Truth will either push you away from the church or draw you to it. After all is said and done, it is God’s Word that declares the truth. John (in 1 John 2) declares that Jesus is the true Messiah–the Son of God. The Spirit of God is working in the lives of those who believe and trust in Jesus Christ. That is what the church needs and what its members should be seeking. He also notes that there is a spirit of the Antichrist–the father of false teaching. There were many false teachers prevalent at the time of John’s writings (as there are today). To overcome this, John will teach us the essentials of faith that a believer in Jesus Christ needs to live by. There comes a point where the words of God should match your actions and your behavior–to mature and grow spiritually as you live a Christlike existence. Spiritual maturity means growth in Christ, in spite of the apparent obstacles.
1 John 2:18-29
“Children, it is the last hour. And as you have heard, ‘Antichrist is coming,’ even now many antichrists have come. We know from this that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they did not belong to us; for if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us. However, they went out so that it might be made clear that none of them belongs to us. But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I have not written to you because you don’t know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie comes from the truth. Who is the liar, if not the one who denies that Jesus is the Messiah? He is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son can have the Father; he who confesses the Son has the Father as well. What you have heard from the beginning must remain in you. If what you have heard from the beginning remains in you, then you will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that He Himself made to us: eternal life. I have written these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. The anointing you received from Him remains in you, and you don’t need anyone to teach you. Instead, His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie; just as it has taught you, remain in Him. So now, little children, remain in Him, so that when He appears we may have boldness and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you know this as well: everyone who does what is right has been born of Him.”
John points to the times he lived in as being “the last hour.” This declares a sense of urgency that Jesus was real and that He was returning soon (Revelation 22:20). Time is not relevant to the Lord (2 Peter 3:8-9), and no one knows the time when Jesus will return except for the Father (Mark 13:32). While Jesus is coming back soon, John is clear that the Antichrist is present, and there are many antichrists that are present now (1 John 2:18). The prefix “anti-” means to be against something or in opposition to something. To be an antichrist is to be in opposition to Christ and what He stands for (Satan vs. God; Antichrist vs. Jesus Christ; false prophets vs. the Holy Spirit). Antichrists distort God’s Word for their own benefits and profitability. The spirit of the Antichrist promotes lawlessness and a lack of peace, including rebellion against God (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4).
False prophets are prominent today and are out to deceive many (Mark 13:22; Acts 20:29-30; 2 Peter 2:1-3). There is a prevailing thought that many, who appear to be Christians, within the body of Christ, that are, in actuality, in opposition of Christ. They challenge God’s authority and can cause others to lose sight of who Jesus Christ is and finding things that take the place of Him in their lives (John 2:18-22; Matthew 12:30; Philippians 3:19; Colossians 1:18). God is One that confirms truth in our lives through the Holy Spirit, and promotes unity within the body of Christ. John declares that the false prophets and false teachers were not of us (1 John 2:19). Their declarations and their deeds just didn’t line up with truth (John 8:21-23, 44-47). By one’s deeds, we can learn that many are not truly followers of Christ and that there was never a true movement from the old ways (of the world) to the new ways of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17; Romans 3:20; Galatians 2:16). A true follower of Jesus Christ must embrace the reality that living for Christ is an all or nothing lifestyle. He or she does not allow for compromise in their faith. It takes a desire to work at building the kingdom of God in your lifetime. It is throughout your waking hours that you are to yield to the Holy Spirit and be a living witness for Jesus Christ. It does require discipline and an ongoing focus, but this is the requirement of living a consistent, Christlike existence.
The true Christian is not moved from the truth (1 John 2:19-20; John 10:19). They are truly anointed by Christ through the Holy Spirit living within them. While man may teach or speak God’s Word, the Holy Spirit will confirm it as truth.
The antichrist (one who opposes Christ):
- Does not know the truth
- Lies and believes the lie
- Does not allow the truth to remain in himself
- Leads others away from Christ
- May have the Word of God but not the anointing of God
- Has a spirit of lawlessness, disorder, and hostility (2 Thessalonians 2:3)
No man can confirm truth, but the Holy Spirit confirms truth to us and promotes God’s Word with its instruction. God promotes order and peace in the life of a believer (1 Corinthians 14:33).
The anointed (those who have the Holy Spirit) have a love for Jesus Christ. They do not depart from Christ or the fellowship of believers. They know the truth (God’s Word), and acknowledge God, the Father, and Jesus Christ. They are not deceived by falsehoods that try to draw them away from God as they have spiritual discernment (1 John 2:26; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; John 14:26, 16:13). We are to live in Christ with confidence (1 John 2:28-29), because He gives us confidence as we have faith and trust in Him. We are not to be ashamed of living the Christian life. His righteousness declares that the true believer has been born of Him and remains in His hand, no matter what the Adversary says or does.