Summary: To stay on course in the Christian life, don’t believe everything that calls itself Christian, ficus on Jesus, and remember Whose you are.
INTRO.: ILLUS.: Coming back from one of my first trips on a party boat out of Galveston, Texas, I noticed the deck hand come down from the cabin with a pair of binoculars and scan the shoreline. It was very dark and all we could see was lights along the shore. We soon learned the navigational radar had quit working and the captain had lost his bearings. As a result, we had come near the shore on the wrong side of the jetty and out of the ship channel. I don’t know if we were in great danger, but I know there was considerable scurrying around on the part of the crew, one of which had a long pole he kept sticking down into the water. We were more than 2 and a half hours late getting into port.
John is warning his readers they could be led off course by false teachers. They must be careful to maintain their focus on Jesus and put every teacher to the test.
Let us look at John’s advice for staying on course in the faith.
I. Don’t believe everything you hear that calls itself Christian.
A. We are involved in a spiritual conflict over the souls of men,
1. Satan, the enemy, has great power and he even dared to attack Jesus: Matt. 4:1-11
2. I doubt he had power to give Jesus the kingdoms of the world. He is a liar. However, he had enough power to take Him to a pinnacle of the temple and to the top of a mountain and show Him all the kingdoms of the world.
3. Satan wanted the soul of Jesus. One compromise, one sin, and He would have surrendered his life and His deity.
B. The world is full of false teachers. They are all motivated by the spirit of the antichrist: (Satan.)
1. Some say Jesus never really existed. He is a mythological figure like superman, Santa, or the Easter Bunny.
2. Others take Him to be merely a great teacher and leader whose time came and went.
3. Some believe Jesus to be God’s son but one of many sons and we are sons of God like Jesus.
4. Some claim Him as Savior but hardly give Him any importance. If there is nothing else to do and everyone feels fine, if we don’t have company, if it’s not too cold or too hot, etc., we might as well go to the church meeting.
C. The spirit of antichrist is at work in this falsehood.
1. Antichrist is not just one individual. It is the spirit of rebellion against God.
2. We are in conflict with numerous spiritual powers of evil. Eph. 6:12. They are very active in our day.
3. There are many false teachers. We should not believe everyone who claims to be Christian. We should certainly be able to recognize the spirit of the antichrist and reject it.
II. First, make sure about Jesus: any teacher or leader who does not give Him His proper place cannot be trusted.
A. He is the centerpiece of our faith:
1. If someone says He is only one of many ways to God, I believe Jesus, Who said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life."
2. He is more than the radar that will keep us on course. He is the One Who opened the way to Heaven for us. He is the ship and the radar and the captain and the wide blue sea all in one.