Summary: How to identify the apostate church

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The Dangers of False Religion

1st John 2:18 - 27

Jeff Hughes

I. Introduction

a. Tonight, we are going to look at 1st John, Chapter 2, verses 18 through 27. Here we see another warning for the church from John the Apostle. Last time, in verses 15-17 John warns that a love of the world can be a danger to our faith. Tonight’s warning is concerning the lure of false religion that draws people away from the saving faith in Christ.

b. To illustrate this warning, in these nine verses, John has three main thoughts, which we will look at tonight. First, we see the Antichrist, the father of false religion and those in his spirit. Second, John commends those who are free from false religion, and gives us some help in identifying the apostate or false church. Last, we will see how to avoid the dangers of false religion, by abiding in Christ.

c. 18 Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. 21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. 23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also. 24 Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that He has promised us--eternal life. 26 These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. 27 But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.

II. Illustration

a. The Danish philosopher, Kierkegaard, tells a parable of a theater where a variety show is proceeding. Each show is more fantastic than the last, and is applauded by the audience. Suddenly the manager comes forward. He apologizes for the interruption, but the theater is on fire, and he begs his patrons to leave in an orderly fashion. The audience thinks this is the most amusing turn of the evening, and cheer thunderously. The manager again implores them to leave the burning building, and he is again applauded vigorously. At last he can do no more. The fire raced through the whole building and the fun-loving audience with it. "And so," concluded Kierkegaard, "will our age, I sometimes think, go down in fiery destruction to the applause of a crowded house of cheering spectators."

b. I would submit to you that the reason why the audience is cheering is because they have been deceived.

III. Study

a. The Antichrist and the spirit of the antichrist – v. 18 -19

i. End or last – Eschatos - Greek for last in line or order. We get our word Eschatology from it today, which means “the study of the end times”. Right now, Pastor Ron is covering this in depth on Sunday mornings, in the book of Revelation.

ii. Antichrist – notice here that it is capitalized. It is used as a proper name here. Many would lead you down the path to thinking that the Antichrist is a world system or a political body or group. I think that if we believe this, we are playing into the devil’s hands.

iii. While researching this point, I came across this bit of information:

iv. Nearly two out of three adults—62%—agreed that Satan “is not a living being but is a symbol of evil.” This response has remained relatively consistent throughout the Nineties. Among the more surprising findings, however, are that a majority of people who say they are born again Christians deny Satan’s existence (52%); nearly three-quarters of Catholics say the devil is non-existent (72%); and women are more likely than men to reject Satan’s existence (64% vs. 59%).

v. I am of the mindset that Satan, and the Antichrist mentioned here by John, are real individuals. Satan’s trinity is made up of himself, he is called the dragon in scripture, the Antichrist also called the man of sin, and the False Prophet. We are told in scripture that he (Satan) will draw many to himself in these days. 2 Thessalonians 2:3 and 4 details this for us.

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