Summary: We must keep alert to the danger of spiritual terrorists.
copyright December 30, 2006 Rev. Bruce Goettsche REAL DEAL CHRISTIANS
At the end of one year and at the beginning of another we have this strange custom of waiting until midnight to bid one year farewell and another hello (which results in spending much of the first day of the New Year asleep!). I suppose the celebration is anchored to the hope of a new beginning. People see the New Year as a fresh start, a new promise, and new opportunities. We make big plans, establish aggressive resolutions and set lofty goals at the start of a New Year.
However we need to keep our eyes open and see the whole picture. A New Year will present new challenges, new hardships and some new disappointments. The threat of terrorism seems to be on the rise. Each year brings with it a unique set of surprises. We have no idea what is ahead of us. We need to be prepared.
As a country, the government is working hard to get us to be more vigilant in regard to terrorist threats. They have created a color coded warning system for terrorist threats. The color Green means there is low risk of terrorist activity. Red means there is severe risk and we should be extremely cautious. In between are blue (guarded risk); yellow (elevated risk) and orange (high risk). The warning system is there to remind us that even though we feel secure, we must be on guard. We should enjoy our freedom but we must keep our eyes open.
We return to 1 John 2:18-27. In this text John gives us a warning. If John had used the color system, perhaps he would have used yellow (elevated risk) or orange (High Risk) to warn us about, if you will, spiritual terrorists. John reminds us that we are in a spiritual battle. The Devil is launching all kinds of terrorist attacks and we must be ready.
We came to 1 John looking to discover what it means to be a real deal follower of Jesus Christ. So far we have seen several things,
• The true believer holds to concrete truth rather than philosophical theories. The real believer understands that our faith is based on real events.
• The genuine follower builds their life on Christ rather than simply fitting God into their schedule.
• The true believer is honest about sin rather excusing it.
• The true believer seeks to honor God by diligently seeking to obey God’s Word instead of presuming upon God’s grace.
• The true believer is confident of eternal life and resists the pull of the world to serve God more fully.
Now John tells us that the real deal Christian is a person who is on guard. In verse 18 John says,
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. (1 John 2:18)
Anytime one of the Biblical writers talks about the last hour, or last days, or the soon return of Christ, people smirk. After all, there have been close to 2000 years pass since those words were written. In fact, even at the time the Scriptures were written, people were smirking at the delay in Christ’s second coming. Peter responded to critics in 2 Peter 3 by reminding people that God made the world with a word. He set a mighty flood with a word and all it will take is one Word from the Lord to bring judgment.
Peter reminded Christians that since God is eternal, time is different to God than us. 2000 years are nothing. It is like a grain of sand in the midst of the ocean. God is not late . . . He is simply waiting. He is giving time for people to turn and be saved. In the Bible we are in the last days and hours because God has created the world, He has instructed the world, He has sent a Savior, He has given us His Spirit, and created his church. The next item on God’s plan for His creation is the Second Coming and Judgment. Any delay in God’s plan is an act of mercy.
Be Alert to Those Who Would Lead us Astray
John warns us,
you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come
If you hang around the church and church people at all, you probably have heard the term Antichrist. The Antichrist is a central figure in the popular Left Behind books. It is interesting that the term “Antichrist” is actually used only five times in the Bible, all by the Apostle John. Three of those uses are in this text! The others are in chapter 4 and the last one is in 2 John. There is no reference to the Antichrist in the book of Revelation!