Summary: There are those today, both outside, and unfortunately, inside the church, that are functioning like computer viruses. Through false teaching and unbiblical belief they are destroying the church.
TELLING TRUTH FROM A LIE
Text: 1 John 2:18-27
I remember hearing about computer viruses. Could a computer catch a germ? I then learned that computer viruses were often malicious programs, developed by evil-doers, to destroy computers. They are often downloaded stealthily, without you knowing it. Perhaps opening an email attachment or surfing the web.
When you combine intelligent effort with evil and the craving to destroy, misery results. False teachers, often unknowingly inspired by Satan, do just that: They are out to destroy the truth of God's Word and they are out to keep believers from living in a godly fashion. They are being manipulated by the evil one and do not even know it. God encourages leaders and Christians to hold a "no tolerance" position of false teaching, particularly in major and clear areas.
1 Timothy 4:1-2 (NLT2)
1 Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons.
2 These people are hypocrites and liars, and their consciences are dead.
2. There are those today, both outside, and unfortunately, inside the church, that are functioning like computer viruses. Through false teaching and unbiblical belief they are destroying the church.
3. This goes to show us that not much has changed in 2,000 years, as John was dealing with the same thing in his day.
4. He talks about three distinct forces...
A. The Anti-Christ's
B. The Spirit
C. The Faithful
5. Stand with me this morning out of respect for the Word of God as we read 1 Jn. 2:18-27.
Proposition: We need to follow the voice of the Holy Spirit in discerning false teaching from right teaching; from truth and a lie.
Transition: John tells us to beware of...
I. The Anti-Christ's (18-19).
A. Many Such Antichrist's
1. Most people who have been around church at all, and even those who haven't if they have watched an TV programs dealing with the topic of the last days, has heard of a figure know as the Antichrist. However, what most of us realize is that there are many antichrist's in the world today.
2. This was also the case in John's day. In v. 18, he says, "Dear children, the last hour is here. You have heard that the Antichrist is coming, and already many such antichrists have appeared. From this we know that the last hour has come."
A. John begins this section by referring to his readers as "Dear Children." This illustrates the genuine fatherly affection that he has for them.
B. His purpose in writing this to them is to warn them about what will happen in the "last hours."
C. This phrase refers to specifically to the final point in human history, the day of the Second Coming of Christ and the judgment.
D. But why did John consider that time the last day when we consider the time we live in now the last days?
E. The truth is that the "last days" began on the day of Pentecost.
F. Acts 2:16-17 (NLT2)
16 No, what you see was predicted long ago by the prophet Joel:
17 ‘In the last days,’ God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams.
G. So we have been in the last days since the beginning of the church on the Day of Pentecost. However, those days are most certainly coming to their conclusion.
3. The thing that John wants to warn them about is in the last days there will be antichrist’s.
a. He reminds them that they’ve been told that the Antichrist is coming, the one who will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive believers.
b. The term antichristos, which first appears in the Epistles of John, is related to pseudochristos (5415), "liar-Christ, false Christ (Messiah)," an expression which was used by Jesus himself (Matthew 24:24; Mark 13:22).
c. The preposition anti, "instead of," can also have the meaning "against." The term antichristos then stands for he who is instead of Christ and he who is against Christ. He is the "against-Christ" and a false Christ, the contradiction of Christ and the imitator of Christ.
i. (497. ??t????st??," in The Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary – Alpha-Gamma, Under: "497).
d. Here, however, John warns them that many antichrists have already come, and they are false teachers who are teaching things contrary to sound doctrine. He says that this is how they know it’s the last hour.
4. John then continues this conception of antichrist's in v. 19, saying, "These people left our churches, but they never really belonged with us; otherwise they would have stayed with us. When they left, it proved that they did not belong with us."