What is the most important question you will ever have to answer? Life is all about questions, asking and answering questions.
The most important question you will ever have to answer is, “Who is Jesus?” There is no other question that comes close.
In 1 John 2, John warns his readers that we are in the last hour and that the world has many Antichrists.
The word, “antichrist”, has a way of stirring up fear and wild speculation. What are these antichrists, and what do they do?
In the text today, John gives us three keys to help us recognize and defeat these enemies of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
- Antichrists Attack Christ (1 John 2:18).
The word “antichrist” means “against Christ” or “in the place of Christ.”
John writes at the beginning and the end of verse 18, “it is the last hour.” This means the entire period of time between when Jesus walked the earth and when he comes back again (See Acts 2:16-17 and Hebrews 1:1-2).
The phrase, “the last hour”, creates a sense of urgency that this world is temporary. We live in the age when the antichrists are active. This activity opposing Christ will increase until the Antichrist comes; the primary representative of Satan himself. Jesus spoke about the time we live in in Matthew 24:4-5.
As we see the Gospel going out to the nations, we are seeing incredible things happening on the mission field as millions are coming to know Christ as Lord, at the same time Satan has his missionaries, these antichrists, and they are also going out into the world and into churches.
In 1 John 2:22, he makes plain what the spirit of antichrist is all about: “Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.”
The strategy of Satan and his demons is deception. They don’t directly oppose Jesus, they redefine him.
- They will say, “he is good, but he is not God”.
- They will say, “He may be a son of God, but He is not the Son of God.”
- They will say, “He may have died on the cross as a martyr, but He did not die as a Savior.”
The spirit of antichrist always diminishes the person and work of Jesus. If Jesus wasn’t God, then his death and resurrection would have no power over sin. The core of Christianity is Jesus, his person and his work as the eternal son of God. If we get this wrong, then everything else in our faith falls apart.
The apostle John makes it clear that there is a difference between the many antichrists who are already here and have been around for centuries, and the one Antichrist who is coming at the very end of the age. This man will have such power and charisma that the whole world will follow him (Revelation 13:2-4).
2: Antichrists Abandon the Church (1 John 2:19).
The greatest threat to the church comes from within the church. Satan plants antichrists in the church and uses them to subtly persuade the church that Jesus is not really who he claims to be. When these antichrists leave the church, they leave a trail of pain and sometimes even take captives with them who have been deceived.
“There are some who share [for a while] our earthly company who do not share our heavenly birth” Alistair Begg.
Now let me be clear, not everyone who leaves a church is an antichrist, there are many different reasons why people come and go in the modern church.
But sometimes when people leave it is because they were never really saved. They never had a personal relationship with Jesus as Lord. Breaking fellowship could indicate a defective faith (see 1 John 3:9).
3: Antichrists Assault the Christian
We can easily get discouraged and confused about who to believe. The antichrists, people who teach against the person and work of Jesus are all around us. These people have influence, they are intellectually very strong, and it is hard to even wrap our minds around some of their deceptive arguments. John makes it clear that these antichrists are committed to defeating the church. But we have the promise of 1 John 4:4.
John reminds his readers that we have a two-pronged weapon to defeat Satan’s plans. We have the anointing and the indwelling Holy Spirit, and we have the Word of God (1 John 2:20-21 and 27).
The apostle Paul calls this the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God in Ephesians 6:17.
In verse 20, John emphatically says, “…you have been anointed by the Holy One…” it is a promise and refers to the promised Holy Spirit.
As followers of Jesus, we are consecrated and set apart by God and for God by the Holy Spirit, we now have an internal and abiding Teacher who will guide us in all knowledge and truth. As we abide in him, we will not be misled by false teaching.
The teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit does not involve revelation of new truth. Rather, it is the revelation of the written Word of God to us. In verse 24, John challenges the believer to simply remain in the teaching of Christ. To abide and remain in this teaching is to abide and remain in both the Son and the Father.
There is not any additional thing you need. Jesus plus something extra equals heresy and the teachings of the antichrist.
Jesus is the center of Christianity. He does not stand and point to a way; he is the way!
This is what the Bible teaches and what the holy spirit affirms.
Do you know the Word? Are you abiding in the Word by the Holy Spirit? If not, you are at risk of being deceived.
Who do you say Jesus is? Is he Lord of your life?