Last week, Zachary preached from John 21 on how we need to love Jesus more, love what He loves, and follow Him. My original plan for this week was to preach a new series on getting your life on track. But, the Lord knows what we need and He had other plans! When preparing for Sunday’s message, the Lord led me to 1 John 2. The word “know” is used 13 times in this chapter. I believe there are three things we need to know going into a new year, so that we can know God and love Him more.
A Word of Encouragement
In verses 12-14 we read of three groups of people – little children, fathers, and young men. We also read some encouraging things about them – their sins are forgiven, they know the Lord, and they have overcome the wicked one! God’s family is made up of people of all ages and stages. The three groups named in this passage have physical and spiritual meaning. They represent physical ages, yes, but these are also stages of the Christian life. We read, “Children… your sins are forgiven.” That is the starting place, but we need forgiveness daily. Fathers are those who have known God for a long time. Paul is an example. Even Paul said he wanted to know Him more!
Our strength comes from the work of Christ and the Word of God. “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (Eph. 6:10). Whatever you are going through, it is only going to make you stronger. For many of you, God will give you the victory to be overcomers in the new year! Regardless of where you are in your walk with God, none of us have arrived. Let’s grow and go forward in our walk with the Lord this year. Let’s take our next step spiritually so that we are continually growing closer to Him.
A World of Entanglement
Verse 15 says, “Do not love the world or the things in the world….” God is love and we are to love one another, but there is a love that God hates. “Love not the world….” We are not to love the gift more than the giver! Instead of giving you a list of things to avoid, I want you to understand that worldliness is anything that excludes God, or any activity or attitude that keeps you from loving God. It is not a place you go or a particular thing you do. It is a perspective on life. It is a secular attitude about living. What do you spend your time on? What do you spend your money on? God is not against hobbies, fun, enjoyment, vacations, sports, etc., as long as HE is first in your life. The world cannot deliver what it promises and it cannot give you what you really need. What you really need is God, forgiveness, and salvation. Verse 17 says, “…the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” Don’t be like Demas in 2 Timothy 4:10, “Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world…” Don’t forsake Christ and His church, entangled with a love of this world.
A Weapon of Empowerment
In verse 18, John warns that it is the last hour, that the Antichrist is coming, and that many antichrists have come. Our time on this earth is limited. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow. And, we know without a doubt that the spirit of the antichrist is alive and well on earth now. The goal of the devil is to keep you from growing spiritually. Satan attacks the church from without and within. He plants people to cause confusion. “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things” (v. 20). The anointing is like a red flag in your spirit alerting you when things aren’t right. False teaching and false teachers are everywhere. There is nothing more exciting than seeing people saved, and nothing more disturbing than to see those who have a heart for God get messed up in false religions. Believers are anointed to accomplish our assignment. The same power that raised Jesus from the grave lives in us! The Holy Spirit is our teacher. He leads us and guides us into all truth. We must abide in Him so that we will grow stronger spiritually and not be deceived.