Summary: we’re going to talk about warnings, about red flags, about potential threats; to individuals and to the church.
October 20, 2008 1 John 2:18-27 (New International Version)
Today we’re going to talk about warnings, about red flags, about potential threats; to individuals and to the church. We’re going to think about what we are doing with our time, what time we have left. And we’re going to talk about the spirit of antichrist. Sound interesting? I hope so. God’s word is always interesting, always relevant, and always true.
Turn in your bible to 1 John Chapter 2, verses 18-27. I’m reading from the New International Version.
Warning Against Antichrists
18Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. 19They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.
20But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.[a] 21I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. 22Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son. 23No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
24See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. 25And this is what he promised us—even eternal life.
26I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. 27As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.
An old farmer was worried one night at midnight by the grandfather clock striking not 12, but 14 times. He turns and shakes his wife out of her sleep, ‘Nellie wake up! It’s later than it’s ever been before!’
It’s late. It’s late in the history of this world. Many ages have come and gone. Many nations have risen and fallen. The markets of our modern age have also risen and fallen. There are wars, rumors of wars, wars in the court rooms and wars on the school grounds. There have been disasters in nature such as the world has never seen, since the great flood for sure…Hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, and fires. Our planet is in an uproar, it’s inhabitants living in turmoil. These are what many people have called, the last days.
John calls it something a little more striking though. He calls it the last HOUR. Do you feel rushed when you know that there’s just a little time left before something REALLY important happening? Maybe it’s a big meeting at the office, maybe it’s a first date, maybe it’s your wedding, maybe it’s a date in court, maybe it’s preparing a sermon, it could be anything. There’s something about that last hour, those last 60 minutes before the big event that brings up feelings of nervousness, anticipation, excitement, fear, and dread.
But those feeling should only be evident if we are unprepared. If we are confident and knowledgeable about what is about to happen, we have nothing to fear. Jesus tells us that in the last days, many bad things will happen. These are signs of the end of the age. And these things must happen, all in preparation for Christ’s triumphant return to rule on this earth for 1000 years!
And one of those signs is what John is telling us here; the spirit of antichrist. Anything that is ‘anti’ something, is opposite or opposed or against that thing. So someone who is anti-Christ is someone who is opposed to Jesus and His teaching, who is against Him being the way the truth and the life, and will lead others away from following His ways. We are taught that in the final days that THE antichrist will appear and lead many away from Christ. But John tells us in this text that many have already come. It’s true. For the spirit of antichrist is alive and well in the hearts of those who are opposed to the church. How often do we hear people saying that church isn’t relevant, God doesn’t exist, and Christians are fools? Too often I’d say.
And even within the church, there can be a spirit of division, a spirit of antichrist. John talks about people who were once part of the church, but have now left. It is a sad fact that some choose to follow Christ, choose to be part of a local church, and seem to have given their whole lives over to Him. But, in time, they fall away from coming to church, from reading the Bible, and from serving God in any way at all. They leave the church, perhaps never to return, and perhaps to even speak out against the church. They become anti-church, anti-God, and anti-Christ.