A Letter to Little Children

Text: 1 John 2:1

In John’s first epistle, he referred to his audience as “little children” seven times. These were not literal “little children,” but he was referring to Christians. This lesson considers the seven instructions John gives to the “little children” to see what we should do today.

Do Not Sin (1 John 2:1)

  • This does not mean God demands sinless perfection – this is not possible (1 John 1:8); God knew that man was fallible so He sent Jesus (1 John 2:1-2)
  • But this is the goal – that we do not sin (1 John 2:1; Matthew 5:48)
  • In order to have fellowship with God, we must walk in the light (1 John 1:5-7) and keep His commandments (1 John 2:3-6)

Your Sins Have Been Forgiven (1 John 2:12)

  • It is important that Christians not forget this fact – sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2); when we were separated from God in sin we had no hope (Ephesians 2:12)
  • If we fail to appreciate the fact that our sins were forgiven, we will not grow as we should (2 Peter 1:5-9)
  • Also, if we forget, we will be prone to stumble back into sin (2 Peter 1:9-10)

Abide in Christ (1 John 2:28)

  • How do we abide in Christ? … by having His word abide in us (1 John 2:24; John 15:4, 7)
  • What is the result of Christ, through His word, abiding in us? … obedience (1 John 2:5-6, 28-29; 3:24)
  • This gives us confidence (1 John 2:28)

Let No One Deceive You (1 John 3:7)

  • The deception John warned about came from those who were minimizing sin – as we have already seen, God expects us to keep from sin and obey Him (1 John 2:1, 3-6, 29)
  • Broader application – do not be deceived by false teachers (1 John 2:26; 2 John 7)
  • How to keep from being deceived – be alert and know your Bible (Romans 16:18; 2 John 8; Acts 20:27-32)

Love in Deed and Truth (3:18)

  • It is essential that Christians love others, just as much as obeying the Lord’s commands (1 John 3:10) – they were to love God and their brethren (1 John 4:16-21)
  • We must love “in deed” (1 John 3:18) – not enough to just talk about it; walking in love requires action (1 John 3:17)
  • We must love “in truth” (1 John 3:18) – not just any deed; we must do those things which are authorized (1 John 5:3; Galatians 6:10; Colossians 3:17)

You Are From God (1 John 4:4)

  • The context in which this reminder is found is talking about conflict (1 John 4:1-6) – Christ vs. antichrist (v. 3); God vs. the world (v. 4-5); truth vs. error (v. 6)
  • We live in the midst of a spiritual war (2 Corinthians 10:3-5) – but do not fear; God is greater than the world
  • The Lord will be victorious (Revelation 17:14) – we will be victorious if we remain faithful to Him (Romans 8:37)

Guard Yourselves from Idols (1 John 5:21)

  • The children of Israel were warned against serving idols (Exodus 20:3-4)
  • Often included graven images (KJV) – but idols are not limited to that (Colossians 3:5); they are any object of devotion that rivals God in our hearts
  • We must guard against idols today – we cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24)

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