Summary: Learn how a believer can overcome spiritual deception.
A few years back when I began training college students on how to study the Bible and to lead Bible studies, I decided to first teach on the authority of the Bible for our faith. So after a bit of singing, I got up to teach. I began with prayer, and half way through my praying, I stopped and said, "I can’t do this."
And people opened their eyes and looked up. I continued, "I’ve been doing some studies outside the Bible, and I found that much of what I had learned from the Bible just aren’t true. In fact, I’ve been having doubts about Jesus Christ. I’m not even sure I’m a Christian anymore."
I looked around the room and saw mouths wide-open, trembling lips and watery eyes. Then I packed up my Bible and walked out. Those statements paralyzed everyone in that room. Only one person came after me passed the door. I told her this was joke. We waited 30 seconds and walked back in. I announced, "That was drama 101."
A few people looked at each other, and they began to understand that I was only acting. Then four guys came after me saying some very unchristian things, so I ran as fast as I could. They finally caught up to me, and one after another piled on top of me.
After I recovered from the dog-pile, I asked, "How many of you had your faith shaken?" "How many of you questioned the authority of the Bible? How many of you almost became an atheist?"
As I prepared for this morning’s message, I thought about doing the same thing with you all, but since two of the three Elders are away on vacation, I didn’t want to give Elder Bill Woo a heart attack. Besides, I’m too old to recover from being dog-piled.
Yet, I was tempted to see how you would respond if your pastor renounced his faith in Jesus Christ. While what I pondered was a planned test of your faith, the passage we are studying this morning is not hypothetical. Certain people from the church to which John wrote did renounce their faith in Jesus Christ and tried to mislead others.
So John wrote to teach the church to overcome such deception. We continue this morning in our study of 1 John. Let me begin by reading this morning’s text: 1 John 2:18-29. (READ)
Before we look at the main teaching, I want to define two terms, so that we can better understand the passage. First, I want to define the term, "last hour." John’s use of this term is similar to what other writers in the Bible call the "last days."
The last hour or last days is a period of time after the first coming of Jesus Christ, some 2000 years ago, and before His second coming in the future to establish a new kingdom. This period of time is marked by two happenings, noted in the books of Acts and 2 Timothy and in what we read this morning. The first happening is the gift of the Holy Spirit to believers. The second happening is the increase of opposition by unbelievers against God and God’s ways. We live in this time of last days or last hour.
Second, I want to define the term, "antichrist." This term is associated with the last hour and last days. Jesus in Matthew 24:24 tells us, "For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect--if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time."