The Antichrists Among Us (Part 2)

sccsermon63


TEXT: 1 John 2:18-23

18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.

19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.

21 I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.

22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.

23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.

The Antichrists Among Us (Part 2)

Last week, as we began our journey into John’s teaching on the antichrist, we found that while many look toward a future “man of sin” who will one day rise on the world stage, John tells us that there are “many” antichrists or many who have the spirit of antichrist present in the world today. He also tells us that the prevalence of this spirit is a sign that we are living in the “last time” or the “last hour.”

Today, as we continue in this passage, John begins to identify for his audience these antichrists who are among believers. Which group of believers is John writing to? We don’t know for sure because it is not stated in the epistle. Dr. W. Hall Harris III says, “First John itself contains no hint of the identity of the Christian community to which it was addressed, nor does it give any specific clue to the identification of the locale involved where these believers lived. The only thing that can be said for certain about the intended readers is that (1) they were Christians, (2) they appear to have been well-known to the author (and he to them), and (3) they were facing a threat from false teaching, a threat which was both serious and which appears to have arisen from within their Christian community.”

John proceeds to give these believers the marks, or the profile, of an antichrist. First, he says, “They went out from us…” The fact that they left the church shows us that they were once in the church. When we think of an antichrist or of someone who hates and opposes the church of Christ, we usually view this person as being outside of the church from the beginning. But, we see here that there can be people in the church who have the spirit of antichrist. Of course such a person is not truly saved, and as long as they are in the church, they can go one of two ways: Either they will eventually submit to the Gospel and the Spirit of Christ and become truly saved, or they will leave the church altogether like Judas left Jesus and the disciples.

A Barna survey that came out last year indicated that, based on recent trends, 1.2 million people will leave the church in 2015. While research shows that some people leave the church for arguably valid concerns, we must consider that many may be leaving the church because they were never truly saved. They were just church members who had never had a real encounter with Jesus Christ.

Not only are there people in the pew who are not saved, but there are sometimes people in the pulpit or behind the teacher’s lectern who are not saved. Right now, in the United Church of Canada, there is an atheist minister pastoring a church, and the denomination acts like they don’t know what to do about it. Christianity has seen the rise of numerous false teachers down through history. Many of them arose within the church and began teaching doctrine that was contrary to the truth of the Bible and to the truth revealed through Jesus Christ. During the church’s early years, councils were called to address such heretical teachers — to get them to recant or to expel them from the church community — in order to protect and preserve the faith once delivered to the saints.

Ever since the founding of the church, the devil has been busy sending wolves in sheep’s clothing into the body of believers to attack the church from the inside, to corrupt Christian leaders, and to lead the true sheep astray. We must always judge what any teacher or preacher is saying by the Word of God. Just because someone looks like a Christian, acts like a Christian, is surrounded by Christians, and is involved in Christian work, that does not necessarily mean they are truly saved. True salvation is only possessed by those who have believed in their hearts and who have confessed with their mouths that Jesus is Lord. Unfortunately, everyone who sits in a church pew on Sunday mornings or Wednesday nights has not done this. John R.W. Stott said, “Perhaps most visible church members are also members of the invisible church, the mystical body of Christ, but some are not. They are with us yet do not really belong to us. They share our earthly company but not our heavenly birth.”

What happens to these antichrists who are in the church. Well, John says that they will eventually show their true colors. “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” At some point, a church attender who does not submit to the Word of God and the influence of the Holy Spirit will leave the church. At some point, false teachers — wolves in sheep’s clothing — will be exposed. The Spirit of God and the spirit of antichrist cannot co-exist. And, as Jesus said, a house divided against itself cannot stand. Those who oppose the lordship and teachings of Jesus Christ will eventually make themselves known.

With the Bible telling us clearly that, in the last days, there will be people in Christian communities who are actually opposed to the Gospel, what do we do? We must be on guard, not only against threats from without, but threats from within. We must weigh every minister’s teaching against the Bible. We must pray for discernment that we would be able to identify false teachers and challenge them to repent or leave for the sake of the true church.

Lord willing, in our next message, we will look at how the church should deal with those who have shown themselves to have the spirit of antichrist.

_________________

If you are with us today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to share with you how you can trust Him for salvation so that you can be ready for His return.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door.” Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.

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