Summary: 5th in first John series
True or False - Discerning the Authentic from the Counterfeit
Recognizing Counterfeit Christianity
Departed the Fellowship (2:19)
Denied the Faith (2:22-23)
Deceived the Faithful (2:26)
Recognizing Authentic (genuine)Christianity
Acknowledgement of the Son (2:23b)
Abiding in the Word of God (2:24-26)
Anointing of the Holy Spirit (2:20,27)
Turn the TV on any given day and, if you have cable, you can find someone preaching some spirituality about how to have a better life.
You can get on the internet and find people and websites putting forth a spiritual answer to a better you.
You can go to the bookstore and find the latest book of the month about how you have the spiritual power to create a better now.
Often these people or shows or books will even use the Bible to try and support their claims. Sometimes they will even be talking about Jesus or claim Christianity, but some of the teaching seems far from what we have heard of Christian teaching.
And often in our efforts to be nonjudgmental, we think that as long as they mention Jesus or quote the Bible, then it must be ok.
But just because the name Jesus is used, does that make it Christian teaching?
Just because someone quotes a Bible passage, does it mean they are teaching truth?
And given this day of so much information and so many kinds of teaching, is there a way to discern what is True or False?
Or to discern who is teaching about
an authentic relationship with God versus
something that may appear real, but is really counterfeit?
Well, actually there is.
And actually, we are not the first to experience people coming with different teachings and using Scripture or the name of Jesus to support their false claims.
Back even when the apostles lived, there were those who were bringing false teaching even claiming that it was Christian teaching.
Turn with me to
John wrote to help the people to be able to discern truth from error and gave some characteristics so we might be able to recognize the authentic Christians from the counterfeit.
18 Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.
20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. 21 I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. 22 Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist-he denies the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
24 See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is what he promised us-even eternal life.
26 I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. 27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit-just as it has taught you, remain in him.
The Last Hour
Ok, I want to take a look at the first part here where John says it is the last hour.
What does that mean that it is the last hour?
Throughout the NT, phrase like the last hour, or the last days means the time between Christ’s first and second coming.
John was in the last days or the last hour.
We are still in the last days or last hour, though we are closer to the end than John was and even than we were yesterday.
As we get closer with each day, Scripture teaches that more and more, there will be those who try to lead Christians astray.
Paul tells us this in
4:1 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars,
Jesus tells us as we get closer to the end that “false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect-if that were possible. 23 So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.” (Mark 13:22-23)