Summary: One of the greatest problems faced by believers today is false teaching. They’re everywhere. There are imposters all over the place who go by the name of Christian, yet they’re anything BUT followers of Christ. Their teachings contain just enough of th
One of the greatest problems faced by believers today is false teaching. They’re everywhere. There are imposters all over the place who go by the name of Christian, yet they’re anything BUT followers of Christ. Their teachings contain just enough of the truth to ensnare millions by their seduction. That is why this passage tonight is so important. It’s a warning against such as these.
READ v. 7. A deceiver is an imposter, a person who claims to be a follower of Christ, but isn’t—not really. He doesn’t live like Christ taught us to live, and he doesn’t believe the truth about Christ. He lives and teaches something entirely different than what Christ lived and taught.
And there are many deceivers in the world. There were many in the days of John and this elect lady and there have been ever since. Some of these deceivers are businessmen, some are employees, some are teachers, students, even ministers and laymen. Imposters who claim to be Christian but don’t live like Christ. And in their everyday encounters with others, they entice and ensnare people into the net of their false beliefs.
A deceiver is a person who denies that Jesus has come in the flesh. He denies that Jesus is the Son of God. Denies the deity of Christ. Denies that He was sinless. Denies the death and resurrection of Jesus. Denies His Lordship and denies that Jesus will ever return to the earth.
Any person can be a deceiver. So if we don’t believe like we should, we, too, can ensnare people into believing false things. How do we do that?
• Teaching people they can be good enough on their own to be acceptable to God. They can be good enough and be religious enough to make God accept them. FALSE TEACHING.
All this makes the point of what we are talking about in this passage. If we deny Jesus then we are doomed. Any person who denies that Jesus has come in the flesh is a deceiver. He is denying what God has done. And even more tragic, he leads other people astray.
Note something else about v. 7. The phrase “Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh” is in the present tense. That is saying that the deceiver denies that God or the Son of God could ever come to earth. He denies that Jesus came the first time and denies that He is ever coming again.
The deceiver just doesn’t believer that God could or would ever come to earth. He doesn’t believe that God could become a man, or else that He ever would become a man. The deceiver sees no need for God to come to earth because to him, man is capable of becoming good enough on his own.
Note too in v. 7 that the deceiver is called the antichrist. This is alluding to the fact that he is a forerunner of the antichrist.
READ v. 8. Watch yourself so that you will receive a full reward. Remember that John is writing to a dear mother and her children. False teaching was so rampant that the family unit itself needed to be on guard. The family needed to consider what teachers they were listening to. Why? Lest they lose the reward for the good works they had already worked. Believers are to be rewarded for their good works, for their labor for Christ. But there is danger that they can lose their reward. That danger? Heeding false teaching. If we heed false teaching, we lose our reward.
READ v. 9. It’s talking about continuing in the teaching of Christ. This is important. The person who doesn’t CONTINUE in the teachings of Christ, doesn’t have or possess God. “Anyone who runs ahead.” Greek – pas ho proagon, means to transgress against God by going too far, by trying to move our ahead of Christ. Hear me on this one and correct me if I’m wrong.
I think there are some teachers, ministers and laymen alike, who would like to be progressive and creative, to come up with a novel idea or program, to make some advancement in thought. They want people to recognize and approve THEM, so they try to impress people.
In so doing, they go beyond Christ and what He taught. They twist or branch off from the teachings of Christ. This is what John warns against; if a person doesn’t stay in the teachings of Christ, then he doesn’t’ have God. Now this doesn’t mean that believers aren’t supposed to be creative and thoughtful. It means that we must not move out beyond Christ and what He taught.
READ v. 10-11. Don’t receive a deceiver or false teacher nor wish him well. Remember, most churches of that day and time met in the homes. It’s likely that the church was meeting in the home of this dear lady and her children. The charge here is strong and its meaning is perfectly clear. False teachers are not to be allowed in the church nor in our homes.