Title: Abiding in the Truth
Abiding in the Truth
1 John 2:18-27
Christ’s anointing teaches us the truth and protects us from deception. We must abide in the truth.
Good morning. We’re continuing on in the book of 1 John this morning. As we’ve seen John is greatly concerned that we have clarity about what it means to be a follower of Jesus. John was an apostle and wrote this letter to the church in Asia Minor, likely Ephesus. Paul warned in Acts 20 that false teacher would arise among the Ephesian church saying,” 29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears.” 20-30 years later John is dealing with that reality. John has a pastoral heart, which means he loves his people, and is writing with deep affection towards them. John deals with black and white realities! He’s not worried about opinions and gray areas, he wants to narrow in on the basics and fundamentals of the faith. How do we know we’re followers of Christ? John has given us two tests already: 1.) Moral, we’re walking as Jesus walked. 1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. We are living in the light and pursuing holiness. 2.) Social– we love and are connected to God and His people. 1 John 2:9- “Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness.” Now we see John show us a 3rd test, doctrinal. There is truth that must be affirmed and whole-heartedly believed if you are to follow Christ. Go ahead and open up to 1 John 2:18-27
18 Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore 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 it might become plain that they all are not of us. 20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.[d] 21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22 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. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. 24 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he made to us[e]—eternal life.
26 I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. 27 But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.
Christ’s anointing teaches us the truth and protects us from deception. We must abide in the truth.
True and False Believers (18-21)- The Lie of all Lies (22-23)-Protection from Deception (24-27)
True and False Believers (18-21)
Our expectations help define our reality. When we expect things in life to go less than perfect, when we expect to not get our way, when we expect trials to come we can prepare for the reality of the future. John is wanting to set our expectations about following Christ, there are true and false believers. It’s a truth that is hard but we must expect it. There are those who most likely sit here today but don’t truly know Christ. Though there is one visible church, those who gather physically together under Christ’s name. There is the reality of the invisible church, those whom God truly knows as His own. In Matthew 13 Jesus tells the Parable of the Weeds. He says that the kingdom of God may be compared to a man who went out and sowed good seed in his field but when the time arrived there was always weeds or tares among his harvest of wheat. An enemy had come and put bad seed among his harvest. The Angles or workers asked to cut them out prematurely but Christ allows them to remain lest you take out the wheat with it. Jesus said to let them both grow up until the harvest and then they will be separated. There will be those who do not know the Lord. John emphasizes this by reminding them of the time they are living and whom is coming. He says it is the last hour. It’s a curious expression. Apparently, an hour can last a long time. Was John mistaken about Jesus return? What does he mean by the last hour? The O.T. teaches that the end of days would begin when Messiah came. Therefore when Jesus came, the last of days began. This is the consistent teaching of the N.T.
- Acts 2:16-17 “This is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh.'”
- 1 Cor. 10:11[The Old Testament stories] were written down for our instruction upon whom the end of the ages has come.”
- Heb.1:1-2 In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son.”
- Heb. 9:28 He has appeared once for all at the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.”
- 1 Pet.1:20″[Christ] was destined before the foundation of the world but was made manifest at the end of the times for your sake.”
How do we process that the last hour or days has been going on for 2,000 years? Some would mock and ask if Jesus will ever return. As Christians we believer God’s timing is certainly not ours. He is Sovereign and is working together His purpose in ways we don’t understand in the moment. We know that His mission must spread across the globe and reach every tribe, tongue, and nation will hear and some believe the gospel. We know that God’s time is vastly different from our own. 2 Peter 3:8, “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” We know God’s character is one of steadfast love and patience. 2 Pet. 3:9, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” Our posture is not one of cynicism but one of hopeful longing for the return of our king. In light of his coming and the time period we live in, John would set our expectations about the reality of false believers. He says this because the Anti-Christ is coming and is already here. I’m glad that we preach expositionally, it forces us to talk about things we wouldn’t normally preach out. I’d never preach a topical sermon on the Anti-Christ, perhaps some would but it’s not my cup of tea. But the Bible talks about it and therefore we preach on it! A couple of things to notice: John mentions two manifestations of this Anti-Christ. (1) The word Anti- can mean to be against/opposing or in seeking to take the place/substituting of. (2) There are two manifestations of this Anti-Christ. A figure who embodies this mantle. The book of Revelations discusses the activity of this figure and his role of deception and substitution for Christ. Paul says he’s the abomination of desolation who will sit on the temple and claim to be God. There are also many mini Anti-Christs. These are people who embody the Spirit and belief of the Anti-Christ. The spread of Anti-Christ teaching is a signal to John that the last hour is here, the time when Messiah has come and is being rejected.
How do you know if someone is a Christian? Profession of faith and love for Jesus, yes. A longing to be with God’s people, yes. A pursuit of holiness, yes. What about those who would profess they once were Christians but have left the faith. Have abandoned their relationship with Christ? This is the situation John is facing. Some in the church who claimed Christ have forsaken His teaching for another teaching. We see 2 things here 1.) Sometimes a church split or seeing people leave is God’s method of purifying His church. God longs for His people to be one, to be unified. Unity isn’t at the expense of faithfulness to Christ. There are times when people deny the fundamental truth about Jesus. At that point there is no basis for fellowship. We cannot have fellowship with those who pervert the gospel. We love them, be we are not one with them. Mormons-Deny the Trinity and Uniqueness of God, Jehovah Witnesses-Deny the Divinity of Christ and reality of hell, Prosperity Gospel preachers-Deny the impact of sin, role of the gospel, and reality of suffering in this life. We love those who are deceived but we are not one with them. 2.) The mark of a Christian is perseverance. John says that we will continue with them. Interesting that John marks our commitment to one another, the church, as a sign of our commitment to Christ and our separation from the people of God, the church, as a sign of our departing from the faith. We belief that when someone truly trusts Christ they are born again. It means God lives inside of us. We aren’t perfect, we still sin and are broken people (Just ask my wife). God however constantly brings us back to Himself. There might be a season of running away but the Lord knows those who are His own and is able to keep them and bring them back. The Christian is seen not in how they start, but how they finish. It’s not a spring but a marathon.
John contrasts those who left with those who remain. He says they have been anointed by the Holy One and all have knowledge. Those who departed the church were likely Gnostics. They prided themselves on having special knowledge and anointing because of a hidden ceremony. John is encouraging the church. You don’t lack anything that they have. You aren’t missing anything. You’ve been anointed, except by the Holy One (Jesus). You’ve been anointed not with oil but with the Holy Spirit. You have knowledge. You know the reality about God. You know the truth and that protects you from the lie.
The Lie of all Lies
There are lies and then there are lies. I learned early on that lying is a dangerous game. The truth will find you out. Whether someone catches you in it or the deceit rots your soul and dehumanizes you, lying will manifest itself in your life and character. Why? Because it’s following the Spirit of the Anti-Christ. John 8:44-“You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies” The King of all lies is the one that has the most damaging affect, the one that brings the most destruction. The lie that will damn your soul. Denying the Father and the Son. You cannot have God the Father without going through the Son. They are a package deal. When you come to Jesus Christ and trust Him through believing He is who He claims to be, He is able to do for you what you could never do for yourself, and give him your life you become one with Him. Once you’re related to the Son you become related to the Father. The Father draws people to the Son, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. (John 6:44) and the Son brings people to the Father Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6). How is it that people are accountable for this lie? Romans 1 teaches that every person suppresses the truth about God. We know, deep down, there is a reality deeper than what we see. We live as if there is objective morality and intrinsic value in people and life itself. Where and why do we believe these things? They come from believing in God. Yet we deny His existence and hold onto these others beliefs. The Bible isn’t teaching that all people have the same degree of clarity and light as all others. In fact it teaches the exact opposite. Some will be more accountable because of greater clarity and light given. The Spirit of the Anti-Christ is seen in this lie of all lies. That Jesus isn’t truly the Christ of God, that he didn’t do what He said, that we can have the Father without the Son. This is the Lie of all Lies.
Protection from Deception (24-27)
It’s easy to be deceived when you’re in a crowd. We’re social creatures and others can affect us. It’s easy to be deceived by those close to us. We love and care for them and so we can buy into what they say or believe. Jesus says that we are sheep. Sheep can be easily led astray depending on the circumstances. John writes about 2 things that protect us from those trying to deceive us:
- Abiding in the Gospel- What you’ve heard from the beginning
- The Abiding Anointing of the Spirit-
John 14:26-But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you
John 14:16- “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,”
2 Timothy 4:3-8 3For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
6For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
Reward of ETERNAL LIFE*
Continue to run the race, continue to abide in what you’ve known and heard. Our homecoming will ALL be worth it.