Summary: Christian’s response to false teachers. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
TWO PHRASES TO NOTE:
"The last hour” (vs 18a)
"The antichrist” (vs 18b)
SIGNS OF FALSE TEACHERS:
They depart the Church (vs 18-19)
They deny the faith (vs 20-25)
They deceive believers (vs 26-29)
Abide - stay close (vs 28a)
Appear - stay alert (vs 28b)
Ashamed - stay faithful (vs 28c)
• There is a story told about Abraham Lincoln;
• Who had a very heated argument with a political opponent.
• Lincoln asked his political rival,
• "How many legs does a cow have?"
• "Four, of course,"
• Came the disgusted reply.
• "That’s right," agreed Lincoln.
• "Now suppose you call the cow’s tail a leg; how many legs would the cow have?
• "Why, five, of course,"
• Was the confidant reply.
• "Now, that’s where you’re wrong," said Lincoln.
• "Calling a cow’s tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg."
So far in this short letter:
• The apostle John has warned the Christians about:
• The conflict between light and darkness (chapter 1 verse 1 to chapter 2 verse 6)
• The conflict between love and hatred (chapter 2 verses 7-17).
• In this section this morning;
• The apostle John warns them about another conflict,
• The conflict between truth and error.
The issue in this section is truth-or consequences!
• I once read about a man who heard his friend say:
• “There are 2 sides to every question”
• And the man replied
• “Yes, there are two sides to every question…
• Just like there are two sides to a sheet of flypaper,
• But it makes a difference to the fly which side he chooses.”
• When we ignore or reject the truth;
• That course of action will always lead to negative consequences.
• The apostle John is writing to warns these Christians;
• That the actions of false teachers among them will only cause them destruction & death.
• Before we pull out our key thoughts from this passage:
• We need to understand two unusual phrases that occur in verse 18:
• Because an understanding of these will help us understand the other verses.
(a). "The last hour”.
• K.J.B: "The last time".
• Amplified: “It is the last time” (hour, the end of this age).
• The term that is used is describing a KIND of time,
• Not a DURATION of time.
• He is talking about a specific time period;
• That is the time period between the ascension of Christ and the return of Christ;
• Often it is referred to in the New Testament as “The last days”;
• Or by John (only) here as “Last hour”.
• Parents know that when driving a long distance with small children.
• No matter how many activity books, games and tapes you bring,
• It’s never really enough.
• Sooner or later you hear that drone of, "Are we there yet?"
• There are of course many ways to answer;
• One parent was heard to say: "We’re closer now than the last time you asked."
• The second term, "antichrist," is again a phrase uniquely used by John;
• In both this letter and also in 2 John.
• ‘Anti’ simply means; ‘against, in opposition to, hostile or antagonistic’.
• ‘Anti Christ’ is therefore anyone that is hostile, opposed or antagonistic to Christ.
• The ‘Anti-Christ’ in verse 18:
• Are false teachers who pretend to preach and teach the truth;
• But actually are preaching and teaching lies and falsehood, that which is ‘anti’.
• In the early days of the Church,
• As happens still today, e.g. your preacher today.
• Itinerant Bible teachers would move around from place to place;
• Teaching the people of God and building up the Church.
• Unfortunately some false teachers had mixed in with these good teachers;
• And they were also doing the rounds,
• And the Christians who had no New Testament to check them out,
• Were having trouble spotting the good teachers from the bad.
• So John wrote his letter to help them hold onto the truth and reject the error.
• These verses give us three outstanding marks, or evidences;
• Of those who are false teachers (those who are ‘antichrist’);
(1). They Depart from the Fellowship (vs 18-19):
“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”.
19”They left us, but they were never really with us. If they had been, they would have stuck it out with us, loyal to the end. In leaving, they showed their true colours, showed they never did belong”.