Summary: Is “sincerity” the magic ingredient that makes something true? If that is true is it should be true in any area of life and not just religion.
A Study of the Book of 1st John
“Back To the Basics”
Sermon # 6
“Don’t Be Deceived”
You have probably at sometime heard the statement, “It makes no difference what you believe as long as you’re sincere.” That statement expresses the personal philosophy of many people in our day. But it is extremely doubtful, however, whether most of those who have espoused this philosophy have really thought it through. Is “sincerity” the magic ingredient that makes something true? If that is true is it should be true in any area of life and not just religion.
What if you believe . . .
all you need for sky diving is a good
drinking poison is good for you
red traffic lights mean ‘go’.
In the physical world, what you believe is critical. Let me give you just a couple of examples.
A lawyer was trying to demonstrating to a group of law students that the windows in a downtown Toronto skyscraper were unbreak-able. He sincerely believed he could slam his body full force into the window on the 24th floor. He was so sincere he backed his belief up with an actual demonstration and plunged twenty-four floors to his death. He was dead wrong! (1996 recipient of Darwin Award)
Several years ago a nurse in a large hospital changed an oxygen tank for one of her patients. She sincerely believed that there was oxygen in that tank, but the next nurse to check on the patient found him dead. The tank had been wrongly labeled at the warehouse and contained nitrogen, not oxygen. This nurse was sincere and had a lot of faith in that tank, but the tank still contained nitrogen her patient was still dead.
In the physical world, what you believe is critical. And the same God made the spiritual realm. All of the sincerity in the world will not turn a lie into a truth and all the insincerity in the world will not make a truth become a lie. A thing is true or false simply because it is true or false!
In verse eighteen John says, “Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. (19) They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have contin-ued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. (20) But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. (21) I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth. (22) Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. (23) Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also. (24) Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. (25) And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life. (26) These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. (27) But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.”
John shares three truths on how not to be deceived.
First, We Need To Recognize The Signs of the Times (2:18-19)
“Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. (19) They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.”
John emphasizes the seriousness of the times with the use of two terms. Both terms make it clear that these are days that demand discernment.
•The Last Hour
John begins by pointing out that “it is the last hour.” But in what sense is it the “last hour.” How can John be right since, to put it frankly a whole lot of hours have passed since this letter was written and the end still has not come? John is not speaking so much chronologically as he is theolog-ically.