I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.
I write to you fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the wicked one.
I write to you, little children, because you have known the Father.
I have written to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning.
I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one. 1 John 2:12-14
John in this passage is writing to three groups of people spiritual children, spiritual fathers, spiritual young men. He almost repeats himself but changes from “I write” to “I have written”, and either changes the because or adds to it. This is possibly to say I write to you that are in this place and expect that my writing will move you to along in maturity to a new place. He places fathers in between little children and young men because that is the very roll of a father, to take little children and make them into men. This is not gender specific just like men are a part of the bride of Christ, so to women are fully included in these three generations.
The very first thing that little spiritual children know is that Jesus died for their sins and they have been forgiven, but they are immature and have much growth that is needed. The next step little children need to take is spending time with the Father. Little children need visible role models, fathers to be examples to help them understand what their invisible heavenly father is like. So the end of the little children stage is to know the Father. Healthy children love to sing and worship, they have large appetites for the word of God, and long to spend time in papa’s lap listening to the Father affirmation.
For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Therefore I urge you, imitate me. 1 Corinthians 4:15
Spiritual Young Men
Children become young men when they overcome the wicked one. Basic sanctification has taken place, the sins of the past are no longer habitual, young men have been set free from unforgiveness, bitterness, addictions, and other root cause of trouble. They are not perfect at all, but have made significant progress. Fathers are still needed for young men because they see both strengths and weaknesses, and because of relationship can speak into these areas. Fathers help young men to strengthen weak areas, correct flaws, and speak destiny and direction over them. The wisdom, knowledge, and experience of fathers are necessary so that overcoming young men can become strong and the word of God abides in them. Once young men are strengthened they are able to overcome, not only in their own lives, but now they can minister to others effectively. Strong young men are front line fighters in the battle for souls, social justice, and kingdom advancement. Strong young men are now ready to become young fathers.
The failure of children to become strong overcoming young men can lead down the path of becoming elder brothers. In Luke 15:11-32 is the parable of the prodigal son, the father, and the elder brother. The prodigal leaves the Father to find his own way, repents and returns. The Father is full of joy and throws a feast. The elder brother is angry and would not join in. The elder brother sees him self as a servant, thinks he is better then his brother, and feels slighted by his father. His focus is upon himself. “I have been serving”, “I have never transgressed”, “you never gave me…” , “that I might…”. He doesn’t even recognize his brother, but says “this son of yours” and brings up his evil past and faults. There is hope for elder brothers because the Father pleads with him to come in and gives him an amazing promise. “Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.”
Fathers have known Him who is from the beginning. They have a rich history with God. A child’s primary focus is on Jesus and what He has done for them. Young men build upon the cornerstone of Jesus and add an emphasis on the gifts and power of the Holy Spirit to equip them for the ministry. Now fathers not only know the Father but are becoming more and more Father like by giving and imparting the Father’s love, counsel, wisdom and in an imperfect way demonstrate the Father. Jesus said “If you have seen me you have seen the Father”, so to do fathers reflect the character and ministry of the Father.
There are several tie-ins that need to be mentioned. First children are walking out the Feast of Passover by seeing Jesus pass over their sins. Young men are adding Pentecost by their focus on the gifts and power of the Holy Spirit. Fathers have been through the desert and are experiencing Tabernacles as the presence of God dwells in the midst of those who have entered into the rest of faith. This is explored more in “Praying for the Youth”
In an another previous post “Grasping the Old Testament” I laid out the biblical pattern of three generational advances, it can be read here. I believe that the kingdom of God is still advanced the same way. So looking at the present time; the Jesus People Revival was the last time a large part of a generation flooded into the kingdom. Most of this generation is now in their 50’s and 60’s. A young adult outpouring begun on November 11th, 2009 and is reportedly spreading on college campuses. It looks like we are at the beginnings of a fresh wave of children to come flooding into the kingdom. Spiritual fathers are critical in this hour to help young men become young fathers and see grandchildren grow and mature in to strong young men.
Interesting also is the three steams coming together with the Father’s blessing from the Toronto revival, the power and kingdom manifestations of Bethel in Redding, and the bridal paradigm with the IHOP in Kansas City. Fathers, young men, and children are being set in place. Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles are being celebrated as the Church worship in a fuller revelation. The Church making herself ready with the ministry of Jesus in salvation, bridal relationship, and passion; combined with the Holy Spirit moving in power, gifts, fruit, and leading; and becoming complete with the Father’s heart and justice all flowing together.