Summary: Spiritual dangers await us everywhere, maybe even among Christians!
Arrivals and Departures
1. Last March, I dropped off Marylu and the Indianapolis Intl. Airport to visit Hannah.
2. Horrid snow storm made driving slow, but made it on time, barely. Other people not so fortunate. Too dangerous to drive back, so I called Curt Hoeksema to preach the 8:30.
3. Kept waking up every 15 or 20 minutes– announcements. no smoking; unattended baggage...
4. When it came to both arrivals and departures at the airport, things came to standstill.
5. The Kingdom of God is like an airport – there are arrivals- new professions of faith.
6.There are departures – believers dying and going to be with the Lord, and people that we thought were believers, leaving the faith (apostacy, which means defecting from the faith), and sometimes become opponents.
Main Idea: Spiritual dangers await us everywhere, maybe even among Christians!
I. The ARRIVAL of Antichrists Suggests Our DEPARTURE to the Clouds is At Hand (18).
A. An antichrist can be someone in PLACE of Christ, AGAINST Christ, or REDEFINING Christ.
1. Someone in place of Christ – a false Messiah.
2. Someone against Christ – persecutors of the faith or mocker/antagonists
3. Someone redefining Christ – a feminized, nice Jesus who condemns no one
B. There is a man who will arise known as THE Antichrist.
C. But there are also many who arise who are ANTICHRISTS, sometimes from within our churches.
1. People like Judas Iscariot.
2. Often this begins with the slippery slope (Rob Bell, Brian McClaren).
D. The preponderance of OPPOSITION to Christ evidences that His return is any minute.
Ben Witherington III writes, “There seem to be two ways that a phrase such as “the last days” could be used: (1) of the whole period after the death and resurrection of Jesus and Pentecost….(2) of the final stage of the last days, the period leading up to the return of Christ …” [last hour probably used similarly] Letters and Homilies for Hellenized Christians, Volume I, pp. 483-484.
II. The Departure of Apostacy: People LEAVE the Faithful Fold Because They Did Not Really Belong to It (19)
We have had people who claimed to know Christ here at HPC, some of them officers, who eventually later professed new age religion, atheism, Catholicism, even Islam.
A. An INTERPRETATION as to what they have witnessed and experienced.
We are not sure of the errors involved, but they had something to do with denying the nature of the Son. Perhaps Jews who had no exemption from worshipping emperor…
They turned away from the orthodox understanding of Jesus, His deity/humanity.
How does John explain this? The genuinely converted stay the course!
B. An ASSURANCE that the true believer will persevere.
These verses are central to the “can a true believer lose his salvation?” debate.
C. The TARES evidence that they are not wheat; one does not turn into the other.
1. The size of the crop is not as important as the type of seed.
Marylu and I love cabbage, but we have noticed the price has risen sharply in recent months.
Maybe we need to do what this couple did in Tasmania, Australia: “An Australian couple said it took about nine months of careful maintenance to grow a huge cabbage nearly the size of an adult person. Rosemary Norwood and Sean Cadman, who operate Forest Walks Lodge, an eco-tourism guesthouse in Jackeys Marsh, Tasmania, said they started growing the cabbage in April and carefully kept it safe from wallabies and other garden thieves until late January” [UPI].
2. Collard greens, when very young, might look that same as cabbage.
III. Our Arrival at Stability: We Need to REMAIN Resolute (20-27).
A. You cannot deny the SON and have the Father.
My son, Luke, and I are very close. We have a special bond. Abraham and Isaac also had a strong bond; when Abraham was commanded to offer Isaac as a sacrifice, that was the ultimate test. Of course God stopped the sacrifice – but proved Abraham’s faith.
No one but God could have gotten by with trying to harm Isaac w/out Abraham rising up.
B. We have an ANNOINTING, the indwelling Holy Spirit, and the Spirit helps us stand firm.
This suggests that gullible people or easily swayed people have, ultimately, a spiritual problem. The HS does not fill us to make us gullible, but rather to make us firm.
C. The Gospel message doesn’t CHANGE and is the only source for eternal life.
When Aaron carved a golden calf and said, “this is your god who brought you forth from Egypt,” God didn’t become a gold calf just because the people wanted it.
Spiritual truth is not determined by a poll or vote; when it comes to the Kingdom of God, there is not democracy, it is, instead, an absolute Monarchy.