Summary: The Christian who is real builds his life on truth, not superstition or lies. It is impossible to live a life that is truly spiritual by believing lies. That’s why it is essential to get our thinking right about Jesus Christ.
1 JOHN 2: 18-23
CHRISTIANS AND ANTICHRISTS
Have you heard the statement, “It makes no difference what you believe, just as long as you are sincere!” That statement expresses the personal philosophy of many people today, but it’s doubtful whether most of those who make it have really thought it through. Is sincerity the magic ingredient that makes something true? If so, then you ought to be able to apply it to any area of life, and not only to religion.
Suppose a nurse in a hospital gave some medicine to a patient that makes them violently ill. She was sincere about wanting to help but the medicine is wrong and the patient almost dies.
Suppose a father was sleeping one night and heard a noise and decided a burglar was in the home. He shoots the burglar who turns out to be his daughter who had gotten up to get a bite to eat. The father sincerely thought he was shooting a burglar.
It takes more than sincerity to make something true. Faith in a lie will always cause serious consequences. Faith in the truth is never misplaced. It does make a difference what you believe! If a man wants to drive from Chicago to New York, no amount of sincerity will get him there if the highway is taking him to Las Angeles. The Christian who is real builds his life on truth, not superstition or lies. It is impossible to live a life that is truly spiritual by believing lies. That’s why it is essential to get our thinking right about Jesus Christ (CIT). [Wiersbe, Warren. The Bible Exposition Commentary. Vol 2. Victor Books. Wheaton, IL. 1989. P 497.]
I. LAST HOUR ANTICHRISTS, 18.
II. ANOINTING’S KNOWLEDGE, 19-21.
III. DENY OR CONFESS THE SON, 22-23.
When FBI agents train bank tellers to identify counterfeit bills, they show them both fake money and real money, and they study both. To detect a counterfeit problem, they must look for the differences in the genuine bill compared to the counterfeit-and not the similarities.
In 1 John 2, the apostle John helps to protect believers from heresy by showing them examples of counterfeit Christians and teachers. Verse 18 teaches that a sign of the last days is the coming of many antichrists. “Children, it is a last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen; from this we know that it is a last hour.”
Again John addresses all his readers as children (paidaia). He informs them that “it is the last hour.” [The word eschaton is here translated “last.” In Greek eschaton means last or final. The word is used extensively in Revelation (1:17; ).] The emphasis is not that a definite time is here but that a time with certain characteristics is here. John is talking about the time between Christ’s first and second comings. This is a time when anti-Christs, false teachers who are false Christians attempt to lure away weak Christians from Christ, arise or begin propagating their teaching.
The last days began in John’s day [about a.d. 70] and has been growing in intensity ever since. All history since that time is a preparation for the end, when Christ will come and establish His kingdom.
A sign that the last days have arrived is that many antichrists, or those that oppose Christ, or claim to be Christ, are present. The word anti in Greek is “against,” or “opposite.” As a preposition it means “instead of,” “in the place of” (e.g. Mt 2:22; Lk. 11:11). Literally translated it would mean, “against Christ” or “in place of Christ.” John may intend by this word antichristos not only those false teachers who are adversaries of Jesus Christ but also the those who are counterfeit christs (Mt. 24:24).
He openly labeled them "antichrists," meaning “those who are against Christ.”
A sign that the very last hour or the final days before Christ returns are here is that the Anti-christ, the Satanic Superman, the ultimate enemy will arise (see 2 Thess. 2:3; Rev. 13:1-10; 19:20; 20:10). He is a world leader so cunning, so clever, and so charismatic that he will actually take the place of Christ in the minds of many people.
The Bible calls him Antichrist with a capital A. He claims for himself the honor that rightly belongs to Christ (Rev. 13). His appearance means we are running on the brink, the knife’s edge, of Christ’s second coming.
These anti-Christs not only attack from without but mislead from within by usurping the place or authority of Christ. We do not need to fear these evil people for the Holy Spirit shows us their errors, so we will not be deceived. However, we must teach God’s Word clearly and carefully to the peripheral, weak members among us so that they won’t fall prey to these teachers who "come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves" (Matthew 7:15).