1 John 2:13
I write to you, fathers, because you have known him that is from the beginning. I write to you, young men…
I. First THE "STRONG" YOUNG MEN. Let the strength possessed be in Christ. "Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." That is omnipotent, immutable; that is infallible; and, so often as you feel there is some momentous thing to be accomplished in the cause of God, rely on the person of Christ, and out of His fulness receive grace for grace. This leads us to consider for what purpose these renewals of strength are received. First of all, there is your warfare — you want more strength for that. You will recollect the cry of Jehoshaphat, when the host of his enemies was advancing against his little army, "Oh, our God, wilt Thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon Thee." And he got strength enough. Moreover, this warfare is such a perpetual one, that you want perpetual strength for it. But we also want strength for our walk. It is a rough road. A great deal of it is up-hill. Our walk is "by faith, and not by sight," and amidst its difficulties you want that faith strengthened, so that the Author and Finisher of it may be glorified, and we make some advancement in Divine life. Oh, the vast importance of being kept moving onwards! Moreover, we want strength for the work. "My son, go work in My vineyard today" is the Father's command. I am sure that, instrumentally, the best method of keeping young men in Christ in health of soul is to keep them well employed.
II. By "THE WORD OF GOD" WE UNDERSTAND EVERY ESSENTIAL TRUTH, WHETHER DOCTRINAL, EXPERIMENTAL, OR PRACTICAL. The prominent evil of the day, with regard to theology, is the separating of this threefold description of essential truth. They cannot press them too much, provided they press them upon proper principles and upon a sure foundation. But they frequently do so without that. Then there are others who have got a peculiar and favourite technicality about "my experience" — the preacher does not preach my experience. We like doctrinal statements fully urged and without reserve. We want deep experience, such as the Word of God sets forth. We want, in addition, that active Christianity which shall characterise the recipients of grace as "a peculiar people, zealous of good works." These I account "essential truths"; and I desire that they should abide in you. We also understand by the phrase, "Word of God," the eternal, incarnate Word dwelling in you — "Christ in you, the hope of glory." This makes our Christianity vital.
III. A word about YOUR SPIRITUAL VICTORIES. "Ye have overcome the wicked one." You have burst asunder from his bands. By mighty grace you have escaped his pursuit, and got as clear of him as Israel did of Pharaoh. Well, but he is sure to be after you. But "ye have overcome" him! What a merciful, what a gracious, what a glorious thing is faith! It overcomes Satan. The flesh and carnal free will may content themselves with Satan's drudgery; but faith will not; faith cannot. Then, in overcoming sin, which is the same thing, as it exists in the world and our depraved nature. What is sin in the Christian? The wicked one employing his own emissaries that are yet left behind. Apart from the base corruptions and lusts, there are self-righteousness, and self-conceit, and self-congratulations, and selfish motives and desires to gratify and pursue. There is the spirit of the world. Let me pass on to direct your attention unto the use of spiritual weapons only. "The weapons of our warfare are not carnal." There are a great number of carnal weapons that are used very adroitly and very manfully, and to a certain degree, in a moral sense, very success fully too. Take, for example, the arguments that are entered into by keen and skilful polemics against infidels. Well, they are all very proper for a certain purpose; but they are not spiritual weapons. The result is that, in many instances, they frequently convince the judgment, and yet do nothing for the soul.
IV. THE TEACHING WHICH THESE "YOUNG MEN" RECEIVE FROM THE APOSTOLIC WRITINGS. I think it may be summed up in three things. One of them follows immediately upon my text. Reject the world.
Parallel VersesKJV: I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.
WEB: I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, little children, because you know the Father.