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The Christian Family
1 Jn. 2:12-14

Because of our faith in Christ, we are family. Spiritual family not physical family. We are brothers and sisters in Christ. We love one another as commanded by Him and because of love we can prove that we are God’s children. God is our Father and we are His children. We can say therefore that our text refers to all believers. In the eyes of the Lord we are all equal, however, when it comes to spiritual maturity, we have various differences which we will try to explain here.

I. Levels of maturity:
A. Fathers
1. Fathers would speak of mature believers
2. They have been well acquainted with God the Father for a long time.
3. They have enjoyed deep fellowship with Him, the Eternal One.
4. They have grown up in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18).
5. Fathers are to the family circle what elders or overseers are to the church aspect of Christian fellowship
B. Young men
1. They refer to strong warriors and workers.
2. They are the spiritually able-bodied members of the family.
3. They have mastered the word of God in study and have mastered and overcome
the enemy, the evil one, Satan and his army.
4. Like the Lord Jesus Christ, they have defeated Satan using the Word God.
5. Their strength comes from feeding the Word of God.
C. Little Children
1. They are the new converts. They are referred to as “babes in Christ” (1 Cor. 3:1; Gal. 4:19; Heb. 5:12-13.
2. They are learners, not grown spiritually though some of them are already adults maybe even middle aged. Whatever their physical age are, they are growing spiritually.
3. They have already come to know God the Father, not as deeply as the fathers and the young men do, but still they are members of the family and they are dear to the God the Father as any others in the family.
4. How will they grow into being the young men in the family? By making good use of the Word of God. It is food for strength and sword for victory in our daily life.

Illustration 1: Four Stages Of Christian Life
I saw at Braemar, near the Queen’s castle at Balmoral, four emblems: A tree by the water, lilies of the valley, a vine in process of pruning, and waving palms. The four together represent the four stages of Christian life. First, growing through the truth; second, blossoming into beauty; third,
undergoing chastisement; and fourth, joyful, final triumph.
Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations: Signs of the Times.

Illustration 2: Characteristics of a Mature Faith
In a national study of Protestant churches done in 1990, Peter Benson and Carolyn Eklin surveyed hundreds of people and distilled seven characteristics of a mature faith. You may not agree with everything on their list, but it’s still instructive to look at their conclusions.
1. Trusts in God’s saving grace and believes firmly in the humanity and divinity of Jesus.
2. Experiences a sense of personal well-being, security, and peace.
3. Integrates faith and life, seeing work, family, social relationships, and political choices as part of one’s religious life.
4. Seeks spiritual growth through study, reflection, prayer, discussion with others
5. Seeks to be part of a community of believers who give witness to their faith and support and nourish one another.
6. Holds life-affirming values, including commitment to racial and gender equality, affirmation of cultural diversity, and a personal sense of responsibility for the welfare of others.
7. Serves humanity, consistently and passionately, through acts of love and justice.

II. What they know in common.
A. Their sins are forgiven (v. 12)
1. The author of forgiveness is God alone (Mk. 2:7)
2. The channel of forgiveness is Christ (Acts 13:38).
3. The foundation of forgiveness is the blood of Christ (Eph. 1:7).
4. Christians have been forgiven of all sins (Ps. 103:3; 130:4; Jer. 31:34; 36:3; Acts 5:31; Rom. 4:7; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14; 2:13; 1 Jn. 2:12),
5. We are to forgive others (Lk. 6:37; 2Cor. 2:7,10; Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:13).

Illustration: The Sign of the Cross
“Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any; even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye”(Col. 3:13)
Before Louis XII became King of France he suffered great indignities and cruelties at the hand of his cousin Charles VIII. He was slandered, thrown into prison, kept in chains and constant fear of death.
When he succeeded his cousin to the throne, however, his close friends and advisers urged him to seek revenge for all these shameful atrocities. But Louis XII would not hear to any of the suggestions of these whisperers in his court. Instead they were amazed to see him preparing a list of all the
names of men who had been guilty of crimes against himself. Behind each name they noticed he was placing a red cross.
His enemies, hearing of this list and the red cross placed behind each name by the king himself, were filled with dread alarm. They thought that the sign of a cross meant they were thereby sentenced to death on the gallows. One after the other they fled the court and their beloved country. But King
Louis XII learning of their flight called for a special session of the court to explain his list of names and the little red crosses. “Be content, and do not fear,” he said in a most cordial tone. “The cross which I drew by your names is not a sign of punishment, but a pledge of forgiveness and a seal for
the sake of the crucified Savior, who upon His Cross forgave all His enemies, prayed for them, and blotted out the handwriting that was against them.” Heartwarming Bible Illustrations.

B. They know that through Christ, they have overcome the devil (v. 13)
1. To overcome means to be victorious, to subdue.
2. The Word of God teaches us that believers can overcome sin (1 Jn. 5:4, Rom. 6:14, 1 Cor. 10:13)
3. We can be victorious against sin and the devil because of the Lord Jesus Christ working in on us and the Holy Spirit (1 Jn. 4:4)
4. “They overcame by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony” (Rev. 12: 11). We may know that it is through their faith in that atoning blood that they were able to overcome.
C. They “know” they have fellowship with both the Father (v. 14) and the Son (vv. 13- 14)
1. They have walked with Him and talked with Him, and He has become dearer and nearer and more real to them than any earthly friend.
2. By constant and regular prayer, they have experienced fellowship with the Lord.
3. In good times and difficult times, they call upon the name of the Lord giving thanks always, and praising Him.
4. Maintaining fellowship requires separation from evil and confession of sin (1 Jn. 1:5-9; 1 Cor. 10:20-21; 2 Cor. 6:14; Eph. 5:11).
D. They are strong and the Word of God abideth in them (v. 14).
1. Physical strength is not what John mean here. The young men indeed are strong
physically but the real strength is spiritual strength.
2. The Lord wants us to be strong not only physically but most of all spiritually. (Jos. 1:9, Neh. 8:10, Isa. 40:31, Isa. 41:10, Eph. 3:16, 6:10).
3. Believers can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth them (Phil. 4:13).
4. Spiritual strength comes from the knowledge of the Word of God and from
applying it into our lives.
5. Words of God must be kept into our hearts are it is written in Ps. 119.11, Deut. 6:6, Deut. 11:18, Rom. 10:8, Col. 3:16.

III. Conclusion:
Within the Christian family, levels of maturity differ. Others are more matured than the rest. As children of God, we are all forgiven from our sins and have overcome the devil. Do you belong to God’s family? Would you like to be a member of God’s family now? Repent from your sins and receive Christ as your personal Saviour.

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