Summary: The advent of antichrists shows the end is near.
Rev. Brian Bill
I heard about a man who had a grandfather clock that went haywire and chimed fourteen times one midnight. He jumped up and said, “Wake up, Nellie, it’s later than it’s ever been before!” Brothers and sisters in Christ, it’s later than it’s ever been before because we are living in the last hour.
As we continue in our study of 1 John, God wants us to be confident in our Christianity. Using tender words once again, in verse 18, John calls his readers “Dear children” and then tells us that “this is the last hour…” The “last hour” or “last days” really refers to the time between the Ascension of Jesus into heaven and His return to earth from heaven. We are not waiting for another testament or additional revelation or another prophet because the next event to come is the return of Christ. The Bible says that the tough times we are in right now will be filled with evil that will greatly increase and intensify.
Last week we were warned about the triple threat of the world – our cravings, the lust of our eyes and the boasting of what we have and do. Today we’re going to be warned about the threat of false teachers. If I were to summarize this passage in one sentence it would be something like this: The advent of antichrists shows the end is near.
Let’s look at the rest of 1 John 2:18: “Dear 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.”
In the word antichrist, the prefix “anti” means, “in the place of,” or “in opposition to.” An antichrist is one who opposes or seeks to replace Christ and is used in three different ways in the Bible. We know we’re in the last hour by the increasing number of antichrists that have arisen.
1. The spirit of the antichrist. Turn over to 1 John 4:3: “But every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.” Behind every false doctrine and outburst of evil is the spirit of the antichrist.
2. The Antichrist. The Bible records over 20 different names for this “Satanic Superman.” Here are just a few.
• “Little horn” (Daniel 7:8)
• “Abomination that causes desolation” (Matthew 24:15)
• “The Beast” (Revelation 13:1). This title is used 36 times in Revelation.
A lot of people over the years have tried to figure out who the Antichrist might be and theories range from popes to presidents to pastors. Just this week the New York Times ran an article called, “Why the Antichrist Matters in Politics.” I don’t think this is the right approach to take. It’s better to be well versed on what he is and how he will display his power. Even though believers won’t be here when he is revealed to the world, the spirit of Antichrist is certainly present, and the person who will be the Antichrist could very well be alive right now.
3. Many antichrists have come. John helps us see what these antichrists (with a “little a”) are up to. Here’s how I want to walk through 1 John 2:18-27. We’ll start by focusing on what antichrists do. Then we’ll establish what we have as believers. We’ll conclude with the one thing we must do.
WHAT ANTICHRISTS DO
1. They desert the church. We see this in verse 19: “They 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.” A biblical example of one who “went out from us” would be Judas, who spent time with Jesus and His other followers for three years. Did you know that most cult leaders were once involved in a legitimate church? The apostle Paul warned about this happening in Acts 20:30: “Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.”
By the way, this is not referring to real deal believers who leave a church and go to another church. How many of you have come to PBC from another church? I’ve been here 12 years and have seen this happen in both directions. Some leave one church to come here and some leave here to go to another church. While I’m saddened when people leave PBC I’m kingdom-minded enough to rejoice when they land in another Bible-believing church. I’m more concerned about those who unplug and disappear for some reason or another and are not going anywhere.