants believers to never forget who they are.
“I write to you,” John says, “Dear (1) children, (2) fathers, and (3) young men.”
(1) To John, in many ways, the recipients of this letter were his children. He was an old man. He had been with Jesus two generations earlier. John had witnessed Jesus’ miracles, his words, his power and truth, his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, his cleansing of the Temple, his arrest, his crucifixion, his burial and then his resurrection. After that, John had participated in the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ around the world. By the time John writes this letter, fifty-five years or so after the resurrection, Christianity had begun to flourish, extending like veins of life-blood across Europe, Africa and Central Asia. John had outlived his peers, Peter, James, Andrew, Paul, and others, who had all been killed for teaching about Jesus. John became to the early church the father figure who continually taught and reminded them who they were and what they should do. This is who you are, John says. You are my dear children. And even more than that, you are children of God, adopted into his family. It doesn’t matter how old you are, you will always be God’s little kid. Remember that.
(2) Some of you, John says, are fathers too. The New Living Translation gives us the emphasis here: “I am writing you who are mature believers.” Not just those who have children, but those who have grown up and matured in the faith. You have lived through the hardships and weathered the storms of this life as a believer in Jesus Christ. You have responsibility to those who are younger to raise them up in the faith of Jesus Christ. Those of you who are older, who are experienced, and who are mature Christians, you are like fathers in this church family. There are many Christians today that fit into this category. You are fathers of faith in your church. You have lived a life with Jesus and have matured and grown. You have experienced living for God in a world that fights against you. This is who you are, John says. And as a father, you have responsibility to invest in and raise-up the younger generation. One generation proclaims to the next that Jesus Christ is Lord. To those of you who are mature, did you know that are several little kids in your church who don’t have a male or a female role model to help lead them in the way of the Lord? To those of you who are mature, do you know that many of your youth don’t have believing parents and that you could help father them in the faith? Do you know that there are many young adults who could benefit from your direct input in their life. Remember who you are. John says, I write to you, fathers.
(3) Some of you, John says, are young men, or those who are young believers. Not in age, necessarily, but in the faith. I write to you too, John says. Those of you who are young in faith have a passion and a zeal for God that is unmatched. Too often as believers in God grow older, they forget the power of the message of Jesus Christ. You who are younger have a blessing of knowing the newness and vitality of salvation of God. You who are younger in faith are also in the midst of the fire unlike most others. Surrounding you is a world that hates the fact that you love Jesus Christ. You are immersed in a culture that encourages you to lie and to cheat and to harm yourself and others and to seek mediocrity and apathy and to settle for destruction. I write to you, John says, younger, passionate, believers.